The wind blew softly creating the music for the dancing stalks of grass. Each blade swayed with another in perfect harmony to the rhythm set by the cool air. The birds added their voices to the beat set by the wind and the lone meadow was at peace. Everything was in its natural state unhindered by any disturbance.
Suddenly the wind stopped playing and the birds stopped singing. The green stalks of grass bowed to their partners once more then stopped their waltz. The meadows everlasting party had come to a halt.
In the distance a slow constant beat could be heard. It was almost like thunder, but it came not from the sky. Instead, it came from the North. It came from the same direction the wind blew.
Almost like a thumping of a drum?the constant beat continued becoming clearer with each passing moment. Thump. Thump. Thump. Then the beat changed from its staccato rhythm and became many beats that were all in time with each other. It was a marching of many feet trampling the once dancing grass.
March. March. March. Constant was the sound that now filled the meadow growing louder and louder until it was a roar that shook the steady earth.
March. March. March. The sound continued and the birds sunk down into their nests in an effort to escape the coming storm.
"When this battle is over, I'm going home," A lonely tree overheard the soft voice of a marching soldier say as he passed. "Please Gods let me live to go home."
The ancient tree's branches reached out and caressed the young soldier's shoulder offering the support he asked for. This gentle movement, which could be blamed on the wind, provided the young man with some comfort for reasons beyond his understanding.
The marching continued and many feet came to pass over the once dancing grass leaving some blades without partners for a long time to come. Each soldier marched on with their armor resting heavily on their shoulders. Their guns of war were held tightly in their grasp, each man and woman afraid of what would happen if they released their solid holds.
The marching soldiers took comfort in the weight of the weapon that weighed down their arms. It was this weapon, they knew, that would be their savior when they met with their enemy.
At the head of the brigade a woman marched. Her ice blue eyes were scanning the open meadow looking for any sign of disorder that was not caused by her soldiers. She took in the scent of the air and the feel of the breeze against her skin. All was normal. Nothing was out of its natural place.
Intelligent eyes continued to gaze at the horizon waiting?listening?expecting what was sure to come. Commander Eliza Farix knew what awaited her team beyond the open meadow. The wind reeked of the coming deaths?and carried the scent of the fiends of Hell that would rejoice upon the slain.
Still, knowing what lay ahead of her, the Commander marched on with the souls of the innocent and guilty alike behind her. She did not wonder if today would be the day she looked upon the eyes of Death, instead she wondered what feat, what unimaginable feat, she would have to pull off in order to make sure that as many of her soldiers as possible would survive.
It was not her life that was a stake to her, but instead it was the lives of those that marched behind her that made her fear the coming battle.
And so the marching went on.
On the other side of the once dancing grass and once singing birds another force marched. Their rhythm was much the same as that of their enemies that lay ahead. The grass and the trees could not tell the difference between the two sets of soldiers. Each force was an intrusion to the peace that was once present. Each force had ended the meadow's everlasting party too soon.
The second set of soldiers marched from the South. Their movements were precise and were in unison with the army approaching from the North, still unheard due to the distance that separated them.
March. March. March.
A soldier from the second force grasped his weapon tighter to his bosom sending a quick prayer out asking the Gods to watch over his family in case he should die this day. His only comfort before the coming fight was the knowledge that his death would be an honorable one.
March. March. March.
Each army continued on. The North marched towards the south and the South marched towards the North. Their steps were in perfect harmony with each other.
The southern force wore their uniforms with pride. Their kingdom's emblem proudly displayed upon their chests and their honorary daggers at place on their hips.
At the head of this force marched a young woman with her rank displayed boldly on her bicep tattooed onto her crème colored skin. Her forest green eyes scanned the land ahead of her. She was now close enough to her enemy that she could smell them in the air. For a brief moment she allowed herself to close her eyes and picture the face of her always-faceless enemy. She saw each body marching along, much like her own soldiers were, wearing their blue and black uniforms with as much pride as her own people wore their own green and black apparel.
Commander Feon Aleki reopened her eyes and continued her march. Each step brought her closer and closer to her adversary and with each step she tried to push away the apprehension she felt at taking her people to their possible deaths.
Soon the armies met and a great battle ensued forever tainting the ground with the blood and gore of war. It gave the peaceful meadow memories that would only bring nightmares to those who cared to know what happened on this day.
Commander Farix and Commander Aleki ordered their troops to the best of their ability, but it was one great leader against another, it was one great army against another.
The death toll rose as the day went on and the spirits of hate and war carried each soul away hungrily. The souls' deaths went greatly unnoticed by their compatriots who were fighting madly for their own lives. No one could pay attention to the body who would fall into Death's grasp beside them for fear that they would soon lie on the ground next to them.
Eventually the sun began to set upon the meadow and fighting soldiers. No one would win the battle this day. Each Commander called for a retreat, but before they turned themselves to run away to fight another day, their eyes met. The blue took in the green and the green took in the blue.
If I can take down this enemy, they each thought, then I can turn around and tell my soldiers we were successful. I can turn around and say their friends did not die in vain. With their troops retreating and the sun setting the two commanders decided to finish this last fight. One of them would certainly die.
The two leaders rushed upon one another their blades drawn; long ago their guns had run out of power and had no chance to recharge. Each woman was a skilled warrior fighting this war that they had been born to. When their blades met sparks flew and filled the quickly darkening sky. The sound from the swords clashing brought yet more tales of war to the meadow?, which forever now had lost its peace.
They were tired, these commanders, and it was hard for them to fight such an apt opponent but they chose to fight on. Their soldiers had retreated to the safety beyond the open meadow not knowing what had happened to their commanders. Had they fallen in battle like so many others on this day had?
Still, the women fought. They fought until their arms could no longer hold the weight of their blades and their feet could no longer hold the weight of their bodies. This battle was a standoff just like the one amongst the soldiers had been. No one was destined to win a battle this day. The meadow ordained it so. No force, no army, no commander would ruin the dance of the grass, the song of the birds, and the music of the wind without being punished.
Commander Eliza Farix and Commander Feon Aleki dropped to the ground exhausted, but when the senses are shaken, and the soul is driven to madness, who can stand?