Walin

The Great Scadrian War

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This fic explores a thought I had one day, about whether Hemalurgy would be used in wars as a way to slow down the rampant waste of resources and human life. It's written from the perspective of a soldier reflecting on the war--though since I didn't do any research, it comes across as a sort of cross between World War I and the Vietnam War, but without any of the accompanying hopelessness and poignancy.

For ratings, this one's either PG-13 or R.

Spoiler

The Great Scadrian War

Mud fell from the sky.


This wasn't supposed to happen. We were supposed to be free, led by Harmony and the Southern Scadrians, helped to achieve great things. They say some have taken to the stars, somehow. That they finally figured out the problems with Feruchemy and medallions.

It doesn't matter to those down below. The Roughs got flooded and turned as green as the Basin--but it wasn't lush. It was awash with swamps, rocks and mud. A right proper wasteland, but now of a different type.

They thought we could colonize it. Turns out we could. But there were split factions, and it ended up that there were now three countries in the North. The Elender's, the Rustians and the Greenies. Somewhat immature names, but when you need to split a country fast, some names just take hold among the population.

Harmony didn't leave us, per se. He simply made an announcement--that he was going to make it harder, so we could learn on our own and not "stagnate."

Did he know? That it would come to this? To a great war between the three countries of the world, bickering over fully outfitted land--and bargaining with lives? If so, I have some choice words for the fool when I die. He brought this upon us, and didn't even prepare the world for such a hard-hitting change.

We're foot soldiers in a war fought with airships. Bombs drop often, blasting mud through the air but never hitting anyone we know. We don't dare go out in the open, but we can't see much in the forests. We have a skirmish with another party every one or two weeks. Most of the time, we sit here in silence--waiting for it to be broken by another ettmetal explosion.

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When I got drafted, I thought I was protecting Elendel from invaders. It turns out no one's invading anyone; just trying to hold ground and not lose everything to the other country. It's a hard thing to do when we don't know how war works.

I think the chain of command doesn't know what it's doing; that it knows how to kill but not how to take ground. We take heavy losses every month, but they just send some more every time. It doesn't work, and we're going to run out eventually. I suppose they know this, at least.

It's why they modified our weapons.

Some fool had told some higher-ups of something called "Hemancy" or something. You impale someone with metal and cut a piece out of their soul, save it for later. It's apparently what koloss are born from. It's what made Ironeyes.

It's what makes us.

We come at each other with rifles, but what we really do is stab each other with spears. Kill a soldier. Replace riflehead. Kill another. Stash the used ones. Don't die. Collect their count. Spare those who don't use Allomancy, unless we're taking heavy losses.

It's all so morbid. I know how close I've come to losing my life, perhaps my mind and soul. It's terrifying, and the war goes on. I've taken several spikes, but I've never made any. I don't think anyone in my unit has. Regardless, they pound the lessons in. How to spike. Where to spike. Where to find spikes, and how to pull them out.

I got my first one after I survived my first battle. It was supposed to make me stronger, but I think it just keeps me from dying. I can't lift more, I can't run longer; I just avoid death. Pain doesn't have as much of an effect on me, though it still hurts the same. I've seen some of my friends lose the light in their eyes and walk away.

I remember breaking my leg when I was younger. I almost passed out. Now, I break an arm and a collarbone and sprain my ankle, and I just limp back to camp to clean my gun and spikes. I go out on expeditions to collect spikes from the dead, those who killed but didn't have time to bring their spoils back with them to their group.

I recognize the horrors we face every day, but I can't go mad from seeing them. That's the biggest problem. We have so many great thinkers, and none had the thought to end this war. Almost as bad, no one has a way to classify spikes. I got the "Blessing of Presence," whatever that means, when I was supposed to gain strength. I guess I shouldn't be mad, though, seeing as I'm not crazy yet.

There was talk about putting badges or medals on a person's chest to designate their Misting or Ferring status, so spiking would be more efficient for either side. But that was too obvious; it would expose the nature of this entire war.

They thought they could justify it by making it a power farm. Spikes accumulate, and when the war is over, we return to our respective sides and share the spoils of a booming economy built on death.

I'm sick of this, but I can't leave. I've got three spikes in me, and they can track you with Bronze ettmetal contraptions. If I take one out, I'll bleed out without medical attention; if I get cared for or am spotted on my way out, I get shoved right back in.

The only perk of all this is that now I'm a Tineye and a Subsumer. Well, it's not so much a perk as it is irony. They'd be perfect for helping me survive and stay hidden on the run, if the Seeker contraptions didn't scan every spare bit of space around them.

