Chapter 1:

The Soldier's Battleground

The Soldier's Battleground

A young man jumped into a nearby half-filled crater full of water and blood, and not a moment too soon, as a shell landed nearby, blowing pieces of human flesh and limbs into the hole, filling it with even more human debris.
“This is not how things should have gone! The plan was simple; attack early in the morning under the cover of darkness and fog, and overrun the enemy trenches. But this…”
The young man raised his head and looked over the embankment of dirt to see many of his fellow soldiers lying dead, bloody, and wounded across the expansion of mud and grim known as ‘No Man’s Land’. Still the battle raged on, as the sound of gunfire and the scream of men echoed over the air.
“…is a living hell.” He clenched his rifle tightly in his hands. “But it has to be done.”
Grimacing he quickly crawling out of the hole and charging towards the enemy lines with a yell…
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Lushness, a single word that was able to describe the area of land of which Arkadia ruled. Rolling hills and soft meadows painted a beautiful picture, with forests brimming with life and vitality it was a wonderful haven to live in and grow up. If one wanted a peaceful life then this was the place to least before the war began.
But now that image was to be no more, the hills now were home to miles of trenches and dugouts meant to protect those taking refuge inside of them, the soft meadows now a Mithra of mud, blood and decay. Sounds of wounded souls from both sides could be heard day and night as they lay in the filthy ground waiting to be found or to be lost and forgotten. With the raw material in demand, forests had been cut down and logged for use in buildings or trench work, the wildlife was no longer thriving but scattered or killed in the fighting. If one wanted to know what turmoil and strife was, then they would not have to look any further to find out. Still even with all these conditions, to the thousands of men and woman taking shelter in their trenches, it was home and everyday life.
A young man walked along the wooden boards that were lain on the trench floors and every so often slightly ducking when an incoming round from the enemy landed near where he was, these rounds were not paid too much attention by anyone as they were merely more for range gauging and keeping people’s heads down so as to not get hit. It was the same as usual for those who had been fighting for quite some time, the ones who had yet to see their first battle were the jittery ones. While he on the other hand had participated in a few battles so he was not as jittery as those around him, still that didn’t mean he wasn’t nervous, but he wasn’t going to let that show.
After making his way through a few more trench paths he paused his walking and looked down at the map in his right hand. On it was an attack plan which was planned for the next morning. Still no matter how fancy the plan could sound, the main goal was getting himself and his fellow soldier to the other side without getting killed. That would mean crossing a barren wasteland filled with mud, crater holes, barbed wire and gunfire all trying to stop them.
The young man walked over to where a periscope was set up and looked through it to survey the land that would become a battlefield tomorrow. Muddy grounds and broken uneven terrain stretched on to what seemed forever in each direction, a statement not too far off when the combatant’s trenches were longer than the human eye could see. Sporadic gunfire and the occasional shell exploding was what he was able to observe, it would be much better to get a grasp if he stuck his head out above the trenches and saw with the naked eye, but that would probably end with him being headless, so the periscope would have to do.
Still even with the limited view, he knew that the upcoming battle would decide something one way or the other, and it would be drenched in blood to prove it. The young man leaned back from looking into the periscope and started to make his way over to a small spot on the ground that no was currently sitting in. One thing every soldier learned quickly, is that even with how long the trenches were, if you didn’t find a spot and sit down then you would be standing, possible the entire day if you could find no openings.
After sitting down, he started to look over his equipment. He inspected his standard issued rifle which was distributed among the ranks. Supposedly another rifle that was much better than this one was going to be issued soon, but due to time constraint it would first be equipped to soldiers moving up to the frontlines, and when time permitted, would completely replace the current model he and his fellow comrades possessed.
Feeling something cold touch his skin, his gaze fell to a long piece of pointed metal. Even with firearms a common sight in the military, sometimes it all fell down to a weapon created a millennia ago. A knife. Or in this case a bayonet that would attach to the end of the rifle. Close quarter was bound to happen in the looming battle and the thought of getting that close to the enemy to have to use it, didn’t make him happy. As the enemy also had the same feature on their rifles as well. One small move and it could either be you or the enemy stuck with the simple yet deadly instrument.
He shook his head, it wouldn’t be good for his nerves to think to think too deeply on this subject. After escaping his school and finally the town, he had made his way to the nearest city and hopped a ride that would lead him to a recruitment station, or so he hoped. With the onset of the war, the Arkadian government issued a draft that every able bodied man and woman would have to join the military and defend the frontlines. So regardless of him running away, he must likely would have been drafted to serve, seeing that a draft had to be issued showed how dire the situation was. He was pulled out of his musing when a soldier walking by, accidently bumping one of his boots. A short grumble was given before the soldier kept on his walk.
Sending over two brigades was something that had yet to be done so far in the war, as to why such a large amount of men were needed for a rather insignificant target was above Sergeant Jun Nihei’s pay rank. But orders were orders and they had to be carried out by the glories ones known as grunts or by a more slang term ‘gravel agitators’. Seeing as the sun was falling and night approaching, Jun noticed to a certain degree, the amount of small talk increasing amongst the trench’s occupants. Not one to judge as it was a way to help calm the nerves, Jun busied himself with his own thoughts until a bright light shone above him. He looked up to see a flare had been fired and was now illuminating the area between the two sides. Further down the line another flare was fired off and so on as needed. If one were to look back on this war and add up the amount of currency was spent on the flares used alone, the total would make a dead man turn over in his grave. But that was not a concern as of the moment.Bookmark here

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