- There is no room for regret in the life of a hunter. You must hunt, and you must die. But without risk, there can be no reward, and when the water runs with blood, you must hope it's not your own. John Hayward Hunter is dead. But his story lives on.
Long ago, there was a man named John Hayward Hunter. He was not the first hunter, nor will he be the last. But his story is the story of so many of us, those who face the monsters. Though he has passed on to the other side, we all face the same fate. John Hayward Hunter is dead, but still we remember him. His story lives on and reminds us what it is we do when we take up the hunt.
The following is a series of thoughts he wrote to his daughter prior to his death. Though each line was deciphered individually, they are presented below as a complete letter.
My name is John Hayward Hunter, and I will die tonight. It is the 99th time I write down these words.
Most never accept the possibility of death. They try not to think about it. It's the least cheerful of topics. But I know I will probably die in this southern swamp. Surrounded by creatures of madness. Always wanted to visit New Orleans.
We all know we might die tonight. All hunters do. That's why the oath of the night is so simple and pure. You know this when you join the Society, on your very first hunt. You know there is little difference between hunter and prey.
So for you my daughter, I have nothing to leave. I possess no property save for the knowledge of a terrible truth. And I know it won't be a good death. I have no desire for a good death. Just the hope to die in place of my friends.
Two months ago we lost Sinan, the gun poet. He knew he would die that night. He's in hell now. God bless his soul. He was from a land far away. Most of us are from some other place. Sinan was a soldier. They were called The Sinners. A strange name for one so faithful. He explained, and I understood. They knew they were all damned. When you know you're going to hell, you're free. No conscience, no hesitation. You kill without fear of damnation. No place for remorse in the life of a hunter. We are all sinners. We sin and we die so that others won't have to.
In the life of a hunter, trust is expensive; betrayal is cheap. Should you choose to trust someone, choose carefully. Your life is the only thing you truly own. The line between friend and foe gets blurry when the stakes are high. The darkest of wounds does not hurt more than a dagger in the back. I was lucky. I had a friend who died to save me.
My only will, my daughter, is when you grow up and decide to do what your old man did, that you always remember... My only hope is that you'll find somebody who would sin for you. Somebody who would die, so that you won't have to.
In the name of two, bound by blood. Let us drink from the fountain of death. Here's to the hunter. Here's to the hunted.