“What…who…is she?”

Peyton shrugged. “Never seen an edor before, huh? Well, take a good look. You’ll not see one so up close again, I’ll wager.”

“An edor?” Cobb felt like he’d heard the word before, but his brain was scrambled from the sudden shock of wakefulness, the sudden double report of guns followed by a still-warm body laid out before them.

“Yeah,” Peyton said. “The elves and the orcs living around here got it in their heads that they needed leaders with the best of both of them. So they’d shack up and make them some miscegenated bastards. Edor. You don’t see many anymore, since they’re sterile as a mule and the settlers have whittled down the wild folks’ numbers a good bit.”

“A half elf, half orc,” Cobb said. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“They’re outcasts,” Peyton spat. “That’s what it is. No orc or elf from back east will give them the time of day. You did them a favor in putting them out of their misery. But this isn’t going to go well for you and me, with a dead edor on our hands.”

“We’ll get by,” said Cobb, re-asserting himself now that the shock had passed. “Pack up.”

Peyton looked down at the deceased. “Just gonna leave them here, are you? Old Peyton Grosh thinks they could do with a decent burial.”

“Well, old Peyton Grosh is like as not to share a grave with them if he doesn’t get moving,” Cobb said.

The orc gestured at the body. “She might’ve been trying to help for all you know. Where I come from, only enemies get left to the buzzards, and you’ve got no idea if she was one.”

Cobb paused over this. “I can’t bury her, I don’t have the time,” he said. “And you’ll forgive me if I don’t want to set you loose to do it. But I’ll say a few words over her.”

He knelt down, taking care to keep an eye on his prisoner, and whispered to the body. Then, rising, he cocked his head. “Let’s go. I’m as right with her as I’m gonna be, I think.”

“Goodbye, missy,” Peyton said. “Old Peyton Grosh sure is sorry you got mixed up in all of this.”

With a prisoner in front of him and the need to be vigilant, the rocky hill seemed to recede a good deal more slowly than it had come up. The big orc was understandably in no hurry, and Cobb could only issue so many death threats before they became hollow.

In time, they saw a great column of black smoke rising behind them. Cobb looked at it with some alarm. “Looks like they set the whole prairie on fire.”

“They might have,” Peyton said. “Edor are awfully respected among the wild old folk that are left.”

“You think it’s a funeral?” Cobb said, mildly curious.

“No, old Peyton Grosh thinks it’s a signal,” the orc said. “A beacon to anyone that’s around to let them know something bad’s happened. And maybe to get out on their horses and run them down for good measure.”

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