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The General's Monologue

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First, I would object to the nature of this tribunal. It is clearly unlawful. Those who sit in judgment of me, some of you are children, others illiterate soldiers. And there are far too many of you, besides! What’s more, the presence of some of the victims, that is to say, alleged victims, on the tribunal itself clearly invalidate the claims against me! I laugh at this sham of a trial! This mockery of a sham! Given that I can obviously expect no justice here, despite my many years of service, I will move on to defend myself given the utter incompetence of the councilor appointed to defend me.

The times and dates and, indeed, many of the events that you have described are, by my admission, accurate. I accept that I was in command over the 3rd Poitou. I accept that we encountered the English swine at the Berdanne Divide. We made battle, as you report. But, and this I must insist upon my honor, we did not lose. It was a glorious victory of French elan over English cowardice. To any detractors I would point out that my army, the remnants of it, possessed the field when the smoke cleared. To any who say this is a pyrrhic victory, I would further point out that my victory allowed us to cut off the English from their supplies, forcing them to make a hasty retreat.

While I realize that it is not my strategic mind or tactical conduct on trial (indeed, I was cleared of strategic wrongdoing in a military tribunal, at some point, I believe… it was quite sunny) but rather my conduct after the fact, these accusations vary from being bold-faced lies to describing actions that are perfectly understandable in the context of war. I will go through them in order.

The burning of the bodies of the fallen was the most understandable thing that I did in the aftermath. The plague was coming on fast. It was hot. And quite sunny. I remember that. It was so terribly bright out. It was impractical to bury all of my men, given the… amount of the fallen-which is obviously a consequence of bold stratagem, an unfortunate one. So burning was the best way, in my opinion. My remaining troops had the audacity to accuse me of being heartless for such. But what they took most umbrage with was, obviously, the fact that some of those to be burned were still, at least technically, alive. They were the ones who had to burn the most! We had to make a hasty retreat (the enemy, in their jealousy, mobilized to humiliate us after our victory) and they could not be left behind for fear of them becoming prisoners of the enemy! They were soldiers. They knew that they might die for their country. It matters not how!

The next action I took during my retreat was to deny the enemy resources by, again, burning them. Crops, orchards, vineyards, everything. Why, you ask (and rightfully), did this include the desire to burn citizens of France alive in their cottages? They were spies. Or, they might have been, rather. Many of them got away so it therefore remains a possibility that these persons were in fact spying for the enemy. Though that’s a tribunal for another day, I suppose. Many of my men opposed me. They were welcome to burn in their houses with the peasants they chose to defend like the traitors that they were. An inglorious death for soldiers of France, perhaps, but a fair one for their mutiny. They said that the battle, my victory, had driven me mad! Mad! Imagine, then, if a victory can drive a man mad how mad defeat must drive him! Absolute drivel! Mad! Hah!

At that point there were still soldiers who understood my situation. My orders. As for what happened between then and now, well, I’m not quite sure, you see. But I do remember how bright it was. It was incredibly sunny, you see. Not so much hot, just… very bright. Many pairs of eyes and the like.

I don’t mind you. Really, I don’t. You are right to be angry. But why are there rats here? I despise rats. Please, someone do something about these rats. Why do you leave? No, you haven’t heard everything yet! There is more! You don’t understand! You don’t understand, damn you! Come back! A sham! A sham, I say! It is far too bright!

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