She watched as the mercenaries crashed like a wave against the pitiful defenders. Scare-Glow stood behind watching and waiting as his men poured out around him like a roiling storm of blades and flame.
The first attack was fast and brutal. He-Man met the oncoming horde unarmed. He struck and kicked and grappled every man that came within his mighty reach. The child’s eyes noticed that often in the fiercer moments his hand would be drawn towards the hilt of his powersword only to be pulled away before he touched it. The enemies fell back and reformed almost instantly.
He-Man powerpunched a barbarian and appropriated the thug’s great-axe which he ran like a scythe through the ranks of men, reaping a bloody harvest. Sheer numbers allowed the marauders to push him back and gain the main square. Houses and buildings were put to the torch and bodies were trampled by retreating and advancing forces.
The men and women and even the children of Disposable fought bravely, but futilely. What had begun as the first line of defense rapidly became the rearguard for a chaotic retreat.
The wounded crawled or dragged themselves away from the carnage that surrounded He-Man. His double-headed axe had been chipped and finally shattered. But still he did not draw his sword.
The townsfolk were in a full route but He-Man stood his ground and, casting a few protective glances over his shoulder, blocked the invading army’s pursuit of them.
By now the thieves and cutthroats were terrified of him. Singlehandedly he had laid down over a quarter of their number. They backed away and circled like angry and frightened dogs.
He held no weapon and he needed none.
Then he saw her.
In all the commotion a young girl, six or seven years old, as we have said, was standing in the doorway of a burning building. She had become separated from her family and had stood as she had been instructed in the last place someone had seen her. She intended to keep on standing there until she was found and taken home.
He-Man gave the mercenaries an insolent glance, daring them to move closer to him. Then he turned his back on his foes and walked towards the little girl.
Something about her must have struck him as familiar, or maybe he was remembering something or someone from long ago, because he smiled a sad little smile and patted her on the head.
From where she was, the little girl watched a shadow rise up behind He-Man and blot out the sun itself. It was the figure of a cloaked man with a glowing skull face. She could see that in one hand he held a lance and in the other a short sword with a skull set in its guard. The sword was made of a dull black steel, and the skeleton man drove it into He-Man’s back.
He-Man’s hand slid off of her little head and he crashed down to his knees before toppling over beside her. She seemed to hear him say something, a word, a laugh, a name...