Hunter, Warrior, Commander – Chapter One

Hunter, Warrior, Commander is the story of Sally – what happened to shape her to be the (alien) person she is, how she came to lead the most powerful independent army in the galaxy, why she dislikes Alan so much.

The story is set 4,500 years ago in a distant corner of the galaxy – so no chance of any humans turning up!

There are some familiar faces, as well as Sally – (‘real’ name Sah Lee), Simon (Si’ir Monnen Dak or Si’ir Monn), Alan (Ker Din Ser Forn), Ti’rrk the Ant and Kar Fen the Krendor. There are many new characters introduced, some of those who survive will appear in future books.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me by clicking here. I answer all emails and I love hearing from my readers.

Hunter, Warrior, Commander.

“I have seen the demons, or aliens, that attacked us, and I have fought and killed them. I have seen my closest friend, my soul mate Tir Mal slaughtered in front of me. I have changed. I am not the person you knew. I am full of rage and hate. I can feel it burning inside and it is consuming me.”

Sah Lee vows revenge and must learn to live in a universe of mysterious technology and struggle to survive in an alien army.

Chapter One – First Hunt

Sah Lee was now twelve, just old enough for her first real hunt. Tef Dor, the hunt leader, led the pack forwards in the dusk, through the thick clumps of sharp-bladed grass. The dry sandy soil beneath their bare feet was still warm from the blazing midday sun. The cool dry breeze brought the musky scent of their prey toward them. Sah Lee edged forward through the pack with an impetuousness that had often got her into trouble as a cub. “Get back!” hissed Sah Lek, her mother’s sister, but Sah Lee pretended not to hear her.

The pack slowed as they approached their prey. They needed to get as close as possible before the Imaya they were hunting noticed them. Sah Lee dropped to a crouch as they inched their way forward. The scent of the prey was now heavy in the air, bringing back her earliest memory of her mother, Sah Krin, returning with a fresh kill to their village.

Just a few meters away the Imaya stood grazing, with a calf at its side. They were lucky to have found them separated from the herd. The pack paused, then, as one, they exploded forward and pounced. The Imaya cow and her calf went down immediately, not standing a chance of escape from the tearing and slashing of teeth and claws.

Sah Lee was the first of the youngsters to reach the calf. She sank her pin-sharp teeth through the thick fur of the calf’s throat and tasted the sweet metallic tang of its young blood. The calf fell, its lifeblood pumping through the great gash that Sah Lee had torn through its neck.

The prey were dead. The pack lifted the two carcasses aboard sledges. Eager hands grasped the poles to drag the sleds back while Sah Lee danced at the front to crow about her part in bringing down the calf. They would soon be back at the settlement and eating fresh meat; no need to chew on roots to keep away the hunger pangs tonight.

The sun had left the sky now, but the light of the moons was enough for them to see their way.  The rings of icy particles they called the Necklet that circled their planet were sparkling high above as the sun shone on them from below the horizon.

This was a joyous day for Sah Lee. Her first kill on her first hunt. The taste of the calf’s blood was still on her lips; the blood covered her from chin to feet. These memories would stay with her for the rest of her life.

It was fully dark when they arrived back in the village. By the light of the dim lamps that lit the open area in the center of the village, the carcasses were quickly skinned, and the hides stretched across frames ready for scraping and salting before being made into leather.

The fire in the shallow pit in the middle of the village was already burning, casting a flickering light across the gathered villagers. The children helped the adults butcher the carcasses into joints ready for the night’s feast. As Sah Lee was now a fully blooded hunter, they excused her from the preparation work and she sat with the other hunters, swapping exaggerated stories of their part in the hunt.

When the fresh meat was laid out on tables, the four youngsters on the hunt were each given a quarter of the calf’s heart to mark their participation in their first successful hunt and proudly ate their share with the still warm blood dripping down their chins.  The elders presented the cow’s heart to Tef Dor to mark the honor of leading another successful hunt. Then, the whole village took their turn cutting lumps of flesh from the joints laid out and sat around the fire to eat them. The elders collected slices of liver and portions of the best parts of the Imaya cow and took them to the enclosure where the males were kept. Sah Lee didn’t know why they bothered to feed the males. They did nothing useful for the village, but whenever she questioned why they were given precious meat from the hunts, her mother and aunt dismissed her complaints, saying that the males were ‘necessary’, but never explaining why.

At the end of the feast, they packed away the remaining meat.  In times past the remains would have been wrapped in leaves and buried at the base of rocks in the shade, but now they stored the meat in plastic boxes in the community refrigerator. They wouldn’t eat this raw, but they would cook it over the communal fire and eat it with leaves, fruits and tubers.

Sah Lee laid back with her belly full of meat and looked up at the sparkling rings that shone in the clear night sky.

She knew she wouldn’t have many more feast nights like this. She would soon make the long walk to the station and take the train to the city.  In just two years she would leave her home and family to spend the next six years at the University in Aa Ellet, which meant Sun City, where she would learn about the technology that underpinned the economy of Aarn.  She knew that more than half of those that went to the University chose to stay in the city and feared that she may make that same decision to abandon the traditional plains hunting life of the Aarnth, and part with her mother, sister and aunt forever.

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Copyright © Andrew Maclure 2018

All rights reserved.

If you have any comments about Chapter One or any questions about Hunter, Warrior, Commander, please email me by clicking here

To read Chapters 2 & 3, click HERE

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