matter what happened I was more or less prepared.When the tumultuous noises of battle had receded and the first sounds of corpse lootingcould be heard, I began to wish I'd been better prepared for the undead's morbid sense ofhumor.“That's not a hat, Makhara,” I heard one say.“
not a hat?” an amused, gravelly voice asked innocently.“Geeze, if you're gonna keep wearing that thing, I think I'll go stand by the wagon.”“Bah. You're no fun,” Gravel-throat sniffed. A sodden “plop” was heard a moment later.
“Oi!” I heard a different rusty voice yell some distance away. “I wonder what
one diedfrom, hey?”There was a chorus of crude chuckles. A moment later, I heard the faintest jingling of chainmail, followed by the sound of a throat clearing.“
Oh, hello! This is my first battle!”
a raspy falsetto mocked, “
Am I doing well? Is it over? I can't see too well, on account of my head's wayyy over there, and over there, and-”
Howls of coarse laughter filled the air.“Enough o' that!” a nearby voice growled. “That one's useless, obviously, so stop
with it and keep looking.”“Aye,
! No more playing,
!” the voice said, followed by a quick, ringing jingle and asuccession of sickly thuds. There was renewed laughter, and scattered cheers in addition tosome appreciative clapping.I was torn between wishing I could turn my head to see what was going on, and beingutterly glad I could not.“I said that's enough.” the commanding voice repeated, though this time with the baresttrace of laughter. “Jester tryouts were two nights ago. You, you . . . over that way. You, overhere with me. Rest of you, fan out. Stab
inspect . . . we don't want a repeat of last week.They say we can do up to thirty tonight, so I wanna see those wagons piled high. Andremember – check thumbs and fingers
! If they can't hold a sword, they ain't much goodto us . . . even if they've still got a head.”And so it went, the ghoulish scavengers combing through what remained of the braveforces which had comprised the King's Sixty-First infantry, the hundreds of lives that hadbeen thrown away in a useless skirmish just so that I might have this opportunity.