Today's writing exercise comes in as two (unrelated) snippets.
The water trickled down the mountainside from snow melting on its peak. A drop here, a drop there. Some pooled in tiny crevices until it flowed over the side and continued down. The water followed the path of least resistance, joining with other drops until tiny streams formed. The streams flowed down and around caves that various animals used to nest.
The flow continued through the dense forest surrounding the mountainside where birds swooped through the tree tops and many animals climbed tree trunks or jumped from branch to branch looking for food for their young or creating nests to impress a mate. Some water stayed in the forest, absorbed by the trees or drank by the animals, but much of it continued to flow down tiny falls and along well worn river beds until the trees became sparse.
Still the water flowed, picking up momentum and volume as it was joined by other streams, until it burbled along past fields of grain, fruit, and other vegetation where farmers maintained their crops. Some of the water was diverted to supply the crops, some was stored in barrels and tanks for the people to drink, cook, or bath with, but still the water flowed downstream past the small village at the forest edge.
The water flowed onward to a large fortress made of stone where it flowed through grates and was used to quench blades from forges, supply for horses and other animals, among many other things. Through canals, pipes, and grates, picking up bits and pieces of dirt and traces of metal until it continued past the fortress and through more valleys to deposit its passengers across the river bed.
Into level marshlands the water began to disperse. Splitting paths to saturate the land into mud, creating stagnant pools ideal for many animals to hide, lay their eggs, or to hunt. Much growth sprung from the water-saturated land rich with the fertile soil that had been carried across the land.
Yet still some water flowed, onward to meet the salty open ocean.
The soldier used a stick to push around the coals of the fire before throwing the stick into the fire as well. He looked up at the stars and sighed. The war with Ifrel had been going on for nearly a year now with no end in sight. The weight of the war was starting to wear on the people and many were starting to forget why they were at war to begin with. He looked around at his fellow soldiers and saw much the same weariness that he felt repeated in their body language and on their faces. If they weren't fighting to protect their lives and the lives of their people many of these soldiers would have left the front lines to return home. Why were they fighting? What were they fighting for?
He thought back to the day he heard the announcement in his home village far from the front lines. He had been tending to the chickens that supplied eggs for the village when he saw a rider enter the village. At first he didn't think much of it; riders came and went with news, trade, mail, and other small deliveries on a regular basis so this one wasn't likely to be any different. Just as he was locking the chicken coop up the village bell began ringing signaling an important announcement that everyone needed to hear right away. This was now very unusual.
It didn't take long before most of the villagers had gathered and the courier made the announcement: War had been declared against Ifrel. [insert justification]
Up until that point life had been good. It was always somewhere else that Bad Things happened; not here, not to them. The worst that happened around those parts was a sprained ankle, a wild dog scaring the chickens, or Granny Pucket forgetting the beans on the fire. No, this was major.