Antigua reigned Argentum in beside the unconscious man. She looked around at the predators circling warily around them. They were keeping a few yards back from them, intensely curious yet apparently unable to come any closer. Every now and then one of them would lunge forward but would pull back at the last moment, ears flattened, hissing and spitting.

She looked down at the man. He was powerfully built. Tall, with long athletic limbs. His right leg was horribly mutilated and would  no doubt need to be amputated. He wore, to her eyes, an unusual combination of rough metal and stiffened animal hide that she presumed was an attempt at body armour. Apparently not very effective against the local wildlife she thought. His hand clasped the hilt of a battered long sword. She doubted it had enough of an edge to be worth more than a club in the hand, though the pointy end looked serviceable enough.

His face was handsome, though he had a horribly matted beard. At some point his nose had clearly been broken and never reset. He was deathly pale and was moaning softly, eyes rolling wildly.

“Not sure you’re worth the trouble saving at this point.” she said to him, not expecting a response.

She dismounted swiftly.

A quick appraisal of his injuries confirmed her suspicions. Unsheathing her sword she removed the remains of his leg with the calm disposition of one familiar and comfortable with butchers work. The blade cut cleanly through his flesh, its ultrasonic vibration neatly cauterizing the wound as it passed.

She set the leg to one side grunting at the unexpected weight and sheathed her sword. With a twist of her wrist she opened the med compartment of her gauntlet and pulled out a small field syringe gun. She loaded it with an anesthetic cartridge, knelt by his head and fired it into his neck. He stopped moaning and his eyes closed. He would be out for around five hours, whether he lived that long remained to be seen.

With some difficulty she managed to strap his lifeless body behind Argentum’s saddle. Once she was happy that he was firmly secured, she turned back to face the circling beasts.

“Time for some fun.” she said to herself.

She drew her sword, planting her legs in a defensive stance, knees bent, weight rolling forward on to the balls of her feet.

With a click she shut off the ultrasonic repellent. For the briefest of moments there was an eerie silence, as if the world was holding its breath.

Then there was violence.