In war many things that would otherwise be against the rules become permissible. However, there are some things that are considered against the rules, even during times of war.
- Extensive destruction or appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.
- Willfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of a fair and regular trial.
- Killing or wounding a combatant who has surrendered or is otherwise hors de combat.
- Launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
- Using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including by impeding relief supplies.
- Launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
- Using prohibited weapons.
- Using human shields.
- Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 into armed forces, or using them to participate actively in hostilities.
- Committing sexual violence, in particular rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution and enforced pregnancy.
- Collective punishments.
- Attacking or ill-treating a parlementaire or bearer of a flag of truce.
- Declaring that no quarter will be given.
No quarter shall be given to heretics. No quarter shall be given to those who support heretics. No quarter shall be given to their spouses. No quarter shall be given to their children. No quarter shall be given.
Atreus stopped moving to catch his breath, to have a drink of water and, chew on a piece of hard cheese. It was more than those other had, and he could see it in their faces. They had been on foot for two days now. They had to give up on the trucks after hitting the third land mine on the jungle roads. No one would be able to use those roads for a very long time. Or maybe they would. The fires might set off the land mines rendering the ground safe to walk upon again.
Off to the side, he heard the sound of another land mine going off. The army had known they would flee this way. Instead of leaving troops in their path, they had left the accursed land mines. His magic couldn’t protect himself or his men from the steel hearts of those triggers. Atreus didn’t even have time to check who had died this time, they had to keep moving. To stop for long would be losing ground to the fires. The fires had started three days ago, fueled by incendiary devices and napalm. They hadn’t gone out for those three days and nothing stopped them, not villages, not children. The air was choked with ash and smoke.
It might to nigh time, but it was still bright enough to see, even with the stars and moon blacked out. It was still at least bright enough to hike through the jungle. The fires didn’t move fast enough that he and his men had to run, but it was relentless. There was no time to sleep, there was no time to eat. The only water left was what they carried, all the streams had turned black with ash long ago. There were no animals left in the jungle, all those who could escape had already done so. Those that couldn’t Atreus had passed as they lay on the ground in exhaustion, waiting to be consumed by the flames.
“LISBETH, YOU ACCURSED PHANTOM COME OUT.”
“No need to shout, or be so rude Atreus. I’m right here.”
And she was, right by his side. Almost as if she had always been there right by his side. The phantom hadn’t changed, still a young girl. She was wearing a white nightgown, almost like she had been about to go to bed. He wondered if she was mocking him. It wouldn’t be surprising for such an infernal being. The most startling thing about her, the thing that made her look so out of place, the thing that marked her as something that shouldn’t exist. Was that she was clean. Not a speck of ash dirtied her nightgown. There were no marks of smoke on her skin. Her teeth were as white as if they had been recently brushed. And her blue eyes sparkled, not a hint of weariness in them.
“You did this,” Not a question, an accusation “stop it.”
“I had nothing to do with this. People simply got tired of your existence, and decided to burn you from the world.”
“Of course I did, but keep running. You should be able to keep ahead of the flames long enough for my prediction to hold true.”
“That you and your revenge would be dead in a week. You have a couple hours left, if you keep moving.”
“Save my men.”
“Why?” Begging, pleading.
“Because I have no interest in them, only in you.”
“Why would I join you, if you refuse to even help my men.”
“Because your men are dead, I’ll supply new ones, better ones. Ones who follow because they choose to, because they can think about more than their next fix. Your men are pathetic, not worth my time. But you are not. Because you want to watch their cites run with blood, because you want revenge. Because your only other choice is to burn, and go to a better place.”
“If I burn I will go to a better place?”
“Yes, you will go to a place with no innocents.”
“That’s very rude, you should start moving again. Or you’ll make me wrong.”
Lisbeth apparently decided the conversation over and started walking away from the fires. She didn’t appear to move fast, she chose every step delicately. But she still managed to move quickly. Somehow Atreus knew that by following her he wouldn’t encounter any land mines, so at least the ground would be safe. He also knew that he would be following her till he died. She hadn’t lied to him.