Slipping quietly along the game trail as the first hint of daybreak shows the figure, is indistinguishable in the dark, his ghillie suit blending completely with the dark and vegetation. Carrying a full sized backpack, and a handmade bow, he slips onto his favorite tree, one that’s very alive but laying down along the ground with an upturn that his back comfortably rests against. Silently unhooking the backpack and setting it on the tree the Hunter settles to wait. The forest sounds become a constant din of noise in the background and the forest slowly wakes, still an hour before full daylight but light enough to start making out shapes and movement quite easily for the experienced woodsman who has spent his life in the woods whenever he can escape the daily grind.
Rugged looking, 6’ with hair graying but with still more brown than gray. Bearded face with piercing clear blue eyes that have seen many horrors and many tender moments, slight smile in the corners as if he knows something funny that no one else does. Well past being youthful, the hunter has many scars, and many wounds, some that ache and always will, and some that are tucked away inside his mind where no one is allowed to see. Just an ordinary, humble man, but one look tells you, that if you are looking for trouble, best look elsewhere because as the saying goes “it’s the quiet ones that you need watch”, and an old man still surviving in a young man’s world is not one to quarrel with. The Hunter silently checks his gear out of habit, on his belt on the left hip a sheath knife given to him by a good friend many ages ago, Damascus blade hand crafted and razor sharp, he never leaves without it. On his right hip, is a “Ronin” 45, a present given to him by the one love he’s ever had in his life who is at home still asleep as he hunts for whatever comes by. Strapped to the backpack is a wicked looking knife 20 inches long, curved blade of stainless with serrations on the back resembling a dragons spine, inside it has a fire starter, rope, a hooded cloak gray and woolen as the archers wore in days gone, by the type that is water repelling and seems to blend into any background, 2 spare magazines for his pistol with 2 boxes of bullets in the bottom that he did not know his “Peach” had put there “just in case”. There are other things that have found their way into the pack over the years that may become useful at some time. The Hunter runs his hand over the smooth wooden bow that took months to make, one that until he practiced with for ages he could not even fully pull back. His arrows, wooden and hand made fill the leather quiver that he carries on his back so drawing is easy. Calloused fingers caress the wood as the Hunter smiles at old comments on the size of his hands…
…Suddenly his eyes jerk towards movement to his right and down one of the game trails that converge 25 yards to his front, and he sees a gray fox trotting along the game trail towards his perch. Watching curiously as the fox comes closer and looks at him before just curling up in a comfortable spot close to his feet and going to sleep as if it was completely normal. “Well bub, I won’t bother you if you don’t spoil my chances”. The fox strangely payed no attention apparently already asleep on the soft grass. The Hunter sat silently contemplating on the oddity that was the wild animal, coming over and sleeping like that, did not appear sick, looked well nourished, so it was a conundrum he pondered. The hunters eyes flicked up as he started sensing something working it’s way down the trail on the opposite side of the clearing. Catching a glimpse of a small but legal to harvest whitetail deer, he slowly begins to draw his bow as the animal is obscured by some blackberry bushes. The deer walked past the bushes and stopped just out of the clearing in the woods, it’s tail nervously twitching and it’s eyes looking all around. The Hunter thought to himself “that deer senses something, winds in my favor so it’s not me” as he settles his aim on the area behind the front shoulder, low to try and hit the heart for a fast kill. Settling into a perfect rhythm between himself and the bow he no longer thinks about the motions or his movements as his fingers start to roll off the string to release it, everything is just how it should be, broadside 25-26 yards away, no wind, undetected, the Hunter releases the arrow and watches as if in slow motion it’s flight towards the deer.
The Hunter watches and suddenly notices a disturbance between him and the deer, something is weird, his view to the deer is interrupted by what looks like heat waves coming off asphalt on a summer day and as his arrow enters the heat wave it vanishes and as soon as it does the heat wave dissipates and there are 4 figures standing in the clearing facing away from him all looking at a 5th, but this one was not a man it was something like you would see in a movie as an ork or troll. This one fell over backwards and it was only then that the Hunter realized that two of the four had swords drawn one an axe and the last a spear all facing the other creature who had one of the hunters arrows sticking out of his neck. All four suddenly turned around and spread out facing the Hunter but it took a few seconds to find him as he blended in so well, weapons pointed in his direction and the Hunter remained quiet his bow half drawn as he had already readied the bow with lightening like speed from months of practice to be ready for a follow up shot at a wounded animal, all this took place even before the four had got totally into view. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the fox was awake and intently watching but had not moved. One of the four slowly lowered his sword and made a motion like putting his hand over his chest and bowed slightly, the other 3 followed suit but none of them looked the least bit relaxed.
Years of reading people and judging threats, the Hunter could tell these were soldiers of some type, they were dangerous and could handle themselves in a fight. The Hunter lowered his bow relaxing the string holding both, arrow still strung in his left hand and his right hand on his thigh near his hip where the Ronin was holstered. His advantage lies in the constant multiple assailant practice scenarios he drilled into himself, and his family. He was relaxed but knew things could go south quick and the chances are he would not get out unscathed if they did. So he remained silent and examined the four. All were tall, silver blonde hair long and down over their shoulders, wearing cloaks like the one he has but these constantly changed it seemed even more to become the same as the background, leather like moccasin type booths laced up to the knees, clear grey/blue eyes. They reminded him of woodsman from an age long gone, but their garb was more well made with silvery thread their shirts were covered with leather armor tightly woven with layers of overlapping pieces to make penetration difficult.
The Hunter got the distinct impression that these “men” were reading and judging him as he was them. The one who initially lowered his sword said something to the others and they sat on the ground where they were while he approached. The Hunter stood up now, still relaxed looking but balanced, weight on the balls of his feet, bladed towards the strangers and hand hooked in his belt by the holster containing the Ronin. The stranger stopped after getting to about six feet away and said “Bevan?” In perfect English. The Hunter remained silent and the stranger repeated “Bevan?” And looked at him curiously.
The Hunter knew Bevan was welsh for “archer” from one of the books that his Peach would laugh at him for reading at one time or another, but he also knew it wasn’t his name nor was he welsh. “Not sure who you think I am bub, but names Lee, not Bevan”.
The stranger looked slightly confused but did not let it dismay him “I am Rotar, I was sent along with my trusted friends to find Bevan, the archer, we need his help”.
“Well Rotar, all I can tell you is that my name’s Lee, I do use a bow to hunt sometimes, but I do not know anyone named Bevan”.
The soldier named Rotar began telling a tale to the Hunter as they stood in the clearing deep in the woods, and the hunter interrupted by holding up his hand, “Perhaps, before you get into a long drawn out story, you could tell me who or what that thing is?”, as he pointed at the creature with his arrow protruding out of its neck, obviously dead.
Rotar said “You don’t know an enemy when you see it? This is a Brak. It’s a foot soldier of our enemy, not very smart but very deadly with its axe”.
“Ok, so it’s your enemy, what does that have to do with me?” asks Lee in a calm voice, “Where did it come from, where did you come from?”.
“We followed it to the portal to try and stop it crossing into your time, but we were too late, and it opened the portal and we had to follow” says Rotar.
“Portal? What portal, and why would it want to come here?” says Lee.
Rotar replied with a solemn voice, laced with a bit of urgency “ It’s mission was to come here and find the Bevan and kill him, and anyone related to him, down to the last of his bloodline”.