I know I didn't come up with this but I can't remember where it's from.

The story is that I think some soldiers or knights maybe were walking through a forest and were attacked by someone/something. Their hearts were ripped out but they didn't die so now they walk around the forest, carrying and pumping their hearts, not living or dead.

I feel like it was a story told to the main character, probably in a book but maybe not, as a sort of incidental/local colour tale that was not relevant to the plot.

Please help, where have I got this from?

  • Do you remember when you encountered this and in what language? This may help narrow it down. Take a look at this page just in case you remember any other details and edit your question. – Gallifreyan Mar 19 '17 at 9:49

Lungs, not hearts, but I think you're remembering The Breathless Ones from The Golden Compass aka Northern Lights by Philip Pullman.

Breathless Ones are half-killed warriors who are unable to die. Tartars cut ribs of the warriors and damage their lungs in such a way that the victims don't die and continue to survive as a punishment. They can only survive by their daemons pumping them manually.


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  • 1
    Yes! That's right, thank you. – Vikkiethemimm Mar 19 '17 at 10:46

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