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Behind you lay bodies. Hundreds of bodies. Thousands of bodies. Some were slain by your hand. Some were slain by your friends. Some were your friends.\n\nAll of them, people. Lives, struck down. Some would say many of them deserved death. All of them were just soliders, like you. Fighting for a cause they [[thought]] was just.
A hill of pure white stretches before you. The sky is dark, clouds churnning high above.\n\nA red orange glow eminates from the top of the hill, casting a strange glow on the sky. The light brightens, and soon the hill covered in white turns to a hill draped in red.\n\nYou breathe deep. The frozen air burns in your lungs, but it gives you strength.\n\nYou move again, climbing the hill, the orange aura [[beckoning|crest]] you onward.
Glory.\n\nWhat glory is their in death and decay?\n\nMen may speak your name in tale and song for ages to come. You, the survivor. The protector of the kingdom.\n\nBut for what? For ensuring that someone else is forgotten before their time.\n\nYou fight for those who live, not for those you have slain. You fight to protect, and that is the greatest honor.\n\nAll this, but you were successful, were you not? The enemy host was defeated. You have survived. You will not forget, and you will not be forgotten.\n\nYou continue onward, visions of the lifeless bodies of your friends soaking in the mud. You continue walking, trudging, boots caked in [[snow and mud.|onward]]\n\n
Onward you walk, trudging through more snow, more mud.\n\nThe wind swirls around you, chilling air piercing through layer upon layer of armor. You sweat, and yet the sweat freezes in the air.\n\nYour bones ache. Your joints stiffen.\n\nNot much further to walk... [[not much further...|hill bottom]]\n\n
Loyalty.\n\nTo crown.\nTo sword.\nTo dust.\n\nAll men die. All creeds are broken.\n\nLoyalty did not save your friends. Loyalty did not save your commander. In death, what loyalty exists?\n\nOnly you remain. Loyal. Not to crown, not to sword, not to man.\n\nTo those who wait, hoping for your victory, hoping for your [[safe return.|onward]]\n
What else is there but death and destruction?\n\nYou destroy because you cannot otherwise create.\n\nYou create pain. You create tears.\n\nIn a way, you're an artist. Your art isn't stone, paint, or pencil. Your art is the sword.\n\nWhat an artist you are indeed. How else could you have survived while so many fell around you? How else did you survive while your friends blood spilled out, mixing with the [[snow and mud.|onward]]\n\n
No. \nNo, that's not right.\n\nNot every soldier thinks their side is just. Not every soldier believes.\n\n[[Some fight for glory and honor.|glory]]\n\n[[Some fight for their lords and commanders.|loyalty]]\n\n[[Some fight because they don't know what else to do.|else]]\n\n
You walk though the forest, the clank of your battered armor disturbing the peaceful quiet of the snowy scene before you. Your sword, still wet with blood, drags on the ground [[behind you.]]
Your stare forward, seeing naught but trunk and untouched snow before you. Behind you, a gash, a scar. And yet, outside of the scar the snow still rests, untouched.\n\nSoon, each step becomes harder. For a moment you wonder if your body has failed. For a moment you wonder if you are going to die as well.\n\nBut you [[look up]].
As you reach the top of the hill you cough, breathing in smoke and dust.\n\nOn the next rise over, where your fortress guarding the pass between the mountains should lay, burns a monstrous fire.\n\nThe flames grow high, fed upon the walls thought impenetrable, upon the stores of food and drink, upon the corpses of those you were returning to.\nGreat pillars of smoke rise high into the sky.\nThe valley below glows an unnatural looking glow, as if the whole of it were burning as well.\n\nThe enemy had broken through.\n\nDespite your efforts, despite the pain and suffering, despite the death of good men on both sides of the conflict, you have failed.\n\n[[A voice inside whipers.|final]]\n\n
//Our Fortress Is Burning//