Seven men waylaid the lone traveller, their armaments consisting of swords, spears, cudgels and other common weaponry. Clad in leather armour studded with metal, their grizzled and lean forms spoke of a lifetime outdoors, their weapons and garb that of bandits.
The one they faced stood cloaked in black, most of her face obscured by the hood that cast shadows over her features. Looking from left to right, she spoke in a light, disinterested tone.
“Who are you and what do you want?”
“We’re the Ecrador Eight.” One of the bandits snarled, fists clenching his cudgel.
Looking around again, a dry chuckle escaped from under the hood. “There’s only seven of you.”
“That’s because you killed Mirah!” The ringleader spat, his eyes narrowed. “You killed-”
“Mirah of Ecrador, nineteen years old, born under the New Moon of Spring, died under the Full Moon of Autumn.” She recalled, now sonorous instead of disinterested.
“So it is you. Obituary, The Walking Death.” The bandit pronounced, his fellows readying their weapons. “You of the Named are not immortal. You are outnumbered. And we’ll get our revenge on your flesh!”
Obituary was quick to whip her cloak off, flinging it high into the air. Wearing just a linen shirt and a short hose, her long legs and muscled arms were bare to show the names tattooed into her skin. The list of names extended under her clothing, up the back of her neck and across her bald head. The only place free of the ink was her face, instead given over to a dark pattern that somehow accentuated her ice blue eyes.
“I bear the names of every man and woman I have killed on my skin.” Obituary proclaimed, bringing herself into a ready stance. “Their death at my hands stains my flesh. Every life I have taken adds to mine. What they lose to oblivion, I gain in essence. If you think you can end my tale… try.”
“FOR MIRAH!” They chanted as one, lunging towards her as they did so.
The fight was short and painful. Leaping up, Obituary came down with hard swings of her fist, easily caving in noses and breaking ribs with singular strikes. As weapons lashed out at her, precise palm blows fractured blades and snapped poles. When she wasn’t punching, she was kicking, and when she wasn’t kicking she was breaking and dislocating with her practised hands.
A snap of the neck burned a name into her flesh, Damar of Ecrador. A blow to the solar plexus inscribed Hanir on her body. A one-two combo to the head added Fetel to her list. Twin palm strikes ruptured Remin’s lungs, his name soon appearing once he choked from the internal bleeding. Mahx and Vrost both died with their windpipes crushed by solid kicks.
Only Enrewn, the bandit who had spoken for the seven, was left alive with his eyes wide in how quickly this slight young woman had taken out his fellows. On all fours he crawled away, stomach still reeling from the punch that had felled him.
Her bare foot stepped down onto his back, pressing him into the dirt road she was travelling on. “Last words?” She inquired, catching her cloak as it fell.
“We… just wanted revenge…” Enrewn sobbed, fear choking his voice.
“And now none are left to avenge you.” Obituary sighed. “You were Eight. Then you were Seven. And now?” Her heel drove down into the base of his neck, her skin itching as another name was added. “You are none.”
Picking their pockets for change, she added them to the small coin-purse she kept hidden in the folds of her cloak, wrapping the garment around herself before continuing on her journey. She wandered not out of a love of travel, but out of necessity.
For she was named Obituary, and death would seek her out.