A Battle Won
They say the history of war is written by the bodies it leaves behind. War can not be fought and won without shedding blood. By its very definition human nature itself is bloody and no matter how many battles I have fought to bring peace to myself and my kingdom I can not change that fact. War is so important to humanity that on my deathbed I write of it. Despite delving so far into its complexities and being burnt by the fire of many a soldier's passion for their country, I am still fascinated by the subject. More importantly I can only hope to educate the world on the horrors of war and the scars it leaves behind. Its history may be written by the dead but a war's legacy must be lived with in the minds of those who survive.
I am told that in my old age my mind has become quite unstable. Visions of plague, famine, monsters, and yes war are at the forefront of my mind at all times, leaving no room for any thoughts of the present or future. Of course I would never ask anyone to pity me for the life I know lead, I simply mention it to expose the profound effect the past has had on me. Because of how vivid the details of my past appear to me it makes it easy for me to write my memories down in an effort to preserve them for generations to come. If I were to choose one tale that I could write down before traveling to the great beyond, it would be this one and thus what a better place to start my memoirs. Oh and yes it is a tale of war and victory over insurmountable odds.
Before I began I must first acknowledge that the whispers of the current generation of Koguryo soldiers reaches me even here, and they tell me my experience is not unique. As with all things in history, war repeats itself as proven by the war against the ogres of Hamgyong Nam-Do which these kingdoms once again waged around the thirtieth year of King Yuri's reign. As horrible as the battle fought against the ogres sounds I can not help but feel it pales in comparison to the first battle fought by King Jumong in a bid to claim Hamgyong Nam-Do as part of the kingdom of Koguryo.
As a loyal soldier I could not help but obey King Jumong's and his general's orders to lead the primary attack on Hamgyong Nam-Do. In hindsight it was a thoughtless battle meant only to quench the kingdom's thirst for territory. Back then however I was still young and dreamt of battle every passing moment, I suppose that has not changed much over the years but my opinion sure has.
On that first day before marching into what would become the graveyard of many soldiers I looked upon my troops. Only five hundred strong and mostly younger then I, they were not much to look at. However our number and appearance was misleading as no soldier would be able to bare the name of a Koguryo soldier without meeting strict performance requirements. We were the pinnacle of our civilization's fighting strength, yet we were not facing humans and thus none of our prior engagements could even be considered as testing grounds for the battle we were about to head into. For centuries before our brave and rationales assault, no human dared fight an ogre. We kept to our own lands and they stayed in theirs. However that was all about to change and the ogres knew it, how couldn't they? It is hard even for such an uncivilized creature as an ogre, not to notice an army gathering at your borders.
Our plan was considered foolproof; whilst I lead the northern front coming from Dae Shore, one hundred of our most finely trained men would lead a sneak attack from southern Koguryo. My soldiers would decimate the majority of the ogres gathered in the north and the other group would effortlessly come in through the west and trap the ogres between both our groups.
Of course plans rarely pan out in real life as they are expected to. The ogres overwhelming strength was far beyond what we had expected and our forces were soon pushed back. Hopelessly we tried to overcome the ogres but it soon became apparent that mere brute force would not win us the battle. I quickly devised a plan and sent our rogues to silently rush to the back of the ogre lines, from there their archery skills would be utilized to attack the ogres from behind. The plan worked but obviously those rogues were as good as dead when the ogres turned to face them. However the move would prove to be a fatal mistake for them as when they turned their attention to the rogues I ordered all warriors to unleash their mightiest attacks leaving all their trust in our poets to keep them alive. It was of course impossible for our relatively small group of poets to heal all our warriors in the onslaught, but the gamble proved to be well worth the risks, since in mere seconds the ogre lines were annihilated, allowing the rogues and warriors to easily pick of any survivors.
The army from the west arrived to a battlefield still filled with lifeless bodies and gasped at the low numbers our five hundred had been reduced to. I was later told that our victory was greatly appreciated by the kingdoms and that we would be forever celebrated as heroes. However in time the shouts of congratulations and the celebrations died down, and I like many other soldiers there on that fateful day were left with nothing but haunting sounds of the battlefield.