• Published 10th May 2019
  • 201 Views, 48 Comments

Homecoming - Antiquarian

The Great War sent thousands into battle. Rarity stayed, and she can't help but feel guilty. Now Applejack has a favor to ask: help a stallion from her unit re-adjust to civilian life. Rarity intends to do just that, and maybe square the debt.

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Have you ever had that experience where you only come to realize the gravitas of the decision you’ve made once it’s much too late to change your mind? Where you have that horrifying moment of dawning comprehension and finally appreciate, ‘You know, I thought I knew what I was doing, but I really didn’t!’

I recall one incident a year or two before the Great War wherein Rainbow Dash and Applejack invited me to go on a Summer backpacking trip with them to Zenith Heights. For their part, it was simply another step in their ongoing efforts to push me out of my comfort zone and become more comfortable ‘roughing it.’ For my part, it was an opportunity to see the legendary Zenith Heights for myself and hopefully be inspired for a new line of dresses (my Fall line proved to be stellar that year, for the record). Our sisters wanted to come along, of course, but we elected not to bring them because, unlike our regular camping spots, Zenith Heights is deep in timberwolf country.

Now, they told me about the timberwolves up front. They said, “Rarity, you know that’s timberwolf country, right?”

Well, yes, darlings. I am aware. I trust we shall be packing appropriate defensive measures.

When the others heard about our planned trip, they asked the same question.

“Rarity, you know that’s timberwolf country, right?”

Certainly. Rest assured we are taking adequate precautions.

Soon the word spread to the town.

“Rarity, you know that’s timberwolf country, right?”

I am quite aware, and it’s not as though we haven’t faced down horrid monsters before; and those were generally without time to prepare. We shall be fine.

When we’d buy supplies, the outfitters would ask.

“Rarity, you know that’s timberwolf country, right?”

By this point I had become rather irritated with the repeated questioning. After all, I am an intellectually capable and reasonably fit mare with some martial ability and a longer-than-average list of run-ins with monsters. I was certain we would be quite safe.

It wasn’t until we’d packed our way into the mountains, set up camp, bedded down for the night, and I had gotten up to use the little filly’s room (by which I mean crouched over an undignified hole in the ground out in the open like some animal) that I finally realized, “Rarity, we’re in timberwolf country.”

Nothing untoward happened, and, as I said, my Fall line was smashing that year (not to mention the excursion being enjoyable overall), but it was still a sobering insight. Until then, I hadn’t realized how easy it was to think oneself to be wholly prepared, only to discover in the moment that the magnitude of the situation hadn’t truly sunk in.

Why do I bring this up? Well, because as Applejack and I wait down at the train station for Mr. Iron Shod to arrive, I can’t quite shake the sensation that I am once more crouched over that blasted hole on Zenith.

Fortunately, I am quite adept at hiding my worries, and give no outward sign of tension. Applejack, on the other hoof, is pacing and muttering like a madpony.

“Applejack, darling, are you trying to wear a groove in the platform?” I chide with a smile. “With all that pacing, one might mistake you for Twilight.”

It’s an instinctive joke, but my grin turns sour as soon as it leaves my mouth. Twilight certainly can’t pace anymore, which is more bitter a pill to swallow than one might think. Imagine this: from the time you were a filly, your primary physical outlet to relieve stress has been to pace… and now you are invalid. Watching Twilight unable to burn stress in her preferred manner those first few years was unexpectedly painful.

Applejack gives me a dry smirk and I wince, expecting a rebuke. “Well, Ah guess somepony’s gotta pick up the slack now that she can’t no more.”

Ah. So not a rebuke, but a Marine’s dark humor. I suppose she knows I didn’t mean anything by it. Or perhaps to her it’s no different than calling Dash ‘Tripod.’ At least she stops pacing.

Sighing, Applejack turns to look down the tracks. “It’s a heck of a thing yer doin’, Rares,” she says. “Ah just hope his uncouth behavior don’t drive ya batty.”

I snort. “Oh please, Applejack. If I’ve endured you and Rainbow Dash and a host of difficult customers all these years, I think I can manage one rough stallion.”

She opens her mouth as though to contradict me, then clamps her jaw shut and grunts noncommittally. I try not to take offense. The fact that my own nerves are playing up helps.

