The battle raged on: hot loud and fierce. It was akin to an insatiable beast, consuming all in it’s path, friend or foe alike. It lay to all sides of the compass, even above and below, giving the feeling of being swallowed whole by the monster. To make matters worse the battlefield lay in a forest, shrouded in fog so thick u could hardly see 5 feet in front of you. In such a situation the only way lay ahead; ever onwards, taking the enemy as he came. The enemy: never had I encountered such a relentless bunch. They came at us from every conceivable angle and were being aided by the fog which hid them from sight until they were practically on top of us. Yet still we fought on my team and I, hacking, slashing and goring till we attained an almost musical rhythm. Hundreds fell to my left and countless more fell to my right in my effort to carve a blood soaked path straight to the heart of the battle, where we would end this. All of a sudden, we break into a clearing. For yards ahead and around all was clear. It was as if the fog and forest dare not approach this hallowed ground. But I was too busy trying to accept what stood before me: the very essence of my nightmare, my worst fear made flesh. The monster was vast. One would mistake it for a small mountain or hill but i kew better as I had encountered this very beast many times before. Even the old wounds it had inflicted, long healed, seemed to be responding to its mere presence. I realized I was standing still, shield down with sword pointed at the ground and vulnerable to an attack but at that point, I was helpless. As I said, I had encountered this beast before but it never looked the same: constantly morphing, changing, transforming and not just entirely but even parts of it. It would have 5 heads one minute and 8 the next, scaly and reptilian at one point and before u realized it starts sprouting thick wiry fur. Some parts of its skin were cracked and oozed an acid which in itself emmitted poisonous fumes. It breathed fire and sometimes sprouted wings which could generate a draft powerful enough to drive a man a step back. How were we to defeat something like this? How could we even possibly fight it, not to speak of winning? I have never considered myself a leader of men but at that moment I realized that all in my team had their eyes on me. Whether we balked and ran or charged head on to face the monster depended on the action I’d take. Had my weapons not chosen to speak at that moment I believe I would have ran for my life. DUTY, my sword spoke in a mixture of my father’s and grandfather’s voices. It reminded me in a curt manner of my lineage: men who never gave up in the face of insurmountable odds yet prevailed. It reminded me that one’s duty was like your skin; even if you shed it it grew on you again. In short I should not be a damned coward. CONVICTION, my shield, also spoke in the voice of my mentors; men I looked up to and from whom I drew inspiration. They reminded me of what they had taught me and the fact that they had always believed in me from day 1. In other words to not only steel myself but also to steel my will. In all this I could fell the beasts’ regard: contemplative, full of the knowledge that I could not kill it much more harm it. I looked around making eye contact with each member of my squad. The message was never clearer: WE ARE GOING IN. As one we charged. Like a puff of air from the bowels of the earth itself were we expelled, with one goal in sight: WE SHALL PREVAIL. As one did we attack and as one did we defend. In all this my sword and shield attacked and blocked, attacked and blocked till it formed a rhythm matching my heartbeat. The beast did not stand a chance against such a relentless onslaught and as we kept on hacking the smaller it grew and the weaker it became. It continued in such fashion till it was no bigger than a pup. I stood above, ready to drive home the killing blow, then I looked into its eyes. Gone was the complacency! It had been replaced by a fear tinged with hatred and anguish. I could not bear to finish it like this so I stepped aside and let it run. None of my team mates tried to block its path or questioned my decision. They all knew that we would fight it again, albeit a different version. We gathered round, battered, burnt and bludgeoned but yet alive. There would be a time to lick wounds and heal but now was not it. Silently and as one we lifted our swords to the sky, not as a sign of victory but as an acknowledgement and an oath. We acknowledged the Creator, without whose strength and guidance, victory would have been a mere wish. In the same vein, it was an oath: that so long as we drew breath and blood coursed in our veins and we had a soul encased in our mortal shells, we will continue to fight. SEMPER FIDELIS, SEMPER VIGILA, SEMPER PRIMUS.
The battlefield is life: u will never see what is coming but something always comes. The enemy represents life’s challenges and problems: they will keep coming whether you like it or not. The Beast is our fear: it never takes one form but keeps changing. Furthermore we will do battle with it for as long as we live. Your team mates or squads comprise your ideas, thoughts, dreams, aspirations, ambitions, principles etc. in short all your mental processes that support you. And for those who’ve watched Game of Thrones take this as a reminder : WINTER IS COMING. For those who haven’t watched………..well sorry. 🙂