The men with the hyena faces did what they had promised.

“You will forget the face of your mother,” they said to him, so he did, between each crack of the lash. Instead, he learned how best to clean their weapons and wash their blood soaked clothing. He carried water, spare boots, and ammunition.

Yaun worked very hard, for he had been an obedient son, and grew quite strong, for he constantly lugged around that heavy iron sword the master of the company had given him, and the men with hyena faces ate extremely well. The whole company ate well in those times. It was a fat age for killers. They tramped from town to town where men with perfumed breath and powdered faces would pay them for every lopped off hand. Often they would come right back to the home of a former employer on the behest of a new master, and burn it to ashes. Each time they visited a town, they would find or make many motherless little boys to make into dead men, and so their company grew tenfold.

Eventually Yaun became aware that some time had passed, and nearly everything had been beaten out of him. All that was left was just a set of eyeballs in a hollow skull atop an overlarge body with callused hands, and feet that kept tramping forward. It was oddly freeing.

Jantris was crowned with stars and had a long stemmed pipe of fine make he kept about him. His skin was smooth and dark and his eyes were a lion’s eyes.

“Now that you are completely dead,” he said to Yaun one day, “We can fill you with useful knowledge.”