With grim determination Sasaya looked out over the battlefield. Yesterday’s snowstorm had covered most of the bodies lying scattered across the white mountainside, too close to enemy lines for either side to salvage. The frozen limbs and broken weapons rose up over the snow like battered, gnarled old trees in a twisted, desolate landscape.
Sasaya could barely remember what life had been before the siege and it felt like she had been trapped inside the cold ice cave where the Icewalker tribe had taken their refuge after their village fell for ages. After being driven to the safety of the mountain caves, the battle had turned into a standstill. High up in the mountainside, the cave was more or less impossible to assault head on, but did on the otherside provide no means of an alternate escape route. After several days of fruitless efforts to storm the barricaded caves, the aggressors simply decided to starve the frost trolls out from their shelter.
Fortunately, water wasn't an issue. There were plenty of snow to melt and the spirits of fire would gladly melt it whenever Sasaya kindly asked for it. Food on the other hand... Sasaya sighed as she remembered when the trapped trolls had first started to gnaw on shoes and other organic accessories in order to keep the worst of the hunger away, but it was still nothing compared to the feeling of helplessness she felt when she found her cousins embrace their ways of cannibalism. At first they would stick only to eating their fallen comrades, but when there were no such left, some of the most desperate parents decided to start sacrificing an arm in order to prevent their children to starve to death, knowing their lost limbs would regenerate in time. At least the children wouldn’t have to eat their dead parents any longer…
Being the only trained healer among her tribesmen, Sasaya had helped during all the sacrificial maims that took place the coming month, and when everyone else had sacrificed their arm she had insisted on giving hers as well, despite the tribe’s attempts to convince her of the value of her work and its need for two arms.
Sasaya touched the stump that remained of her left arm. With no one else to properly tend to it, it hadn’t healed well, and without proper treatment she knew it would sooner or later get infected, and even if it was treated in time it would take years to fully regenerate. It was at this point she knew she had to act.
Sasaya had up till this day never taken a life before, not even to save herself or someone else, but the last weeks had kept her thinking if it ever could be justified to take a life to save another. Yet still she knew there would be no other way out of this situation. Should the tribe either choose to surrender or to make a final futile outbreak, the result would be the same. She had seen it before, villages burned and the bodies of its inhabitants left stuck on poles or hung from trees as a warning to others. Her kinsmen were slowly facing extinction.
Her grip around her staff hardened. I did not save all these brave women, men and children only to see them hung and mutilated. I will not have my part in this tragedy as an executioner!
With hundreds of spirits swarming around her, Sasaya closed her eyes, raised her one arm and called upon the Divine that shines behind all the Loa gods...