On any other sleep period, Kessa would have savored so much respect aimed her way.  Slaves filled the bunk-room and clamored to be heard over each other.

“Kessa, what was said?”

“Did we really hear the human language in front of all those Torth?”

“We need a translation!”

“Why would a Yellow Rank speak at all?”

“Have you ever heard a Yellow Rank speak like that?”

“Why did the giant prisoner carry that metal thing uphill?”

“Was it some sort of human ritual?”

“You have to tell us, Kessa!”

But the event hardly seemed to matter anymore.  Cherise had a faraway look, as if she could see the underworld where bad slaves toiled for eternity.  Vy watched the doorway with crafty anxiety, as if waiting for an opening so she could escape.  And Lynn . . . judging from the way she’d wrapped a sharpened bone needle into a knot of her rag, she was ready to die by attacking a certain Torth.  It didn’t matter how many warnings Kessa spoke.  When a slave got that determined look in their gaze, their life would soon end.

So Kessa blocked the path to the doorway.  “I will tell you everything,” she told the crowd.  “Gather around, and I will tell you.”

But she hardly noticed the slaves who hung onto her every word.  In the corner of her vision, Lynn twisted the bone needle.

“I will kill him,” Lynn said in the human tongue.  “I will kill him.”