The sun is gone. It’s time. I begin the ritual as I have done so many times in the past. It is an ancient rite, yet it’s still as potent as the day the first hunters first performed it.
I dip two fingers into the red paste made from the life force of lower beings whose sole purpose for existing is to sustain me and enhance my faculties.
I repeat the words as I paint my body:
“I call upon the eagle to make my eye sharper than his,
The winged bat that my ears may detect the tiniest vibration,
The fox that my mind may be sharper than my foe’s,
The bear to give power to my hold and my strike,
The snake that I may move undetected,
The cheetah so my legs will carry me faster than the wind.”
It is done. I feel the power flowing into me, heightening my senses, enlarging my capacities. Some may say this is overkill for such a simple and weak target, but I refuse cut corners.
I underestimated an opponent once. That mistake still haunts me every moment of every day. Even my dreams aren’t safe from the memory. Someday I will correct that mistake.