Hunting Party

MagnusBane
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Chapter One

Tanika wanted nothing more than to prove she could reach the top of the slope before her brother, but she knew such a display could cost her life. Her brother Demur prevails ahead.

“I knew Grandfather made a mistake allowing you to come with us. You belong in the village preparing our kill with the other women. You only slow us down.” He mutters to her, as he continues up the slope.

He maintains a sure footing as he scales the rocky incline. The rest of the hunting party follows obediently behind them.

This was a dire time for their people. Many young hunters were dying in the deep forest, and the valley her tribe settled was bearing less and less food. Traditional gender roles had been abandoned for the practicality of survival, and Tanika would be one the first to help lead an uncertain future.

“My Brother, our grandfather and the elders agreed that I have proven myself with the bow. I will not let our people down. I promise.” Tanika replied, passively.

Demur remained silent and bitter as they continued. The slope felt familiar to her, even though she had never ventured this far from the village. She admires the scenery as they press onward.

The peak of the slope levels out to a lush clearing. It’s beautifully rich with aspen trees, which were losing their leaves from the beginning winter winds.

“This place is where the deer migrate from the mountain, my brothers.” Demur explains, as he removes an arrow from his holster.

“Up ahead, we find cover and wait for our kill. Part ways now, but follow my direction. Keep silent.” He motions forward commanding with his arm in the air.

Tanika wasn’t the only inexperienced hunter in the party. A few of the members were boys who had only reached their tenth sun voyage. Tanika knew it was possible some of them may not return home. She was all too familiar with the sorrow of losing family. She tried to push away those thoughts and tune her senses to nature and for the hunt, as she was taught.

The hunting party continues silently through the forest as they forge ahead in different directions. Tanika walked confidently shoulder to shoulder with her brother through the thick brush.

She stood tall for most women in her tribe but shorter than many of the men. Her stature was lean, yet competitive to a man’s, while maintaining a feminine grace. She stood firm breasted with a fair brown complexion and shiny black hair. It was braided with flowers and reached down to the middle of her back. She’s been told her eyes change colors from brown to gray but she never quite believed it.

Her beauty contrasted greatly to Demur’s, who had faced much rejection for his appearance. It didn’t help that his sister Tanika was always the favored one of the family while Demur had often felt ostracized. His new position as hunting leader seems to have given him a confidence that Tanika wished would disappear. She wanted the old Demur back. The sweet one she grew up with, before the world seemingly ruined him.

Demur suddenly looks in each direction, making sure the other hunters were out of hearing distance. His disfigured face scowls as he inhales abruptly, the usual sign he’s about to utter something really negative. He looms over her.

“I know you think since you’ve reached your nineteenth sun voyage, that you feel entitled to learn the ways of men.” He spouts, as he pulls a tree branch away from his body and steps forward, releasing the branch directly into Tanika’s face.

The sting from the impact stuns her. She winces in pain as thorns from the branch tear the skin above her eyebrow. Blood drips down her cheek as she rubs her forehead.

“However, you need to know that once I’m the tribal leader; I will remove that kind of silly nonsense from our thinking.” He smirks in satisfaction. “Eternal Father is on my side, and his will demands it.”

She looks angrily at him. “You didn’t need to do that.”

He stops to face her as she tends to her wound. “More signs of weakness from a soft heart.” He quips.

“Another reason you should not be here. The deep forest will not be so soft
hearted with you, sister.”

Tankia begins to respond, then stops suddenly stricken with fear. She sees it before Demur does. She feels her heart racing in her chest. The moment seems to stretch out longer and longer. She remembered the tales growing up about people being savagely ripped apart and devoured by them. She never thought she would actually see one, yet there it was.

In the near distance stood a gray wolf, staring directly at her. It was not as large as the tales embellished, but it remained just as frightening. She watched intently as it stood with a confident gaze.

It’s winter fur is long and bushy with patterns of mottled gray and brown. A perfectly white fur chest is stained with dried blood, as is it’s mouth. A peculiar star like pattern is seen on the forehead, as its piercing blue eyes appear to reach deeply into Tanika’s soul.

Just as the fear is starting to leave her, Demur turns to see the wolf and immediately shoves Tanika down, sending her nearly face-first into the dirt. He draws his bow and releases an arrow directly at the animal. She looks up in time to see the arrow miss the wolf’s head. The wolf turns and disappears into the forest.