By some unspoken agreement we limit ourselves to smalltalk after that. We maintain that tacitly enforced ban on serious conversation even when the distant whistle of the train announces the coming of my new project. Hopefully Applejack doesn’t see the emerging tremor in my hooves.

I’d like to tell you what we talked about until the train pulled in but, honestly, I haven’t the foggiest idea. We could have fallen silent for all I remember. All I recall is the train pulling into the station and disgorging its passengers. I scan the faces for a time, looking for Iron Shod, until I remember that I don’t know what he looks like.

That question is soon answered for me when Applejack perks up and barks, “Yo! Shoddy!” Commuters cast her censorious glances for her outburst, but she ignores them, trotting down the platform towards the back of the train. “Over here, devil dog!”

Her pace forces me to cut in behind her to avoid getting swallowed in the crowd. At first, I can’t tell who she’s addressing, but once I get a clear line of sight through the press of bodies, I spot a likely candidate.

He’s an earth pony. Grey, scruffy, slightly bigger than Applejack, with a crew-cut blonde mane, short tail, blue eyes, and battered features. He wears a green field jacket even more tattered than Applejack’s ‘Lucky,’ and looks to be carrying all his worldly possessions in two worn duffel bags that appear ready to burst at the seams.

It gives me pause to realize that he probably is carrying all his worldly possessions in those duffel bags.

He wears a sort of bemused smile on his face that brightens into a full grin when he finally catches site of Applejack. “Gunny!” he greets her, hastening forward while dragging his belongings behind him. “Wait one, I’ll come ta you.” His accent is a drawl similar Applejack’s, though much fainter.

Applejack doesn’t bother waiting and the two meet in the middle with a fierce hug involving a considerable amount of hearty backslapping. I’d probably get a bruise if Applejack ever greeted me like that. They pull back, laughing, and Applejack ruffles his short mane. “Criminy, Shoddy, it’s great ta see ya again.”

“Good ta see you too, boss. I’ll tell ya, it ain’t been the same without you around ta chew my stupid ass out.” I wince at the rather low-brow reference to donkeys and thank the heavens that Cranky isn’t in earshot. “Still, ya can’t seem to help takin’ care of yer dumb grunts from afar, else you wouldn’ta gotten me this here job. Mighty kind o’ ya, Gunny.”

She slugs him in the foreleg. “You know Momma AJ’s gonna take care o’ her boys. Didn’t Ah teach ya that?”

“Ya sure did, Gunny,” he smiles.

Whenever Applejack is blessed with foals, I have no doubt she’ll be an outstanding mother.

“Speaking o’ teaching ya,” says Applejack, turning her attention to me. “This here’s yer new boss. Say hi to my good friend, Rarity.”

Despite his scruffy appearance, Shoddy seems to keep himself clean, or at least he cleaned himself up before the train ride. He trots up and politely holds his hoof out for shaking, his smile broad as he makes eye contact with me. All of these are promising signs. “How d’ya do, Miss Rarity,” he says as he takes my hoof. “It’s a right pleasure ta meet you.”

His grip is a little too tight, but we’ll work on that. Perhaps he’s just nervous. “The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Iron Shod. Applejack speaks very highly of you.”

Chuckling, he replies, “Oh, you can call me ‘Shoddy,’ Miss Rarity. Everypony else does.” Glancing at Applejack, he adds, “If Gunnery Sergeant Honesty here had much nice ta say about me, she’s breakin’ with her Element.” Applejack rolls her eyes.

“Oh, not at all, Shoddy,” I insist. “She told me you were one of the finest Marines she ever had the pleasure of serving with.”

Rather than being moved by the complement, Shoddy becomes uncomfortable, rubbing the back of his neck with one hoof and avoiding eye contact. “Yeah, well, I guess I was good at one thing.”

An awkward silence follows. Clearing my throat, I change the subject. “Why don’t we head into town and I’ll show you the ‘lay of the land’ as Applejack says.”

He nods smartly and almost salutes before he remembers himself. “Yes, ma’am.”

Applejack tries to take one of his bags, but he flatly refuses, citing that he “don’t wanna be a bother.” With that, we head take the road for Ponyville proper. On the way I point out some of the features of the town: preferred shops, favored restaurants, and pleasant areas to relax.

Shoddy takes in his new surroundings… I’d say eagerly, and that would be an accurate statement, but there’s an undercurrent of something else in his awareness that I can’t quite put my hoof on.

