The wind lashed against his stern face, causing his white garb to billow; flapping the tassels that ran along the edges of his clothing. He stood, braced at the top of the tallest tree, in the vast expanses of the Davenport Homestead. Connor’s intention had been to hunt Deer, he had tracked this particular one for hours, following it by its waste and spotting its tracks in the local plant life. The Deer now sat below him, grazing in the long grass, completely oblivious to the predator lurking in the canopy.
Connor jumped down with the grace of a Panther, hurtling through the air towards his quarry, pinning it to the floor with his knee and snapping its neck cleanly. “Thank you for sharing your life, we respect this sacrifice”, he said in the tradition of his people. It had always their way to respect the hunt, they believed all souls were connected somehow and life should never been taken lightly, or for sport.
His dirk dug into the skin of the animal easily; nothing would be wasted: Its meat would be eaten by the settlers at the homestead, the hide would be used to keep warm in the impending winter, and the bones would make some fine tools. Every bit of the life he extinguished would be used to prolong others. It was the way of life.
Once all the produce from the animal had been collected, Connor made his way skyward, clambering into the safety of the canopy. He made his way back towards the Homestead through the calmness of the treetops, swinging from branch to branch, weaving through the gaps in the trees like a Cat and finally coming to a stop; as he reached the river.
Instead of the usual sight of his people labouring, he was instead greeted with a harrowing silence. Connor’s eyes scanned the environment, his senses were better than most; partly down to his training as an assassin and a small fraction down to his many years hunting for his tribesmen. He stood completely still, for what seemed like an age, studying his surroundings.
He noticed smoke billowing from some of the buildings, and the logging tools were strewn around as if there had been a struggle. In his peripheral vision he saw something pass under the bridge heading downriver. And then he saw it again, coming out of the other side, taken by the powerful current of the river. The body of a young boy, battered, bruised and surrounded by a cloud of red. Death seemed to follow the assassin wherever he went and visions of his village burning flashed through his mind, along with visions of the spirits that started him on his path.
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