Some ask, what is a Kynigos? Life is full of intricacies and certainly you have better things to do. These inquiries are trifles I have little time for. Since I know how persistent you people can be even in the foolish things, I will grant a measure of relief. Below is the observer's report from the Pentcestus, a satellite surveillance system governing Hegelia.
“We lost him!”
Marco Dusan craned his neck forward and closed his eyes, tucking away his frustration and focusing on the scents spiraling toward him. Ahh.
There—to the left. He tilted his head in the direction and grinned. “They cannot hide for long.”
Roman, his Kynigos brother and mentor, nodded and sprinted down the alley. The powdery tan dust stirred but little under the large man’s feet.
Right behind his mentor, Marco sailed through the thriving outpost, his wide shoulders nearly grazing the alabaster walls doused with orange from the double rise. Reek the curse! A hunt on one of the quadrant’s hottest days.
They burst into the teeming square and slowed. Dozens of people, bodies draped in light-weight material and heads swathed in protection from the suns, bargained and mingled in the busy plaza.
Roman, the Master Hunter, stormed into the open area, his Kynigos cords swaying as they hung slack against his black vest. At the sight of him, several citizens froze. Clicks later, they clamored and shoved as they fled down the alley.
“He’s here.” Roman’s voice thundered in the now-silent plaza. “I want this man, brothers. He holds my honor and grant to the Eternal Rest. Firkin has eluded me long enough.”
“Indeed.” Rico closed his eyes and inhaled deep.
“I’ll take the east.” Stalking around the perimeter, Marco focused on the odors and sounds. Eyes were easily deceived, but the pheromones did not deceive his sensitive nose.
A heavy lemon smell wafted on the hot winds, drenching Marco’s receptors and piquing his thirst. He glanced down at a large barrel. Filled nearly to the top with dried flaxinella petals, the bin sat like a sentry at the magevo’s shop. He swiped a hand through the petals and grunted. How people believed they could heal the soul through material means he’d never understand.
Fear and anger scents slammed him from behind. He spun and caught a woman’s neck in a vise-like grip. Blue eyes widened.
Marco hesitated. Didn’t she know better than to interfere with a Kynigos in the middle of a hunt? “Consider yourself marked.” He withdrew the small Kynigos iron from his leather vest and pressed it to her neck.
She writhed against the branding. When he released her, the encircled star blazed against her dark skin.
“It would do you well to leave.” Rolling his shoulders forward, Marco lowered his head and glared through his brow.
Her eyes darted toward the magevo’s shop, then she shuffled away, sandaled feet scraping against the grains of sand.
Marco wiped the sweat from his forehead as he surveyed the shop. What was she looking at? Suddenly, a lingering scent on his hand stilled him. He stared at his palm for a click, then slowly raised it back to his face. The faint odor of lemon mixed with a distinct smell. . .bio-organic. A grin tugged his lips updward. His looked to the barrel of dried petals.
From over his shoulder, he caught Rico’s gaze. With a gentle nod toward the magevo’s shop, Marco moved with stealth.
Confusion wrinkled over Rico and Roman’s faces as they joined him, forming a perimeter around the waist-high crate.
“Have you heard, brethren, how flammable certain plants are?” Marco scooped a handful of the dried white flowers. He held his hand above the barrel and let the petals fall in a steady stream through his fingers. “Flaxinella is particularly potent in hot climates—highly flammable, if I remember it correctly.”
Wide grins spread across his brethren’s faces as Roman spoke. “It’s a double rise today.”
Marco nearly laughed. “So it is.”
Roman’s hand clamped onto Marco’s shoulder, and he nodded a silent thank you. “I’m sure this entire barrel would be enough to launch a Symmachian warship.”
“At the least,” Rico said with a wink.
“Shall we test it?” Marco said as he took a step back. Rico did the same. This hunt belonged to Roman since the decree had been paid to him. Only he could fulfill this bounty. Only he could attain the honor imbued from a completed hunt.
“I have a sparking stone here.” Roman spread his legs apart and held his arms bent at his side, hands balled.
Petals flew upward, fluttering out on the wind as a body launched from the barrel. “No!” Firkin gasped. “Mercy, no!”
In a flash, Roman’s grip fastened around Firkin’s neck, fury coursing through his dark eyes. “You have cost me my honor long enough.”
“I beg your mercy, Master Kynigos. I’ve changed.”
Shaking his head, Roman pursed his lips. “It’s not my concern. Your crime demands justification.”
It was the way. The Kynigos Way.