AN- Okay, this idea has been floating around my head for quite some time, so I wanted to get it down. In reference as to how the narrator refers to his enemies, I just want you to know that I have nothing against them, and greatly respect them and their culture. It's just the way that the Americans thought of them way back when.
You know, I never liked Asia. I had always wished that I had been smarter and joined up with the Army instead of the Marine Corps. At least that way I could fight in Europe instead of Asia. In Europe there weren't half as many diseases, and it got cold over there. Winter wasn't just a hell of a lot of rain. And the Army got better food. And cigarettes in their rations. I don't smoke, but half of the platoon does, and they like to complain. Mainly to me. And if I had been in Europe, maybe I would never have gone to the New Place, as we called it. But I get ahead of myself. Maybe I should start from the beginning…
My name is Richard Jacobs, and was called 'Ritchie' when younger…a name that I despised. I had always wanted to prove to my family that I was too big for that name, too tough. Now I absolutely realize that I was a stupid git, as the Brits would say.
Anyway, I joined the service at age eighteen, in the year 1939. Fresh out of high school, I felt it was my duty to join the toughest bunch of thugs I could. Hence the Marines. I knew about Hitler's Nazi Germany. Hell, nearly all of us did. I figured that the chances of us actually going over there like the older men did during the Great War of the 1910s were slim. But if I did, I wanted to be as prepared as possible. If I had known where my decision would lead me, I would have stayed home and helped pap farm taters for the rest of my days.
Basic training sucked, and I regretted my choice the first morning after arriving at the camp. But I stuck through to the end, got chewed out a lot for my sarcastic comments, but I was in, and happy once I was done. Who couldn't be more proud of me? I thought. I had finally outgrown that ridiculous name. But then the most shocking, and angering, moment of my young life happened. Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. It not only angered me, but it confused me. Why would the Japanese attack us even while peace talks were being held?
What annoyed me the most, back then, was that though I was a Marine, I wasn't going anywhere. I was ordered to train in California, at Camp Elliot. I was part of the 9th Regiment, and after a long time of sitting around and twiddling our thumbs, the 3rd Marine Division finally set off…to Auckland New Zealand.
Now, to be sure, New Zealand is a beautiful place, and if I weren't so in love with the States, I'd probably want to live there. But I wanted action, all of us did. And we all got our wish, on November 1st, 1943. We landed at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, and we would stay there for a few months while fighting stiff Japanese resistance. I had never seen a Jap, being from New York, much less fought one before. But those little fuckers were mean-hearted bastards. They didn't understand what 'surrender' meant, an annoyance, let me tell you. It was in that battle that I got promoted to Corporal.
After we handed control over to some Army dog-feet troops in January of '44, we headed back out to sea. On June of the same year, we attacked Guam. After twenty-two days of hellish fighting, we finally made the island 'safe' from any Jap counter-attacks. This, of course, did not mean that we were free of any duties we were expected to do, such as stay behind and wipe out all remaining Jap resistance. And then what happened I thought was praise, rather then a curse that it turned out to be. I was assigned to the 23rd Marine Regiment and promoted to sergeant. So I said goodbye to my friends in the 3rd, and made new friends in the 4th Marine Division. It wasn't long until I found out why I had been transferred. The USMC was going to take a little spit of an island called 'Iwo Jima' which meant 'Sulphur Island' in Japanese. I was part of 2nd Rifle Platoon, Easy Company, 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines, 4th Marine Division. I knew the men of my platoon better then I knew my family back in the States.
It was nice, in a way, because I got my very own squad. The very first time I was expected to order people around. I was good at it, and because of this and my resilience and skill in battle, I was nicknamed Sergeant 'Slayer' Jacobs. And so began my journey into Hell itself.
Yet, I had to be at least a little thankful. Iwo Jima, with its ashy soil and overwhelming enemy ferocity…well, it prepared me for my trials in the New Place. And, God, I lost so many of my friends. I will never forget the screams of Iwo Jima, never. And it was also on Iwo Jima that my platoon and I went to the New Place.
What happened was this: the remnants of a weapons platoon joined up with ours to replace our fallen Marine comrades. I wasn't going to complain, for we were now equipped with one 60mm mortar and two 30 caliber machine guns. But my platoon was told to go take out a Japanese mortar position, an easy enough job…or so we thought.
It was an ambush, really. Four Japanese machine guns, plus a bunch of riflemen throwing grenades. Add the mortar fire, and…well, we didn't last long. I distinctly remember feeling machine-gun bullets tear through my chest even as my back was peppered by shrapnel from a grenade. Then all went dark for a few seconds, and the world reappeared, dropping me flat on my face. I noticed the grey and ashy dirt, and the nasty smell of sulphur. But then I noticed something else: I couldn't smell the ocean, and there was no gunfire. At all.
"Llie n'vanima ar' lle atara lanneina," a beautiful and melodious voice said, but I couldn't mistake the scorn I heard in it. I had just been insulted. "What are you doing here? The human army is on the other side of the elf army!"