"Watch it!" Kane pulled rein, swerved as a small girl recklessly chased the rolling kickball across his path. The huge black stallion reared, pawed its deadly hooves. With a frightened squeal, the child darted away.
"That's General Kane!" breathed excited voices. "Now you've done it! Run!" The gang of children scattered like leaves.
The girl stood her ground--wanting her kickball but not daring to approach while Kane calmed his stamping mount.
Liking her mettle, Kane leaned from his saddle, caught up the kickball by its matted hair. Casually he glanced at the battered features of the young woman's head, almost unrecognizable from dirt and clotted gore. The bare feet of the children had all but pulped this kickball in the course of their game.
Kane handed down the grisly object to the anxious girl--her blue eyes big with wonder at receiving attention from so an important man. "This one has about had it," he told her, and pointed to the row of impaled heads along the city wall. "You'd better put this back and get yourself another kickball."
Each morning the heads of persons suspected of disloyalty to Orted and hence the Sataki were put on display. The children of Shapeli were quick to find new sport with such grim trophies.
"Oh, no, sir," replied the girl, gravely accepting the battered head. "I want to keep this one. She's my mother."
--K.E. Wagner, Dark Crusade