The journey upriver was always tiring, even to her practised muscles, but ever since she’d first ventured out onto the river with the other children, she’d loved the rush of drifting downstream, the weightless, effortless movement of her canoe as it cut through the water, racing past the trees and plants that lined the river’s edge. Tonight was colder than normal, so Elani paddled harder than she would otherwise, working up a sweat under her clothes and sheets. As she slipped into the familiar motion, she thought. She’d seen pyres before; it was a common enough site near the druid’s encampment. But she supposed she’d never seen one so close before – seen the way the hair seemed to dance as it burned, caught in the fire’s twisting updrafts. She shuddered and tried to push the thought from her mind.