|Chapter 19: The Ruins of the Southron Wastes|
But still the conditions of the march were horrendous. His army was traveling into the dry half-desert of the Southron Wastes.
Within three leagues of the Retreat, Troy and his companions found the first dead warrior. The Woodhelvennin corpse lay contorted on the ground like a torture victim. Exhaustion blackened its lips and tongue, and its staring eyes were full of dust. Troy had a mad impulse to stop and bury the warrior. But he was sure of his calculations; in this acrid heat, the losses of the Warward would probably double every day. None of the living could afford the time or strength to care for the dead.
By the time the Warmark caught up with his army, he had counted ten more fallen warriors. Numbers thronged in his brain; eleven dead the first day, twenty-two the second, forty-four the third--six hundred and ninety-three human beings killed by the cruel demands of the march before he reached his destination. And God alone knew how many more--He found himself wondering if he would ever be able to sleep again.