With a few spare moments recently, a friend of mine, Patrick Bobo -- a former co-writer with me at 3sib who currently doesn't have a forum -- penned this short work of fiction in preparation for tonight's showdown with North Carolina State and the subsequent season. I thought it was great and asked his permission to share it with our readers here at Rocky Top Talk. He obliged, and I'm glad I get to post it here.
So, without further adieu, I present to you, "Three-Star General." Hope you guys enjoy!
The man put on his war helmet and climbed onto the rise to look over his troops. His features were drawn, and his beady eyes threatened to leap from his head. His thoughts were whirling like a dervish under his war helmet. He thought of the three stars that were emblazoned on the front of his helmet - representing the men he commanded. He knew what he wanted to say. He knew what he had to say. He spoke with a loud voice that expressed the mixture of both fear and courage that any sane man experiences on the eve of battle. He knew that a man must have a healthy dose of fear in order to truly be brave. It was almost time to march. He took a deep breath and looked out over his wild-eyed and eager men. Seconds passed, seeming like hours. Another deep breath.
"TODAY, GENTLEMEN! It's here. It's time. This is what you have all been waiting for. We have trained and studied our enemy, and I assure you we are ready. I am proud of you men. You are the mightiest group of soldiers I have ever commanded."
He continued, "Last night I received a vision! Hear me now! In my vision, there were packs of red wolves in the land. They were dark men -- dark men with wolves emblazoned on their mail and wolves painted on their shields. They cared for nothing but havoc. Fangs bared, they sought and devoured all that they found. These red wolves were coming for what was mine and what was yours. Our families, our fortunes, our very birthright! They were a pestilence upon the land! The feeling overwhelmed me as I was in the throes of my vision: If we were to have any hope, these wolves must be eradicated, they must be destroyed!!!"
A cheer went up among his dozen or so commanders and platoon numbering approximately six dozen soldiers. He continued, "Take heart, men. For in my vision I also saw giants in this land. A band of righteous volunteers clad in orange had risen up to fight these evil denizens and expel them. The land had been promised to this righteous band of brothers. Was promised to their fathers and their fathers before them. They came in my vision wielding a sword of justice, and no fault was found in them. These righteous volunteers came dealing death and having mercy for none. They were covered with the blood of their foes, and piled corpses of red wolves lay in their wake. In my vision, I was at the front of the column of these volunteers. "Vengeance!" I wailed as we plunged into battle. The righteous volunteers had begun to reclaim their lost titles and lands."
"In my vision there were many others who received news of our conquest of the red wolves. Those of their enemies who had not yet been slain and those who had not yet met these volunteers in battle were much afraid. There were many battles yet to be fought if the volunteers were to fulfill their destiny. A dozen other tribes had also taken titles and lands from these volunteers during the weak days of their fathers. And the volunteers had their minds and hearts set on getting all of it back! The crannogmen of the marshy swampland, the men who marched into battle with bulldogs trained for war, men who trained their roosters and sharpened their spurs for battle. And the mightiest in the land - those evil, despicable men who rode on the backs of pachyderms and who terrorized the whole land?" "SELF-STYLED KINGS!" he scoffed.
"When these other tribes heard tales of what had happened to the red wolves, their men rent their garments and threw dust in the air. Their days were filled with wailing and gnashing of teeth. There was great lament as my volunteers turned their war machine toward the tribes of the south. It was only a matter of time before they conquered their foes in the south and wheeled toward the west to the land of the elephants, where their ancient rivals resided. The elephant men and righteous volunteers had been conquering and reconquering one another for over a century. But a new day was dawning. The volunteers had risen again! DO YOU UNDERSTAND!?!?"
As speech finished, the men experienced a certain clarity about what must be done. The three-starred general climbed from his perch to take his place at the front of the line. The men formed up the line and faced toward the east. Across the expanse of the plain below lay a great red force of fearsome-looking men. Their banners pierced the sky, and if one squinted, he could barely make out the red wolf on a field of black. The men watched as the captain of the infantry, Ty Bray, struck their own banner: the orange T in the center representing their homeland. When the deadly tilt began, the men behind the three star general knew that they had to win. They would win. "Forward!"