(This is the dream I had last night. As DreamPacker has encouraged, I wrote it down, focusing more on how it made me feel rather than the colors, shapes and placements of things, though all of that is quite vivid in my memory. Then I wrote it like a story, so those of you who hate reading dreams will enjoy it as well. Hopefully. Either way, this is what my brain went through between the hours of midnight and three in the morning.)
Tucked in the valley between the downward slope of a hill and the battlements of the fort behind me, I readied my soldiers for battle.
Except that I had no idea what to do.
They were adorned in their armor. Helmet, breastplates, arm shields and shin guards all made of leather which housed the whale bone protection that would separate a weapon from it’s target.
My soldiers were clothed in red and brown; not the wisest color choice given the green of our surrounding area. But red was the color of power. It made us feel powerful, in control, frightening instead of merely frightened.
I sent a scout up over the hill to see what formation our enemy had taken. Perhaps there would be a weakness in their plan that would outweigh our weakness in number and ability.
A quiet whistling and the dropping of his head told me he was dead. My soldiers began yelling, some in fear, others in anger hoping to keep fear at bay. I sent another scout, telling him to be more careful.
He seized up in fear before reaching even the middle of the grassy hill. He was no where near the top. I had to not only make an example, but set an example if we were going to come out of this alive.
I screamed in his face, hoping my anger would rush fear from his mind. I used all my energy to frighten him into obedience. He began to whimper and cry under my hands, and I turned to my soldiers yelling, "I will not go down as this man has!" With giant strides I mounted the grassy hill which hid our meager host, and stood tall and proud on the crest of that hill overlooking the great plain below.
Time seemed to stand stock still as I surveyed the opposition before us. The terrible enemy that awaited us. It was enormous. As far as my eyes could see, there were soldiers in legion formation in every direction, some already making their way around our castle-fort in an attempt to cut off any retreat. My vision blurred and I wondered if I had been shot. Unable to take my eyes from the sight below me, the defeat that lay at my feet, I simply waited for the bullet to take me to my knees. But no. I had not been hit. I was simply crying.
I could hear my soldiers behind me shouting that I "Get down!" But there was no reason. Whether I died before them or with them, or even after them, it was no matter. I could see that I would die. Taking time out of the equation, not having to use any part of my mind to wonder
"When?" was a sweet gift. The last gift I would be given.
There was yelling from the enemy. A general approached me. She was slender, dark of hair and it was easy to see that she was just a little silly by nature. The way she swayed on her horse as though trying to keep her soldiers lighthearted. I had never attempted that. Anger and fear ruled my armies.
She paced her horse in front of me, and I could not understand her laughing speech. Perhaps it was another language, after all. Perhaps I was right to think that we could never join peacefully. If we could not understand one another, there would always be war.
My soldiers felt the same. Without even hearing them, two had army-crawled up the hill in full armor and at that moment pulled me to the ground and began our senseless, hopeless assault against our overwhelming opposition. My two soldiers fell almost instantly, though I attempted to keep one behind the only rock on the hill, for his safety. I was frantic with shame and guilt. They had cannons. They had arrows and guns and fire. They had music and laughter and bursts of light that had no purpose and we couldn't understand.
In only moments, my entire army was wiped out.
I was alone.
I was unsafe.
I was terrified.
Knowing I would die was no consolation in this matter anymore. If I had died with my army around me, had I died protecting my castle-fort or protecting my soldiers, I could have born that death. This death, I could not bear. Not alone. Not for nothing.
I ran. I hid. Like a terrified child I squeezed under a desk and waited to be discovered as I knew I would be. There was no other ending.
I could hear the opposing general dancing down the hall with her gliding and pony-like steps. Her army behind her, they seemed entirely unconcerned with finding me. That one may have just seen me! Why doesn’t he speak? Why does he not reveal me? His indifference is even more frightening. I cower further under the desk, realizing that my armor makes this not only difficult but downright impossible.
If I shed my armor, I will be nothing. I will have no protection at all save what the darkness of my hiding place affords me. Will it be enough?
"Enough for what?" I wonder to myself. It is obvious that my end has come.
Even accepting that, I cannot find peace in it. I have something left to live for. But what?
I remove my armor, and fling it across the room. The sound achieves no reaction from the men and women that now infest my castle-fort. Their castle-fort.
I sink deeper into the shadows and wait. Wait to be discovered. Wait to be killed. Perhaps I am waiting to be forgiven. To be brought out into light and given a chance to live another way.
But why would I want to do that? If I cannot protect my home, myself, my soldiers, my very language from invasion, what else is there? There never could have been any other ending.