Daud held the front of his shirt, measuring in seconds his own slowing breath, the steady beat of his heart. Wind through the ruins hissed to him from beyond the doorway, the hinges of one pane creaking with the last vestiges of motion. The body that had brushed it was long gone, vanishing with a whisper and a deep thrum. Dark skeleton eyes, burning with a rage and agony that would never reach hidden lips—eyes that bellowed at Daud, the misery-bringer, the Empress-slayer.
And yet Daud remained, feeling his heartbeat against the heel of his hand, wounds stinging and bloody but minor. Even as those eyes had gazed into him and thirsted for his life, it was left behind, only his pouch and the key to the sewer's gate plucked from him. Mercy, from a place it never should have come.
Sighing, he brushed off his men as they came to his aid, almost absently murmuring his orders. Corvo Attano was not to be pursued, by any means. He had earned his freedom, and whatever pain awaited him in the hell without. Daud would not lose any more of his squad to him.
Standing, he transversed to the ground floor of the old Commerce building. His own survival meant nothing for the lives of his men, and it was but a small band that appeared at his back. Heart heavy as he opened the double doors, he sighed, and stepped out onto the steel plaza.
"Oh for god's sake!" he bellowed. Not ten feet away lay nearly his entire force, spread in, in—what could kindly be described as provocative positions. Four piled atop each other, two with faces pressed together, another unfortunate fellow near Daud's foot with his head pushed between another man's—
Daud covered his face, turning away.
"Get them up," he hissed to his conscious men. They seemed frozen themselves, looking wordlessly over the scene. He spotted two at the back hunching over slightly, heads together, and heard the distinct sound of contained laughter. He cracked them upside the heads as he passed.
"All of them! Now," Daud growled. "And none of you are to speak of this again. Am I clear?"
There was a swift muttering of consensus through the group, and they quickly set to work shaking their fellows awake. Groaning in disgrace, Daud turned and promptly marched back inside.
And he forthrightly ignored a murmuring from one still duo he passed, strewn across each other, imaginary whispers of, "Bertram, I had always meant to tell you . . ."