The warm, humid breeze carrying the scent of dried grass, stale water, and ancient plains dust felt suddenly cool against the dark skin of my face. Only now the air carried with it the raw smell of blood, human blood.
I felt an unfamiliar knot of fear in the pit of my stomach and the razor thin sweeper blade in my right hand seemed heavier than before. My eyes were fixed on Jimmy Littlefeather who lay on his back in the warm sun. Jimmy’s lifeless eyes were open and fixed on a single point in the golden hued sky that arched over my head. This should not have happened. Legod do not fear death….
I walked toward Jimmy’s corpse, the golden strands of plains grass that rose around and over me were like an ocean of gold. The dry strands rustled off my leather hunting armor as they parted for me. When I neared my friend’s body, I saw Jimmy’s throat was ripped open by what could only be razor sharp teeth. Only one deadly predator could have killed Jimmy. A predator that was more dangerous than any wild animal on Earth.
Predators on Earth are normally fearful of humanoids. On Celestial II one predatory animal had never tasted human blood, because no human had ever been killed during the Kiowa Apache ritual hunts on this world.
Jimmy Littlefeather had honored me by inviting me on his first hunt. The hunt would prove Jimmy’s warrior prowess and complete his journey to manhood.