Sarakis approached the forest lighting over which he had spotted the crows. They had led him to a bloody mess. About a dozen men and women lay there, slain by strokes of the sword, blows of the axe or pierced with arrows. The arrow victims were his favorite. Damage to the underlying frame was minute, compared to sword and axe injuries. The battle was not too long ago, Sarakis figured from the state of decay. Aside from the injuries, the flesh was still pretty much intact, and despite the heavy rains, the gear was hardly rusted.

Sarakis prodded one of the corpses, a young man in cheap chain mail, medium build, his shield still strapped to his left forearm. There was an axe not far from him, an unwieldy thing for one hand only. The weapon didn’t seem to be his, though. It is more likely it belonged to his attacker, as his head injury suggested. A likely scenario was that the young man was killed, and his attacker was blindsided and disarmed by one of the young man’s companions. Sarakis took a deep breath and visualized this assailant who lost the axe. He had to be a large man, and strong in order to wield the axe with deadly efficiency. If he had been fatally injured, he wouldn’t have gotten far. He was likely a mercenary from the mountains of Balfour in the service of Toruan. Poor craftsmanship, but capable warriors due to their brutality, and tough as bone, and yet, only human. A dagger to the kidney, and he was done for. His blood trail would be hard to follow because of the recent rains, but his mystical signature was becoming more distinct with every detail Sarakis found out about his target. Distinct enough for him to know that he stumbled off due west-south-west and collapsed from blood loss some thirty or forty yards away, which is where Sarakis headed next.

The corpse had been picked on by carrion crows, but not much. One eye was missing, and as Sarakis had guessed correctly, a Dagger had pierced his studded leather jerkin and protruded through his kidney. Sarakis pulled a knotted string from his waist bag. Seven knots, from heel to crown, and there was still room for a finger or two, which put this man’s size near six feet and a half. With his build, around two hundred pounds, he would make a perfect specimen for resurrection. All he needed was a new kidney and eye, and there would have to be some undamaged organs in those other poor sods on the lighting. Sarakis touched the dead warrior, infusing him with magical energy, just enough for him to stand up and stagger over to the other corpses. Pus and putrid blood seeped from the stabbed kidney as he moved his torso, trying to keep his center of mass above the leg he was moving. Sarakis seems to have given him a little much energy. The dead warrior staggered towards an arrow victim lying near the center of the lighting, when he should have collapsed again at the edge. Sarakis stopped the warrior from chopping off the arrow victim’s head with a sword he had picked up next to him by draining the excess magic. This was odd behavior. The magic Sarakis used should not have reactivated his memory, so his motivation would not have been a grudge toward his opponents. Sarakis knelt next to the man to inspect him, find out what was so special about him. Ebony arrow, stuck in the left chest, penetrated chainmail and gambeson. Sarakis pulled pliers from his waist bag and spread some of the rings, and when he saw the coagulated blood on the skin, he figured it out.

“What do you know, we’ve got a live one”


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