I did not laugh at that. My head throbbed, and I remembered that whenever machines battle in the body, the mind is never well. Still I could not help but stay awake: my mastodon still stood watch. Her uneasiness was my own. I left Jerem Cozak sitting there.
Stumbling through the darkness, I found Marcus before his tent, and got from him my ration. He was boiling water from the lake.
“Are you ready to be a swordsman?” he asked.
“I have already been told tomorrow’s task.”
He shook his head. “First you learn to walk. Now you use your arms. That is not the end. But it should be.”
I leaned forward. “You disagree with Jerem Cozak?”
“He is his own head. But the Swarm does not understand the needs of men.”
I admitted that sometimes men could agree on an ultimate goal, without agreeing on the ways or means by which it is accomplished.
He nodded. “We will do what he asks. We are his body. You will be his sword. But not everyone should kill.”
“You don’t think I should be risked,” I said, and he nodded. “But why, what do I do that makes me so valuable? And what will I be trained to do that is so dangerous?”
“When you ask, he answers. But you will destroy the walls of the fortresses of this world. You will do it alone. So you will die.”