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The shame stung more than the wounds did. How many times was she warned to show no mercy to her enemies? An inch to the left and the mage would have killed her, as it was, he still did a number on her lung. Of course she knew even without mana he could still be dangerous, but he was defeated, no hope of escaping. Her mistake was in assuming his desire to live would be greater than his hatred of anyone carrying a sword.

“Sera, do you think I should have killed him right away?” Anaan asked, knowing Sera was only pretending to be asleep. She knew Sera could never sleep after being so scared that she would lose Anaan.

“I’ve killed unarmed men. Men who didn’t even know I was there. Sometimes, injured men that had no way of escaping.” It wasn’t an answer, not exactly.

“I’ve killed more people than I can count. So much death, so often unnecessary. I just feel as if, I don’t know, maybe if I could prevent blood from being spilled just a few times… I never wanted to kill anybody. We do what we have to do, but if the enemy is subdued then we don’t have to do it.”

“I’m not going to say sparing enemies is a bad thing, but you have to be more careful. And some people just shouldn’t be spared.”

Anaan knew what she was talking about. Sera, like many of her companions, had disapproved of her decision to keep Alexius as a scholar, and she could see why. Still, she couldn’t justify taking a life based on a potential future threat. It was easier in the heat of battle, when she was angry, but taking a life was something she could never do in cold blood.