Elian crouched low in the undergrowth; his forest green hunting cloak allowing him to blend in to the surroundings. His bow was ready in his hands; string drawn back, arrow knocked.
The deer sat in a small clear patch; nibbling on the lush grasses next to it. Elian’s sharp eyes remained fixed; waiting to see where the deer would move. It raised its head as it chewed on a particularly tough piece of grass; but then slumped to the ground, and arrow through its throat.
As the blood began to pool; Elian slipped from his hiding spot; bow already strapped to his back once again. He picked the animal up and slung it over his shoulder. The deer weighed almost nothing to him. He traipsed back to his small campsite.
As he entered the clearing; he glanced up at his horse, Mera. She was a fine; chestnut brown mare, and had been his companion for many, many years. She was his only friend in this world; people didn’t seem to understand him. Animals accepted him where ordinary folk did not; they did not shun him for his differences, or for his unorthodox nature.
He tossed the deer down next to the small campfire and set to removing some of the meat. He sat down and watched as it cooked over the flames. He turned his gaze to the starry night sky and his continuing search for who he was.
Elian stood in the path of the two horsemen; his eyes had picked them out as raiders long before they came this close. Mera was safely tethered among the trees; out of harm’s way.
Raiders were groups of men who preyed on the weak; attacking solitary travellers and robbing them for all they were worth; sometimes slitting their throats for good measure. If they travelled in bigger groups; it was not uncommon for them to attack small villages; or a travelling caravan of merchants. Elian despised them.
The two men reigned their horses slightly short of Elian and hopped down. They each carried a long; black bladed sword and wore a superior smile on their faces.
“Look what we have here”, the one on the left said.
“An elf”, the other replied, evidently noticing Elian’s pointed ears where they protruded from beneath his long; sleek black hair. The raiders moved closer; readying themselves to attack. Elian did not give them the chance. In a flash; his two short-swords were in his hands; whipping towards the other men. The one on the left went down at the first blow; a blade having found his heart. His comrade was slightly luckier; managing to block the strike. Elian did not relent. He pressed on; delivering blow after blow until he heard the cracking of bone as the man’s wrist shattered beneath the force of his blows. He slashed across; beheading the man and killing him instantly.
He wiped the blood from the blade; and moved over to the horses. He would not kill the animals; he resented it. He would take them with him; they may fetch a nice price in the next city. He made his way back to the trees where Mera was; two new horses in tow.