“Tell me a story,” he says, in his cold, childish voice. He is alone and feels very grown up.

His companion, who does not count as a person, finishes pulling his hides straight over him, and sits on her own mattress. “Yes, master. One of heroes?”

She is eight. He is ten. He disrupts the smooth lie of his bed to reach out a hand for her to hold.

“Something your people tell. The thralls.” He is trying clumsily to please her. His lofty pronunciation makes her smile, proud. He does not really know what he is asking, but she knows how to translate.

With his hand in hers, she begins.

“It happened in the famine in the Holy country, that a family band set forth, and their names were Peace, Freedom, and Enough…”

An old story, but told from a thrall’s perspective. She narrates the adventures of Enough in the land of Peace and Freedom. She talks until his hand slackens in hers and his breathing is slow, and then she tucks him up and pulls her own cover over her.

“And so it was that Enough was finally satisfied,” she tells him sleepily, “But he never liked the jewellery that First Clan gave him.”

Almost asleep, he smiles up at the thatch of the roof. “I’ll give you jewellery you like, when you are grown.”

He really does not understand.