Another general would have let them go and been glad of it. But he saw that if they secured that high ground they might regroup and come at us again, this time with their archers positioned to advantage. So he called us to ranks with a curdling cry. I glimpsed his face through the crowd of men. It was bloodied, dirt-streaked, avid. Then he turned, fist to the sky, and sprinted. He set the pace for the fleetest of his runners, youths who could give him a decade. Even uphill, he seemed to fly over the loose stones that slid out from underfoot and left me skidding and swearing. I fell behind, and lost sight of him. Others—younger men, better fighters—overtook me, swarming to him, compelled by his courage. When I finally glimpsed him again, he was above me on a long, slender ridge, in the thick of fierce fighting. Trying to narrow the distance between us, I lost my footing entirely on the uncertain ground. I slipped. Metal, leather and flesh scraped against rough limestone that bit like snaggleteeth. I could not control my fall until I planted my foot into something that gave softly under my weight. The man had been attempting to crawl away, dragging himself with his remaining hand while a slime of blood pulsed from the stump of his sword arm. My boot, mashing his neck flat into stone, had put an end to that. When I lifted my foot, the man gave a wet gargle, and was still. I scraped the mess off my boot onto the nearest rock and went on. When I reached the ridge, the king was making an end of another fighter. He was up close, eye to eye. His sword had entered just above the man’s groin. He drew it upward, in a long, slow, arcing slash. As he pulled the blade back—slick, dripping—long tubes of bowel came tumbling after. I could see the dying man’s eyes, wide with horror, his hands gripping for his guts, trying to push them back into the gaping hole in his belly. The king’s own eyes were blank—all the warmth swallowed by the black stain of widening pupils. David reached out an arm and pushed the man hard in the chest. He fell backward off the narrow ledge and rolled down the slope, his entrails unfurling after him like a glossy ribband. I was engaged myself then, by a bullnecked spearman who required all my flagging strength. He was bigger than me, but clumsy, and I used his size against him, so that as I feinted one way, he lunged with his spear, overbalanced and fell right onto the dagger that I held close and short at my side. I felt the metal grating against the bone of his rib, and then I mustered enough force to thrust the tip sharply upward, the blade’s full length inside him, in the direction of his heart. I felt the warm wetness of his insides closing about my fist. It was intimate as a rape.