Dead bodies were everywhere. I walk through the battlefield at the end of the day, and see so many dead, for no reason, for no fault of theirs.
“I’ll take my men, you take yours”, the words still rang through my mind, clear as day.
Very few men stayed with me. He’d taken them to their death. Or had he?
“I let them go. What if I’d spoken up?” the question came back. If I had faith in my strategy, we’d have won. We had the strength in numbers. We just didn’t unite.
“Dear comrades, I failed you”, I uttered. The commanders would call their efforts heroic and the loss meager.
Everyday we had trained together. We’d go into battles with a war cry.
“Destiny is ours!” the cry would ring. It’d generate hope through the camp.
“Where is our destiny, leader?” I heard their voices questioning me now. I had no answer but silence.
“Every man meets death someday; warriors meet him without flinching.” He who commanded my respect had said that. Yet his pride was immense. No one would go against his word, and he never listened to another. I had been the first to speak against him.
“Follow me, men. The enemy shall not expect our attack from this side”, he had said. The dust in the sky, however, told me they were waiting for us. Sensing danger, I suggested an alternative plan of attack, beseeching him to consider the signs.
“All right… I’ll take my men, you take yours. Let us see who is right”, he had replied and collecting a majority of warriors, strode off into the battlefield at the first rays of dawn. They fought bravely, but were outnumbered and lost. We’d followed from a different side, and overpowered the enemy later.
“Leader, if only you had been a little more vocal, we might have still been with you”, their recurring voices echo through the silence of the night. I hear someone breathing, a comrade fallen near a bush. I rush to his side.
“Long may you lead us”, he whispered, and Death, teasing me again, took the life of the last fallen warrior.