I never believed in hell until I saw the battlefield spread out before me. “They hadn’t trained me for this.” The words kept coursing through my brain over and over again. Our ranks seemed so much smaller then those of the barbarians on the opposite side of the rain soaked field. We wore bright clean uniforms and brandished noble weapons that had been recently sharpened and were well cared for. Even from far away I could see that the barbarians were dirty and wore fur. They’re weapons were vile looking instruments of death, unrecognizable by any of us. Where we hefted swords, pikes, and bows and arrows, the barbarians were carrying clubs, hammers and saw-like blades none of which were meant to cleanly kill they’re enemies. Ours was an army of mercy and honorable death, theirs was one of suffering and pain. Right now our men were all conversing quietly with each other and it seemed everyone had someone to talk to. Everyone that was except me. “All right men, keep your lines even and prepare to charge!” our captain said as he galloped by on horseback. There was a series of loud whooshes behind us as our armies five trebuchets each launched flaming sacs of tar out over the battlefield to finally land with a fiery splash on the ranks of the barbarians off in the distance. Our engineers had been frantically assembling the huge catapults ever since our standoff with the barbarians had begun some fifteen minutes earlier. It was somewhat pleasing to see that we were already claiming the lives of our enemies and there was no way they could touch us at the moment. The battlefield was nothing more than a hilly 4 square mile clearing in our forest. Our army sat on one side of the clearing. The barbarians were set up on the other side. There was about three quarters of a mile of open ground between the two armies and it sounded like we were fixing to close that gap very quickly. Already, due to the fire landing on their ranks, the barbarians were beginning their charge. Our captain brought his horse up on its hind legs out in front of our massive line and my heart began to pound in my chest. Was I ready for this? My brothers on either side of me were already unsheathing their swords. I looked down at the hilt of my sword sticking out of its sheath. As my right hand wrapped around the hilt I suddenly was no longer afraid. “We’ll show those mongrels what real fighting is, eh mate?” a soldier on my left said. “You bet!” I shouted, happy that amidst these thousands of faces, someone had noticed me. The soldier grasped my shoulder and we clonked our heads together at the forehead. It was a silent “lets go get em” That anyone could have understood. I decided at that moment that I would try and stick with this soldier throughout the fight, only death or victory would separate us from here on out. And then we were moving. The barbarians were already halfway across the field and were now only a couple hundred yards away from us. We would meet soon and I was on the leading ranks. The soldier that had given me the encouragement was still right there next to me as we ran. Our line stayed relatively strait, but something was wrong with the lines of the barbarians. They were getting larger. No one had noticed at first, but as the barbarians were running, more and more of them were streaming out the surrounding forest and joining the charge of the initial army that we had formed up against. They had been hiding amongst the trees and as their brethren ran past they popped out of the trees and joined the charge. Things were looking grim for our army, and yet as long as my friend on my left stayed in my sight, I felt stronger and more powerful. When our lines met there was a great thunderclap. All at once weapons began to clang together and the symphony of battle began to play. In front of me a barbarian wielding a huge double bladed ax set his sights on me and raised his weapon over his head. I knew I would be unable to block such a blow as the one that the giant ax would deliver so when the barbarian was close enough to swing I ducked to the right. I was amazed by the swiftness I was able to dodge the mighty ax and as I landed on my right foot I shifted my weight back towards the barbarian and brought my sword around. My blade entered the barbarian’s ribcage and I wrenched it upwards killing him instantly. My foot went to his chest and I ripped my sword free of his body and I was almost immediately under attack once again. A club dropped downward towards me from another enemy and I was unable to block. Luckily the swing of the club had been off target and only grazed my left shoulder. I turned and spotted the barbarian that had tried to club me. He lifted the chunk on wood again but he was also too slow for me. I lowered my shoulder and tackled him. Once on top of him I quickly slipped my sword across his throat and jumped back to my feet. All around me death was happening. I didn’t feel guilty that I was contributing to it. My morale rose even higher when I spotted my friend squaring off with another barbarian. This enemy was holding a sword-like chunk of metal in one hand and a dagger in the other. My friend thrust with his sword at the barbarian’s chest and to my horror the barbarian parried his attack and shoved the dagger up under the swordsman’s armpit. My friend didn’t even flinch. He pushed his opponent back and this time successfully stabbed his sword into the barbarian’s stomach. I could watch no longer. I had to continue fighting. I was aware of arrows flying over our heads and I realized that our archers were sending swarms of shafts into the ranks of the