Dear Diana,

My dear Diana, i write to you in what may perhaps be my last moments, my last day on this world, the battle rages on and we are surrounded. In these moments all i can think of is you and the time spent together with you, pleasant moments we shared together. On the day of my departure you pleaded with me, telling me that we should run away from the forced enrollment but as a man wishing to protect his country and his family, i could not do that, though in my heart it was really what i wished for. Perhaps you felt what was to come, your instincts begging you to stop me, but i was stubborn, as i always was. I loved my country and i loved my king and i blindly followed my pride. I should have listened to you and now i only wish this letter reaches you so that you may know of my fate.

The first days after the enrollment were not so bad, i met quite a few interesting people, Louis a farmer that had quite a taste for fine wine, it was a bit strange how a farmer could maintain such a habit while the country is at war but such knowledge was lost with him, Leland,  strapping young man, he had worked with his father as a blacksmith, though he did have a position secured making weapons for soldiers, he preferred to be one, his pride was his downfall as was mine. And Jack, a long time soldier, as somewhat of a veteran it was quite strange to see him in the midst of common swords, but as he put it he did not exactly get along with his superior's way of leading. I did not ask too many questions as the past is the past and now we were comrades in arms.

The four of us got along quite well in the coming days of training that we received, talking, joking and sharing whatever came to our minds. For me, you were always on my mind, thoughts of you were what helped me maintain my courage as the day of battle drew closer. A few days later, a missive came from the king, we were being sent into battle at the Blue Sea plains, our encampment being settled right near the Silent howl forest. I still do not understand why our superiors thought that was a good idea but perhaps they simply did not believe the tales told about that place.  The march was mostly peaceful, without any major events, just one or two scuffles with the wildlife, one soldier was killed as we could not pull the one very insistent beast off him no matter how much we stabbed it. We arrived there after a tiring march that lasted two days without break as we had to arrive there as soon as possible, many complained when we were told we must make haste because of course a tired soldier does not fight well but we were reassured we would have time to rest before engaging in battle. As we reached our destination, the location for our temporary camp,  Jack remarked with a smile on his face that we might get kidnapped during the night by shadow beasts from the Silent howl forest, that did not help ease our already worried minds. After finishing the construction of our tents and enjoying our meal for the day, a few of us, that weren't terribly exhausted, were ordered to scout the margins of the forest. Me, Jack and another soldier were the ones that had the honor to be the scouts. While preparing for our scouting trip Louis and Leland came to us jokingly congratulating us on getting even more work. We talked a bit before they retired to rest and as they were leaving i noticed Leland had strapped a small blue flower to his sword's handle, it reminded me of the flowers i used to bring you every time we met. You would show me the most beautiful smile every time i brought you one.

As we entered the forest a sense of gloom washed over me, it was much darker than we had anticipated, forcing us to even light up our torches and we could feel that something was watching us, Jack kept joking  that something  might attack us any minute, it was not as amusing as he thought it was, though it was quite ironic as not even twenty paces into the forest  and something jumped from a tree with incredible speed grabbing Jack by the back of his throat and dragging him screaming deeper into the forest. The beast looked like it was cloaked in darkness even absorbing the light from our torches. We ran and Jack's screams slowly disappeared into the forest. i reported the loss of my comrade to my superior and even voiced my opinion that we should move the camp to another location but of course being a simple, common soldier my opinion was met with disdain and i was told that guards would be posted to watch for the beasts and that it was best for me to keep what happened to myself. I was thankful that Louis and Leland had already retired to rest, as i had no desire to lie to them.
During the night, i could not sleep knowing of the creatures watching us from the forest, studying us, waiting for a chance to prey on us. I spent nearly the whole night with y hand on my sword. A few soldiers were killed and dragged in the night into the forest without anybody ever hearing anything or noticing anything. It was quite a discouraging situation, we had lost brave men before the battle had even begun. In the morning battle horns were sounding in all parts of the camp, it seems the goddess of luck was not on our side, our enemies were already in sight of the forward scouts and heading in the direction of our camp. That was it, thought of you came flooding into my mind, as i steeled myself for battle. I remembered the joyful moments we spent together, the sad moments, the peaceful days and the one thing i kept seeing was your smile, always giving me courage. Remembering now, i am quite thankful that it was not my last battle, i would not have been able to write this letter to you.

  I was not prepared for the cruelty i was about to witness during my first battle, what i had seen during it marked me more than i thought possible and i would regret my decision to enroll before the battle even ended. It started well, our forces advancing with confidence yet still somewhat shaken by the disappearance of some of the soldiers in the night, little did we know how badly things would end. Just as the battle started and our soldiers charged, one of our commanding knights took an arrow in the shoulder leaving him screaming in pain like a little child with a scraped knee, perhaps the years of peace eroded our kingdoms military prowess more than we thought. That sight had an incredibly negative effect on our morale but we kept advancing attacking our enemies. As i charged to attack, i felt a surge of emotions confidence, fear, anger, it reminded me of the time i charged off that cliff and plunged into the lake below in my silly attempt to impress you. Though perhaps it is stupid to compare it to that it was a bit similar, the confidence i could do it,  the anger at myself for doing something stupid, the fear of dying from jumping off that cliff. As i charged i came face to face with one of the enemy soldiers, i could see the same emotions reflected in his face as well, we attacked each other, trading blows, i could see he perhaps had the same amount of training as i did, his eyes radiated fear as he tried his hardest to slay the enemy before him, i dodged his attack and sunk my sword into his belly, the feeling disgusted me and a terrifying urge to throw up overcame me and a strong desire to flee, he was screaming in pain and flailing his sword around and it almost cut my neck as i was standing there paralyzed. An arrow struck him in the back and through the heart just before his sword cut me, barely grazing my neck. I looked into his eyes as his screams were dying, i saw the light being snuffed out from his eyes, life leaving his body, it was the most horrifying experience i have ever had. I was petrified by what i had done. After that i passed out.

I woke up perhaps a few minutes later, or perhaps hours, to the sound of the horn signaling our retreat, i was still alive, it seems i got lucky and the enemy thought i was just another body. I immediately understood the situation, we were losing, i had to run, i gathered myself up and began retreating to the camp only driven by thought of you and getting back to you. Stumbling a little on my feet i began running towards the our camp, passing over a number of corpses, most of which belonging to our side and i knew i had been out for hours. As i ran, out of the corner of my eye i saw one of the corpses was holding a sword  that had a small blue flower tied to it's handle, i knew it was Leland, my eyes teared up but i kept running. Eventually i managed to reach our camp was told to regroup with a number of other soldiers that managed to escape the slaughter that this battle had become. Among the soldiers that survived was Louis, the wine loving farmer, i was quite surprised to see him and went over giving him a hug. We did not have time to talk. Our enemies were closing in and the commanding knights were nowhere in sight. With a shaking voice Louis revealed to me that the knights had already retreated and that we were abandoned to our faith. While the battle raged on at the first sign that our armies were losing the commanding knights retreated leaving our soldiers confused and without orders. After the knights retreated another part of our enemies army appeared behind us, they had circled around us in an attemp to catch us in a pincer attack. And then it dawned on me, we were surrounded, there was no where to retreat. Most of the soldiers decided to surrender hoping that they would not be killed. It was the only possibility of salvation that we had. As we still had some time before the enemies reached us, we decided to write one last letter to our beloved in case our surrender was not accepted. My tale is a sad, pathetic one but i would rather you know it and move on than still hold hope that i may be alive somewhere. Forget me Diana and live well. I will take our regrets with me.

Yours forever, Aleth.
 

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