In a clearing off the side of a wide dirt road is a caravan. Pale banners line the sides of the covered wagons, depicting a wolf's head within a circle, the symbol of the nomadic clan Ha-Ten.
The caravan is silent. The expected noise and bustle of such a large group of humans is absent - no children shrieking underfoot between wagons, no adults washing, cooking, chatting, playing. Not even shadows flit from wagon to wagon, clinging to each other and their homes, as they might in dangerous territory. The only sound is the creaking of the wagons in the wind, and his own harsh breath.
Bodies lie in the wagons, and in the spaces between and around. Blood stains the banners of their clan, and the ground where they fell. Not even the children were spared. Should he look up he would find his father's eyes gazing at him, unseeing, fixed upon their last sight before death.
His people are dead, every last one. He is the last Ha-Ten. And, he knows, he is dying as well.
No one will come for him, not out here away from the safety of human settlements. He will find no more mercy in the wilds than his people did at the hands of their murderers, who accepted his father's charity only to kill them all in their sleep.
But it is better he goes with them than be left in this world alone. Though he hates that they should end so ignobly, should he survive he could never redeem himself for his father's folly, and his own failure to defend their clan. What use is he? The son of a failure, a failure himself?
None, and so better off dead.
His vision begins to cloud, his breath is harsher, the heart within his chest beats frantically to sustain his life just that much longer. Strange that it should try so hard now, when its strength was worthless when it mattered...