Chapter 1: The Mission Part 1Edit

The assassins stood side by side, a small elite squad who had faced numerous skirmishes to get to their destination; a place simply known as “The Kennel”. It was rumoured to be the location of the highest ranked officer of the Dark Army; General Shadeshooter, a dragon whose anger and ruthlessness knew no bounds. These assassins, the SAWAT (WO version of the SWAT team lol), were there to kill him.

These six pets were the best the SAWAT had to offer, the last hope of winning the war, and saving the world from certain destruction. Their leader, “Eagle”, had eyes keener than his namesake and a rocket that had taken the lives of more Dark Army pets than any other assassin of the SAWAT. Eagerly following were his squad; Thorn, Cesar, Wolfen, Hugo and Flamer, each with their own skills to ensure a successful mission.

They faced an extraordinary task, with the Elite Guard surrounding the Kennel and the nearby area, armed to the teeth with the latest weapons; heavy miniguns, shock rifles and explosives, all designed to protect the one man bringing devastation across the land. Snipers lined the cliffs and all of the surrounding roads were blockaded, with planes flying overhead and jeeps regularly patrolling the area. The heroes faced a difficult mission and they knew it...

The plain they stood before was known as “Critter Falls”, a barren strip of land with dense foliage leading towards the camp. The Earth had been scorched by uncountable bombardments, a sign of the conflict that had been brought to an area that was once so peaceful. This was a familiar sight to the soldiers, and to the many civilians whose lives had been dramatically altered.

SAWAT's first goal was to cross Critter Falls. Although it seemed to be empty and desolate, the trained eye could spot the telltale signs that the enemy was there. A small wire here, the slight beeping sound that was faint even in the eerie silence, the squad carefully made their route through the minefield. A single wrong step would spell game over for them. Safely, they made it to a tree, a brief respite from the relentless sun, at the end of the plain.

They took this moment to rest, for they would need their strength for what lay ahead. The leader (Eagle) reflected on his orders he had received form Headquarters. Then, in the corner of his eye, Eagle noticed a small red dot travelling along his outfit, moving upwards towards his head. A sniper was aiming for him. Whistling softly, the leader looked over on the direction that the laser was coming from, and very nonchalantly waved at his enemy. Puzzled, the sniper hesitated for a brief moment, but that was all they needed; Eagle’s squad converged on him, and the threat was no more. The first blood of their campaign had been spilt, and it would not be the last...

Further on, past the barren Falls, there was a town, so old that its name had been forgotten by even its residents, though they were long gone. Instead of the usual sounds of life, the town had succumbed to the effects of war. The streets were silent, save from the occasional footsteps of soldiers as they marched by. The town was a shadow of its former self. However, it was still there; one of the many barriers between the squad and the target. The Dark Army flag flew high in the courtyard and creeping along the rooftops, SAWAT looked down at it with contempt. Welcome to Sink or Swim.

An enemy soldier had fallen asleep at his post, slumped against the wall, an empty mug of water clutched in his hand. In the silence, his light breathing sounded like violent snoring. Creeping along, the pets reached the last houses, and on the other side of the last roof was a sheer drop, all the way down to the road below. One by one, they climbed down the rope, crossed the road, and waited, hiding in the shadows. The last of the squad, Hugo, was about to descend when one of the roof tiles came free beneath his foot. Sliding over the edge, it smashed upon the concrete below. Disrupting the silence, the noise echoed in the streets. Alarmed, the soldier awoke and, spotting the surprised SAWAT member above, yelled aloud.

The Dark Army forces appeared from every building, responding to the alert. Trapped, Hugo had no choice but to surrender. Down below in the shadows of the roadside, his fellow commandos could do nothing but watch. Reluctantly, they turned around and entered the valley, leaving Hugo at the mercy of the Dark Army....

Hugo could not be rescued; the elite guard were too many, and the SAWAT too few. And anyways, they had a mission to complete. The group, now one fewer, moved into the most dangerous area yet; a narrow valley, cutting between two steep cliffs that were lined with the best marksmen in all the land. It was claimed that they could hear every sound, see every detail, and unlike their soldier counterparts, the snipers were alert and professional. It was rumoured that the General himself had once been part of their ranks.