“That’s right, foul beast! I am the alpha of our tribe now!” Demur yells incredulously. “You will not take away our kills any longer! Hear my voice!”

Tanika brings herself to her feet. “Why did you do that?” she asks with anger, brushing the dirt from her fur coat.

A boy from the hunting party runs to meet them.

“What happened?” He says, with a curious enthusiasm. “Did you kill? Did you kill?”

Demur slings his bow to his shoulder with a quick precision. “That was the alpha of the pack.” He says with authority and scans the horizon. “I did not strike him, but my arrow sent him a message.”

“You should have let Tanika hit it. She can hit anything!” The boy looks over at her, smiling.

“What did you say?” Demur says, un-amused.

“Tanika is the best shot in the village! Me and my friends saw her practice.” The boy replies innocently.

Demur walks over to him and hunches down, meeting him at eye level. He raises his hand and slaps him across the face, making it instantly red as his eyes well up with tears.

“Let me tell you something. If I want to hit something, I will hit it. Even if it’s a smart little boy, like you.” Demur says, with a strange calmness. Tanika gasps in shock.

Demur turns the boy’s face to meet his raging eyes. He pulls out a knife from his
side pouch, a traditional item given to him by their Grandfather. It’s a beautifully crafted weapon made with an Elk horn handle and a long black obsidian blade, sharpened with incredible precision.

Its fine edges gleam in the sunlight as Demur presses the blade against the boy’s chest. The point of the blade cuts his clothing and into his skin, drawing blood.

“I am the hunting leader now, and you will give me respect. Do you understand?” Demur says, viciously.

The boy nods up and down as he sobs with pain and fear.

“That is enough, Demur! Stop it right now!” Takina says with authority. She had never been so forceful with him before, but this was a line she could not see crossed.

She steps closer to the two of them, ready to intervene. Demur pulls the knife from the boy, and stands up. He turns to face his sister. Her eyes remain fixed on his, while his knuckles tighten around the weapon. He steps uncomfortably closer to her.

“You will tell the others that we are done here. Those damned beasts frightened away the hunt. I’m going to retrieve my arrow. When I return, be ready to leave.” He slides the knife back into his belt holster and gazes at Tanika with eyes of fire.

“We talk later.” He turns and struts away.

Tanika removes green herbs out of her shoulder pack, chewing on them. As Demur walks out of range, she leans by the boy and removes the mulch from her mouth. She carefully places the wet green mixture on the boy’s wound with her fingers.

“Everything will be alright, don’t worry.” He sniffs and nods his head up and down.

“Don’t discuss this with anyone.” She says quietly, as she embraces him comfortingly.

“This news is indeed troubling and cause for much concern.” The fire seemed to dance shadows around his wrinkled and wise face. He appears deep in thought as his dry lips sparingly puff on the ceremonial pipe. He holds the smoke in his lungs as he passes the pipe to Demur, who abruptly declines. The elders murmur quietly as the pipe is passed to the next council member. The fire pops and hisses with life as Grandfather releases the smoke slowly. He wheezes and coughs as his lungs sing a tune of his aged days.

“Wolves have never been seen this far beyond the ice fields. Our world is indeed changing, if the beasts are desperate enough to come this close to our village.”

Demur stands up dramatically, kicking dust into the fire and interrupting. “I will gather our hunters and kill them all tonight! We are not afraid. We are ready!” A few of the council members nod in agreement.

Grandfather leans back stiffly as he raises his arm to Demur. “Oh please boy, settle down.” His jovial tone and timing creates much laughter in the council circle. Demur sits down, defeated.

Grandfather continues, “A true warrior knows when to use his strength and when to be clever. This issue will require some thought.” His aged eyes gaze again into the fire.

The last council member finishes his share of the pipe and hands it over to Tanika, who looks surprised to have received it. “Young lady, you are nineteen voyages now. You are also part of the council. Your voice is now equal to each of our own.” Grandfather pauses to reveal his famous smile. “And you may now partake.”

She smiles and nods in agreement. “Thank you, Grandfather. It’s a great honor.” Demur looks disgusted.

Tanika inhales the herbal smoke, cringing as it irritates her throat. The smoke gets hotter and hotter until she cannot hold it anymore and coughs it out. She feels a wave of calmness overtake her. Her senses are heightened. The sounds of the fire are richer, and she can hear the distant insects of the night. Clarity envelops her as she looks down and realizes she has been holding the pipe for what seemed like an eternity. She giggles and hands it to the next man, who politely accepts.

