Yaun cried at first, for his family, but then the men, with their hyena faces and lolling tongues, would slap him until he stopped.

“Dead men have no families,” they said to him. They painted his skin with the burned ashes of his village and forbade him to wash. The sword that the star lord had given him was a rough tool, and heavy, far too large for his small frame. He couldn’t cry so he bit his tongue and tried to remember home, and his mother, but all he could think about was the raw smell of blood.