Gregor strolls to a corpse lying on the ground. Its head had been pulverized into the ground, the spine broken and useless, pieces of skull radiated out like a starburst. Gregor gathers the corpse’s legs together, and with one hand grasped behind its knees, he lifts it casually to his shoulder. As he walks to gather another, the remnants of the corpse’s head, held on only by a few pieces of skin and sinew, bounce wetly off the back of his calf. Rather than make him bloodier, it just smears the blood that was already there.

Lyle watched the man, saw the remains of his friends drip down the man’s bare chest, and back. Lyle had been scouting ahead, to be the first warning sign, and he had failed to see the company of men that had ambushed his comrades, and failed to see them retreat. They must have lain in wait, and come from behind. Lyle is quiet, and the man is distracted, so Lyle creeps forward, looking for the perfect time to strike.

Gregor drops his burdens on the ground. Then he uses a nearby sword to cut the bindings on their armor, and pulls it off. Only the pieces with metal must come off; they are allowed to keep their clothes. Anything that will burn. When he is done stripping them, he throws them on the pile of corpses already there. He looks around. He is almost done. Just a few more to go.

Lyle watches Bern and Keri get tossed like so much garbage. The man is strong. Lyle must choose his moment well. He might not get a second chance.

Gregor bends over another corpse when a sword appears out of his chest. It was well aimed, starting just to the left of his spine and exiting just under his sternum. It easily punctures numerous vital organs, any one of which should kill him. Gregor calmly turns around to see another corpse staring at him, wide-eyed, mouth open.

“You, you’re not human,” Lyle says, too frozen in shock to run.

“No, not anymore,” Gregor replies, and he grasps the corpse in his right hand while with his left hand he awkwardly pulls the sword out of his back. Then he drives the sword into the corpse, entering through the groin. The sword comes out wet. He drops the corpse. Another one for the pyre.

Lyle is stripped of his metal and thrown with the rest of his men. After the man gathers enough wood, he lights a massive fire, and they are thrown onto it one by one.

Gregor watches the corpses burn. He doesn’t smell the cooking meat, or hear the sizzle and pop. He sees only the fire. The all-consuming fire.

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