By Fire Redhead

"I want to be a hunter like my sire Swift as Fate!" the child Predator demanded harshly feinting his ornate dagger at some imaginary foe.

His bearer clicked sharply behind her ornate mask, "You cannot my offspring. You are still a very Young Blood; barely six rotations old! What makes you think you are ready to hunt when you are not even blooded yet?"

The male child swung and spun his dagger in fancy patterns, punctuating his strong words, "I want to be a hunter! I cannot wait! I will not wait!"

His bearer strode over effortlessly seizing his wrist with a harsh hiss, "Enough! Your talk is foolish! You are far too young and of little experience and intelligence to take on such a thing. Do you forget that only the blooded warriors are permitted to hunt? Even if you survive to adulthood you will have to endure many trials and much training to even become half the warrior your sire is!"

He lowered his large head, almost too big for his little body, and let his stubby mandibles slide to the side in what could be interpreted as a pout.

Seeing his submission, the female toyed with her offspring's dreadlocks; a sign of comforting or affection, "One day my son you will be a great warrior. You must be patient and not let your eagerness blind you. Remember our laws and live by them. Respect your ancestors. Remember your warrior honor and courage and never let it go." she rattled with a passion. The young male nodded in acknowledgement. His mother was strong and wise.

"Now...practice your dagger skills"

After his strenuous knife practice the unnamed male child retreated from his dwelling. (Until they reached the Age Of Passage, child Predators were unnamed until they earned their warrior titles through battle and honor.) When the twin suns of the planet were nearly parallel, the blooded warriors would spar with one another on the Battle Terrain, displaying and fine tuning their prowess as fighters. Whenever he had the chance the male child would sneak off to watch such battles so he could learn by observation how to be a great warrior. In his short life all he'd wanted to do was become a hunter and be just like the clashing titans of the Battle Terrain. In particular he wanted to be like his sire Swift as Fate.

Swift was the clan leader and earned that position by being the fiercest and most skilled warrior of all. None alive could match his quickness or agility with blades and those who tried were slain as quickly as a challenge of his authority could be made. He was the young male's idol; everything he aspired to be. The only thing standing in his way was the passage of time to attain his status as a warrior hunter. But he could not wait! He wanted to be a hunter now! Already he had beaten all the young males his age in sparring and even defeated much older opponents! Didn't that merit some recognition? He could hunt, he just knew it!

Ever since birth he'd been trained and conditioned in the ways of combat. In fact, seconds after leaving his bearer's womb his Sire, who witnessed the births of his offspring ritually, placed a dagger in his tiny hand. It was said if the young gripped the knife handle, then they would grow to be powerful and lethal warriors. He had gripped the knife handle very strongly and from that moment on, weapon wielding became as natural as breath. Every day all young Predators were required to train in the art of fighting hand to hand and with weapons. They were also educated in the ways of their clan and taught of the prey they would one day hunt. The epitome of every Predator's life was their First Hunt and they all had to be ready for it or death would find them quickly.

Finding a position above the Battle Terrain on the roof of a dwelling the unnamed male child felt the bellowing fight chant of the warriors who were calling for blood from the two combatants rush through his chest. Their unearthly roaring stirred the child's warrior soul and enflamed his inborn lust for combat. Swift as Fate and a younger male of about equal size were squaring off in the center of the chanting crowd of onlookers. They had no weapons; only their raw power and skill were to be utilized. Obviously from his posturing the young male was cocky and challenging of Swift's position. In order to keep his role as leader Swift would have to combat any upstart who thought himself male enough to seize his title. He'd taken many a scar from such combats but he'd never lost. Standing at a mammoth 8'2 and build of solid muscle the leader was indeed a force to be reckoned with and any challenger would have to be damn certain he could defeat him. His challenger was of equal size but not as broad and of younger years, but aggressive as Hell as most Young Bloods were.

Swift turned his body slightly showing the younger combatant his back which was the human equivalent to spitting in someone's face. When a Predator turned his back on an opponent he was saying, "You're not worth my attention or you are not worthy of my skill." That did it. Shrieking in a bellowing snarl of rage the Young Blood leaped at his leader in a power kicking attack! Anticipating this, Swift ducked to the ground just as the fighter flew over him instead of hitting him! In the same motion the leader seized the Young Blood's extended legs, meant for kicking him in the back, and jerked them back hard causing the combatant to fall forward on his face in the dirt!

