Blood soaked the cooling mud as a fall breeze swept over the fields of Aizl. A long broadsword shifted beneath the gloved hand of a woman cloaked in rags and mismatched plates of steel armor.
Ahead of the woman’s gaze a man lay beneath his dead horse, struggling to free himself from the weight. As the armor clad figure stepped closer, the trapped soldier began to plead.
“No, please m’lady! I beg of you!” his arm strained against the horse’s corpse, “I have served this realm all my life! I only killed a few men m’lady, stray arrows in battle, nothing more!”
The ragged warrior stepped over the horse and effortlessly pushed past the arms that tried to hold her back, putting her fingers on either side of the soldier’s eye and forcing it open.
Her haggard face stared deep into the man’s eyes. The soldier’s pupil and iris had begun to crack and fade to white, a sure sign of wraithdom. The woman stood and took a firmer grip on her sword.
“Dunlan Lire, having directly taken the life of another, you have given a piece of your soul to the void. Your humanity is forfeit.”
“It wasn’t my fault, m’lady! Please, my offenses were accidents in combat! A simple-”
“It matters not, Lire. You have begun to wraith. There is no return for you.”
Dunlan continued to plead as the woman positioned her sword. Her scarred face bowed and her cracked lips parted as she began the rights.
“My heart is steeled against the darkness. My blood is the fire that lights the world. If I am not justified in taking this life, strike me down and turn my body to ash.”
Her sword dropped into Dunlan Lire’s neck, severing his head from the body in a single strike. The woman took a long breath of the autumn wind and stood in silence among the shifting grass.
Alone in the fields of Aizl, she waited for the recompense she knew would never come.