“Tanika, you have remained silent this whole time. Surely you must have some thoughts on this situation?” Grandfather asks inquisitively. She feels all of the council eyes descend on her, and the enormity of what she is about to say comes directly to her. She feels compelled to say it anyway. “We should ally our tribe with the wolves.” She finally says, with a quiet reluctance.

An awkward silence befalls the council. Demur bursts with laughter. “I never thought I would hear such a silly, stupid thing. Wolves are vicious, mindless beasts and they killed our parents. Who knows how many hunters have died from them as well. Or have you forgotten, Sister?”

“I… I have not forgotten, Brother.” She replies defensively.

“This idea of an alliance is an insult to the families who have lost loved ones to the beasts.” He adds, with much reaction from the circle.

“What gave you this idea, child?” asks one of the elders.

Tanika tries carefully to remove any tone of frustration from her voice. “I remember the tales and the great songs of the plains.” She pauses to form her words carefully. “Our ancestors used horses to hunt in Grandfather’s day, before the day of the great walk.” The council listens carefully as Demur waits for a moment to verbally cut into her.

“Surely the men before Grandfather’s time must have thought it was impossible to ally with the horses, if indeed they were wild as the tales say.” The council members nod in agreement as they begin to see Tanika’s point. “If we can figure out how to ally with the wolves, maybe they will help us hunt.”

“Horses may have been wild, but I have never heard of a horse eating a man.” Demur says, gaining laughter from the circle. “I will forgive your sweet naivety because you are merely a girl.” He retorts. “Wolves would rather eat us than ally with us. There will never be an alliance with wolves and man. They are better suited to eat our garbage, if anything at all.” More council members nod and agree with Demur.

“Eternal Father is the only one we need to worry about being allies with, my brothers. All this silly talk about Earth worship and old traditions gives us nothing.” Spit sprays from Demur’s mouth as he becomes more passionate. “The Earth is our greatest foe! It makes life hard for us and takes away our crops. Eternal Father will rule the Earth and make life paradise for all who obey him!”

“Agreed!” Says an elder. “We must be right with Eternal Father!” Adds another.“ Demur continues confidently. “Wolves are the scourges of this land. They were birthed by demons! Sacrificing them to Eternal Father will bring our crops back, as well as our hunts. This is the only real solution.” Demur finishes his rant while looking victoriously at Tanika. She shakes her head slightly in disbelief, as more and more seem to agree with him.

“It is clear that many challenges are at our feet.” Grandfather says in a commanding voice, gaining silence from everyone. “We can not solve every problem tonight, but we need to consider more solutions as we move forward. There will be no action until we learn more. Continue the hunt tomorrow and take anyone who is able. Don’t go out of your way to kill a wolf, only defend yourself if one comes near. If you waste energy in a pursuit, they will have you running in circles. They are clever. I conclude an end to tonight’s meeting.”

Grandfather stands up snakingly as he gains balance with his staff. “Nothing said tonight will leave this circle. We have enough fear polluting the village as it is. Now, who will help me rest these weary bones?”

Everyone stands and gathers their items. Tanika rushes over to take a hold of Grandfather’s arm. Others move to extinguish the flames. Demur seems distracted with a group of men as they stand in a circle laughing.

“All the better.” She thought to herself.

The walk to Grandfather’s shelter was long, and helping him required patience, but Tanika always rushed at the chance. He seemed to divulge the most valuable wisdom to her during these times.

She admired Grandfather very much. He had been the only father to her and Demur ever since their parents were killed. She didn’t always agree with his decisions, but nonetheless felt they were made with good reason.
It was customary for the tribal leader to pass his rites to his kin, which would have been Tanika’s father had he not been killed. The elders agreed to allow Grandfather to retain leadership until Demur became of age and skill, rather than elect a new leader.

Tanika steps carefully while holding him steady and upright as they walk. “Mother’s milk is shining brightly in tonight’s sky, and we are still but a drop of it.” He says, after a long period of silence. She looks up to observe.

“Grandfather, do you think there are other tribes, who live in other spheres, and who light fires as we do?” He smiles and chuckles from her question.

“Yes, I do. I suppose they look beyond their sky as we do, wondering if we are here as well. Maybe someday you will see beyond our sky, and you will see them too.” He finishes.

“But, I thought only men could gain the sight beyond our sky.”

