They closed on the young man, every one of them—even his brother—and began beating him.
It would have been faster if Garoth had let the squad wear gauntlets or use the butts of spears or the flat of blades, but he thought it was better this way. When the blood began flowing and spraying off flesh as it was pummeled, it shouldn’t get on the squad’s clothing. It should get on their skin. Let them feel the warmth of the young man’s blood as he died. Let them know the cost of cowardice. Khalidorans did not flee.
The squad attacked with gusto. The circle closed and screams rose. There was something intimate about naked meat slapping naked meat. The young man disappeared and all that could be seen was elbows rising and disappearing with every punch and feet being drawn back for new kicks. And moments later, blood. With the short straw, the young man had become their weakness. It was Khali’s decree. He was no longer brother or friend, he was all they had done wrong.
In two minutes, the young man was dead.
Shadow’s Edge, Page 14 by Brent Weeks
As much as I may talk a macho manly game, filled with violence and threats of ultimate destruction, the truth is that passages like the above still disturb me greatly. I like Brent Weeks’ work, but between him and Neal Asher sometimes I wonder if I’m searing my conscience. Then I dive right back in and keep on reading.