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Uncaged

Uncaged

When I was a child, in my village lived a hunter that kept as a pet a crow.

That bird was the hunter’s favourite pet. He taught the crow many useful tricks, including how to track and hunt prey.

Every time the hunter went after a special quarry, it was the crow he employed alongside him.

However, there was a cruel side to this relationship. As much of a favourite the crow was, the hunter was possessive of its skill so he kept it locked inside a cage when it wasn’t hunting.

When it was needed, the crow was never truly released, always tethered to the hunter during a pursuit.

The hunter made promises to the crow of freedom once this or that line had been crossed and so the crow served its master faithfully. But every day that line kept being pushed further and further forward.

Until the day when the hunter became bored of the crow and found a new weapon to use.

He sent an executioner to wring the crow’s neck, but they were incompetent and fumbled, only to release the bird free into the world, to seek revenge.

For years I was Death’s favourite pet, “the hunter’s crow”.

Death took me under his wing as a fledgling. I was wild then, but he tamed my spirit, harnessed it and taught me many useful tricks. I became his best weapon, able to track and hunt his prey like no other.

I always got the special jobs; for years I preyed diligently on OSW, at my master’s behest.

Yet, as dedicated as I was to my work, as strong my loyalty to the Skull Order, I knew I was never free.

Like “the hunter’s crow”, my master kept me bound to him. The Black Hand of Death gave me purpose but it was also my cage.

I was tethered to Death, set free only to kill, but pulled back with the chains my master used to prevent me from flying away.

Of course he made promises, to be fulfilled once my service was complete. But there was always one more job to do.

I realise now that Death was never going to hold up his end of the bargain. Like a hunter replaces a rifle when it’s outlived it’s usefulness, so too Death replaced me with Vayikra.

You were given the task, Sir Gable, of being the executioner to wring the crow’s neck, but you botched it, instead releasing my bonds and giving me freedom from Death’s cage.

What you released wasn’t a mere crow but a bird of prey with a thirst for blood and vengeance.

At Scars and Stripes, it will be you, Gable, locked inside a prison of misery. Free of his shackles, now I can hunt who I want and how I want.

I will paint the stars and stripes in your blood, Sir, and when I come for you there will be no escape from the cage.

For the greater good.