Maybe I’m just reading too much into it. Stranger things have happened.

As we pass the town hall, Shoddy stops and stares at the structure for a moment, seeming to mull something over. His face brightens with realization after a moment. “Aha! That’s what it reminds me of! Say, Gunny, don’t this place look like that observatory in that little town northwest Viennhoof? What was it called… Griffzing? Somethin’ like that?” He chuckles and turns to me. “Kinda a small town, but I remember the tower on account o’ it’s weird shape. Plus we shot the place to Tartarus and it lit up like a bucking Hearthswarmin’ Tree on account o’ the gunpowder the Buzzards had inside. Pitched one bird clear across the road and landed splat in front o’ me. Had a heckuva time cleanin’ my coat out after that.” He shakes his head, still smiling. “Boy, that was a crazy day. Anyway, sorry for the delay. Where to next, boss?”

He says it so blithely that I just end up staring at him in shock, unable to form a coherent response. The other girls have talked some about the war, but usually in a more private place and often after a few hard ciders or the like. They don’t just drop some graphic story out on a busy street with no leadup because they saw a building.

Applejack catches my eye and gives me a long look as though to say ‘Ah told’ja so,’ before clearing her throat. “Just a few more blocks left o’ here and we’ll be at the shop. You’ll even get a decent view o’ Twilight’s castle from there.”

“That’s swell. Shall we?”

Still in shock, it takes me longer than it should to realize that he’s waiting politely for me. “Er, quite,” I say, regaining some measure of composure. “This way.”

Mercifully, we manage to make it to the Quill and Sofa without Shoddy making some other graphic remark about war, though he does make several disparaging remarks about the Army soldiers we pass, a rather loud question about why a stallion would wear perfume directly after passing a Canterlot noble, and, after seeing the Castle of Friendship, something about architecture and the dangers of ‘Good Idea Fairies’. Whatever that means. The last one made Applejack snort with laughter, but that’s hardly a clue as to the quality of the joke; the mare’s taste in humor is not exactly refined.

Whatever the case, by the time we reach our destination I have a pretty clear picture of the things we’ll need to work on for customer service. There’s no trouble with being a largely filterless chatterbox while off the clock, but a certain degree of tact is required for steady employment with most client-facing professions.

The Quill and Sofa is closed today by design so that I’ll have time to acquaint Shoddy with his duties before putting him to work.

“Wow. That mare is wearing so much eye shadow she looks like she’s got two black eyes. I just about asked her if she needed me to clobber some prick of a stallion for her. That or see where the underground fights are.”

I mentally tack an extra three days onto the interpersonal skills training regimen while I pull out my keys. Applejack chuckles and leans against the door frame next to me. “See what Ah mean?” she says softly.

Her ‘I told you so’ tone isn’t exactly welcome. “What is it you military types say?” I ask curtly. “I’m working the problem.”

The farmer smiles. “Well, Ah’m proud o’ ya for—”

“Applejack,” interrupts a new voice. We turn to see Nurse Redheart standing nearby, harnessed to a supply cart for the hospital.

“Well howdy, Red,” says Applejack, tilting her hat back to see the mare better. “Ah see the hip must be better if’n they’re lettin’ ya make the supply runs yerself.”

Redheart flexes a scarred foreleg. “Physical therapy helps.”

“Uh huh. And bein’ married to a stallion who knows how ta massage the joints probably don’t hurt either, does it,” says Applejack with a wink.

“True enough,” smiles the nurse. She glances at Shoddy and I with one eye while the other remains immobile. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” her gaze flicks back to Applejack, “but I wanted to tell you we had a cancellation. We can actually get you in this afternoon.”

Applejack blinks in surprise, glancing nervously in my direction for some reason. “Oh! Well that’s great! What time?”

“Now. One of the orderlies called your house, but Arinze said you’d be here. Since I had to make a supply run anyway, I thought I’d swing by and grab you.” She winks with her good eye. “Sorry for the short notice, but I figured it beat waiting another few days.”

I glance at Applejack, raising one eyebrow. I haven’t heard anything about this, and after certain events I’m rather… invested in knowing why one of my closest friends will be heading to the hospital, even for a scheduled appointment.

Applejack licks her lips, her face anxious. “Uh… well…”

How best to ask, however? She plainly does not want to speak about it, and tact must be maintained out of respect—

“Hospital?” cuts in Shoddy. “You ain’t sick, are ya, boss?”

