The strongest man in the known world crouched, listening to the soothsayer’s soft words of warning. Thin acrid smoke drifted through the room. Now it was from the old feathers on the fire but, if the soothsayer was right, by the coming of morning it would be from the flesh of the citizens. Ten months they had been besieged, ten months waiting in fear and hunger. The mighty warrior stood up and, with a single movement, unsheathed his sword and cut down the soothsayer where he sat. If there was to be fighting, he needed his stomach to be full.