The Reaper, hair and skin blackened with charcoal from the ritual fire, crouched an arm’s length from the jungle path. Beneath the broad leaves of the banana bush she was invisible. She had been stalking for days and knew the habits of the ones she sought. Her prey would pass this way soon. They would follow this trail to the water’s edge to fill their skins. The male and female with their young . A boy. The Harvest.
Her nimble fingers went first to her tongue then ran slowly along the thin edge of a black feather, gifted from her Token Spirit and woven tightly into her pulled back hair. The crow had chosen her, had been her guide, her strength, her determination through the challenges, tests and trials leading to her selection as Reaper.
She was the first of her kind, a spirit-child, a Harvest, a female. The first to be chosen for the sacred task. The first in three generations. It was an honor to be sure, but had she not earned it? Yes! She had no doubt. Her Spirit Guide had never failed her. And she would not fail her people.
It was The Way of the five tribes. It was The Way of peace. In the time before, there had been war and suffering. They had nearly destroyed themselves. But the Harvest had saved them. Now war was no more and the tribes lived in The Way. The Gods, who feared the destruction of the people, had delivered The Way to the Shamans. And now she, Kaidyn, was Reaper and the time for Harvest had come.
She would take the young male from this path and disappear into the jungle. The others would not follow. It was The Way. In gratitude, she would rename him for her Token Spirit. She would call him Rook.