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The fields are grey and black. Stumps of trees jut up to the sky with broken and charred husks. Their twisted remains look ancient and frail. Fine trails of smoke waft up from the holes in the ground. Small embers can be seen under roots. Bits of metal, burned black, protrude from the soil. It is unclear as to what the objects were. Their function no longer matters. Calm now blankets the land.

Two days ago, this area was a lush forest covering a large hillside. A heat haze can be seen now running the ridgeline towards a cold grey sky. The year’s cold looks at odds with the surroundings. Boots step through the dark grey soot and leave light grey footprints in their wake. Ash can still be seen drifting down like snowflakes. The only sounds are the slow wind and the crunch of the march. The only smell is of charred earth and cold air. On and up the hill, they walk. No words are spoken. The big guns were the last to speak here; unleashing fury, their words broke over like an avalanche on the land. Their shells found their mark. The message was clear. Scorched Earth Policy: everything burns.

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