Ashlin has spent her life trying to move beyond her status as a throwback. Unlike all of the population around her, she has to fight for respect on a daily basis. When being Hunt Master is taken from her once again, she resolves to avoid the hunt, but looking into the eyes of the beast to be hunted, she knows she cannot ignore the intelligence in those silver eyes. Leaving her home before dawn, she waits for the beast to catch up to her and manages to help him transform back into Rumble of the Sector Guard. In that moment her fate is sealed and her life in the stars begins.
Kalorda was the only thing that she could think of when she looked at that magnificent beast in her recordings. The fur, the fangs and the intelligence in those huge silver eyes.
If he was a shifter trapped in his feline body, it would explain the tiny electrodes that were visible on her scans. Someone had locked him into his shifted shape and sold him to a certain death on Endin.
She set her alarm and prepared her hunt garb for the morning. She also packed a med kit and as much higher-tech healing units as she could fit in it. Rations, maps and water locations are all readied and she quickly let herself sleep for a precious two hours.
She woke easily, years of training in action. She dressed, booted and geared herself up, creeping along the walls and slipping due east.
Ashlin ran through the woods and let her true nature show. Her nails lengthened to claws, her teeth sharpened, ears grew more pointed and nose grew wider to increase sensitivity. She tore at the back of her trousers to remove the basting stitch her mother put in place every time Ashlin hunted.
Her tail was long and helped her balance on the long jumps across brooks, her eyes let her see in the dark and the claws braced her on every curve. She twitched her whiskers in anticipation of the incoming male. If the beast was smart, he would follow her.
A bubbling laugh escaped from behind her teeth as she ripped through the pre-dawn forest. In a sense, the folk of Endin were soon to be hunting her.
Running full out in the dark was dangerous, but with her senses turned up to the maximum, she was miles away from the city by dawn. She paused in the reddish light to drink her fill at one of the many streams, then settled back against a rock with her senses wide. Every tiny motion in the woods would register in her ears, her whiskers catching every vibration.
Two hours later, she jolted awake. Something was approaching rapidly and it was moving at a speed far beyond that of an Endin.
Flat paws were thudding against the loam of the forest floor and she waited quietly, hiding in the shadows until the beast ran past her, stopped and returned to her.