He looks ahead, taking a deep breath to form his response. “Only men have seen beyond our sky, that is true. But, our sphere is changing. There will be many changes in the coming days no matter how many people want to fight against them. The world moves regardless.” She liked the idea and smiled, leaning into his shoulder.

A cool evening breeze sweeps across the path. The bones of Grandfather’s traditional necklace chime together in harmony with the whistling trees.

“Grandfather, I have a request.” She says reluctantly. “I wish to not be involved with the council anymore.” He turns to listen more, expressing concern. “The way they cling to this new faith scares me. I’m afraid our old ways will disappear.” He nods with a certain unsurprised look. “I felt like a fool to share my idea in front of them, the way they tore at it…”

“That is why your voice is more important than ever.” He interrupts. “We need young minds with new ideas, no matter how painful it is to express them.” He pats her comfortingly. “What you did showed true bravery. Do not concern yourself about the thoughts of others. Regardless, it is better to be hated as your true self, than to be loved as your false self.”

As they reach the entrance to his shelter, Tanika parts the cloth drapery and helps Grandfather sit on the edge of his bedding as he enters. The room is large and warm with hanging animal skins fastened to wooden poles using various bones and antlers. She sits on a chair beside him, helping him remove his traditional leadership garb.

“If wolf and man are to ally, it will have to be decided by wolf, not man.” He hangs his staff on a mantle containing many sacred stones. “Man might think it is he who must tame wolf, but perhaps… it is wolf who must tame man.” Tanika contemplates his wisdom as she hangs his ceremonial necklace.

“I’m worried about Demur too… surely you must see that his heart is cold.” She expels quickly, waiting eagerly for a response.

“I understand, and I see how you two quarrel.” He shifts his position and continues. “Demur is the only skilled tracker we have. His place in this world is needed, no matter how difficult it may be. Every Sun needs a Moon. So as it is with the wolf, even though we may not understand it.” She smiles and holds his rough hands.

“The time for conversation must end tonight, you have a long day tomorrow.” Grandfather rests his head back in his fur skin bedding as Tanika’s eyes widen.

“Why is that, Grandfather?” She leans in closer.

“Tomorrow you will have your third eye reading, the priestess agreed to it.”

Her imagination runs wild. “How can this be?” She thinks to herself. Her reading wasn’t supposed to happen for another two sun voyages.

“What do I need to do?” She says with anticipation.

“Do not do anything which requires too much energy, you must refrain from eating all day.” She stands up to leave.

“I don’t think eating will be much of a problem.” She says jokingly and kisses him on the forehead. He smiles in response.

“It’s good you can still maintain humor, even in these desperate times. The night is coming in which I will not wake. You need to be strong when that night comes.”

“You know I hate it when you say that!” She says firmly as she peels away the hanging furs. “Sleep at peace, I’ll see you in day rise.” She says, feeling the cool night air enter.

“I will sleep as peacefully as the night allows.” Grandfather says as he closes his eyes.

Tanika walks to her shelter alone as her sense of excitement makes way for an unknown wave of dread.

*****

They were late returning to the village, but the sight of a fresh kill made the wait worthwhile. Tanika watched as Demur and the hunters proudly carried the body of a young deer, singing songs of praise. She knew it wouldn’t be enough to feed everyone, but it was certainly enough to lift the sinking morale.

She couldn’t partake in tonight’s feast anyway. She had spent the day preparing for her reading. Her closest friends were by her side. They meticulously helped to beautify her body while trading naughty stories about boys in the village. Grandfather told them their laughter sounded like a group of ravens clucking about, which only sent them into further hysterics.

Tanika was able to maintain conversation with her friends even though she never cared much for the pursuit of boys, only the pursuit of boy activities. When she was with other girls learning about plants, foraging, and healing she was thinking of hunting and the old tales of exploration. It was hard to become attached to boys anyway, since so many were disappearing.

Her best friend Amissa painted sacred star constellations along her back, while Delwyn finished a circular representation of the solar system on her forehead. They had all been friends since childhood and she was thankful they could help in the ceremony. It felt good to keep the old traditions alive even if it was only with a handful of people around her.

The sky ignited into a fantastic array of red colors as the sun began to set. Tanika knew it was time. She hugged and kissed her friends and Grandfather goodbye. She wasn’t sure if it was the hunger pains she was feeling or excited nervousness as she made her way alone to the priestess’ shelter.

