On Friendly Terms

"On Friendly Terms"

Who: Christiane, Morgenstern & Hensworth
Where: L'Eglise de Saint Boniface in Arras, France

What: With the war winding down, the soldiers and medical staff begin to think thoughts of happier times to come.

L'Eglise de Saint Boniface
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[The Grid]-----> > > > > THE LOST GENERATION < < <


Even in a place like this the war has left its marks, the once great windows of the church depicting the lord saviour have been blown to pieces. Some of the rafters from the roof are broken, and here and there holes from shells and rounds score the walls of the church. Where there once were benches for people to sit during sermons are now temporary tables upon where wounded soldiers and civilians can be seen. The moans and cries of the wounded never cease to stop, as they just keep coming in with every day that passes, a numberless throng. Nuns from the local abbey along with nurses runs along with blood stained rags trying their best to aid the doctors and field medics that works in here.

At first glance it might be hard to think that faith in god can still linger in a place so torn apart by the war as this, but the sheer compassion by those who work here makes up for the tarnished facade of the church.

It is currently night time.

Sub-Rooms :

Contents
Morgenstern
Christiane

Backyard Garden <BG> Out <O>

The evening is proceeding in the church much as it always does. The medical staff continues to make their rounds as the lights dim, lamps lit to make that task easier. Christiane has just returned to duty, as evidenced by her blood-free uniform. She steps into the church, going back to tie on a fresh apron before setting to work.

Morgenstern is in a better mood than he's been in in a long time. Sure, the latest push claimed its victims, but even he's smelling the end of the war now. And despite himself, he's suddenly feeling hopeful. After a bath, change of bandages and clothes, he's sitting on his bed reading a newspaper and smoking a cigarette. And as usual, he's recovered well, with a few more scars to show for it. He looks up as Christiane enters the church and lifts his unwounded arm to wave to her.

Christiane catches Morgenstern's wave, and offers a small one in return, along with a faint smile. "Corporal," she says, stepping over to his bedside. Her eyes flit over him, his arm in particular, with a mixture of satisfaction and sympathy. He's all but good as new. "You are coming along well."

"Hello there, Miss Ingels," Morgenstern says, giving her a warm smile. He folds the paper and taps some ash off the cigarette into the mug he's using as ashtray. "And I am. Someone up above must like me a little after all. And you, how are you doing?"

"Please, call me Chrisa," the nurse says to Morgenstern. "We see enough of each other, we may as well be on friendly terms. I am…well enough." She had been about to say 'fine', but no one is really 'fine' in this place. "May I see your arm?" She gestures to the one he injured.

Hensworth arrives from Grand Place.

"Of course… Chrisa," Morgenstern says, quickly adjusting to the familiarity. He shifts where he sits to turn his arm to her, pulling the shirt off. "It doesn't hurt at all, it's just a bit itchy and sore," he explains. "It's healing very well. Bullet just grazed it. Yet another scar to show possible grandchildren," he jokes.

The evening is proceeding in the church much as it always does. The medical staff continues to make their rounds as the lights dim, lamps lit to make that task easier. Christiane is tending Morgenstern at the moment, though the legionnaire doesn't require much serious care. She purses her lips as she examines the bandage. "It is still tender but, if you would like, you may return to the line." She smiles as he speaks of grandchildren. "You will make a fine storyteller for them, I am sure."

Morgenstern gets a bit embarassed, giving Christiane a lopsided smile. "Oh, I don't know. I'm not even sure I'd want to tell them about this… hell. But perhaps I'll have other stories to tell." It sits well with him, to think about it. He lowers his voice and says seriously; "I'd like to tell stories to my son, too. I've thought a lot about it, and I have to get back and meet him once this is over."

The church doors open, creaking a little, but not too loud to disturb the sleeping patients. Private Hensworth walks in, freshly shaven and in a newly-washed uniform. He must have been to the river recently, cleaning up for the first time in a week. Because his watch is over, he is just walking around and enjoying his time off. Unlike many of his comrades, he does not hang out in bars and flirt with the women. More of an introspective man, he is. He looks around the room, going through old memories… especially the one of his first day in the front. Word from the others are saying that the war is almost over and so he is in a lighter mood.

