The Wounded In Wartime

The door to the cabin opens, and Niko steps in. His right hand has been bandaged with a crude field dressing. It's nearly soaked through from blood. He drops his ski poles and kicks the door closed. The small man makes his way over to the table, takes a seat in a chair, and sighs heavily.

If Vesa has anything going for him in this war, it's resilience. Brought back last night with his right leg in bloody shreds, he's been under Korhonen's knife and is now bandaged up and lying restlessly. His fingers pick endlessly at the dented piece of metal on the end of his leather 'necklace'. Eyes flicker towards the cabin door as he hears it open.

Niko holds the bandaged stump up and sighs again. "Yes," he mutters. "They always aim at my hands. Hopefully the Doctor doesn't saw it off. I'm not sure how bad it is, but it's starting to itch and smell. Hurts worse today than it did yesterday." Niko sets his bandaged hand back down on the table and winces.

Luukas grimaces hearing that, "Means it might be getting infected…" as he tries to slowly lift himself up a bit. "Let me see. It's probably been too long for me to do much, but I can change that awful bandage." to the only adult man in the group that's shorter than him.

Vesa sits up a little as he hears Niko talking about infection. He can't move much, Korhonen's stitching thread running a very long line under those bandages. "It feels worse today? You should have stayed here, let Miss Sonja see it."

"Couldn't just leave without securing the village," Niko says. "It didn't hurt as bad yesterday." He shows Luukas the bandage. "Not a very good job tying it; I had to use my teeth. Means changing it one-handed is impossible."

Luukas slowly nods as he takes a look. The arm that's bandaged doesn't seem to be causing him any trouble now, moving that limb easily as he uses both his hands to carefully unwrap Niko's old bandage. "I still can't get out of bed. The doctor said it's still just as likely for my leg to fall off. Can .." he pauses there, looking over to where Vesa's laying. "Vesa, can you toss me the roll of bandaging? I can tear off a piece and wrap Niko's hand with a new one."

Luukas adds more quietly for Niko alone, "You'll need one of the girls to clean it and add medicine. It is a bit infected."

"It needs to be cleaned first," Vesa says, pulling his elbow under him awkwardly to reach for the bandages lying near him. "If you can get some water, Mr. Fisk, I can clean it out. I can't stitch though."

Niko nods to Luukas. "Smells that way, doesn't it?" he mutters. "Well, at least we got the bastards who did this." He walks over to the stove and grabs a pan of lukewarm water, moving over to Vesa. "I think everyone got hit last night, but Vesa and me got two apiece," he tells Luukas.

Luukas lays back a bit, resting his head on the pillow again. "Good work. Did they have any tanks there or those tin armoured cars that Antti loves shooting up?" There's a smile offered to try to lift the mood, perhaps hoping an air of amusement would help amidst talks of wounds.

Vesa rolls over a bit more as Niko comes up, getting to an awkward sitting position. He motions for Niko to sit next to him before he starts peeling off the soaked field bandage. A smirk to the small man as he talks about getting two apiece, then he shakes his head at Luukas. "Bunch of destroyed stuff that we'd hit the last time. They had lots of ammo and stuff though. Some grenades. There was a Mosin with a scope on it."

Niko grits his teeth. Parts of the bandage are damp from being soaked with blood. Other parts have coagulated into a scab, and these scabs peel off with the bandage. "That scoped rifle was a nice piece of work," Niko says. "Ivan wasn't even using it last night."

Luukas hrmmms, "What lucky dodger manages to get it?" He snorts a soft chuckle, "One of the Manikainen brothers, I guess." lifting a brow and looking over to where Vesa's changing Niko's bandage.

Vesa is careful with Niko's hand, getting the layers of bloody bandaging off. It doesn't seem to bother him much, looking at it, and he sets the crusty cloth down on the floor in a small heap. "I think maybe Matti got it. I don't know, I couldn't see. They were stupid for not using it. But I guess if you got an MG it makes you all cocky." He snickers.

Niko says through gritted teeth, "A lot of good that machine gun did them," Niko says. "Although the next time we attack a village, I wouldn't mind having an MG to provide suppressing fire. Ivan panicked near the end, but by then…" he winces, "…he had already done plenty of damage to us."

Luukas grunts, "That would be the same machine gun that decided my leg needed to be removed, the devil." and grits his teeth with the memory. "You know when you saw them, Vesa?" looking over to the teenager applying the bandages, "It was after they'd shot me with that machine gun, and the whole squad came out looking for me. I'd had to hide by the blown-up tanks 'cause my leg wasn't going anywhere. Was doing all I could to crawl into the snow when you took your first shot. "

"Well it's a doomed gun now," Vesa says, keeping his attention down on Niko's hand. He swirls a clean rag through the lukewarm water and starts carefully cleaning out the infected wound. "Every Ivan there had his hands on it, and all died." He glances at Niko's face and smirks. "And that Big-mouth Commissar." He looks at Luukas for a moment and nods. "I heard the MG firing. That's why I came back."

