Son of chief Sitting Bear, of the Mkwa tribe, Elsu strives to be every bit the legend his father was, before the Manifest Destiny and the modernization of the West dredged its way through the ancestral lands of the Mkwa. Now, the warrior prince watches as the soul of his father slowly drains with each ever-expanding encroachment on sacred fields by the colonists. With the once-mighty Mkwa all but wiped out by war, famine and sickness, Elsu’s faith in his father’s empathy has vanished.
When the Government pressed them into a reservation, Elsu was prepared for bloodshed. But Sitting Bear held his son’s fury by proposing they position their new enemies to first defeat each other. Sitting Bear began allowing Confederate holdouts to seek refuge in his camps, to recover and regroup from night raids on Federal outposts and wagon trains.
Despite initial protests, Elsu eventually came around to the idea and, for a season, there was a brief moment of hope as the raids proved to splinter the Government’s efforts of Western Expansion while appearing to weaken the morale of soldier and colonist alike from pressing further into the westland.
However, Elsu was driven beyond reproach when he came upon two of the Confederates attempting to rape a Mkwa woman. Enraged, Elsu killed the two men and – at the behest of his childhood friend Kiyiya, left his father’s reservation to declare war on all those who had imprisoned them in their own land, regardless of whichever flag they wave.
Still, Elsu struggles with the brutality of his own campaign as he acknowledges his father’s philosophy that all men are men, capable of any destiny they choose and no child should carry the guilty of their father’s sins.
Childhood friend of Elsu, Kiyiya lost his father in a raid on colonial fur trappers. Despite the conflict being instigated by the Mkwa warriors, Kiyiya blamed the trappers for defiling the sacred land to begin with and - by proxy - blames all colonists for the death of his father and all other Mkwa tribespeople.
Kiyiya learned to handle a hatchet early in life and took to defending his tribe from raiders, rival tribes and aggressive game, including a grizzly bear he bested with a broken leg. Hot headed and brutally honest, Kiyiya was the largest vocal opponent of Sitting Bear’s peace-keeping efforts and subsequent sheltering of rebels. Loyal to a fault, however, when he found Elsu standing over the two men he’d just killed, rather than lead a coup against their chief, Kiyiya advised that they not cause a divide in tribe, but rather they ride out on their own “hunt.” Kiyiya even buried the rebel bodies and made the Mkwa woman swear secrecy so as not to tip off anyone within the tribe that he and Elsu had defied Sitting Bear’s wishes. Yet, despite Kiyiya’s loyalty, it is said when blood runs, Kiyiya sees only red and neither foe nor friend will know the safe side of his hatchets.
Kiyiya is a wild warrior on the battlefield, with an unquenchable blood lust and the dexterity of a whirlwind. One night, while returning from a hunt, Kiyiya stumbled on a group of marauders chasing two Mkwa children and their mother through the wilderness. Kiyiya came down on the raiders with such ferocity, fury and violence that the Mkwa could not make out Kiyiya as a man but later described him to others as a guardian spirit, a Cyclone Person.
Although the youngest of the three in Elsu’s warband, Qaletaqa’s skill with a long barrel is unmatched, rivaled only by his agility.
Born a mute, Qaletaqa found his place in the world as a silent hunter, preferring the solitude of the wild, not requiring much in the way of conversation. Still, Qaletaqa has known Elsu and Kiyiya since birth, growing up with them as brothers.
When Elsu and Kiyiya set out to avenge their people, Qaletaqa followed them from afar until their first skirmish with frontier poachers, when Elsu and Kiyiya quickly found themselves outmanned and outgunned. Qaletaqa aided them to safety, picking off the cowboys from a distance farther than they could see.
After the confrontation, Elsu and Kiyiya reluctantly agreed that Qaletaqa would be an invaluable asset on their mission and he was officially inducted into their warband.