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Diary of a Soldier part I

Tags: god, death, defeat, hope

All it takes is one...

15th of January, the year of our Lord 1429

I have seen much during my 10 years in the French army, but most of all I have seen death. My comrades are getting fewer and fewer as they fall to the British blades and bows. It is sad to realise that my oldest companion in this war is Death himself. I wish it was God, but like so many others I feel he has left us. I cannot remember the last time we had a major victory over them. Add the dogs from Burgundy, and it’s not difficult to see our situation is a most dire one.

Few of us know how this war really started and there is no one alive who can remember the beginning of it, almost hundred years ago. One hundred years. For a century we have been fighting for what seems like wastelands. The earth has been plundered by both sides so many times that the peasants only look to us because we are countrymen. They consider us the lesser of two evils, simply because we share the same blood. Even the forests have been ruined by the turmoil of my beloved France.

I hate the English, for what it has caused my country. That is the only reason I keep on. Many of my old friends have deserted. They saw that the choice was merely between French or British steel and the chance of survival was greater if they chose the French blades. I cannot say I blame them.

But I see light. I write this diary because I believe great things are about to happen. I do not know how I know this, but my heart is no longer heavy. Yesterday a young girl came into our small camp. She said she had been given a vision from God and that her task was to drive the English back into the sea. Any other man or woman that had come to our camp and said that would have been laughed out. But this girl, it was as if God had returned to us. She is a regular girl, shorter than every man in our camp, but it is as if she grows taller than the trees when she speaks. I could see the dread lift from my friend’s faces, hope finally returning. Maybe it was the last grasp of straw we are clinging on to, but no one cares. For the first time we believe. For the first time we have faith. And we will march to Chinon. All of us will follow Jeanne d’Arc.

24 th of April

I am glad I am not the only one who believes Jeanne is sent by God. Even the Dauphin, the rightful heir to the French throne, believes her now. They talked together privately when she arrived here in Chinon. What they spoke of they have not said and there are no rumours about it either, an unusual thing at a court. But to our joy and surprise the Dauphin came out and proclaimed Jeanne the new leader of the relief force that is moving to lift the siege of Orleans.

There have been evil whispers about Jeanne being sent not by God, but by the Devil. They say she is a sorceress and a witch. I look at the men in the court who speak these words with disbelief. They have not heard her talk and they have not seen the Devil. I have. The Devil commands the troops that have pillaged my home for a century. There is not one of the soldiers that for a second have doubted that her task is truly given by God Himself.

I must admit, that although I have no doubt that she is sent by God as an angel, I had my doubts when she sent us to excavate the altar of an old church a day’s ride outside of Chinon. She told us to look under the altar for an old sword. After we had removed the altar we brushed away the dirt and sand underneath and we found a large stone with a handle on it. It took the force of 5 men to lift it up, and when we looked down all of us fell down on our knees and prayed. In a hole we saw a rusty sword, just as Jeanne had said. After we took it up and examined it, one man even fainted as we managed to read the inscription; Charlemagne! Those that doubted that Jeanne served France will never doubt her again.

Now we march after Jeanne. Her majestic steed and shining armour makes her look more like an angel from God. And as she carries the standard of France, we know she is the guardian angel of France!

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