Luca Moretti says there is no glory in war, only fear, and he tried to not take any lives during battle when the time came to it. He was not a supporter of Mussolini; Luca supported the King.
He and his unit had been trained for mountain combat, but were regularly sent against tanks in open plains. After the King signed the Armistice with the Allies, the Germans Luca had fought with turned against them, eventually imprisoning him and his team in a POW camp. After the war, division of Italy was messy and divided, and Luca hardly knew the state of his government.
When he returned to his hometown of Teramo, he found his Alpini comrades preparing for a trek into the mountains of the Appennino Centrale. They explained they were going to track down deserters who had been attacking locals. Antonio Cannavaro, one of his oldest friends, explained that the deserters had 'gone rotten': "sono andanti marcio". Luca agreed to go with them.
Luca's father fought in the Great War, and when he got drunk would talk about the 'wild deserters' who would run into no-man's land, digging dens into the soil. They would emerge at night, scavenging what they could, and taking corpses down to consume.
The troupe headed into the mountains and found a cabin. In front of it was a woman fixing a thick wollen shirt. She had a bullet hole in her throat and had white eyes. She stood up and started walking towards the group. Antonio screamed and charged her down before the whole unit beat the woman until she stopped moving.
There was a sudden crack of a gunfire, everyone scattered except Alfredo, who had been shot through the skull. He collapsed after 5 minutes and didn't get back up. It was then that the group realised they would all die in the mountain.
Over the next few days they roamed the mountain, being picked off one-by-one. Eventually they found a cave, by which time only Luca, Antonio, and a younger man remained. The cave stank of their death. Antonio kissed Luca on the forehead and leapt from the cliff to his death. Luca headed into the cave without checking for the fate of the other man.
Luca headed into the smooth cave and slowly the cave changed, until eventually he stumbled upon the corpses of out dated military men. As he continued into the cave, the corpses became thicker, and he had to climb over them. They all abruptly opened their eyes to watch Luca climb over them, and they may have started to sing.
At the end of the cave he found the mud-caked deserter surrounded by blackened bandages and dead rats. The young deserter raised his rifle to shoot Luca, but was shot dead by a firing squad.
Luca left the cave and his home and his country and came to the Magnus Archives to give his statement.
Post-Statement Follow-Up Edit
Martin doesn't enjoy recording the statements as he finds them extremely draining and has continued to do them even after Jonathan returned. Melanie was asking about cases from wars which lead Martin to this statement.
In the middle of talking, Basira asks Martin to pass her a pen, revealing that she'd been sitting there for several hours without Martin noticing but wasn't listening to him. She was reading 'Introduction to Alchemy'. She explains that, although she's a hostage, she found the books around the archives fascinating.
Martin asks why she isn't trying to escape, to which she asks how his escape attempt is going. She also points out that there may actually be useful information in the library. Martin agrees with her.