The Clar front had bowed and we now held their capital city of Clarmont. The king had escaped the bombing and attack and was somewhere to the northwest. The army was being reinforced by Rus and Nees combat soldiers. More were moving across the borders and kept coming despite our efforts to stop it.
With both countries sending troops into Clar, Genta had begun increasing the number of soldiers it was sending. Plus we were actually getting a lot of Clar volunteers that Han was creating new units with. The coastal patrols were going all the way to Rus and the Genta navy had a fleet just south of the border.
This was my second tour in Clar. The first had ended when I was wounded and I only had a couple of months left on this tour. I was a combat soldier and my first year had been on several forward combat bases. I was a senior sergeant now and had a platoon of Clar volunteers. The lieutenant was Clar but from the southern border area.
His family had been one of those that had crossed and given us a warning. All of the Clar in the battalion had one thing in common. They hated the Rus and Nees and despised the Clar still fighting us. We had to watch them around any Rus or Nees prisoners because they were likely to kill them.
Besides a Wild pistol on my right hip I carried a Rus carbine with four mage bands. We were flown north to Clarmont. The Clar battalion moved through the city to the few buildings on the far side. The lines were only ten kilometers away and this area still got artillery fire occasionally.
I led my platoon out that night and we headed towards the northwest. Almost fifteen kilometers out the lieutenant had us set up a ambush site on a trail. I was to the rear but like from the first moment with the Clar I watched them all. The jungle around us was silent except for a few night birds.
I moved to the left flank checking on the two men that were our security. They were awake and watching but when I started to turn I saw the four enemy soldiers. They were slipping closer through the jungle behind us. I brought my rifle up and was ready to fire when they stopped and one looked around.
He looked right at me and slowly lifted his hands, "I am not armed."
The other three spun and my two security men turned. When one of the enemy brought his rifle up and I shifted and fired. He went down and the one that spoke dove for the ground. I turned as automatic fire from my security erupted. The two enemy still on their feet went down and I moved forward, "hold your fire!"
Two of the soldiers were dead and one wounded. The fourth was unhurt and had his hands behind his head. I pulled him up and searched him and he did not have a weapon. I spun him around and saw the collar tabs of a Clar general. They looked very new and he was very young for the rank, maybe eighteen.
He licked his lips, "please take me to a prison camp."
I blinked and looked at my men when they came closer, "why?"
He shifted, "the king is crazy and the Rus and Nees want the country. I did not want to be a soldier."
One of my corporals appeared and snorted, "your family is related to the king..."
The Clar general nodded, "yes and that is a dumb way to make a general."
I glanced at the lieutenant when he reached us and looked at the general, "so you were out here hoping to find us and surrender?"
He nodded, "I was going to slip away. I told my men I was going to scout your army."
I looked at him carefully, "you can give us details of where your unit is and the Rus and Nees?"
He nodded and hesitated, "my family is close. Can you send a scout or someone to bring them? I will tell you everything I know."
The lieutenant pulled my shoulder and I turned. He leaned close, "take a couple of men and do it. We will take him back to Clarmont and our battalion."
I glanced at the general before I nodded, "you be careful."
I gestured to the general, "tell me where they are."
Five minutes and I was leading the two men that had been security. They followed as I led just like I had trained them. The twenty kilometers took almost four hours to travel and then we were looking at a small village. There had been a few patrols and we could see a lot of military tents on the other side of the village.
I had the men wait as I slipped out and crossed the fields to the edge of the village. The large hut on the left edge was the one I needed. First I listened and then peeked before I moved to the door. Someone had blocked it and I moved to the back and checked the only window. I pulled the screen out and looked at the bed before slowly and silently slipping in the window.
Beside an older woman there were three children in the bed. I knelt and reached out to cover the woman's mouth and her eyes snapped open. I bent, "I was sent to bring you south."
She looked at me for a moment before she nodded. I uncovered her mouth and she looked at the children before she sat up, "Kia is safe?"
I nodded, "if he is the young general yes."
She nodded and turned to wake the children. I stood and moved to look out the door. I frowned when I saw several more children and turned. The woman was dressed and helping the smaller children. The ones in the other room were four boys between eight and fifteen. In the second bedroom were two teenage girls.
It was not long before they had packs and looked at me. I shook my head, "be very quiet."
I pulled a cabinet away from the front door and opened it and looked out. I gestured as I pushed the door all the way open and stepped out. They followed as I turned towards the fields and started back to where I had left my men. When we reached the edge of the trees one hissed, "damn sergeant, did you have to bring the whole village?"
I grinned, "you would think so. Take point and Charles can bring up the rear."
Three hours and I was carrying one of the youngest and another was on my shoulders. We took breaks for the children to rest and gave our water to them. The sun was up and the jungle was awake and loud with the noise of birds. When it went quiet I stopped and knelt and set the two children on the ground.
I touched my lips and gestured and everyone laid down. I lifted my rifle and searched around us and finally saw the enemy patrol. They actually passed ten meters in front of us and I counted fifty men. We waited several minutes after they had gone before I stood. It took another six hours before we stepped out of the jungle and into the fields around Clarmont.
We crossed the first to where our defensive positions were. The men stared in amazement as I led the family through and nodded to the lieutenant that came to check us in. When I asked about my lieutenant coming back he nodded, "he had some prisoner."
I led the family to the battalion headquarters and gestured to the sergeant major. He grinned and nodded and turned to another sergeant. He whispered and then walked to me, "we were hoping you would find and bring them out. Just from the little we have gotten he is extremely valuable."
I glanced back, "where do you want me to take them?"
He pointed, "in the dining area. Feed them and we will bring the general."
I left and took them around and to the battalion dining area. They ate as if starved and when the general came in it was with a couple of our generals and several other senior officers. He almost ran to the older woman that was his mother. His brothers and sisters crowded around and they were all talking at once.
He looked at me and I smiled and turned and started for the door. He cleared his throat, "sergeant?"
I stopped and turned and he straightened, "you could have killed me. You could have ignored it when I asked to send someone."
He looked at his family and then back at me, "I give to you my oldest sister Rianne."
I looked at the two teenage girls and one smiled, "you do not..."
One of the generals cleared his throat and I glanced at him. He nodded and I looked at the girl and then nodded, "thank you."
.... There is more of this story ...