The sword hilt slipped from his hand as he staggered back. Leather-palmed gauntlets slick with blood, his own and that of dozens of men, could yet have gripped, had his hands the strength for it.
In the steaming corpse at his feet, the blade angled outward, once shining and ceremonial, now chipped and ruined by the armor and bone it had overcome. It had belonged to his father, to his grandfather, and to a king before that; when this was over, he thought, it would hang on his wall and never again leave his sight.
This was the last of them. The last of the villains who had ruined him, ruined everything. He stepped forward again, placed his boot against the head and drew out his sword. A bubbling rush of air and blood followed as it came out from between the ribs.
From behind, he heard the sound of a crossbow being nocked.