Niko snorts. "That Comissar was really something," Niko says. "Babbling something to the other Russians. Propaganda, no doubt." He taps the right side of his chest. "Got him here. Through the lung, I think. That shut him up." He smirks, but his eyes lack humor, looking kind of empty and sad instead.

Luukas offers another tiny grunt. "They're officers, you know. Bet that's where that Russian pistol I saw this morning was gotten from." and shrugs both shoulders slightly where he's laying. "Wish I had some way to get a letter to my father. I haven't been in touch with anyone in my own family since the war broke out, 'cept for my cousin Antero working at the timber camp with me."

"He was telling them to fight for the liberation of Finland," Vesa says quietly to Niko. "Calling us fascists. Talking about building a new world…" He frowns slightly, clearing his throat. A glance to Luukas but he doesn't quite know what to say to that, and so focuses back on Niko's hand. The rag's swished through the water again and he goes on cleaning, trying to get the stinking crusty bits out of the wound.

"A new world?" Niko snorts, then winces as his wound gets prodded. "Those Russians will be building a new world, all right. Pushing up weeds and feeding the worms come summer." He frowns at Luukas' mention of family, but doesn't say anything about it.

Luukas looks over to the two again, but speaks no comment now. Quiet, frowning slightly as his expression grows more distant.

Vesa shrugs one shoulder. "Same kind of stuff they were saying in Russia. I remember a lot of it." He peers at Niko's hand, gently turning it over and then back. The rag moves over it one more time, then he dumps it in the water and picks up the bandages. "Wish they'd just keep it there."

Luukas squints his eyes a bit looking over to Vesa now. "How old are you, Vesa? Didn't the Bolsheviks take over Russia before you were born?" commented from his bed.

"Russians belong in Russia," Niko says with a grunt. "It's sickening that a country as large as Russia seeks to expand. Hopefully our countrymen are also faring well in their struggles against The Neighbor. It'd gladden me to know that Pyyvaara isn't the only village that's been recaptured."

"Sixteen," Vesa replies to Luukas as he unravels bandages, glancing at Luukas. "It was all still there. All over the walls. People talking like that all the time."

Luukas nods faintly, but then goes quiet for a moment, considering, as his eyes shift to look over to Niko where the short man is seated. "Vesa's Russian, Niko. A refugee, like some of the others. The Czar united alot of different peoples under one nation, for good or bad. It's these communists that are killing everyone that doesn't agree with 'em."

Niko grunts. "Anyone who would fight for Finland is an honorary Finn as far as I'm concerned." He attempts a smile, "And a man who would drive Ivan from Juntusranta and bring word that my father and mother are well? That man would be my savior." He shakes his head, "To think that Communism hadand still hassome hold over Finns today. It's saddening that we used toand still doquarrel over politics. Take that Mannikainen girl, reading Karl Marx of all things."

Vesa keeps his mouth shut for a few minutes, concentrating on Niko's hand. He wraps it up with care, securing the cloth. "Done, Mr. Fisk. Should still get Miss Sonja or Dr. Korhonen to look at it though."

Niko nods to Vesa. "Thanks. I'll probably need help firing a rifle for awhile, too," he says, smiling wanly. "If you ever need help skiing, let me know, eh? I can drag you into position, and you can do the shooting for me."

Luukas offers a nod. "But that's what I mean. There was no Finnish state when my papa was born. This land was a duchy of the greater Russian empire." The Ostrobothnian sighs, "Would he have been called a Russian then? No, he was Finn." with a very slight shrug added. "This Marx-Lenin philosophy is dangerous. I haven't actually read that book, but I know it tells people to revolt in their workplace, and that there is no God."

Niko chuckles. "You know, for each time I've gotten shot, it either means there is no God, which is why I suffer so, or there is a God, which is why I'm still alive." He shakes his head angrily. "Karl Marx never got his hands shot up by a Russian machine gun, did he? Lenin never had to flee a village with Russian artillery raining around him, did he? We've suffered far more than most statesmen and philosophers; perhaps it is we who should be philosophizing, not them." The small man stares out the window, muttering, "I should be studying maths or something. Mathematicians don't need to sit outside in the cold killing men."

Vesa smiles a bit at Niko. The skiing image is funny in a macabre sort of way. He keeps silent during the rest of it though, as the conversation turns to politics. His expression doesn't look confused, just purposefully reserved.

Luukas seems to grimace slightly, as if taking a moment to properly read the feelings expressed in the smaller man's voice and expression. "An engineer. That's what people who study math become 'round here, isn't it?" There's a soft chuckle, "Unless you mean people that go down to Helsinki and live in some big fancy university house, buried in books."

