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Short Story Entry - A Battle Diary


Kraahk
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Entry for THE MoST AWesom CRoWFALL CompitiToN in the HIsTori Of THe WurLD!*

 

Any revisions/hints from native speakers via PM are appreciated.

 

 


A   B A T T L E   D I A R Y


 

 

They chased us along the mountain side and pushed us back into this rift. A triangle, deeply driven into the grey rock, bordered by  insurmountable steep walls and after maybe one hundred feet atrophying into a wretched dead end. There is no way out.
If we want to survive the night, we will have to prepare our defenses. If there is any chance to survive at all. They already outnumber us by twenty to one. And still more of them arrive. Soulless beasts with their bodies allready mauled by the scourge. For whatever reason, they didn't advance after we entered the rift. But i know they lie in wait. I can feel the coldth of their shuffling shadows in the upcoming mist beyond the bead.
The bead. That's what i started to call this huge and sanguinely shimmering monolith that is located quite centrally in the wide entrance of this tapered cleft. As if it would be a bead, the front sight of a crossbow, shouting at us "Come on now! Aim! Shoot! Dogs, what are you waiting for? Don't you see that they are coming?!" Too bad that we run out of gargantuan bolts. We will have to come up with something else.

---

The monolith, it spoke to me. Well, not really. But it gave me an idea. It is a perfect anchor. We can build two battle lines, each of them curving slightly outwards, closing the gaps between the stone pillar and the mountain front on both sides. Sure, the curvature will offer our enemies a broader attack surface. But it will give us more time to react, when one of the lines will come under pressure. If our fighters have to move back, their rows will densify and consolidate. And vice versa in case of the inevitable losses. A straight line, on the other hand, would be pulled apart by any backward movement (or losses) and give our foes an easy opportunity to breake through our enfeebled ranks. Having two of such semi-circles, with the unassailable stone pillar between them, our reserve units will be able to quickly reinforce the side that currently suffers under the bigger squeeze. At least i hope so.

---

We did it. The battle lasted two nights. Many survived. More than we dared to hope. Less than we wished for. Not enough to survive another onslought. It is not over yet. It is nothing more but a lull in the fighting. A grace period. Nearly nobody is still in his right senses. The horrors we had to face, the lack of food and sleep and the approximating Hunger are emaciating. I am tired. I feel the urge to lay down and sleep. I know it would be the eternal slumber. And right now i would welcome it. If this would be about me alone, I would've followed it's call allready. If it would be possible at all. But it isn't.
The arc formation was a good idea. I will build on it. Since the creatures draw back, the eastern fields lie freely before us. The mist, likewise the evil within, is still lurking behind those plains. In the south, the churning sea eagerly awaits us -- wishing nothing more but to engulf us the very moment we dare approaching her. No option. We will have to entrench ourselves. There are still trees on the gaunt plains. Woeful remains of their godforsaken species. They should be sufficent to build a small palisade. They have to.

---

The walls stand. They won't win any beauty contest but they should serve their purpose well enough. No time for vanities. We built them in the form of our arched battle lines. Not so much for  tactical reasons, but mainly because nobody dared to touch the fallen creatures. Overcoming ourselves, we burned some of them to clear at least the most necessary path to the plains. The rest of them was still outlining the borders of our last battle field. They lied there and rot and evaporated foul steams that made people sick if they got in touch with it. During the last nights, most of these plagued beasts have been taken away by the likes of them or just disintegrated. We can't tell. And we don't want to know. It's bad enough anyway. But we are ready now.

---

It took nearly a week until they came again. They seem to have some kind of herd mentality. Obviously their breed don't like to attack in small groups. They came in masses. And they withered at our walls like dry leaves in a forest fire. It is not without pride when i say that the we performed magnificently. While we lost only three of our fighters, a carpet of dead bodies is rolled out before our feet. Now, for the first time in many weeks, the men dare to hope.

---

The calls have ceased. As well as the screams in the night. The physical battle is over. The inner fight begins. Exhaustion. Hope? Desolateness. They and some of their siblings meet in celebration of their very own family festival, vying for my attention. Brother Dejection wins. The certainty to have done everything. The certainty to have won this fight. And the certainty that this war is still far from done. A different kind of weariness is creeping down my spine.

In these moments, in the silence after a battle, while my body rests and my eyes wander around, I ask myself why we are prone to do what we usually do after a battle.  The men are hosting their little garrison fete, heady with victory. Triumphantly they reel and stagger over the fields of apparent success. As if they gained anything else but a temporary respite. But they didnt. And it won't be anything else ever again.
I can't blame them, though. They are fili's, first livers, blindly running around in what they believe is their own world. They simply don't know any better. Following their religion, they even believe that everything that happens is part of a bigger plan of the gods. How damn right they are. Only that they don't realize that this plan is to prey this world and to ursurp their souls. That's what i am here for. And to find the heroes amongst them - for later use. I won't bother them with this inconvenient truth. What would it be good for. In a wierd way it is kind of nice to see them having fun. It touches some of my nearly lost memories. Foremost the memory of differences. Like the difference between beeing living and dying and being happy or sad about it. It's all the same now. Who cares.

Tonight they will sleep well. Tomorrow they will wake up refreshed and think that mother world is fine. But she isn't. She is lost. And so are we.
Then i will convince them, again, to do what has to be done to survive. Like every day. Until this world ends and i will be recalled from this particular mess. Perhaps i'll see some of them again. On the other side. Perhaps then they'll understand. Perhaps.

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Yeeeay, you did it! Despite your previous statement! Thanks :3

I like the original german on better, though :P

Let me sing you a song / Of a world that just vanished / Of a story that ended to soon
Let me bring you a cup / Make a toast to the living / And a toast to the legends we share

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