Ashes fell upon the faces of the dead, of both good and evil. They fell into the mouth of a rat, who's face was left frozen in a twisted scream of terror and agony. Not far from his body was the body of the hare that had slain him, his rapier still stained with the rodents blood. Not far from the Long Patrol Officer was the body of an archer, who's arrows had pierced his body in several places before the hare and drawn his dagger and thrown it with a dying burst of strength.
Ashes fell onto the hood of the ferret, his face a mask of shock, a stain of blood running down his neck where the dagger protruded. He really had never thought a hare could throw a knife that far, and he had died because of it. The long bow was still grasped tightly in his left paw, the engraving of his lovers name etched into it: Marian Pawfang~ may this bow bring you home safely!
The bow was a gift to him from her when he was drafted, hand crafted by her and made with a fiery passion that only true love could make. When he killed, he didn't kill for his generals, or his village, he killed to make it through this war and make it back to her. He had sworn to her he would, but he knew for a fact it was a death sentence to fight against the hares of the fire mountain, every vermin who was forced into the military knew it. But still, he had tried, he had fought like hell, he had hoped that some miracle would happen that would allow him to make it back. But, alas, fate does not smile upon every beast.
Ashes fell down upon the face of a light brown squirrel, a gruesome slash running down from his shoulder to his thigh. Next to him was the body of a fox, two daggers protruding from his body, one jutting from his ribs, another from his heart. They had both fought each other, each knowing that one would leave and one would die. The squirrel had sprung at his foe, startling the fox with his burst of ferocity and speed, giving him enough time to lodge a dagger into the fox's ribs. The fox yelped and slashed outward at the squirrel, blood staining his face and chest, turning his white belly fur a crimson red as the squirrel fell upon him, blood leaking from the horrific wound. The squirrels already clouded eyes met the fox's, and the vermin sneered as he lifted the squirrel up by the collar of his jerkin, readying himself to finish off the mortally wounded combatant. But a sharp pain shot through his chest, and he felt a warm liquid trickled down his fur. Barking in anguish the fox grabbed the paw of the squirrel, looking up in shock from the dagger hilt sticking out of his chest to the smirking face of woodlander. The two had both died before they hit the ground.
Among the thousands dead- hares, otters, stoats, rats, mice- one stood out in particular. The body of a weasel. But this weasel was not dressed in the poorly made armor of the vermin, nor was he a changed beast among the ranks of the woodlanders, decked out in a wonderfully crafted set of armor, a generous donation from the Abbey of Redwall. He was unarmed, sporting a large straw hat on his head, a pair of suspenders the only article of clothing on the poor young lad. A broken arrow shaft protruded from his left shoulder, where he had been hit by a squirrel arrow, and a gash about his back was where the savage ferret had finished him off. Not all who die in the field of battle die because of their evil ways, or due to an honorable sacrifice to save a friend or comrade. No, some who die in war are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This goes for young Jeremy Whistlebrik, who had decided to fall asleep in the wrong tree and wake up at the wrong time.
A pile of dead lutrine carcasses could be seen a few yards away from his carcass, arrows protruding from them, making them look like one big gruesome pincushion. The warlord had suspected the otters to come from the river, and had posted archers to wait along the banks. Luckily he was right, but he had not counted on the spear men of the Long Patrol to come charging in from the east. Next to the otters were the bodies of several rats, bloody holes punched through them by the vengeful hares.
In the center of all of this chaos was the gargantuan decapitated body of the late badger lord Torklan. Not far from the headless mountain of a corpse was the body of the late warlord Scurchon, several arrows sticking from his body, a face of mad happiness and laughter painted on his face. The crazed cat had died laughing at the fact that he had actually beaten a badger lord, completely oblivious to the archers drawing their bows upon him at all sides. What little remained of the wildcats army were too busy with the woodlanders to even stop what happened next, and some of them had even fled for the hills before the hares fired, knowing full well that all was lost.
And now what little remained of the armies of the Long Patrol and Redwall began to pile up the bodies of the dead, all of them too tired to even shed a tear as they did their task. The body of the hare officer was placed upon the burning pile with the rat soldier, along with the bodies of the fox and the squirrel. The bow that belonged to the body of the ferret archer was pried from his lifeless paws, and was to be placed in the Abbey of Redwall. The inscription shrugged off as merely the name of a poor lover the ferret had slain along with the original owner, and the ferret maid back in the archers home country would never be known to the beasts of Redwall. And as the fire blazed on through the rest of the day and night, the souls of the honorable heroes and innocent victims would join together in harmony and grace, an understanding between them now formed.
War never has two sides. Their is never just good and evil. Their is always a third party in the gruesome battle field of life, made up of the innocent and the confused, the scared and the weak, and those who just want to survive.