‘The Merriment Battalion’ by Tristen Dooknah, Year 11, Saint Thomas More Language College

Emboldened with an incorruptible mantra of unity, the Merriment Battalion strived
to conquer all nations. Their soldiers, the Merrymen, were not your typical squadron:
they wielded peace as their weapon – imbued with justice instead of malice – in which
their unconventional approach brought harmony in a world plagued with chaos.
They rode fearlessly into the gnawing jaws of the most formidable foes, vanquishing
and liberating hearts that drowned in the chalice of malevolence.

But this battle was different. Hostile.

Across the war-torn earth, phantoms draped in red fatigues lurked with sinister
intent, shrouded in cloaks of iniquity. The horde’s unnatural behaviour caused their
silhouettes to assimilate and morph into devilish figures. Their suffocating trenches,
smothered by strangling sods, gasped for life; desperate and helpless, the rotten earth
pleaded to be unchained from the shackles of the burnt embers that held it hostage.

These hostile forces poured out the trenches, wave after wave, like a never ending
river of blood. The Merriment’s bullets contributed their share of secrets,
slow-dancing gracefully but eventually lost to the human eye, dissipating into an inky,
gunpowder-fuelled mirage. Faint outlines in the mist could be discerned where
distant shadows kissed the chidden soil. After exchanging lives and metal shells
throughout a tiresome battle, prolonged for innumerable hours, a deafening silence
echoed throughout.

Did they win?

Winning was the least of their priorities.

Now the horde, from a distance only seeming red flecks, began to rise from their
slumber. The enemy crawled up from their most irredeemable depths, one after
another. It was detected in the air, a poignant smell of rotting flesh marking the age
of a new era, to those who have never known defeat. For the first time, the Merriment
Battalion shuddered from head to toe in fear of meeting their callous Gods, who have
condemned them to this unripened hellish world. Despite this, a few brave souls
emerged from the Merriment’s trenches, ploughing on into the welcoming grin of

The piercing war cry of the tarnished creatures drowned out the drumming beat of
the Merrymen as both sides charged relentlessly into each other. As they merged,
cries were simultaneously lost and found in the cacophony of agony. A blanket of
blood insulated the collective suffering of the Merrymen. Followers of the light,
extinguished by the ones where shadows are afraid to follow. To deliver what is theirs.
Destined death.

All because this battle was different. Hostile.