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Slayers, Part One (standard:fantasy, 1448 words)
Author: Vincent ColleveraAdded: Apr 04 2010Views/Reads: 1430/777Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Twenty mercenaries of enormous reputation are drawn into a battle of morality in which they will all have to decide what side they're on.

“Company, sound off!”  The yell carried over the silence of the

“Legs, whole and accounted for.” 

“Kicker, whole and accounted for.” 

“Grinns, whole and accounted for.” 

“Sparky, whole and accounted for.” 

“Cook, whole and accounted for.  And hungry, if that means anything to
ye, Captain.” 

“Piper, whole and accounted for.  And Loudmouth is here, left foot and
accounted for.” 

“Quick, right leg and accounted for.” 

“Dark.  Accounted.” 

“Hammer, whole and accounted for.” 

The rest, Keeper, Fidget, Chill, Knuckles, Cracked, Rotten, Tracker,
Longshot and Boar chimed in with either, “whole” or the body part 
they'd lost in the battle.  Cutter was the only one who failed to 
respond.  Captain Stonehand nodded and surveyed the field as his men 
and women dragged themselves free of imprisoning piles of corpses to 
struggle their way in twos and threes or alone to gather on the hillock 
he occupied.  The field was littered with the dead.  When the Slayers 
went to work, they were usually the only survivors.  Prisoners were 
taken only as per the contract, and the contracts they got seldom 
mentioned such a  prospect. 

“Legs, Kicker, Sparky; find what's left of Cutter and drag his sorry
carcass over here.  Grinns, Piper, Dark and Hammer, you clear the near 
field and start arranging the bodies for a count.  The rest of you, 
help your injured comrades attach their new limbs where it's necessary 
and set up camp a quarter-mile from the field.  Cook, you know your 
assignment.  The rest of us are starvin' too.  Get to work.” 

As usual, the Captain's orders were being carried out before he finished
giving them, his soldiers waiting only long enough to know who was with 
whom before beginning their assigned tasks with practiced ease.  As the 
crows descended for their feast, The Slayers set about neatly stacking 
the bodies of the fallen or pulling from the recently arrived supply 
wagon the Vallenwood replacement limbs that had been crafted for them 
prior to the engagement.  Those who'd lost part of a limb that had been 
replaced before would simply have to cope until the magical properties 
inherent in the wood repaired the damage done. 

Cutter turned out, as usual, to simply be buried by so many corpses he'd
been unable to respond until they were removed.  He'd lost no limbs 
this time, and was one of two in the squad who still had all of his 
originals.  “Bloody hell, mates.  Fucking right riot this was, eh?”  He 
chuckled as he wiped blood and effluvia off of his face.  “Good thing I 
shaved this time.  Fucking blood and guts is a shit time trying to get 
it out of your beard.”  He chuckled again, making Kicker smile and 
Sparky shake his head in amazement.  The circle of bodies around Cutter 
must have numbered near a full hundred. 

“Cutter, how the hell do you still have all your parts?  This is
absurd!”  Cutter sighed.  “Sparky, I was killing for my bread long 
before I joined up with you lot.  And seeing as how I'm so attached to 
my parts, I decided I'd be keeping them.  Look at it this way; at least 
you still got one arm you was born with, mate.  There's a couple here 
what lack that much.  Take Hammer for example.  Bloke's not got much 
left aside his head and his tender pieces at this point.  Funny how he 
tends to take better care of the fake bits than he did the real ones.”  
Still laughing at his own comment, Cutter left to aid the others in 
grafting their new body parts to the still-bleeding stumps that 

Sparky looked dismally over at Legs, beautiful despite the gore that
spattered her from head to toe.  “Guess you owe me another hundred 

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