You don't know my name.

I am a new recruit from Bern. I am a stern veteran mercenary from Ilia. I am a proud warrior of Sacae with something to prove. I am a poor man, a young woman with children who need food, an old man with the heart of an eagle, a young man with the soul of a patriot. I could be a father, I might be a mother, I'm surely a brother or sister or daughter or son. I could have been born on a farm, in a house with a hearth, in a home with no walls, alone in my mother's dying arms, in the hands of a midwife, or in an orphanage. I could have been born under the sun, under the moon, on the heat of the plains, in the crags of the mountains or the wastes of the tundra. I could have been born in the town you were raised.

I could have began my journey to the battlefield with no greater than ten gold coins to my name, with only one gold coin in my hand, with no money at all. I could've started off with my father's old lance, my grandfather's old bow, a bow I bought at the smith's with all my life's wealth, a rusted and worn sword, a small hatchet. I could have gone to fight with ten years of fighting experience, with one year of fighting experience, with no fighting experience and only a dream that I'd see mercy. I could have left home with a satchel of apples, a satchel of dried meat, a satchel of prayers, with nothing but my bare knuckles.

You don't know when it happened. It could have been yesterday, the day before, last week, or any month, the months that seem to blend together and beat you about the face whenever you try to keep the time. It could be tomorrow, the day after, next week, next month, or twenty years from now when we've all forgotten how awful it was to make war. You don't know me. I care less about you than you care about me. You're not keeping count, you don't stop to look, you always look ahead, just as I do. This is who we are, who we all become when the call to arms sounds. You're no different than me. You have two eyes, two arms, two legs. You have a mouth that needs food, hands that need to hold on to something, a heart that desires, a mind that can think. You can walk, you can speak, you can fight just as I can. The only difference is that we don't wear the same colors.

I might have died as I struck a man down. I might have died with a lance through my chest, a sword through my heart, an arrow through my head. I might be lying dead alone, bleeding, trying to breathe, trying to find any god I can to take my pain away. I might be dying while a battle rages, while feet clomp against the ground, while feet trample over me. I might die thinking of my country, of my liege, of my honor, of my children, of my father, of my mother, or of my brothers. I might die angry, I might die content, I might die never knowing a single moment of happiness through my whole life. I might die unfulfilled. I might die along with my dreams to fulfill the dreams of someone else.

You might be sorry. I know. I might have been too. You may not have ever wanted this to happen, you might curse the fates that put you here. You might feel regret, if that's the sort of person you are. You might be remorseful, you might cry, you might have a somber feeling in your chest and a shiver slithering down your spine. You might fall asleep and suffer vicious nightmares, wake up covered in sweat, tears streaming down your face, gasping for air. You might want to fall to your knees when you can no longer stand knowing my fate and scream my name with the last of your voice if you could, but you can't.

You don't know my name.