—or I could just let Shoddy brazenly go where I hesitate to wander.

“Well,” says Applejack, looking bashful, “The thing is, it’s well, Ah…” she perks up with inspiration. “Mare problems!” she blurts out, probably louder than strictly necessary. “Hehe. Yeah, that’s it. Mare stuff. But if’n ya really wanna know—”

“I don’t,” says Shoddy quickly. “Have fun, Gunny. Miss Rarity and I got work to do.”

Applejack gives a triumphant smirk. I say nothing, but mentally note that she won’t be escaping me that easily. Judging by the fact that she gulps when she meets my gaze, I think she knows that we’ll be having a serious mare-to-mare chat later. In the present, however, all she says is, “Ya’ll gonna be okay if Ah go?”

Much as I would love to have Applejack’s help, I’m not going to keep her from an obviously important doctor’s appointment, whatever it is. “We’ll manage without you, darling.”

After bidding us farewell and admonishing Shoddy to behave, Applejack and Redheart depart, leaving me alone with my new employee. I unlock the door and push into the shop, ready to give a little prepared introduction to the establishment before Shoddy cuts me off with an abrupt question. “Am I goin’ crazy, or was one o’ that mare’s eyes not moving?”

I suppose that’s a fair question. “You were not imagining things,” I reply. “Nurse Redheart has a glass eye. She was a combat medic during the war. While treating an injured stallion the blood bottle she was holding was hit by a stray bullet, sending shards of glass into her eye.” Even telling the story makes me shudder. “She finished treating the soldier and got him back to friendly lines before having her own wound seen to. I understand she earned the Distinguished Service Medal.”

Shoddy shakes his head. “Shoulda been the Star of Valor. Soldiering on through glass in the eye?” He shudders. “I don’t mind tellin’ ya, getting my eyes jacked up is one o’ my recurring fears.”

For some reason the fact that an eye injury gives him the chills makes me feel a little bit more comfortable about this entire affair. I suppose it’s reassuring to know that even hardened veterans have some things which make them squeamish.

I’m about to begin my introduction to the shop when he asks, “What about her leg?”

Hard to fault him for being curious about the injuries of a fellow veteran. “I’m not sure of the story there. Only that she received a Wound Badge for it. Now, if you’ll turn your attention to the inventory,” I continue before he can get a word in edgewise, “I’m not sure how much Applejack told you in her letter, but the situation is as follows…”

I fill him in on the story behind the Quill and Sofa and what the work will look like going forward. He pays excellent attention, to the point that I have the eerie sense of what it must feel like to be an officer… right up until I mention Davenport’s death. Then he gets off-track asking about the widow, what unit the deceased was with, what rotten luck it was that he got killed so close to the end of the war, and so forth. When I point out how far afield we’ve gone, he’s immediately apologetic and goes back to paying very close attention.

I’ve just started walking him through some of the cataloguing and furniture maintenance in the back when Sweetie Belle walks in, resplendent in JROTC uniform. “Hey, sis,” she says, waving jauntily to me before trotting up to Shoddy. “You must be Iron Shod. Rarity told me you’d be coming by today. My name’s Sweetie Belle.”

“Pleasure ta meet you, Miss,” says Shoddy, giving her hoof a hearty shake that makes me fear for Sweetie’s shoulder. “And like I told yer sister, ya can just call this old devil dog ‘Shoddy’.”

“Well, good to meet you, Shoddy. I know Rarity’s been excited to have you come onboard. She’s been talking about it for days.”

Shoddy blushes at that. I just smile. Sweetie might be better at sweet-talking ponies than me.

…which now that I think about it makes a lot of sense given her name…

“I’m a little surprised to see you, Sweetie,” I say. “I thought you were in class all day.”

Sweetie shakes her head. “The speaker they had lined up today came down with the feather flu, so Master Sergeant Thrasher let us go early.” She shrugs. “He usually isn’t that lenient, but I’m not complaining. Next week looks like it’ll be heavier, so maybe he just figures he’ll get us then.”

Shoddy chuckles. “Only a fool complains when the sergeant decides to ease up.” His eyes narrow and he gives Sweetie a searching look. “You goin’ off ta OCS soon?” Sweetie nods. “Uh huh. And what sort o’ officer you fixin’ ta be?”

