A young man, son of their thane, lies on his face. He is covered with a thick layer of dirt mixed with blood (not all of which is his).
"Please, do not slay him."
"What are you willing to sacrifice for such a boon?"
A fair-haired, fair-looking man smiles curiously at the pleading father, old of age, clutching to his cane. Rey stares at these two, not able to avert her gaze. She is both enchanted and terrified by the speaker. His looks are most beautiful, his words are wise, his eyes are piercing like the sharpest blades. No one has told her, but deep in her heart she knows he is no Man; no, an ancient god clad in mortal flesh, shining like a beacon in the darkest night, wicked as all the creatures of the Enemy. There is nothing she can do to save their leader's son, their only hope in the creeping days of Shadow.
"I am willing to sacrifice my life to save him from death," she says as she steps forward and clenches her teeth to stop them from clattering.
The fair-haired one raises his eyebrows in amusement, while a tall knight clad in black puts the tip of his longsword to her chest, denying her passage.
"You cannot sacrifice what does not belong to you anymore," comes a voice from behind his mask.
She takes half a step more. Her voice is hoarse.
"I can take my life whenever I want. Thus, it belongs to me only."
The fair-haired one suppresses a laugh. "Decide now," he tells the Knight.
The Knight falls silent.
"I accept your offering," he says at last. "But I will keep your life; for some time."
Rey is engulfed by both relief and regret overwhelming.