“Oh shit that burns!” Marcus yelled at one of the ‘healers’ trying to treat his wounds. The healer was attempting to disinfect the wound by cauterizing it with a hot metal spit. At first the cut had just been bound in bandages but infection was something that could not be risked in a siege. Yells and groans of pain would come from others with ‘minor’ wounds.  Rat had numerous cuts and gashes in his body. It was a miracle that the man had lived through the ordeal. He had been so tired that the disinfecting didn’t even wake him. Marcus thought the man was in a coma.

The smell of burned skin and death had found its way into every nook and cranny of the city. Neither side had attempted to remove the dead from the streets after the clash. The defenders held till nightfall when the Aceluns had pulled their troops back. The Tanonites had taken huge losses however and would have been overrun had it not been for the cramped streets and narrow entrance to the city.

“How much more do ya gotta poke me doc?” Marcus asked the old graying army vet that was treating him.

“You’re almost done there kiddo.” He replied and then went on to say. “Since there are no stiches you should be good to get right back out on the frontline tomorrow.”

“Just what I want, another opportunity to see you.”

“Hah, well maybe you wont have to ‘see’ me again!” Silence hung in the air. “You know, because you’ll be dead.”

“Yeah, thanks doc, just full of inspiration aren’t ya.”

“Get your ass outa here and hopefully we won’t see each other again.”

Marcus’ dislike for physicians was nothing new. There was just something about them, like nothing was too personal, especially death. That group of individuals just really got to him, they had a gift to press his buttons.

He went to go check on Rat. The man had saved not only his life but singlehandedly halted the Acelun attack. He had become a champion, quick.

Marcus approached the area of the triage that Rat was currently resting in. “Hey there buddy, how ya feeling?”

Rat turned towards Marcus, large permanent scars already prominent on his tortured body. His eyes however danced with life as he said “Avatars, we was avatars jus like I told ya!”

“Yeah, well at least you were.”

“Aw don be so bashful! I saw yeh out there slashing away wit that pilfered sword of yours. Ya did jus fine!” Rat let out a chuckle but immediately grimaced. He had sustained significant abdominal damage during the fighting.  Rat closed his eyes and said “Hey, I am gonna take a nap. Ill see you for the next fight tho-“ Unable to finish his sentence he fell asleep.

Marcus left the room and headed towards the barracks. His stomach groaned. All of the excitement of the day had begun to wear off and normal habits began to take hold. The mess hall was much less crowded than he had ever seen it. Grabbing his rations from the server he headed towards a remnant of his squad.

“Hey guys.” He said as he sat down.

“Hey Marc” a medium sized man with short curly blonde hair, who was unsurprisingly nicknamed Curly, said to the right of him. The rest mumbled the same basic message.

“Can you guys believe what Rat did to those bastards out there?” Another at the table added. A long line of burned flesh snaked down one of his arms. The group called him Bigs. He lived up to the name, the man was huge. Not as big as Rat but more imposing like he would rip you to shreds if you looked at him wrong.

Red stated “Even the hard ass professional soldiers were impressed with that madman.” The group had nicknamed him Red after a sexual escape had gone very unexpectedly in one of the brothels.

“Yeah, if it hadn’t been for him I woulda been one of those bodies out there right now.” Marcus said.

“Hey if it weren’t for that crazy bastard a lot of us would’ve been dead. Near the end, Aceluns began just to stay the hell away from him.” Bigs reasoned.

Marcus looked up from his meal “He had said he wanted to be an avatar of death out there. Didn’t know the sonofabitch would actually become one.”

The next few hours went by without much excitement. Rat continued to rest while Marcus the squad and a very large majority of the militia continued to praise him. Marcus finally got up and left for bed. His head rested on the pillow for less than a minute before he joined his comrade Rat in blissfully unaware sleep. 

The End

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