"The first to fight!"
"The last to leave!"
"The first a-horse!"
"The last a-bed!"
"Dragoons! Dragoons! The King's Dragoons!"
—Regimental cheer of the Royal Dragoons
Damn me, your words match Wulfram's. The old man seems to think that soldiers must need be common murderers as well, should necessity require it. Perhaps the notion has escaped him, as it has clearly escaped you, that when we trade away our principles for expediency, we will eventually find ourselves in a position where we have neither.
You ask why I "chose" to do this or "chose" to do that, when in fact, choice does not enter into the matter at all. The Saints create us for a purpose. Each of us is a part in their great machine, and we have no choice but to do what we were made to do. This what drives us to our actions, our functions within workings which we have no concept of, to a purpose which we shall never know in this life or the next. Our purpose for existence is to fulfil our parts and await whatever is planned as our fate after.
We are sabres in the hands of infinity, Player Character, to move and act as we are bid. The fact that we sometimes have second thoughts in the obeying gives us the delusion that we have some ability to determine our fates, that we are born with a freedom to choose our actions: to be kind or cruel, good or evil. That is mankind's most glorious and beautiful dream, but it is a delusion nonetheless.
Elson: They aren't gods, that army out there.You're all afraid; well, I can't help that. What I can tell you is this: to keep a tight grip on that fear, to sit on it, listen to it when it seems to be speaking sense, but do not let it rule you. Every man fears; for a hero is not a man without fear, but a man who fears and fights on regardless. So keep fighting dear fellows! Keep fighting and let the enemy give in to their fear first, because they will be thinking the exact same thing as you. The only thing keeping them going forward is the hope that we will break before they do. Well, that hope will turn to ashes in their throats, for they know not who we are. (pause) And who are we?
Dragoons: Dragoons! Dragoons! The King's Dragoons!
Player Character (on his thoughts about the war): With all due respect, I believe this whole conflict to be pointless.
Lieutenant-Colonel Keane: Yes, I suppose so. There were other ways to fight this war, ways that would not have been so costly, but none of those ways could have brought the victory His Majesty wanted, the sort which only comes from beating the enemy in his own chosen field.
Player Character: Surely, sir, you could not want the Antari to win.
Keane: This war has become a beast, devouring lives, and cities, and treasure, and spewing out naught but corpses and charred ruin. What I want is for it to end, Player Character. And Saints help me, Player Character, I fear that I no longer care who ends it.
Do you remember Blogia, Captain? Do you remember the sound of the guns, the smoke, the stench of death and fear and suffering?Is it not very much like today? I was meant to die with the others at Blogia, you know. I certainly know. I see it every time I close my eyes, every time I hear a musket fire or smell the stink of powder. The Saints erred in letting me live, and now they come to rectify their mistake. Forgive me, Player Character. Not even the hope of martyrdom can compel me to move, so much am I ruled by my fear. Forgive me.
—Lieutenant-Colonel Keane, before the Battle of Kharangia.