“You old bastard!” Dorian had gathered up his longsword and was advancing toward
Druss, who stood with arms folded, waiting.
“No,” said Pinar. “Put up your blade, Dorian.”
“Back off or draw your sword,” Dorian told him. “I have had enough of these games.
You think you are a warrior, old man? Then let us see you use that ax. Because if you
don’t, I will put some air in your belly.”
“Boy,” said Druss, his eyes cold, “think well about this venture. For make no mistake,
you cannot stand before me and live. No man ever has.” The words were spoken softly,
yet no one disbelieved the old man.
“Well, we shall see. Draw your blade!”
Druss slipped Snaga from its sheath, his broad hand curling around its black haft.
He lay on the ground, head half-severed from his neck. Druss hammered Snaga deep
into the earth, cleansing the blade of blood, while Pinar stood in stunned silence. Dorian
had not been a great swordsman, but he certainly had been skilled. Yet the old man had
batted aside the slashing sword and in one flowing motion had returned the attack—all
without moving his feet. Pinar looked down at the body of his former companion. You
should have stayed at the Dros, he thought.
“I did not want that to happen,” said Druss, “but I gave him fair warning. The choice
...skipped a little small talk...
“Are you really going back, Hagir?” asked one of the men.
“Yes. Yes, I am.”
“But why?” urged another. “Nothing has changed. Except that we shall all be on
report and probably flogged.”
“It’s him—he’s going there. The Captain of the Ax.”
“Druss! That was Druss?”
“Yes, I am sure of it.”
“How sickening!” said the other.
“What do you mean, Somin?” asked Hagir.
“Dorian—Druss was Dorian’s hero. Don’t you remember him talking about him? Druss
this and Druss that. It is one reason he joined up—to be like Druss and maybe even to
“Well, he met him,” said Hagir somberly.