The priestess was an eccentric old woman who lived on the edge of the village. Since the old ways started to disappear, few villagers gave her much attention. Tanika didn’t know much about her, but wondered if she was even older than Grandfather. She contemplated how a woman her age could manage on her own in this way, yet somehow she did.

She was about to yell her greeting just as the priestess opened her shelter on time. She appeared dirty and disheveled from head to toe. Her silver hair was completely unkempt and looked as though birds were nesting in it. Her garb was tattered, torn, and completely unappealing to the eyes. This is not the image Tanika had expected from a mystic.

She wondered why she went to such trouble to look beautiful in such a presence. Tanika would have wondered if this was the right place, had the priestess not been the only person living on the fringe.

“Remove your shoes and leave your weapons outside.” She barked.

Tanika did as instructed, unlacing her shoes and dropping her bow and arrow quiver. She entered the shelter and soon noticed how drastically it compared to her Grandfather’s. The entire thing was a mess. It was completely full of useless items, mostly twigs and clutter. The only clearing was in the center of the room, which had an outstretched bearskin on the ground and a small fashioned canister for firelight. She wondered where the priestess could even sleep.

She waited for the priestess to close the shelter entrance. “You’ll have to forgive me, I don’t – “

“Sit down, now!” The priestess interrupted, in a condescending tone.

Tanika sat down on the most comfortable spot on the bearskin.

“Not there! The end! End!!” She pointed with a shaking hand and yellow twisted fingernails. Tanika rolls her eyes and scoots to the end.

The priestess seemed to mumble to herself as she hobbled around the shelter. She gathered items only to put them back where they were, then rearranged them in a slightly different position. She wondered to herself if the priestess had lost her mind.

“I only lose that for which I intend to find again!” The priestess yelled, breaking the silence.

Did she somehow hear my thoughts? Tanika wondered. She couldn’t have. Better to just observe, she thought. She crosses her legs in a more comfortable position.

The priestess finally locates a leather pouch. She reaches inside slowly and carefully, and then in a quick motion throws the contents into Tanika’s face. The sting is irritating and gets in her eyes and nose. It’s a mixture of fine sand and ash. She inhales and coughs violently. As she struggles for breath, the priestess hands her a container.

“The water will not kill you.”

She doesn’t trust her at all, but doesn’t have a choice. She gulps it down and regains her composure as the old woman sits at the other end of the bearskin.

“Now we begin.” She says as she takes the water from away from Tanika, who is still trying to catch her breath.

She feels the old woman’s leathery hands on each side of her face. Her thumbs gently press into the center of her forehead, smearing the design Delwyn made. Tanika looks into her eyes, which appear cloudy and infected. The priestess closes her eyes and begins humming a soft “ahh” sound.

She feels awkward but remains still as the humming gets louder.

After an unusual amount of time the priestess stops. “You will be a leader.” She says in a slow raspy voice. “I can see that you will unite two tribes…A bond that will last for centuries, until both tribes are no more…Our tribe and the other tribe. From now until the end of days.”

“What other tribe?” Tanika retorts. “Our tribe is the only one in this valley.”

“Silence! No questions! Only answers.” They both hear a sound of rustling outside. The old woman continues.

“This bond comes…at a price.” She finally opens her eyes and looks at Tanika. Her expression turns to anger. She pulls her hands away from her face quickly. Tanika looks confused. “You will burn this village! You are a traitor and a whore! Your son is an abomination!”

“What are you talking about? I would never..I don’t.. I’ve never even been with man! And I would never betray this village!” She yells back defensively.

The old woman spits on Tanika’s feet. “Get out! Get out and don’t ever come back!”

Tanika feels astonished and stands up in anger to gather her belongings. “You are banished from this village. Take nothing with you. Follow the north star to the ice!”

“I’ll do no such thing! You are a crazy witch.” Tanika finds her bow and hesitates a moment before holstering it. She storms away from the priestess shelter. The sounds of incoherent ranting echo through the woods as she finds her way to the village.

The opening of Grandfather’s shelter flies open.

“I can’t believe it. I won’t believe it! What a waste!” Tanika paces inside with an animated fury.

“Did everything go well?” He asks with a smirk.

“Amissa was told she would be a teacher. Most girls are told whom they will bond with…” She throws down her belongings. “And I get this?! I think you sent me to the wrong crazy person!”

“I sent you to the right crazy person. Everything that was said was meant for you to hear.” He pulls another empty chair closer to his.