Sweetie smiles. “Don’t worry, Corporal. I’ll be the kind of officer who listens to her senior enlisted ponies, because they know what they’re doing and do all the hard work for green second lieutenants anyway.”

The retired Marine breaks into a broad smile and he touches a hoof to his brow. “Now that’s an officer worth saluting! Glad ta see you got a brain between those ears. Nothing’s more dangerous than a fresh young officer with a good idea he didn’t run by his sergeants first.”

His statement gets a musical chortle out of Sweetie. “Corporal, five of my sister’s best friends, all of whom might as well be family, are military, and all of them but Dash are senior NCOs. I’m not dumb enough to become a Cake Eater with them around.”

Her answer sends Shoddy into a fit of laughter and leaves me thoroughly mystified. Before I can ask what ‘Cake Eaters’ are and why they are to be deplored, the Marine says, “Dumbest Cake Eater we ever had was this little snot from Manehatten. Most Manehattenites I know are tough, loyal, and devious fighters, but this pissant couldn’ta found his dock with both forehooves and a map. So naturally he thought he was Celestia’s personal gift to the Marine Corps. If he had been a gift I woulda returned him, I can tell ya that!. Why I thought Gunny was gonna blow as gasket the day he…”

The war stories last for some time after that. It doesn’t help that Sweetie is so interested in them, or that I find myself fascinated in spite of the delay. If it weren’t for the fact that we’re ‘on the clock,’ so to speak, I would have happily listened to him for the insights into my friends’ six years of bloodshed.

Unfortunately, we are on the clock, so I have to rein him in, which is easier said than done. It takes half an hour to really get him out of the stories and focused on the next task, mostly because each new topic or sight seems to trigger a different story. Each time I point this out, he bashfully apologizes and gets back to work, seeming more irritated with himself each time it happens. For my part, my irritation actually lessens, as it quickly becomes clear that he’s genuinely unaware of his distraction when it’s happening.

Sweetie, ever quick to pick up on such things, manages to tactfully use the conversations to steer him back to work more than once. Between the two of us, we manage to give him the basics of what’s required at the store. One of the first tasks that needs to be done is repairing merchandise that was returned or traded in so that it can be resold. Conveniently, there’s a couch in need of basic repairs up on the work bench right now. Once he’s found something of a groove, I leave him working on the couch while I head into the office with Sweetie, ostensibly to review the books. In actuality, we need to compare notes.

“The two of you hit it off rather well,” I remark. “What’s your initial impression of him?”

“He seems like a nice guy,” says Sweetie. “Hard worker; clearly wants to do a good job and pay attention but…” she nibbles he lip, “… his mind is elsewhere. He has a hard time keeping himself in the moment.”

“That was my thinking,” I agree. “He doesn’t appear aware of his distractions, either, which is good in the sense that he’s not deliberately slacking off, but bad in that it will require an adjustment of his awareness.”

Nodding, Sweetie adds, “No matter the branch, soldiers are trained to be present in the moment. Problem is, he seems to be present in a different moment. The trick will be to get him to be present in this one.”

I hadn’t considered it in quite those terms, but it seems quite reasonable. The other girls have certainly seemed a lot more focused since coming home. Shoddy must have the same skill; he just needs to learn to apply it in his civilian life. “Well, it sounds like it will simply be a matter of mental exercises to maintain organization and attentiveness to the present. Between that and some lessons on tact, I don’t see this being too complicated.”

Sweetie cocks an eyebrow. “When has life ever been that easy?”

“Let me enjoy my delusion for a moment, darling.”

She chuckles. “Well, while you’re enjoying your delusion, I need to go meet Applebloom and Scootaloo for a study session. I wasn’t kidding when I said Thrasher’s gonna hit us hard to make up for letting us go early today.”

I give her a quick peck on the cheek. “Thanks for dropping by, my dear. I appreciate the help.”

Sweetie departs while I head to the back room. “Well, Shoddy, how are things coming in…?” I trail off as I see that Shoddy is still hard at work on the couch…

… which he has now shifted from the bench onto the floor.

“Erm, Shoddy,” I say delicately. Shoddy’s head pops up from behind the sofa. “Why, pray tell, have you seen fit to shift the couch off the bench, where it was conveniently situated at a comfortable height for work, and onto the floor, where you have to lie down and strain to get into the right position to work?”

