"Jernis..." muttered Razalic,panting heavily. "Jernis. I'm cold."
Jernis glanced behind him, perched uneasily on a tree stump, and saw the large man was leaning against a tree, sweat oozing from his pores. Jernis frowned. The woods were proving tough going, with the recent snowstorm, and Razalic had... well, something had happened in the battle. He'd taken a wound, or his nerve had broken, or both at once and now... now the man who'd he'd seen twist a man's head off with his bare hands was acting like a scared boy. It would have made him bad company in most cases.
In this, it made him downright lethal.
They were alone, miles from any support, with the troops of the Cthoniques and their allies all around them. They'd only just escaped capture half-a-dozen times, and each time it was getting closer. And even worse, Jernis was increasingly certain he had no idea where they were...
The sound of hoofs reached Jernis' ears. He ducked down low, and thanked the Seven for the instincts learned during his years as a highwayman that had not left him. If he could just keep quiet, he'd survive...
"Jernis! Jernis! My feet hurt!" moaned Razalic.
Except for the fact he was lugging around a huge moron who didn't understand the concept of stealth. "Get down!" Jernis hissed.
Razalic attempted to do just that, giving a low moan. "My feet hurt, Jernis," he groaned. "My legs hurt. I hurt Jernis!"
The sound of hooves was getting closer. Jernis took a deep breath, and rose to his feet. It was time... to take care of things. "Right. Right." He walked towards Razalic. "I'll help you with that."
Razalic gave a happy nod. "Thank you. Thank you, Jernis. You are a good friend..." Jernis got behind Razalic, and readied his knife. "You..." And then Jernis slit his throat. Razalic gave a brief squeal, while he still could, one of his arms jerking up and knocking Jernis in the face. Jernis swore to himself as he was knocked off his feet--the big man still packed a wallop, even in his diminished state--and then, as he fell, watched his dying partner make a sprawling effort to rise, only to at last fall to the ground.
Jernis watched him, the dull ache in his face gradually sharpening to an exquisite agony as he realized that his jaw was broken. He gave a loud screech, that sounded terrible even to his ears--and then he remembered the horse. The clattering hoofs came closer. Jernis rose unsteadily, wobbling on his feet, readying his knife, as he turned to see the rider.
He saw a ruddy-faced man, clearly a farmer, dismounting. "Oy, sir, are you in...?" began the man.
Jernis made sure he never finished the sentence.