Intel had suggested that there were five snipers along this region of the cliff, the same number of SAWAT members at this stage of the mission. Eagle adapted his plan quickly. The best way to attack would be the age-old element of surprise. Equipped with the latest technology from SAWAT HQ, they climbed the cliff face, as invisible as the light breeze blowing through the air.

Sure enough, there they were; five young animals, each one intently scanning the ground below. They had been for hours and would have continued to do so, if not for the Razor Apples twisted into their backs, or drawn across their throats. There was a small sigh of relief throughout the group; their greatest threat so far had been dispatched with minimal effort.

Their sense of relief was short-lived. There was a whistling sound through the air and a dull thud. Wolfen fell to the floor, followed by the rest of the squad until only Flamer and Eagle were left standing. There was a hot searing pain across Eagle’s leg, a sense of falling, and then....nothing...

Consciousness was gradual, and the pain present was overwhelming. Eagle’s vision was blurred, yet he made out the outline of two men. His hearing was distorted, not quite making out the words. Then the darkness came again, and the pain died away...

Chapter 1: The Mission Part 2

When next he came to, the pain had gone, he was warm and comfortable. Instead of the hard ground beneath him, there were sheets. There was still a dull feeling in his leg; one that even over time, he was certain would not fade. As Eagle’s vision sharpened, he realised he was in a large room, warm and cosy, with a fireplace and a fire that gave the room a pleasant glow.

The main feature of the room was its other occupant; Hugo, the one man who had not been present on the cliff. He was grimacing as if uncomfortable at looking at his leader, yet there was one thing that Eagle couldn’t believe. Perhaps he was hallucinating? Perhaps his condition was causing his mind to play tricks on him? Whether it was true or not, the pet sitting across the room was wearing the outfit of a lieutenant of the Dark Army.

Several days and several nights passed, and gradually Eagle began to realise that he was of sound mind. On the fifth evening, an officer came to his room, bearing the news that he was to speak to the General. His SAWAT uniform was returned, and although his rifle and Razor Apples were gone, they had failed to notice a small blade that had been stitched into the inside of the sleeve. Eagle was then escorted through a series of winding corridors, before stopping at an impressive solid oak door. The officer knocked, and then leading the SAWAT, entered the hall. The General was a tall dragon, wearing a simple uniform that most men on the front line would wear. He was young, yet the burden of responsibility had aged him, and as he looked up from his map, a long, thin scar that ran across his left cheek and across his eye was visible. Shade wore a plain belt upon which was a holster and a scabbard, both containing weapons. He then looked down at the map and continued studying it. Eagle wandered over to the table, exchanging a brief glance with his enemy. Looking down, he recognised the region shown on the map. It was that of the village, nicknamed “Camp Victory”, and the main base of operations for the SAWAT. Eagle was staring at plans to attack his comrades.

Edging along the table, as if to get a different perspective, he unpicked the threads concealing the blade. In one swift motion, Eagle moved behind the General and held the slender blade to the pet’s throat. He could end the war here and now. All it would take would be one smooth cut, and that would be it. The door burst open at that very moment, and stepping through it were the familiar faces of his squad. They had no accompanying guards and they made a start towards him as if to protect the Dark leader. In disbelief, Eagle dropped the blade. One traitor had been a surprise but Eagle stared in disbelief at his SAWAT Squad, that all wore the uniform of the Dark Army.

At first he experienced disbelief, yet as Eagle came to terms with the situation, this changed to anger. How dare they betray SAWAT! They had seen the photos, read the accounts, heard the stories of the atrocities that had been occurred. They had signed up for this mission; they had sworn an oath that as long as there was breath in their bodies, they would continue. However, they were in the same room as the target, and not a single one made a move.

It was then that the target nodded at the squad who then surrounded the table. A folder was opened, entitled “War Crimes”. The following minutes were a blur for Eagle. Shade, with the assistance if the squad, explained the truth behind the war; of the events at the beginning, of SAWAT’s actions and most importantly, Goodman. The evidence was compelling, and could not be denied. His thoughts were scattered. Eagle had spent his life to defeating evil, but now his perception had been dramatically altered. Those once his allies were now revealed, and those whom had been his enemies were simply struggling to survive. The confusion was clearing, though the anger remained. Goodman would pay, Eagle would make sure of this personally.


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