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16+ Violence

The Sun Shines on Battlefields (Prologue)

by mordax


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.

The earth wept tears of blood. It ached and cried for the fallen, yearning for the life that slowly drained. Soil did not pick sides in times of war--all are buried in the same earth regardless of belief.

Gang Tae-Su could not help but wonder if the earth was wiser than the life that wandered upon its surface. Or perhaps it simply had the privilege of being unaffected by who ruled its lands.

As the long and brutal battle drew to an end, Tae-Su fell to his knees. The blood-soaked soil dampened his dark trousers, chilled after life no longer warmed it. His sword lay discarded by his side, the flat, steel blade stained crimson.

He gazed across the battlefield--across the piled bodies, torn flesh, and weeping men clinging to lost friends. Amidst the carnage was a child's boot, heel buried in the soil. Blood speckled its leather hide, and its laces were singed at the ends.

Who had it belonged to? Tae-Su wondered. Perhaps it was lost long before the battle. Perhaps the child had been swept in the wreckage, their body joining the rest.

Light glimmered against Tae-Su's eyelids and he blinked, tilting his chin up. The first rays of sunlight peeked over bodies, timid.

Morning had come.

Tae-Su let his head fall back as the light creeped over scarlet land. It scattered the shadows, illuminating the dead in full. His eyes fell closed as the warm rays caressed his face, burning his eyelids red.

He could almost pretend he was home. He could smell the bubbling stew, fragrant spices trailing from the narrow windows and onto the street. He could hear the laughter of his friends as they tossed a worn, torn ball. His mother scolded: "Tae-Su! Come inside and clean up!"

But he was not home. Instead, he smelled sewer, blood, and death. Instead, he heard weeping as the earth mourned. Instead, he saw corpses, their eyes wide and accusatory.

Tae-Su turned back to the half-buried boot. He staggered up on tired feet, palming his sword. It hung loosely in his grip, ready to clatter to the earth at the slightest of breezes. He took the few, stumbled steps before crouching, pulling the boot up from the soil. It hardly spanned the length of his palm.

His crimson-stained fingers tightened on the worn sole. He stared at its dimensions, at the miniscule shape. How could something so small fit on any human foot?

Tae-Su looked up across the field, his vision blurring as his focus fazed. He tucked the tiny boot in his pocket before putting his back to the sun. His own boots crunched as he made his way down the battlefield, navigating the maze of dead.

...

"We have claimed victory after long and brutal days!" General Wang roared over the crowd of living men. He raised his fist in triumph and was met with booming cheers. The sentiment of victory spread like a wildfire, reaching even the most melancholic of soldiers. Tae-Su joined in the uproar, pounding his fist to his hollow chest and hollering up at the blue sky. The noise--the jubilation--began to fill the silence in his mind.

"Each of you men have aided King Ryeon in his rise to retake this country and put an end to Kuuson's tyrannical ruler. You are all heroes to this land! Centuries from now, the story of what happened here will be told from continent to continent. Your children and your children's children will grown under the light of the legacy you created today!"

Tae-Su shouted, jostling the shoulders of his comrades. They were all infected--reminded--by the victory they originally sought.

"Remember the fallen!" General Wang screamed above the clamor. "Tell their story to lineages to come! Do not forget them or what they died for! Men, who are we!"

"Saviors and soldiers of Kuuson!" the men shouted, their voices merging as one.

"Why do we fight?"

"To free Kuuson!" The mob had become cohesive. Tae-Su was among the many that voluntarily gave their lives so others could live. The dead had made their choice as well, and he would be shamed if he mourned any longer.

"And what will we do?"

The men pounded fists and stomped feet. "We will be remembered!"

...

Chung-Ho's head rose up from where it had been resting upon the stiff, cold chest of his enemy. The muted roar of the rebels' celebration echoed over the battlefield, an eerie choir to serenade the dead. He clamped his eyes shut, fighting back tears. His gut bore a long gash, giving clear sight to the intestines within, yet he felt no pain.

Faces flashed before his closed eyelids. The weathered skin of his mother. The rosy cheeks of his little sister. The proud smile of his father.

He was their eldest and only son, his service to King Hwan demanded in times of war. He had promised them he would live. he had promised them victory. He had promised...

But it was the enemy that tole his triumph.

A tear leaked onto Chung-Ho's cheeks as his body fell limp. It clung there after his eyes lost their vision, glassy like a porcelain doll.

His blood joined the earth as it wept.


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Mon Sep 27, 2021 5:19 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi mordax,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

For a prologue, you already create a good beginning. You tell it in a fascinating way that reminds me as if I were deaf and could only see what was around me, but not the voices and screams that are there.

