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“Monster.” The witch twisted in Barypos’ arms and spat in his face. “Monster. Cretin. Beast.”
He lay his knife at her throat. “Soldier.” Her language wasn’t his, but they were close enough, and a warrior learned what he had to, fighting in these lands that weren’t home. “Father. Son.” He shrugged in apology. “I fight where I have to.”
“You killed my husband. My son. My baby.”
“They would have killed me. There is a war going on.” He was not very good with words, in any language, but she should understand that. Instead, she clawed at his wrists, trying to get free. “Hold still, and I won’t have to hurt you.”
“Won’t have to hurt me?” She stared at him in naked pain. “You’ve taken everything. What do I care what you do with this body, when you’ve already taken the heart from it?”
“Widows live.” He knew this. “Your people will need their sons and daughters. Stop fighting, and live again. The war will end eventually.”
It did no good. She fought and spat against him and, when that did no good, she began swearing, cursing him. It was only when she had gone deep into her own language that he recognized Words in the curses. By then, it was too late.
“What you have taken, you will lose. What you have stolen, I’ll steal from you.” He dropped her, but he had no Words against this. He hadn’t know this could be done. She was Working against his future. Against his soul. “No love. No kin. No home. No warm memories of fire. No hearth to sleep near. No wife to keep you warm. All this, monster, I take from you. All that you have taken… until you have paid for every life of my people you have stolen.”
She kept speaking, but it was lost on Barypos. Her curse was already twisting his mind, and her words were like the jibbering of beasts to his ears.
“Never more will any man want to call you brother,” she hissed in his unknowing ear, sealing her curse for the millenia.
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