Shoddy blinks, not seeming to understand the question. Craning his neck around, he looks at the storage room’s exterior doors, large loading-dock-style fixtures which also happen to provide the room’s only natural illumination through high-set windows. He points to those windows, then turns back to me and says, “To be out of view.”

I wait for him to explain why that’s relevant. He doesn’t. “And that’s important because…?”

Once more, he blinks, this time looking at me as though I’ve grown a second head. “Snipers,” comes the matter-of-fact reply.

A chill settles on my spine. Oh, sweet Celestia, does he really think there are snipers? What the hay am I supposed to do if—

“Um, Shoddy,” I say gently, “You do know there are no snipers in Ponyville, right?”

Shoddy snorts. “Of course I do, Miss Rarity. I’m not crazy.” With that, he goes back to working on the couch.

“I… I see,” I reply, biting my lip. “Well… carry on then.”

I leave the room at a brisk trot, heading for the back office. Opening up the safe, I pull out a bottle of Red Tail Whiskey and pour myself a dram. Being that we picked Shoddy up from the train station in the mid-afternoon, it’s now technically after ‘Miller Time,’ and so not inappropriate to drink. Even if it had been earlier, though, I’m not certain I would much care. I’m not typically one to need a little libation to steady my nerves, but that

… I’m not sure what that was. He knows there are no snipers, he knows he’s safe, so why—?

An inner voice interrupts my thoughts, this nagging little thing that takes root in my head, giving words to the fear that has been growing since the train station. It speaks insistently; gloatingly. It says to me, “Rarity, we’re in timberwolf country.”


Of course, Miss Rarity. I’m not crazy.

Bloody Tartarus.

“Yes, Rarity” I say aloud as I sip my whisky. “We’re in timberwolf country indeed.”

Author's Note:

Before getting into the chapterly lore bit at the bottom, a word on the two real-world stories which were almost verbatim applied to this chapter.

The funny one is that the "Rarity, we're in timberwolf country" is pretty directly from an incident in my own life three years ago. Replace the ponies with myself and two old friends, Zenith with the great American backwoods, and timberwolves with bears, and you've got pretty much the same story. "Hey, you know that's bear country, right?" was heard ad nauseum for a month leading up to the trip. Given that I'd backpacked with bears before, I wasn't worried. But this was bear country, with a season for extra bears in bear country. That fact sank in when I was crouched over the privy (hole) in the middle of the night in freezing rain, when I very distinctly heard an inner voice say, "Hey, we're in bear country."

The serious one is that the story about the couch and the snipers is also from my life. At the time I was a manager at a charity warehouse. One of our new volunteers was a certain couch-surfing Army veteran who unwittingly inspired a certain pony Marine (don't tell him I changed branches on him). The guy was, like Shoddy, super pleasant, a very hard worker, a genuinely moral man... and he had a tendency to get distracted and say things he probably shouldn't say in public.

When I first met him, I never would have guessed he was having a hard time after the Global War on Terror, but the more I interacted with him the more I noticed things. He never had his back to doors and windows. He perpetually checked his surroundings. He tended to move near cover. That sort of thing. Talking to him, I found out he'd been ambushed a lot.

The conversation between Shoddy and Rarity about the couch is almost word-for-word how the real conversation happened with this Army veteran and the warehouse manager. I saw a lot of sobering things in that job (I worked with people in pretty abject poverty, after all), but I don't think anything really compared to that moment. If there were any one thing that inspired Homecoming, it was that.


Given the predatory nature of the species, it is hardly surprising that griffon martial tradition has always included a strong emphasis on ambush tactics. As the war dragged on and regular Dominion Army units were shattered, they compensated by shifting increasingly to guerrilla tactics.

While inflicting casualties on Allied units and disrupting supply lines were strategically important to these hit-and-run methods, the psychological damage was more debilitating still. The exhaustion and fear brought on by the constant threat of raids wore heavily on Allied soldiers and forced their commanders to expend additional time and resources on setting up defenses each time they made camp, even when they were well back from the front lines.

While the Dominion’s tactics were not enough to halt the Allied advance or break their morale, they doubtless added many brutal months to the war and inflicted great injury upon the soldiers who faced them.

From the abstract of Dr. Serene Spring’s “Restless Rest: A Treatise on the Psychological Damage of Ambush Tactics in the Great War”

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