The last few nights have been exhausting for all of us, but progress has been good. Pressing our advantage will depend on keeping the troops sober although Kilburn isn’t the ideal environment for maintaining restraint. They spent most of their short lifetimes fighting or intoxicated (or both), and it’s hard to bear the tedium of a two or three thousand year afterlife unless you’re in a haze of drunk brawling.
But the fire in their eyes is stronger than I’ve seen for a long time. They’re remembering the soldiers they once were, and I’m beginning to wonder what I’ve started.
I sent the main force northwards up the old Roman road into Kilburn and Cricklewood, cutting right along the front line between the two warring cemeteries. It was designed to look like a conventional enough peacekeeping manoeuvre, and the cemeteries were expecting another enforced truce and demilitarized zone. The trouble is we’ve tried that so many times before but it always breaks down in the end. When the crack troops on our flanks started closing in (some hardened Parthian veterans I’d pulled out of the gutter last week) they realised my game plan, but by then it was too late.
We’ve set up temporary headquarters in one of the Irish alehouses on the High Road to the delight of the locals who toast us hour by hour. They’re mostly labourers who’d been hoping for a restful afterlife having sweated away their days building the old railways. Instead they’ve endured a century or more of warfare just because they happen to be about halfway between the warring factions. The least I can do for them is take the battle elsewhere, which will happen soon enough.
For the moment I’m cutting the troops some slack, although the noise of the celebrations is inevitably filtering through to the living world. The streets are deserted and the doors locked securely. It will be a night of disturbed dreams for the neighbourhood but that’s not my problem.