Sometimes I feel like the spikes want to escape this hell as much as I do. Maybe I'll think of something, and we can get back to civilization again.

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I really enjoyed this. I really like the Hemalurgy portion, and the way you set up the war was really good as well. I would love to see more in this universe(AU?)

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Thanks! Will do, at some point! I'm pretty busy right now, but I'll hopefully have another one up by next week. Key word being "hopefully."

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That's really great! I agree with Snipexe on every point, and would love to see more.

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I clearly put this on the shelf for too long. Here's the next installment; it's more present tense than the last one, because you can only have one soliloquy at a time before it starts to get stale.

I'm also doing the "homage" opening line, so if I end up doing 7 of these I'll probably end with that (unless I remember this once there are even more Mistborn books). As seen in Wilsoon, I don't know how to keep a consistent narrative and things start to fall apart after they go on too long.

Also, a short pre-definition--"wetleg" is an immersion foot syndrome like trenchfoot; I just came up with a new word because all the others (Paddy foot, etc.) have names depending on where the person got them. I assume there isn't trench warfare anywhere else on Scadrial, and that the Northeren Scadrians have no other context to call the affliction by--the Roughs were dry and the Basin was lush, so they'd have no words for it.

Once again, I have no experience in the army, so this has several inaccuracies.

Spoiler

The army crept like a dark stain across the horizon.

In a rare open area, we could see what we'd been warned about. There had been reports of a full army making its way across our region to another; support in the fierce battle over the Midward Region, the most well-irrigated part of the Wet Roughs. Our orders were to go dark, avoiding using Investiture until we were sure they had passed.

Later, we were crawling through the swamp, checking to see how much of our immediate area was clear. Making camp was tricky business; you never wanted to sleep in the mud, no matter how warm it is and no matter if you lost your shelter, but you wanted to stay invisible too. High ground would be much drier, but exposed as well; if we had the time we would construct a small platform out of deadfall.

There was a fine balance between avoiding infection and avoiding conflict,  and tonight we couldn't find that balance. There were reports of armies moving through our area, big ones. We wouldn't stand a chance.

No one was allowed to use Allomancy or Feruchemy until we were attacked, so finding our way in the dark was a bit difficult. On days where physical, but not Invested, stealth was required, we'd have the Coinshot and Lurchers in our group form a cloud of pewter dust, sensing objects around us in the night. Well, we used to. The Coinshot died of dysentery yesterday, and we all have too many spikes to take it on ourselves. That is, unless the bindpoint map hadn't gotten wet, and we actually knew where to set a "linchpin" spike.

If conflict was to happen, it'd be better sooner rather than later. We'd get wetleg before too long, walking through this kind of ground so much--or hopefully we'd have proof that we were alone in our immediate area. My spikes aside, I still longed to be on dry ground.
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Bombs started to hit the ground, and it took a few moments for us to decide whether to hide or fight. In the indecision of the moment, we split up. The higher-power soldiers went on ahead, scouting for enemies and bombers in flight. We stayed behind, under the cover of the trees. If we were lucky, the bombs would be moving east, missing us--unless it was only the first set in a whole plan to dry out the whole area and set it afire.

We stood up; stealth was important, but not so important that we should sacrifice mobility. Thankfully, we had a Brute with us--because we were attacked, as soon as the power group got out of sight. Rustians, by the look of their uniforms, and they were out of ammunition like us. We had a few moments to parry their spikes before Mallen tapped Pewter and tossed them into the undergrowth. None of us liked killing, but Mallen was going a bit far with how non-lethal that was. We'd have to book it to get away from them in these swamps--and if they had a Coinshot, they'd have a chance to attack with more fervor.

Turns out my worries were for naught; the Rustians got the wind knocked out of them and we put plenty of distance between us. The bombs stopped, and we regrouped with the power-group. Nestal, the Bronze-burner, reported what the group had found. "Several Allomancers, about a dozen around the next square mile. We'd better go dark again, because I think a few are coming over here."

That was another drawback of our use of spikes. There was no chance to train with our powers except by experience, so Nestal could only tell distance--not the specific power--of Allomancers around us. It looked like the next few days would be more swamp, more hiding. I wonder how long we'll have to dip into physical rations, rather than the Bendalloy Meal-in-a-Grain medallion set.

If we have to hide for more than a few days, we might find some good trees to sleep in. I hate how long it takes to set up our hammocks and poles, especially because we have to take them down the next day.

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