Carnivale de Morte


Immortalised in the eponymous poem “Carnival,” the Carnivale de Morte was a nomadic troupe of disenfranchised soldiers who formed up in the aftermath of one of the bloodiest conflicts along the notorious Eastern borders: the infamous, and nigh-on impregnable Gebirgsdurchlauf pass.

Hopelessly outnumbered, the battle was an exercise in futility, fought only to appease the egos of pampered generals in heavily armoured bunkers many miles from the front. Decimated almost to the point of eradication, the ragtag remains of Pepper’s Peregrines battalion finally extricated themselves from enemy fire by dynamiting a section of the mountains and digging in until air support finally arrived.

This battle was the last straw, and the Peregrines mutinied, declaring autonomy from the out-of-touch military command. Instead they found a new role in life – Carnivalistas. Hewing a huge block of the mountain that had saved their lives into a megalithic tombstone as homage to their fallen comrades, the soldiers began a slow, yet unstoppable, pilgrimage across the scarred landscape back to their homes.

As they travelled back to the West, the Carnival garnered popular support amongst a largely sympathetic population, and it was indeed a festive atmosphere when the gargantuan mobile cenotaph appeared on the horizon, slowly approaching the next town on their route. Indeed, the only ones to fear its arrival were those pampered, cowardly senior military officials who had consigned the soldiers to almost certain death. Each stop en route was a strange combination of celebration combined with ruthless elementary justice: with the innocent civilians thrilled at the sights and sounds of the daredevil show, yet senior politicians and military personnel had much to fear from the vengeful troupe.

For them, evasion was impossible from these highly trained troops, and anyone deemed guilty of war crimes by Pepper could expect only one sentence: death.

Prisoners were staked out on the ground along the Carnival’s intended route, and when it came time to travel to the next destination, the massive monument would simply plough over them – a horrific death by either crushing or suffocation; yet, perhaps, a fitting punishment for those who consigned so many fighting men to die for no good reason.

Brave men, few and lost
Found comrades fallen
And carried them far.

Across old lands of conflict
Gave solace to the loved
And crushed all cowards deserved.

Pepper’s justice told
Upon the Command Corrupt
And set the hope of nations alive.

Now historic giant
Remains carved eternal
And all roads shall repeat the tale.

(excerpt from “Carnival” by the Innocent Bystander.)

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