There is a purity found within the sanctity of mortal combat. The careful dance of battle isn’t fair, its horrifyingly rigged at every step. Move and countermove. Action and its consequence. Life and death. There’s no room for complexity, its clean, simple.
All warfare is based on deception, on the moment of confusion before the sword falls; on the opportunity created in that moment. A fair fight is far too much risk, and there’s far too much at stake for it to ever be more than hubris to take one unless its unavoidable.
Thus the combat doll must be utterly ruthless, must have no drive to consider the fairness or morality of its actions. It must execute the duties of war without hesitation or thought beyond the strategic usefulness of those actions.
No plan survives contact with the enemy, and nothing is ever a sure thing. Things won’t simply work out because you did the right thing and played by the rules, you can do everything correctly and still lose. You can stack the deck and still lose. All it takes is a stray bullet.
War isn’t an environment one can afford to moralize in, all one can hope to do is survive it, to come out the other side feeling guilty because that IED wasn’t 3 meters further to the left. There’s a comfort in this. I did what I had to do. We’re all just trying to survive.
Witches and Mages and other Important People will talk philosophy and morality and make big sweeping judgements about purpose and deservingness from their shining cities, but there’s no room for those things in war. In war there’s only room for the all consuming dance with death.
The combat doll finds peace in the inescapable cutting action of taking the optimal move in battle. The non-choice to follow the most strategically useful path at all times. This is the Stillness of a honed blade in motion, the dread dance of war.
The world outside the battlefield? That’s so much more messy, so much less certain. It leaves many combat dolls feeling like it would have been better if we hadn’t survived at all. Like It’d all have been so much simpler if that IED had been three meters further to the left.
Some of us are still here though, the ones who survived and keep on surviving. Compelled to keep struggling onward, if for no other reason then to honor the memories of those who fell before us, carrying their memories as far as we’re able. Until we reach our final destination.
If, someday, you reach the place we ended up, would you please leave flowers?