He always expected to die to the sounds of battle, to the blaring trumpets sounding another charge, to the steady thumping of his soldiers boots, and to the ringing clang of shields and swords colliding.
He had not expected to die like this.
The war-torn plain stood bare of all but 4 men in the freezing night, four men dressed in their armor, ready to fight and win... or die. The king, dressed in simple leather. And the fallen mages, garbed in steel as black as their souls.
The king stood forward and called to them. "After this day, our war is over. Done. No more will you haunt these lands as the spectres you are. No more will you cause my people greif, as you have caused me."
The northernmost mage also stepped forward, and let his voice ring out, a mixture of hundreds, thousands of crying voices. The voices of those he had slain. "Our deal is done. You know the rules, and so do we."
The king drew his long, knotched blade and thrust it into the ground, then knelt before it in prayer.
"If I die this day, let my people remember me. Let them remember how I died. Let them know my story. This story."