They come – not fast, but steadily – like a drizzle that slowly turns to rain, wetting the ground behind them with the blood of their all too slow escape, foolish enough to believe that the rising tide that pursues them might be resisted on higher ground.
Most of us came here behind the high walls once word reached us about the enemy’s landing and advance.
We leave all behind, crops and live stock, to save ourselves, the rattle of loose wagon wheels no match for the thunder of Calvary hooves.
Yet many come more slowly than us, dragging behind them the deepest of shadows.
When they enemy arrives, we all know they will attack – and our hope lies in the strength of these walls, and courage of our young men who manned them.
We will not be taken alive.
We will kill our own if we have to in the end to prevent what we know will transpire if we don’t.
We have heard tales of survivors before and these terrify us.
But they have so many to bring at us, despite the number of guns we have, and they seem to care nothing about loss of their own, driving wave after wave after us until we fall.
Such tales have been told over and over during our long trek here, and I do not believe them until I see the last of our wagons arrive, and the last of our wounded hobbling in, and see the rise of tide of enemies that fill the world from the foot of our wall to the horizon, at which point I know despair.
Why they need to hurt us, I still do understand.
We are a simple and poor people, struggling yearly to beat out a living from an ever reluctant soil. We have no gold, no silver, and if there is a treasure it is in our hearts that we might live freely to determine our own fate.
But our enemies lust for something we do not understand, each conquest disappointing as to make them seek to spill more blood elsewhere so that village after village vanishes beneath their wrath.
They pause only briefly when they see our wall and our guns and our brave youth standing along the walls in wait.
We hear the shout, and then lash of whips as those behind drive those before them in a rush towards us, our guns firing, then theirs, bone and flesh falling to pieces before our eyes on both sides, young men and old dying before their time on both sides, and still they come, and fall, as our rank resist, grow thin, resist more desperately, then fall back to the inner wall, where their lesser numbers can fill all the spaces, and yet the enemy still comes, flowing over the outer wall, killing and being killed against the inner wall, until our ranks thin again, and our old rise to take our place beside those young men still standing, we fight, and we did, all the time knowing deep inside that we shall never stop them, no more than we might stop the tides of the ocean from rising.