In the morning when she sat up and brushed her hair from her eyes, Shakre saw that he was awake, lying on his side, watching her. In the morning light his facial scars were more prominent. He looked much like a human, though his face was coarser in its features, his nose broad and flat, his eyes deep set below a thick brow. He was hairless, his scalp smooth except for some old scars. His ears were tiny, pressed into his head almost like an afterthought. His neck was as big around as his head, solid muscle joined to massive shoulders and a chest that bulged with more muscle. There didn’t look to be any fat on him, just layer after layer of muscle all the way down to his feet. Mindful of the violence which crouched within him, she made no move to approach him, only sat there with her hands in her lap and returned his gaze.
The clouds were thin and shredded by a brisk wind. The lake grumbled to itself. The Godstooth loomed over them like an aged grandfather about to fall. After a few minutes he sat up, then pushed himself to his feet, though it was with some difficulty. She wanted to help, but she sensed that he did not accept help easily, that it was likely only to enrage him, and she sat without moving while he grunted and levered himself upright. He looked down at her, his eyes a yellow-gold color, like a cat’s. He looked at the cloaks that lay in a pile around him, then at her.
“I am Shakre,” she said, pointing at herself. “I have come to help you.” Her words would mean nothing to him, but she thought the sound of her voice might.
He grunted and turned away from her to look at the fallen bodies of his foes and his great hands clenched. She followed his gaze and a small exclamation of surprise came from her.
The gray-cloaked man was gone.
She got to her feet and walked the few steps to where his body had lain. There were no tracks, no sign of the body walking or being dragged away. No sign of anyone approaching the body. It was simply gone. She shuddered and whispered a prayer for the man he had once been. Kasai owned that one, and Kasai did not easily give up what it had taken. She looked around and saw that the stone pot lying on its side, the lid off. There were marks by it, similar to what a snake would make, leading towards the Godstooth.