“She told me two different things and none of it makes sense! She said I would unite our tribe with one that doesn’t exist. Then she called me a wh – well… she called me a bad word Grandfather! She banished me to the ice. She can’t do that!”

He sits in his chair and motions for her to sit in the other. “Slow down my child, be at peace.” She plants herself across from him in a confused anger.

“The third eye reading is never complete. It is but a broken pot for which you only get a few pieces. Over time, you will find the other pieces and make it whole. It’s been this way for hundreds of sun voyages.”

“I don’t want any more pieces. Not if they are like that.” Grandfather smiles. “Do not be troubled. There are always things we don’t want to hear but we must. I must tell you something now, a piece for your broken pot.” Tanika leans in, composing herself.

“The priestess was correct. There is another tribe. They live beyond the mountains. When I go on my spirit walks, I meet with their elders. No one has known this, and now you do.”

Tanika is bewildered. “But I thought, we were the last?” He shakes his head.

“They have been here for some time now. They are suffering, just like us.”

“Wait..who are they?” She injects.

He hesitates before he answers. “The P’taul.” He finally says.

“P’taul?! But Grandfather, they made war with us long ago. They took our lands and horses! They are responsible for the great walk! How are you meeting with them? How have you not been killed already? Our people hate them more than the wolves!”

“Yes, I am familiar with the songs. A leader has to make hard choices. Choices no one will like. Our people are weary of travel and war and so are theirs. Our tribe cannot survive in this valley, even if the harvest returns. Their tribe cannot survive either. We are both struggling in a turbulent ocean. If we don’t work together, we will be both drown. A child born in their tribe is just as innocent as a child born in ours. This is something we must understand, if we want to continue.”

“No one will agree to this. Demur will not agree to this.” She replies.

“I know.” Grandfather coughs and wheezes. “That is why you are to become tribal leader in my stead. I cannot make the walk much longer.”

“But I don’t – ”

He continues over her. “Negotiating this peace has not been easy. It will take a bond between our tribes. I have arranged for you to be sealed with the son of their leader. Don’t worry; he has a kind heart. I know it may not be ideal for you, but it is for the good of our people.”

“I can’t do it, Grandfather. I can’t be a leader.. I don’t want it.”

“That is why it must be you, Tanika.” He says holding her hands. “Power belongs to those who don’t wish it. You’ve always been strong. Find your strength again. Everything will come into place.”

She takes a deep breath as she takes everything in. “For the good of our people…Alright. What do I need to do?” He stands slowly. “One thing at a time. Tomorrow night during council fire I will announce your rite of passage, and give the blade to you. Demur will not take kindly to it, so we need to make sure everyone is gathered.”

“I’m not looking forward to that part.” She says while standing up. She holds him steady.

“Demur will be stubborn, but he will be reliable to you when you take leadership.”

“Which won’t be for a long, long time!” Tanika interjects. He just smiles.

“In a few days I will take you on my spirit walk, and show you the meeting place of the P’taul. We won’t tell our tribe until the time is right.”

He looks again in her eyes. “I won’t pretend that our life hasn’t been a struggle, but that struggle will end soon. Life is too short to continue such petty quarrels. Love will once again return in full force, and conquer the fear that has ruled us all.”

He smiles again. “I remember when you two were both little as though it were yesterday. You’ve accomplished a great deal since then. Your parents would be as proud as I am, if they were here.”

She hugs him. “Only because you give us direction. Sleep at peace, Grandfather.”
She’s almost to the point of tears, regretting her negative reception of the priestess ceremony.

“I’ll sleep as peacefully as the night allows. Sleep at peace too, my child. I love you.” He adds. “I love you too, Grandfather.”

A hand extends forth out of the shadows, its fingers covering Grandfather’s face and eyes while pulling his head backward. Tanika falls away in complete shock, gasping. Another hand drags something across his exposed neck. She only sees a flash of red and screams in terror. Grandfather falls to his knees, his throat open.

He pauses and looks into the distance, smiling one last time in awe before collapsing to the ground dead. Demur steps forward into the light.

“For the good of our people.”

 

Continued on the next page (link below).

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4 comments

  • Redrobot3D

    Very indepth and enjoyable story!

    Reply
  • Hemant

    Please continue it

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    This story is so good, please continue it! I would even buy this if it was a book. I couldn’t stop reading!

    Reply
  • Very good story but a little drawn out sometimes. Looking forward to continue reading the story.

    Sallyman

    Reply

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