They feign neutrality then raid your peripheries in the dead of night with thunder cracks and lightning flashes. In the morning they deny everything and stare with wide-eyed innocence at the smouldering path they have carved through you. All attempts at appeasement fail; with no options remaining, you reluctantly launch your assault.
The goal is conquest, but some stories refuse to be conquered. Mounting a formidable defense, they decimate your avant garde and dig in doggedly against your heavy artillery, and as you relentlessly rain shells down upon their positions you become enraged by the faint lilts of mocking laughter filtering through the morse code pauses between explosions.
You wipe the sweat from your brow and steel your eyes against the setting sun staining the sky red beyond the trenches. As the last sliver of sun dips beneath the horizon, you understand the turning back point has slipped past you. You are fully committed now. Entangled in a war of attrition with an enemy that refuses to be beaten.
Some stories fight you and will continue to fight you until fully vanquished, battered and bloody, staring up at the point of your sword in seething terror. Sadly, the best stories regard surrender as dishonor. At the last moment they will turn upon themselves and bleed ink until they are lifeless, leaving you with nothing but a stretch of ravaged earth and the bitter aftertaste of victory so hollow it echoes only pain.