War Echoes

by Joseph Gleason

As I stand here in this green earth, it is 1st century AD and I stand here a free man awaiting my destruction or enslavement. My name is unimportant for I shall not be remembered. The sky is beautiful this day, it makes love with me with its soothing wind. How I shall miss it I stand now next to my fellow tribesmen, men full of pride and sadness for they too know it is all helpless.

On the other side of this mighty plain stand the Romans. Greed consumes them, as does to all powerful men. Where I stand I see their glittering metal and mighty blocks of legionaries. They carry the color of blood upon them as with pride.

Oh god of earth please help us prevail this day against those blood bearers that wish to take your lands looking only for glory and pillage. And even as I say this to myself I know the gods shall forsake us. A war cry erupts amongst one of our warriors and our war band follows, as do I for it shall give us courage for the coming bloodshed. And as I cry I reflect upon the nothingness and cruelty of life.

As the screams and cries intensify I clasp the wooden hilt of my sword and grasp the leather strap of my shield. I look to my left and right at my fanatical war brothers and smile, I smile at their courage and eagerness of death. I must confess I too share their bloodlust for I shall defend this great land, this land full of life, love and everlasting green. When I return to my senses I look upon the blood colored devils as they begin their march from were they reside, a reinforced hill. Their general must be a cocky one to willingly desert such an excellent defensive point.

And now as they approach us, we stand amongst the tall green trees our ancestors cared for with such love. Our warriors begin to smell the wickedness of the red ones, as they are but a few yards from us, this causes their wails to intensify to such degree that surely the gods must hear them now. I imagine their hearts have broken in their sorrow for us, for the sky sheds water upon the earth. Yes, the gods cryand at this our band of warriors dash suddenly at the red ones, my fellow warriors and I animate our thighs with great fury as our bodies are propelled onward by the madness the gods have gifted us. As I dash onward I feel my sweat mingle with the water of the sky, I smell the earth as it is dug out from its place by our bare feet.

As our warriors approach the red ones I propel my blade into the air and solidify my shield upon my arm, and as the moment of death is seconds away each warrior cries out his tribe of origin and his ancestral name as a farewell to the green of earth, to the love of our people, and the cruelty of humanity.

And as I propel my body for the last minute charge, I come upon an old memory in witch I see my home, my woman and my beautiful valley upon witch rests my tribe as it has for centuries. I would like to take this vision with me in my journey to the life-after if I were to fall in battle. In this last moment my vision blurs into redness and next I know I come upon reality and its returning cruelty as I crash upon a wall of red metal.

The blow was a hard one as the man behind me crashed upon me with such force that my body was propelled with double the force of impact. My wet and sweaty body came upon

Metal as it has never done so before. The roman upon which I crashed onto tumbled backwards from the force my body produced and as he did so his shield slipped from his grasp. And as I saw this there was but a second to react, I grasped my hilt tighter and clasped my shield and with one sluggish dash I swung my sword with such ferocity that I believed myself possessed by some berserk demon. The end result I never saw, but I could feel it as a great multitude of red liquid splashed all over my bare body. And as I opened my eyes what I saw was not describableit was inhuman. Everything was a blur, what I saw were streams of red dancing upon every visible place. I heard the wind being cut as steel was hurled with great force, the chaotic sound was so that I lost my hearing and only heard the world as if it were in a void. I heard cries of which no human should ever bear witness toghastly screams of death and panic. I felt an unbearable heat emanating from the bodies of hundreds of warriors. I felt the touch of a thousand elbows as the densely packed multitude tried to mutilate one another.

And as I saw this I weptyes I wept in the middle of battle. I wept for humanity and I pleaded for the gods to forgive us all for what we did blindly to each other. And as I prayed blindly to the gods I heard the whistling of steel, and as I opened my eyes a flashing blade of death swept my chest. As I fell, I welcomed the earthyeslet me return to the dust upon witch I would dwell for eternity as my ancestors dwelled now.

I lay on the cold mud, and with my last breath, I dug my hands deep upon the wet mud and hugged it as it were a welcome home hug my woman would give me, as I died a blinding flash of white enveloped me and I came to realize a God hugged me, just onehow strange yet I knew that at last I would find true freedom from the bonds of human ignorance. And I laughed, oh yes I laughed an echo produced by this Gaulish warrior that is only heard when a soul comes upon its greatest moment of true victory.

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