"Karsa reached down, gathered the skeletal figure into his arms, and then settled back. ‘I stepped over corpses on the way here,’ the Toblakai said. ‘People no one cared about, dying alone. In my barbaric village this would never happen, but here in this city, this civilized jewel, it happens all the time. (...) What is your name?’
‘Munug. This night – before I must rise and walk into the temple – I am a village. And you are here, in my arms. You will not die uncared for.’
‘You – you would do this for me? A stranger?’
‘In my village no one is a stranger – and this is what civilization has turned its back on. One day, Munug, I will make a world of villages, and the age of cities will be over. And slavery will be dead, and there shall be no chains – tell your god. Tonight, I am his knight.’
Munug’s shivering was fading. The old man smiled. ‘He knows.’
It wasn’t too much, to take a frail figure into one’s arms for those last moments of life. Better than a cot, or even a bed in a room filled with loved ones. Better, too, than an empty street in the cold rain. To die in someone’s arms – could there be anything more forgiving?
Every savage barbarian in the world knew the truth of this."