barbarians. Despite our being outnumbered it seemed that our warriors were taking down at least 6 barbarians for every death we suffered. Our lines had punched a huge hole in the barbarian frontal assault and we were pushing our way towards the back of their lines. And yet there were still more barbarians streaming out of the forest surrounding us. I continued to use my speed to bring down my slower opponents and successfully killed another with a slice of my sword. Despite my friend’s wound I spotted him still standing and fighting and thus I moved toward him as I staved off more blows from any barbarians that were near me. As soon as he spotted me my friend began moving towards me as well. From that moment on we stuck together. My opponents became my friend’s opponents. He would square off with a barbarian and I would back him up. We executed one-two attacks that allowed us to mow through the enemies and play off each other’s momentum. We were getting very close to the barbarian side of the field and I noticed a large Clydesdale sized horse towering above the other enemies. This was the Barbarian leader. I knew it. I knew his name, knew his long list of terrible deeds. And I wanted to kill him. I pointed with my eyes at the barbarian leader and my friends saw immediately what I was motioning at. The two of us were about to assault the leader when I felt a sharp pain in my back. A sharpened stick used as a spear poked out of my stomach and I instinctively tried to turn and retaliate. This only resulted in me twisting and falling onto my side. But when I looked up I saw as my friend lurched over me and dispatched my attacker with a single swipe of his sword. I got up and tried to pull the spear out but the other soldier stopped me. He grabbed a hold of the long portion of the spear sticking out of my back and lopped it off as close as he could to my back with his sword. I cringed in pain but rather than shake it off I went right back to fighting. We pushed toward the leader again, but was award now that I was losing momentum. The pain in my side was debilitating and I found my sword strikes to be less powerful then when I started, and yet I pushed on. Finally as I ripped my blade from yet another barbarian I found myself in a clearing of people. There was no one occupying the area I was in except the Barbarian Leader and his massive horse. Everyone had cleared out of the way the moment I had gotten close enough to the leader. Now they all stood waiting and watching for what would happen next. The Barbarian leader trotted his horse towards me and I readied my sword. My friend burst out of the crowd of barbarians and stood next to me. “You have fought well warrior.” The leader said to me in my language. “I fight like all the rest of my brothers.” I said proudly. “Your people should retreat while you still can.” “We will not run from you warrior.” “How about if I defeat you in a duel? Would you leave then?” The leader of the barbarians went into a laughing fit. I felt mocked and angry. I had to do something to get his attention. A dagger lay at my feet. I had never been good at throwing knives and so when I picked up the dagger and sunk it deep into the chest of the barbarian leader’s horse, I couldn’t believe what I had done. The horse fell to the ground, spilling its rider out onto his face. “How about now, Barbarian? Now will you fight me?” The Barbarian rose to his feet. He was clearly angry now. “And if I lose, My people are to retreat.” “That’s right,” I said “Do you agree to the terms?” The barbarian leader picked two huge axes off of the carcass of his horse. He nodded at me and prepared to fight. I winced from the pain in my side and gripped the hilt of my sword. I could save thousands of lives with the outcome of this fight. Right now hundreds of my people were dieing. All I had to do was kill this huge barbarian and ideally the fighting would instantly stop. I looked back at my friend. He nodded and held out his sword to me. I took both my blade and his into my hands. The barbarian leader had two axes, now I had two swords. I no longer could feel the broken spear in my side. Nothing mattered anymore. All I could do was win. I turned and with both swords dragging along behind me I ran strait at the Leader. He crossed his axes in front of him and charged. We were now running strait at each other in a strange horseless jousting match. But I was about to change the rules. I slung my sword around sent it twirling like a boomerang at the leader’s head. He kept the axes crossed in front of his face and allowed the sword to smash into his weapons. The force from the sword knocked one of the axes from his hands and caused him to miss a step. He was now horribly off balance and found himself stumbling at me rather than charging I swung my sword low and felt it hit meat. As I ran past the leader I turned to see him collapse to the ground. Immediately Barbarians began ripping bright red bandanas off of their clothes and throwing them in the air. All at once the enemy was retreating. Barbarians ran past me and my friend without looking at us or touching us. “Don’t worry my friend,” the other soldier said. “There will not be a single person in this land that won’t know what you did. I’ll make sure of it.” When I saw my friend get stabbed I was almost certain he would not leave that battlefield alive. And yet he lived on to tell of my deeds long after the spear wound took my life. And while he could have easily changed the story to glorify himself, he stuck to truth. I never believed in Hell, but my friend showed that there is a little heaven in all of us.