Christiane smiles, enjoying the thought of Morgenstern with his son. And this being over. "You will be home with him soon, God willing," she says. Her eyes going, as they sometimes do, up to what remains of the once-glorious glass windows. "You have been a Legionnaire. I am sure you have much better stories to tell your son than of this place."

Morgenstern pulls the shirt back on, buttoning it up slowly. "I suppose," he says, cocking his head while thinking of times past. "We were in Africa before the war. That was quite an adventure." He perks up at the thought. "If I had the patience, I should write a book," he jokes. He sees Hensworth, and recognizing him, he upnods in the man's direction while still talking to Chrisa. "Heard any more news from your fiance?"

Hensworth nods back to the Legionnaire. "Wow, that man has nine lives," he thinks. It would appear that the Legionnaire is the only one of the few soldiers who he can recognize that has survived the entire time he was here. The others have died or rotated home due to the severity of their wounds. He continues down the walkway, inspecting the wounded. When he first came, he was highly disturbed, but now, it is just a fact of life. He continues to ponder how much he had changed from then and now.

"Africa?" There's that trace of awe in the back of Christiane voice that sometimes comes when one speaks of some place faraway, or something new and dazzling. She is only nineteen, even if the war has aged her in some ways. "You should write a book. It would be a wonder to read, I am sure. Perhaps after you go home you will become a great author, yes?" She laughs at the idea but it isn't a mocking laugh. She likes the idea. She notes Hensworth, offering him a quick, "'Allo, Private" but, as he's under his own power and not bleeding, she answers Morgenstern's question before paying him anymore mind. "Letters come, here and there. It is difficult, communicating as things are, but it is better now. Perhaps this truly will be over soon."

Morgenstern reaches for a glass of water and gulps it down thirstily. "But he is alive," he says contently. It's become almost personal to him, getting to know Christiane like he has; it'd be one happy thing in the misery, to know that the two get reunited. "And I'll think about it. About a book, I mean. If nothing else I could write it for my own needs. I'll write about you!" he promises, giving her a grin.

Christiane blushes, laughing and waves a dismissive hand at Morgenstern. "That would not make for very good reading, I think. There are far more interesting people to write of them me. The doctor, Williams." A note of respect comes into her tone. "She would make a fine subject for a book. Or the men you fight with. Any of them. Far more interesting."

Hensworth 's interest rises when he overhears something about a book. "A book, eh?" he asks, moving closer to both Morgenstern and Christiane. Perhaps he is a big a reader, since he asked about it. He looks up dreamily and adds, "I've always wanted to write a book… but I have almost nothing to write about, except for this war." He sighs sadly, wishing he had more imagination.

Morgenstern reaches for his boots to put on. Somewhere he's gotten hold of clean and new socks and he wriggles his toes inside of them, feeling spoiled. "Nonsense, you're very interesting. And I'd want to meet your man some day," he suddenly says, almost surprising himself before realizing it's true. He squints at Hensworth, tying the boots quickly and habitually. "Wait another twenty years, then you write the book," he suggests. "You'd have a lot to write about then."

Christiane smiles, albeit a wistful smile. "I would like for you to meet Julien. He so admires the men of the Legion. It would be a treat for him. When this is over, I will introduce you. Perhaps, you may even come to our wedding." She says that as if just saying the words might make it true. She says nothing about the book, leaving that for Morg and Hensworth.

Morgenstern gets all his gear gathered and dresses quickly. "Nothing could stop me from coming if I am invited," he promises solemnly. He even bows to her, respectfully. "I'll see you soon, I hope. Perhaps even without being wounded!" He gives her a little salute, then marches out of the church.

Morgenstern leaves for Grand Place.

Hensworth was thinking about being patient, but suddenly his train of thought is interrupted as a Sergeant sticks his head into the Church. "Hensworth!" he calls out, "Report to the front, immediately!" He gives Nurse Ingols a friendly smile and then turns to leave. His boots clump against the floor as he rushes out, unslinging his rifle and wielding it as he leaves.

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