I raced along in the branches of the old trees in the forest, graceful as any cat, light as any squirrel. I'd grown up among these trees, and joined the Night Hawks when my father had died, four winters ago. I paused, hugging the trunk of her tree, I missed my father, the man who had taught me how to fight and climb trees and hunt. The man who taught me about the Fae that lived in these woods. He'd been close to finding the entrance to their realm when he died. When the fae struck him down with a deadly fever, no natural remedy could cure him. I had tried everything I could think of, but he'd died anyway. When the Sheriff had come knocking on the door the day after my father had been buried, I'd ignored them, climbed out of a window and hid in the forest.
Now I could see from my tree that there were still a few soldiers in the forest, left over from the chase. Peering down from the foliage, I noticed several of them trying to round up their horses again, but their tracking skills were leading them in circles. Eventually, as the sun went down, I started to head back to camp, but became aware of a scuffle on the ground beneath me. Landing lightly I saw Kiara being choked from behind by a strange man in armor.
"You sure about that?" Kiara asked boldly, drawing her knife, but she wasnt at a good angle to use it effectively, except perhaps a sharp poke in the gut. I ran and jumped onto the man's back, wrapping my own arms around his thick neck and pulling hard so he choked and let go, falling and landing hard on his back.
"You okay Kiara?" I asked, untangling myself quickly from the man.
"I had it under control." The girl replied bluntly. I readied my bow as Kiara drew her whip. The man was in for a world of pain, but he faced it easily, chuckling softly even as he massaged his throat.
"How cute," he said. "Two little girl's with their father's weapons." He didnt even bother drawing his sword, he just stepped forward threateningly. That was all it took. I fired my bow and an arrow lodged itself in his leg. Kiara fell upon the man as he staggered in pain, swinging her whip and knife with blinding speed and accuracy. The soldier was a bloody mess in the end, still breathing, but just barely. I swallowed hard, I hated seeing someone wounded like that, but he would have probably killed the two of us, or worse, if he had won. If he had been fighting against innocent farm girls, instead of a pair of forest-bred Night Hawks. Kiara didnt say anything as she cleaned most of the blood of her clothes and weapons. I didnt either, as I headed back to camp, leaving Kiara to carry the products of her earlier hunt to camp alone.
Upon reaching camp, I sat in front of the fire, grateful for the warmth against the chill night air, but jumped when a man came and sat down near me. There werent many men in the Night Hawks, only a few forest born ones. I didn't recognize this man, and the scent of the towns and cities clung to his clothing and hair. I wrinkled my nose slightly and shifted away, helping herself to what was left of the soup in the pot over the fire. It smelled delicious and I realized how hungry I was. I ate quickly, and then watched the man carefully as he made himself comfortable. He made me nervous, and I couldnt figure out why.