I stand, looking over the two drawn lines in the snow.
There are men standing there, some bearing my crest,
Others bearing the standard of my enemy.
And those who bear the wrong sigil I count as beasts.
I walk, their faces bright with soon to be extinguished hope.
They salute and cheer, oh great tactician that I am,
With little comprehension of what I ask them to do.
Only the veterans give me a fitting scowl.
I look, out over the valleys and hills of his place.
The town lies before us, its defenders now sleeping,
Waiting to be roused by the first volley.
I once came to this place to buy provisions.
I shout, a storm of fire illuminating the night sky.
The town’s defenses are wooden, they hold no resistance,
Not to the light and heat held captive upon our arrows.
I can hear the alarms now.
I leap, up on to the muscled back of my steed.
I ride with my officers, all of us to our posts,
Taking positions with our nervous men.
We wait for the first sortie.
I ride, bearing down upon man after man.
My lance is like a bolt of steel, cold and unrelenting,
Piercing flesh and steel alike before me.
They were not prepared.
I drink, bringing the cup to my lips once again.
Feeling the cold wine, the hot alcohol warming my throat,
Reminding me of my home.
The spoils of war will once more grace its high halls.
I pray, kneeling at the altar of a stone church.
I think of those men, their terrified faces,
The widows and orphans I have made.
And I weep.