You create a good start right away and I was also inspired by your philosophical and very metaphorical descriptions with which you introduced the character Tae-Su. I liked that brief flashback he had on the battlefield. It reminded me of a way of repressing something. Because to me, Tae-Su doesn't come across directly as a warrior who follows you blindly, but more like one who acts with reason. At least from what we have seen so far.

Towards the end, we move in a different direction and learn why there was a fight in the first place. It makes me wonder which side we are on, the good side or the bad side? It doesn't really matter, because the winner decides that they are the good guys. :D

In general, I thought it was a good prologue. We find out some things that happened, you give a short introduction and we are introduced to Tae-Su, who I assume is the main character or one of the main characters. The only criticism I have here is that you didn't create direct transitions, but changed the sections with the ***. I think at least from the first to the second transition you could create some kind of transition, because otherwise it seems a bit choppy, since we will now see Wang and later Chung-Ho only sparsely. It looks to me as if it has been inserted separately again.

Other points I noticed while reading:

Soil did not pick sides in times of war--all are buried in the same earth regardless of belief.

A beautiful quote. I like that you start with a very thoughtful text in the first paragraphs. It makes you feel like it's describing from a pacifist or even neutral, uncaring side.

The blood-soaked soil dampened his dark trousers, chilled after life no longer warmed it.

I think here you could have tried to show more of that metaphorical side again by describing blood-soaked and such in a more veiled way than bringing the cruelty in one fell swoop to the reader's face.

The sentiment of victory spread like a wildfire, reaching even the most melancholic of soldiers.

I like the description of how you play with temperaments here.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




mordax says...


Thank you very much!!



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Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:02 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Soo..as far as prologues, this one was pretty decent and had quite a lot going on. We got to see three separate scenes..and while the first one was a little bit on the more generic sounding side, the second one gave us some interesting information while this third one leaves you with a lot to think about. All together it forms a pretty solid prologue.

Anyway let's get right to it,

The earth wept tears of blood. It ached and cried for the fallen, yearning for the life that slowly drained. Soil did not pick sides in times of war--all are buried in the same earth regardless of belief.

Gang Tae-Su could not help but wonder if the earth was wiser than the life that wandered upon its surface. Or perhaps it simply had the privilege of being unaffected by who ruled its lands.


Hmm, an interesting but rather true message to start on. The fact of the earth being neutral in a war and also the way that you describe the level of bloodshed upon the Earth as a result of what sounds like a pretty strong war. It definitely catches your attention, so let's see where this is headed.

As the long and brutal battle drew to an end, Tae-Su fell to his knees. The blood-soaked soil dampened his dark trousers, chilled after life no longer warmed it. His sword lay discarded by his side, the flat, steel blade stained crimson.

He gazed across the battlefield--across the piled bodies, torn flesh, and weeping men clinging to lost friends. Amidst the carnage was a child's boot, heel buried in the soil. Blood speckled its leather hide, and its laces were singed at the ends.

Who had it belonged to? Tae-Su wondered. Perhaps it was lost long before the battle. Perhaps the child had been swept in the wreckage, their body joining the rest.


Hmm, so we're adding to the sense of almost a futility in war...and the end of what seems to have been a long and hard fought battle with countless casualties if all that description is anything to judge by. The POV character here appears to be someone who fought through the entirety of it and is just now collapsing as it comes to an end. So far all we can see is that he's grown to believe this battle is perhaps pointless carnage....maybe, his thoughts sound that way at any rate.

Light glimmered against Tae-Su's eyelids and he blinked, tilting his chin up. The first rays of sunlight peeked over bodies, timid.

Morning had come.

Tae-Su let his head fall back as the light creeped over scarlet land. It scattered the shadows, illuminating the dead in full. His eyes fell closed as the warm rays caressed his face, burning his eyelids red.


Aaand we've got more images of the dead here...this is definitely being nailed home quite a lot although we do have some sense of hope almost rising through the imagery of the sun coming up after this long battle.

He could almost pretend he was home. He could smell the bubbling stew, fragrant spices trailing from the narrow windows and onto the street. He could hear the laughter of his friends as they tossed a worn, torn ball. His mother scolded: "Tae-Su! Come inside and clean up!"

But he was not home. Instead, he smelled sewer, blood, and death. Instead, he heard weeping as the earth mourned. Instead, he saw corpses, their eyes wide and accusatory.


So far this is managing to capture the feel of the kind of mental state you find yourself after such a battle pretty well..but this is also kind of continuing along that same vein for a while now...without much else really being shown here...soo..this is getting to be slightly repetitive.

