War is a terribly ugly thing. I would even say it is death and horror personified. The sun blazed with fury over my little tent, the sounds of weapons clashing and dragons shouting or screaming did little to mask the sound within my tent. It was a collection of sounds, the groaning of the injured, and the shivering silence of the dying, or dead.
I didn’t have much time for introspection, as my work was never done. The tent flaps were rarely still, always flapping in and out, with the arrival of the newly injured, or the exit of patched up and dead. A mudwing arrived, rushed in by her siblings. Left wing was nearly torn off, only hanging by bare ligament. I bandaged the area, and then applied some numbing paste around the wing, giving it a second to set, before fully removing the wing. There was no saving that. I finished wrapping the bandage the stifle the bleeding, before moving her out of the tent, three more wounded already arrived, ferried in by other soldiers.
One, a sand/sky mix had a large gash in their chest, blood flooding out. I shoved cloth, to try to stop it. His eyes asked an unspoken question.
*Am I going to live, Doc?*
“You’re going to be just fine, soldier.” I lied with an assuring smile on my face, only my worn eyes betrayed the truth. But the sky/sand was fine accepting the lie. He was already unconscious. Then dead. Too much blood was lost. Damn it.
I moved to the next, another mudwing. This time missing a leg. This one, I saved. Put them in a cot to rest. but I only had so many. My assistant worked on the third, who merely had a slash on their side. More left and entered my tent, either alive or dead.
A rainwing was carried in. I could tell with a single glance they were dead. I shook my head, and with grim faces, they carried the rainwing to the burning pile. You couldn’t bury bodies in a way. There wasn’t enough time. So we burned them. The smoky ash drifted upwards constantly, another dark reminder of the cost of war.
The tent entrance flapped, everything a blur. A constant triage, saving those I could, and having to let die the ones I couldn’t. I only had so much medicine. So many cots. I had to do minor operations without any numbing. The soldiers understood. They would bear the pain as stoically as they could.
The cries for either Momma, or for Doc. When I was younger, I thought the dying crying out for their mothers was only in the books. It wasn’t. Many spent their final moments asking for their mother. It was heartbreaking, but it was yet another burden I had to wear. It was my job to make sure they could see their loved ones once more.
It was dark out, the sun replaced by the silent moon. Still the fighting continued, and injured came pouring in. I didn’t have enough cots. I didn’t have enough supplies. My single assistant and I did our best, but still the funeral pyre blazed. I was running on barely lasting fumes, and the weight of what happen if I stopped. I was exhausted. But so were they.
My name in war is Doc. I’ll do my best to patch you up, to get you fighting again. My name is Doc, and I’ll do my best to let you reach home. My name is Doc, and I am haunted by the ones I could not save.
My name is Doc, and I’ll do my damnedest to let you live another day.