Niko nods. "That's the sort of life I want someday," the small man says, continuing to stare out the window. "Buried in books someplace warm." He adds quietly, "I've never even been to Helsinki, you know. Never really traveled much, being the only child and all. If only the Almighty had blessed me with musculature, maybe I could have been a lumberjack."

Vesa smiles a little, wrapping up the rest of the bandages back onto the roll. "Mr. Mainnikainen's sister throws it all away for a rifle and you want to take it up. Everybody wants something else, I guess."

Luukas speaks quietly, adapting a tone of reassurane for Niko. "I'm a lumberjack, but when I was little I just did stuff around the farm like everyone else. Didn't come out here to work till after my service training." adding a slight nod. "Some of them made fun of me, saying I wasn't big like a bear and so couldn't swing an axe right, but you build up muscles by doing the work. I managed." There's a pause for a moment before he adds, "But my dad, he's a church man. Taller than me, but his calling was different."

"My father was bigger than me, and a lumberjack. The only thing I'm good for is providing meat for the table and…" he makes a face, "sewing. I'll make some woman a good wife someday if I don't find employment that doesn't require use of my hands."

Vesa just shakes his head at Niko. "Plenty of men hurt their hands," he says, trying to be reassuring. He looks back at Luukas curiously. "Your father was a Pastor?"

Luukas hears Vesa ask of his father, and turns to respond to him where he's in another cot recuperating. "Yes. He's been a pastor since I was little." And Luukas adds, perhaps with a sense of pride, "He's an air force chaplin as well. That's what he did in the war." and turns to point towards an old photograph stuck on the wall above his rough bed. It shows a single young man, bearing a family resemblance to Luukas though slightly older and taller in a chaplin's uniform, smiling as he stands before a biplane of the Great War era with a blue Finnish swastika displayed on its fuselage. "That's him. It's about all I have left of my stuff from Torevaara camp."

Niko glances away from the window and at the photograph. "Torevaara. I miss that place. At least the cabin was bigger, eh?" He stares back out the window. "An aeroplane. A marvelous invention, but I've yet to see one in person."

Vesa twists around a bit to see the photo. "Oh, wow. That's an aeroplane?" First time Vesa's even seen a picture of one of those things. "Could he fly those too?"

Luukas smiles distantly, but then shakes his head. "No, he's not a pilot. Don't think he ever really flew one. But yeah, he said they gave him rides, after the war. He could see all the coastline the forests from above, like on the top of a mountain only moving." Pausing to scratch down near his thigh for a moment, his eyes wander to the window some of the others gaze through. "He even met the Count himself. That aeroplane was donated for we Finns to fight the Reds back then."

Niko nods. "I wonder how such a vessel would fare in a snowstorm," he says. "I can't imagine it would do much good in reconnaissance during winter."

Vesa keeps looking at the photograph, leaning foward on his elbow to see it better while Luukas and Niko talk. His brows go up a bit as Luukas talks about what one might see from that height.

Luukas shivers by reflex, "I dunno. I've never been in one in the air. When I was little, though, he let me sit in the seat once when mother took us down to visit him in Vaasa." A deep breath gets drawn in, "Seemed like it'd be cold, that's for certain. The pilot was all bundled up with a leather cap with goggles and a scarf."

Niko shakes his head. "I can't imagine it," Niko mutters. "I think even if given the opportunity, I'd rather stay here on the ground. It's dangerous enough slipping on ice. I can't imagine a fall from a thousand feet."

"I think it would be neat," Vesa comments, still looking at the photo. He turns back around, giving a restless exhale and looking around the cabin. "Falling a thousand feet would be better than sitting around in here, anyway."

Luukas manages a chuckle, "The idea would be not to fall out, Vesa." with a grin over to him. More contemplative, his voice comments, "He'd have been called up as a chaplin now, with the Russians invading. And my second brother too…" adding, "He's eighteen now." murmured to himself as if family memories are faded and distant with the current life. A tiny nod given again, though what it's referencing isn't particularly clear.

Niko shakes his head. "Eighteen. The perfect age for conscription," he says drily. "In a normal world, men would be looking to start families by then. Funny how warthis and the Civil Wardisrupted all of our lives. Even those not yet born by the Civil War's end were undoubtedly touched by it."

Vesa watches the two men talk but doesn't comment on it. He scratches his cheek, glancing at the photo again, and then at the window.

Luukas doesn't respond with words himself, a sadness seeming to come over his face as he lays his head back to stare up at the photograph posted above his bed. There's a single glance down to his nearly-useless left leg, wrapped in its bandaging to keep it in place, and then Luukas Svenonius simply closes his eyes to remain in silence.

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