Tae-Su turned back to the half-buried boot. He staggered up on tired feet, palming his sword. It hung loosely in his grip, ready to clatter to the earth at the slightest of breezes. He took the few, stumbled steps before crouching, pulling the boot up from the soil. It hardly spanned the length of his palm.

His crimson-stained fingers tightened on the worn sole. He stared at its dimensions, at the miniscule shape. How could something so small fit on any human foot?

Tae-Su looked up across the field, his vision blurring as his focus fazed. He tucked the tiny boot in his pocket before putting his back to the sun. His own boots crunched as he made his way down the battlefield, navigating the maze of dead.


Okayy....well it looks like that scene is out of the way for the moment. The focus on the child's boot is pretty nice...it hits home with showing the brutality of the war that's just taken place and the exhaustion and trauma that has been inflicted on this person who fought in that battle, but for me at least, that dragged on a touch too long for those description to remain powerful, towards the end it got slightly boring.

"We have claimed victory after long and brutal days!" General Wang roared over the crowd of living men. He raised his fist in triumph and was met with booming cheers. The sentiment of victory spread like a wildfire, reaching even the most melancholic of soldiers. Tae-Su joined in the uproar, pounding his fist to his hollow chest and hollering up at the blue sky. The noise--the jubilation--began to fill the silence in his mind.

"Each of you men have aided King Ryeon in his rise to retake this country and put an end to Kuuson's tyrannical ruler. You are all heroes to this land! Centuries from now, the story of what happened here will be told from continent to continent. Your children and your children's children will grown under the light of the legacy you created today!"


Okay...well now this is some interesting news, we still don't know much about what's going on, but we can see this person is in the winning side of the war, and well judging by that speech it seems this victory was a good thing, or at least so they've been lead to believe, you can never really judge such a thing too early.

Tae-Su shouted, jostling the shoulders of his comrades. They were all infected--reminded--by the victory they originally sought.

"Remember the fallen!" General Wang screamed above the clamor. "Tell their story to lineages to come! Do not forget them or what they died for! Men, who are we!"

"Saviors and soldiers of Kuuson!" the men shouted, their voices merging as one.

"Why do we fight?"


Looks like this is about to end on a bit of a cheer and you can see whoever this General, he's a pretty good leader here and he's making sure to give his men something to cheer for and make them forget the horrors of the past few days to some extent.

"To free Kuuson!" The mob had become cohesive. Tae-Su was among the many that voluntarily gave their lives so others could live. The dead had made their choice as well, and he would be shamed if he mourned any longer.

"And what will we do?"

The men pounded fists and stomped feet. "We will be remembered!"


Yup...let's hope all of that was at least in a relatively good cause, cause those people seem to be quite loyal to the cause they serve...and would be a very dangerous if they're plans were to cause chaos.

Chung-Ho's head rose up from where it had been resting upon the stiff, cold chest of his enemy. The muted roar of the rebels' celebration echoed over the battlefield, an eerie choir to serenade the dead. He clamped his eyes shut, fighting back tears. His gut bore a long gash, giving clear sight to the intestines within, yet he felt no pain.

Faces flashed before his closed eyelids. The weathered skin of his mother. The rosy cheeks of his little sister. The proud smile of his father.


Well, it looks like we have someone basically on the verge of death if the intestine situation is any indicator...and these thoughts, well they are interesting. The description of those folks as rebels seems to tie in with that earlier speech but...but the specific way in which this is pointed out makes for an interesting note. I do love the flash of memories there though, you can clearly tell this is his last moments.

He was their eldest and only son, his service to King Hwan demanded in times of war. He had promised them he would live. he had promised them victory. He had promised...

But it was the enemy that tole his triumph.

A tear leaked onto Chung-Ho's cheeks as his body fell limp. It clung there after his eyes lost their vision, glassy like a porcelain doll.

His blood joined the earth as it wept.


Yeah...that ending does leave you wondering what exactly that sentence about the enemy and triumph means. He looks to be a soldier on the opposite side....but victory seems to have been promised to a third king and the...its a touch harder to pinpoint what this could mean, but it does make for an interesting last thought....one that makes you want to find out more here.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, this comes together to be a pretty solid story here...it does leave you asking a few questions and I think I'm maybe interested enough to want to read more, mostly cause of that last scene from the dying soldier's point of view. Anyway, that I think is about all that I've gotta say. :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




mordax says...


Thank you very much!



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!




There has never been a sadness not cured by breakfast food.
— Ron, Parks & Rec