319 - year taken. That's all the writing that ever adorned most of her photographs. This one was different. I recognized the face; it was a photo of General Rajiid-Paul Aratellier. A Vanaen-Huunden officer who led the defense of Carriik Point and went on to push the Szechi 3rd Army all the way back to the Caluran badlands. He was a national hero back then, heck they still teach his name in school.
I remember my grandma telling stories of him, his quiet ferocity. She was a war correspondent. "The air 'round him was always strung out, dying," she'd say, "He brought death to the battlefield when he sent out his armies, and he brought it into his quarters at the end of the day. He lived death. He was the nicest Huundi I ever met, but he terrified me." Her eyes glazed when she told the story, one delicate, wobbly hand holding the photograph and another clutching her beaded necklace. "I'm still not sure why I asked him to sign that photograph," she would always finish.
Grandma was young when she met him, and he died long before I was ever born. Without grandma's story, I would have thought him like any other boring history book war-hero. My morbid curiosity always wondered what he was like, but I hoped I'd never meet a soldier like him. I still feel an eerie glow when I look at the old photograph.
I put it away with the rest of grandma's pictures. Despite the unnerving figure's image, I'd hate to lose this little scrap of history.
Narrative from Alexa's POV