House of Kif

At eleven years old I was an orphan, but you never would have known it if you'd met me. A city like Skhala will not let anyone be an orphan. If you had no parents, you still had a family – probably one like mine, with so many relatives around that you could hardly tell which ones lived in your house and which ones were just visiting. And even if you didn't have a family, you had the city – a city with dark corners like any other, but a city that opened its arms wide and could make every stray dog feel at home. My family wasn't rich, but we owned a house in the northern quarter and no one ever went hungry or lacked a glass of wine when they wanted one. Although I loved and missed my parents I had no bitterness over their deaths – you couldn't stay bitter in my house if you tried. When I was eleven and thought of them, it was only with sadness; when I was older than that and thought of them, I was only glad that they didn't live to see the fall of Skhala and what it made me.