THUD!

The stirring of her land awoke the native female, though she laid quietly for a few moments, her instincts gathering impressions about the world that was Agapeo. Sitting up, her eyes narrowed as she caught scent of a yellow seed Hunter.

Pushing open the door to her kennel, she stepped out, tiny frame perhaps fooling Hunters into thinking she was something other than what she was — the most dangerous female in Agapeo. She followed the scent towards the tavern, prowling with panther-like grace, her chocolate-colored eyes sparking in fury at what she saw there.

Just inside the door to the tavern stood a dark-skinned Hunter. And on his leash was another native of the land, one of the King’s Pixie Healers, bound in what she considered to be a most humiliating position. As the Branded female watched, the man spoke of registering the Healer, and the tiny woman snarled her hatred and disgust.

The Healer was her sister of the land, though she was much kinder in her demeanor than the Branded. Though she feared and hated the Hunters with their inferior seed, registration of a Healer could not be tolerated!

Her swift fingers flew to draw her bow and nocked an arrow as she also stepped forward. The man, well versed in the dangers of Agapeo, reacted quickly as arrows flew towards him. The man hoisted the pale-skinned Healer onto his strong shoulders and took flight, the tiny Branded in hot pursuit, arrows flying through the early morning air.

The Branded female fires on the Hunter who dares to capture and try to register a Healer.

He fell to the ground with a loud THUD as he tried to cross the bridge to Hunters’ Island, and the Healer tumbled from his grasp. His strength and overall good health, however, allowed him to recover quickly, and — with a mad scramble of limbs — he was on his feet once more.

He scooped up his captive and ran towards the newly created  Hunters’ Village, perhaps aware that the Branded would be loath to follow him there. And given the stories the King had told to the natives, stories that frightened them and made them avoid the populated areas of the island, his idea might have worked.

Perhaps it was a measure of the girl’s esteem for the Healer, but she would not be defeated. She ran after him, arrows blazing and gave a shout of victory as -THUD- the man went down once more. This time, there was no hesitation. She swiftly and brutally chopped the man’s head off.

The dark-skinned beauty untangled the dead man’s leash from his fingers and untied the Healer before helping her to her feet. Holding hands, the two women left the Hunter’s body behind and walked up the mountain to Branded Ridge, placing the man’s bloody head with the now bleached skulls of the many men who had made the same mistake, forgetting that, in Agapeo, danger lurks around every corner.

The two native females add the Hunter’s head to the pile of skulls on Branded Ridge.

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