The cooling bodies of The Warmaiden's men lay scattered in a deep forest clearing.
Beside them a dying fire hissed intermittently as rain fell through the tangled branches overhead and fell upon cooling coals. The blood from the soldiers' bodies seeped darkly into damp rotting leaves below.
If only the rain had come sooner. If only the villagers had been spared by the grace of some god of weather or sky or mercy or anything that wasn't the blood and chaos of Her decree. A god who would have seen the approaching men drunk with violence and glory and knew what would happen.
But there was no god of mercy or sky. Just the god of death, the god of war, and the many empty thrones of heaven where the other gods should be. The wood of their homes and furniture were dry like tinder. The distant plume of smoke beyond the forest was all that marked a place where there once was life. This tragedy of it all is what was consuming the last living Warbound soldier as she lay still, uniform soaked stiff with blood and body numbing from the cold wet earth. She looked blankly towards the moonless sky, no longer able to differentiate between where the forest ended and the night began. It was an empty darkness, and that is what she deserved for what she had done.
She did not feel the blast of hot wind or hear the fire crackle back to life. She didn't see the swirl of embers dance into the air nor did she catch how they carried onwards, undying and fading into the sky as stars.
On the far edge of the clearing from the shadows of trees the darkness unfurled to give way to a warmly glowing humanoid figure. Cloaked in night They held forth a scythe carved from obsidian whose blade reflected the dead in an ethereal mirror. Their cloak billowed forth as if caught by a hot wind and danced across only occasionally kissing the ground in a sort of slow dance. The cloaks inner lining glowed brilliantly like hot coals and cast long and warm shadows across the gruesome scene.
The soldier was caught in a strange limbo as only moments before they had readied to accept death yet suddenly in the newfound stillness of the clearing they struggled with what was before them. As quietly as they could the soldier turned their stiff neck towards the holy apparition that somehow managed to fill the space while only standing as tall as any mortal man. The soldier was entranced by the cloak that moved like shifting smoke and lit the figures great curving horns and obsidian jewels.
The Reaper took slow inventory over the bodies of the clearing. The soldier shifted their eyes back towards the sky and watched their breath come out in cold puffs as sudden awareness and emotion flooded back into their body.
The Warbound stole one more glance towards the figure and jolted as they caught eyes with Them. The God had eyes that shone with the same unearthly fire as the cloak, an endlessly warm glow held within a surprisingly normal and handsome human face. The soldier relaxed and held the figures gaze as they figured what would come next.
It was no surprise when The Reaper, this God in the flesh, came forward in all Their unearthly beauty with otherwordly scythe in tow to approach the dying Warbound. The soldier ripped their gaze away and realized the night sky was now filled with stars they hadn't noticed before, and they distantly realized that the glowing cloak and embers emenated a kind of warmth like sitting besides a real fire.
What was a surprise is when the God spoke with a voice smooth and softly hushed to say, "It is not your time yet, I have a way for you to make things right. There is something you must do."