It was a gruesome sight, a naked body high up on some sort of a crescent darkspawn seemed to favor for obscure reasons, kept in place by metal spikes running through abdomen, ribcage, chest and palms, hands spread wide. A hunter's trophy on display.
He didn't have any esteem for the diseased, the man was a fool - what he saw on the desolated battlefield just confirmed the conclusion he came to from Elissa and Alistair's stories. To gloriously go to fight in the bare field, with just wooden pikes as a protection, while having a perfectly defensible fortress - what a stupidity.
The man deserved to be dead, but no one deserved an after death like this.
"We have to bury him properly," said Alistair, and Zevran nodded in approval, as did everyone around him.
"You are right, of course," said their fearless leader, and frowned. "But the execution of that presents quite a logistical problem... hm..."
"Ugh?" said the ex-templar.
"She believes," he translated, "that it will be difficult to do."
"Why not… just, you know, say so?"
"Nobles love to use big words."
"'Logistically' is not big," said Elissa absentmindedly, as she came near the crescent's base and poked it with her dagger.
"Hm. It's wood."
"I see no problem then," said Morrigan. She wrapped her arms around herself and scowled. "I put all this... construction on fire, it will burn to ashes in a minute, and we'll finally leave this blasted place."
"Are you cold, dear?" Zevran smiled to her, "you know, I..."
"You," said the witch, "shut up. And don't approach me. Or I'll set you on fire."
"So you don't want a blanket I have in my bag. Well, your loss."
She eyed him, then nodded regally, and extended her arm.
"You can give it to me. But don't come near."
He chuckled, complying. "Really, your high opinion of my charms is swelling my pride to an indecent size."
"Meaning, that usually your... pride's size is decent?"
He laughed, but before he could reply, Alistair turned to them and bellowed:
"Would you shut up! It's not a time for such... such..."
"Levity?" offered Zevran.
Zevran considered the livid look on Alistair's face, and decided to just nod. Ex-templar was taking the stupid king's sort very personally. He didn't understand why it was so, some information was clearly missing, but it wasn't worth to sacrifice the beginning of... whatever ("Hey, we fight well together!") for just a banter, even a quite amusing one.
"So," she said, enveloping herself in the blanket. "Move aside, Elissa, I'll cast fire now."
"No!" cried Alistair. "It's not right. It's not decent!"
Elissa turned from the crescent she was examining.
"You know, it's the most adequate solution. The effort applied is minimal, and..."
"But it's not decent! It's not right, not human, he should be properly laid down, and..."
"Well, I suppose..." Elissa hesitated, as usual when decency or proper human behavior was mentioned. Zevran could see from her concentrated gaze that she was analyzing the situation and updating her mental list of proper reactions. Maker messed this girl all right, the pretty little human noble had a soul of a dwarf. She was mostly interested in architecture, weapons, poisons and strategy. People came far below.
"Zevran, could you get him down from there?"
"Of course. Everything for the pretty lady."
Internally he signed. It wasn't an extremely difficult task per se, the crescent was easy to escalate, but the process of removing the body from the pikes promised to be a very messy one. The body was most surely magicked to last longer, considering the complete absence of decomposition, and that meant the blood would probably be liquid still. Oh joy.
"So we take him down, and... Morrigan, could you set just the body on fire, without any wood?"
"Certainly. Should I provide a demonstration?" she smiled sweetly, and looked in Alistair's direction.
"Of course not," Elissa was clearly surprised. "I believe you assess your skills objectively."
"No wood?" exclaimed Alistair. "But he deserves a proper pyre!"
"The reason for the pyre is to get the body burned, is it not? Then what's the need to the wood when magic can do it better and quicker?"
"It's... it's tradition! To use proper fire, and not some witchy magic. And not to just... just.. put him down here, in all this filth..."
"But we could find a clean place," said Elissa.
"Pyre," said Alistair, "is a remembrance of Andraste. It's how it's done."
The mental list was adapted again.
Zevran sighed. Not only he would do a messy body moving, but also a wood searching - and surely also cutting, and carrying, there was no way for Alistair to finish the pyre alone before darkness.
They did finish it before darkness - but barely. The wood was scarce here, and whatever wood they managed to find was frozen, and heavy, and needed to be extracted from the snow, and cut - and darkspawn axes was extremely uncomfortable to use. They used the remains from the big camp fire (Alistair treated these logs as saint relics) and still the pyre was barely up to his waist when Elissa stopped the work.
"It's quite enough for symbolic reasons," she said. "Now, the body. Zevran, are you sure, you can?.."
"Yes." He was tired, but the surface like one of the crescent he could escalate in his sleep, with one hand behind his back.
And so he did. And he was right, the body removal was indeed the most difficult part. He extracted the pikes one by one, trying to not tear the wounds too much. When the last one was removed, the body fell in his embrace, and he could just jump down, holding it.
And he was right on the other part as well. The blood indeed remained liquid.
"You're almost of royal blood now, Zevran," said Morrigan.
He smirked, putting the troublesome body on the pyre. "Yes, he is practically my blood brother."
Alistair nearby seemed to choke, and only a hard back slap from Elissa made him breath normally.
"Now," she said, "does anyone have a fire?"
"Most certainly," said Morrigan, and before Alistair could protest, the blazing cone erupted from her hands, and the pyre burned.
"They were frozen logs! You imagine the time it would have taken to make them burn?"
"She is right," said Elissa.
Alistair didn't seem too happy, and to appease him, she made them all remain near the pyre till it completely burned.
And making semblance of mourning.
Zevran never voiced his disapproval of such treatment, but disapproved nevertheless.