Was it all over?
Standing to one side in the chapel, watching the battered and bloody woman Sine collapse back onto a pew with a disgusted look on her face, Herros felt as if his usefulness in the day’s battle had been exhausted. The captain’s mad plan had worked – to Thurak’s displeasure, yes, but that would be on the captain’s head and no other’s – and their king had the strength he needed to face the Sixth and once again subdue it. It was a simple creature; Herros’s tricks would not be of much use against it, and he certainly did not possess strength enough to face it directly. Thurak would prevail, or he would falter, and either way his retainers would not be of any use in the struggle.
He turned his gaze to the captain. The man stood motionless, not looking at Herros, or Sine, or the goddess he had just helped to reincarnate; his gaze was fixed downward, either at the floor in front of him or on a time and place far removed. Herros could not tell whether his leader was lost in prayer or recrimination. Stepping forward, he cleared his throat before speaking.
“I’m going to look in on Laas and Chirt, sir. Try and get them somewhere safer.” His superior nodded distractedly and offered nothing more by way of reply. The strange, callous woman made a strange noise under her breath that could have been a laugh. Herros ignored her and moved for the exit.
His steps faltered as a mighty crash shook the castle, pitching him into the doorjamb as sounds of stone and steel rang through the passages. Righting himself, he strode out into the corridor and headed for the control room, feeling more than a little relief that the sounds of battle were now at his back.
He had made up his mind: this whole farce would be over soon, for himself and for as many of his friends as he could rally. Enough was enough.