"My orders were to get my men to Hititi a major port on the other side of the Kingdom of Dholitt. I was under orders to sustain the fewest number of casualties en route and capture the largest number of cities and fortresses."
"My men knew only one thing when I was given command of the offensive, and that was that we were to do the impossible. They didn't trust me, I couldn't blame them."
"To them I was just a name passed down through the lists as commander after commander laughed at the prospect, until some idiot dared accept. My first observation was how low moral was."
"I remember walking through their ranks on first inspection, deciding that they would do fine before addressing them. I grabbed a crate I remember, jumped onto it to address them. 'You men are about to win a war.' I remember telling them first and foremost, 'You are going to do that which most every man has called impossible. You are going to crush the heart of a nation.' Some of them laughed, others remained silent."
"We began our expedition in the early spring, by the gods wasn't it muddy. And the rain, gods, I thought we would be lost before we barely had a chance to start..."
"But we survived the rains and the floods, soggy and missing much of our supplies. We pressed on however, a second force was to follow us and ensure that our supply rout was always open. Hmph, bloody bastards had a hell of a time keeping up..."
"Regardless, we made our way into the end of spring and the plains of the Dholitt. We were beyond the 'safety' of our own borders, we had entered into the war. The Dholitt made sure we knew that."
"There is a certain noise than an arrow makes as it slices through the air beside your head, it's almost a low whistling noise. The thump of it striking one of your men however, that noise is one to never be forgotten."
"Skirmishers, not much more than local militia, became a quick problem. They never struck in force, preferring to wait until we began to set camp and launch vollies of barbed arrows into our midst."
"The cruelty of a barbed arrow is not when the projectile strikes, oh no, it's when the man is forced to remove it. You know how a barb works of course, it prevents something from coming out, and when that something is an arrow driven through a man's thigh, the only thing to do is push the head the rest of the way through."
"We learned real quick to send out scouting parties in search of these bands of militia. Just having additional patrols helped in toning back the attacks on the main force, however our patrols were small enough for the militia to engage in true combat."
"The first patrols we sent out returned without a scratch, that lasted a week and a half. Then the local militias decided to test our mettle. Patrols would come back with two thirds of their number missing, only to be found the next day, their corpses hung along the roads or mutilated and displayed on spikes."
"These acts of cruelty took a heavy toll on morale and the men started calling the patrols 'Suicide sweep.' We always cut down the men who were hung and gave them all proper burials. It helped with morale a little, seeing that we weren't just leaving our fellows to the crows."
"We suffered a full month of this before we finally broke. What broke us was finding one of our men, lacerations up both legs, both arms, and a design warning death carved into his chest. The poor sod had been alive when we'd found him... The torment and pain he must have gone through before we finally found him... He sobbed when I sat beside him, I asked him only two things."
"I asked him what beast had done this to him. 'Dholitt Dogs...' He had replied, and I asked him what he wanted of them. His answer was vengeance."
"Outrage filled my camp when it was revealed what this man had gone through. My men wanted blood. We had been told to leave as much of the civilian population be as we could. But something had changed, we were told to expect a people who were tired of war and who would submit. We found a people who declared a personal war upon us."
"And we responded with fire."
"Gods have mercy upon our souls for what we did after, for we gave no mercy, we set the villages to the torch and put their people to the sword. There was a lust for blood of which I had never seen before. We offered no quarter. Villages were burned to the ground, homes collapsed on those within, trapped within the fiery hell upon which we unleashed. We left nothing but ash and ruins in our wake. The people may have been innocent, most of them were I am sure, but how do you determine those who are innocent from those who are not?"
"We killed everyone and everything, men, women and children alike. Those who tried to resist were subjugated and forced to watch as their homes, their very lives were destroyed in front of them. We would behead them after. A quick end to their suffering."
"As the month wore on we found that there were no militia skirmishers to harass us. No arrows in the night, no tents set ablaze. Our patrols went unhindered and villages were abandoned at our arrival. The people were afraid."
"Our expedition had worn into the early summer by the time we encountered a true army. Word had spread throughout the Kingdom and we found a young lord, I cannot remember his name now, who had dug himself and his forces into a position from which we would not be able to pry them."
"We tried however, we sent first an emissary, a man of wisdom supposedly, he arrived with one of our supply wagons one day and informed us of how he was to attempt to negotiate with any lords of Dholitt. So we let him."
"His treatment was as I had expected. He had been welcomed to come to the lines of the young lord, his screams filled the air only a short time later. His head was returned to us, his body was displayed on a spike."
"The men had joked about how his robes seemed to make a good flag around which the Dholitt rallied around, something like hiding behind their mothers skirts."
"We let that young lord keep his dirt fort, for that was all his position was, a small hill with ditches and trenches dug around the front and sides. I will give him some credit, we wouldn't be assaulting him where he was."
"And so, we went around him and his fort, letting the boy keep playing in the mud as one of my sergeants commented."