"You have a fine helmet," said a voice like chains rattling.
The soldier's eyes grew wide. His heart thudded in his chest. Sweat beaded on his forehead, and he jumped to his feet, snarling, turning, a naked knife flashing. He tossed aside his helmet, which rolled in the reeds.
He saw an old, bearded man with deep-set eyes glimmering like black diamonds. He wore a hauberk of chainmail, orange and red with rust and blood, and orange hose on his legs. Thick skin boots were bound tight to his calves with many thongs of black leather. He leaned on an ashen rod capped with a spearhead, long and triangular and wrought of a yellow metal, with only one cutting edge and slightly curving. The neck of this weapon was decorated with a string of black beads and a pennant of pale yellow, the color of the Eh Kingdoms.
"Declare your self!" spat the soldier, slashing the air with his knife.
The old man grinned, showing rotten teeth, green and yellow with decay. He raised a hand, opened his palm, and let the spear fall away, into the valley between his neck and shoulder.
"I am your friend. I was your ally. Though our formal alliance was probably ended when Volor Chevek was tore by many hands from his pale courser. I saw it happen, saw his blood spatter red on the white face of a sheribriri witch smiling."