A massive roar of approval exploded from the crowd after the stunning combat move. Rolling quickly the Young Blood got back on his feet in a low crouch, spreading his lower mandibles ferociously. NO ONE made him look foolish like that! Swift showed him his back again but this time the younger Predator was not so quick to attack. Eyeing his leader's position he came in slower and with more thought of his movements. Swift could somehow sense his caution and faced him directly bulling into his opponent! Instinctually the fighters clasped hands in a wrestling struggle of raw muscle power! Another chant blew up from the crowd that egged them on. Seeing his strength was less than his leader's the Young Blood slumped down a bit before driving a solid knee into Swift's rock hard stomach! The leader grunted and made a fist, connecting a blow with the upstart's right lower mandible! Responding instantly the young Predator spun around, executing a fancy series of combat kicks that appeared very advanced and powerful. Swift blocked some of them by crossing his wrists and twisting his body out of the furious path of bone crunching kicks but most of the kicks connected. Just when the young blood appeared to have the upper hand Swift as Fate showed exactly how he'd earned his name. With a blindening move of his body, the leader slid beneath the kicks and came up with an iron fist beneath the young one's jaws! Head whipping back from the awesome blow the younger Predator tried to catch his balance but Swift was upon him instantly, bashing the upstart's head with steely fists of raw power! Green sprays of thick blood spewed from the Young Blood's mandibles under his leader's relentless blows until Swift spun, connecting a clawed foot with the side of his head. The young blood fell to the ground and let forth a blood curdling shriek as his leader's knee drove into the middle of his back! Crumpling at last the younger Predator could take no more. To punctuate his victory, Swift seized the challenger's dreadlocks and used them to haul him off the ground before throwing him above his head in an awesome display of strength!

Swift spread his mandibles in a fierce bellow of triumph as he held the Young Blood over his head, "Know this ALL OF YOU! Any who challenge me shall be BROKEN by MY HAND!"

A frenzied roar of approval shook the air of the Battle Terrain as Swift carelessly tossed his opponent to the ground and strode dominantly through the parting warriors. The unnamed male child 'roared' his admiration from his position on the dwelling roof. He was honored to be of Swift's offspring and one day HE would be as great a warrior as he!

Suddenly the activity was interrupted by the blaring of a klaxon across the Battle Terrain. All warriors' heads turned in unison at the sound. It only meant one thing: a Hunt was brewing. Immediately Swift As Fate withdrew his ornate sword and held it over his head bellowing orders and sayings over the crowd. Immediately the unnamed male child leaped down from his perch and began making his way through the crowd by weaving in and out of the warriors' thick legs. He just had to see his Sire up close when he was dealing out orders! None of the full grown hunters paid the child any mind other than a quick glance downward when he brushed against their calves. After a bit of maneuvering he was only a few feet from Swift As Fate.

He listened with interest, "…we travel to the planet of the Flatheads! A Flathead Hunt has not been issued for a great many seasons. If any of you Skr-ok'nact think you're worth your father's seed to partake in this killing, step your sorry ass forward!"

A shift in the crowd and many warriors of young and experienced Blood stepped forward, cutting their chests with their ceremonial daggers to display their acceptance. The little male couldn't stand it! Lifting his head high and puffing out his little chest he marched out of the crowd, stood next to the line of warriors, withdrew his own dagger, and cut his chest. It hurt…but he refused to show pain.

Upon seeing the tiny child cut himself like the others, the crowd of Predators began to click and rumble their amusement. Swift As Fate eyed the male child with humor. Striding forward the leader towered over the young one who barely came up to the top of his calves.

The Predator child's yellow eyes averted up at his leader but then quickly returned his gaze forward and his dagger poised across his chest. Swift As Fate rumbled with laughter, slowly circling the child.

"And just what the Cho't is this?" he growled.

"I accept your challenge sire. I will hunt the Flatheads!" the male stated boldly, raising his shoulders and puffing his chest even more so to display his aggressive determination.

The Hunters laughed uproariously which made him mad. Swift As Fate raised a spiky brow and then rumbled, "Barely the size of my rod and he wishes to hunt Flatheads!" That drew further laughter from the warriors. Swift clicked in admiration, "Definitely one of mine! Already has the lust for blood! Not this time little one. Wait about ten seasons and you'll be ready. Now go on back to your dwelling. Hunts are meant for grown warriors."

Humiliated and ego totally crushed to dust, the young male sheathed his dagger and stomped out of the crowd. His larger child eyes were not soft but flaming with barely contained rage that made his blood boil. Behind him the corrosive laughter of the warriors echoed in his head. Rejected! Rejected by his own sire! Why must he wait? He could hunt now! What did age matter? What did size matter?

Upon reaching his dwelling the little Predator shrieked and slammed his dagger into ground before him. His anger was SO great he wanted to KILL something! Then…an idea struck him; an idea of crazy proportions and very little consideration. But in his current state of mind…it didn't matter. Not at all. Even if it meant his death…he would hunt.