In the mists of time.
The hunter stood tall on the edge of the ridge overlooking the small watering-hole.
He lifted a hand to shield his eyes from the bright yellow, but cold, light of the midday sun.
He and his little band of hunters had been trailing the family of deer for the past three days, before they'd finally caught up with them.
The thirsty animals had relentlessly roamed the cold country-side in search of water and fresh grazing to slake their thirst and hunger.
There were five animals for the taking, a full grown male and his entourage, and what a boon it would be to their tribe if they managed to kill them all.
He needed some good luck.
The food was at an all time low and the skins would make much-needed clothing for his people.
He was the leader and it pained him to see the women and children suffer from hunger and cold.
The Shaman of the tribe, his younger brother Sam, had been given a vision of the small herd of deer and had indicated the direction to take.
His brother's visions were never wrong; although it upset Dean to witness that each one left him with terrible head pains.
However thanks to him and his fore-telling, their people were relatively prosperous and hadn't yet died from cold or starvation as the availability of food became scarcer and the temperature of the plains diminished continuously.
The rest of the tribe, led by Sam, were on the move, following Dean's hunting party. With the elderly, children and the women, the travelling was much slower and the human caravan would be about a day behind.
Better that way, as there would be fewer odours for the deer to scent, Dean mused.
When they did arrive however, he wanted his people's spirits to be uplifted by the abundance of fresh meat.
He cleared his mind of all thoughts other than those of how best to go about killing his prey.
He drew back to consult with his men, all proven hunters with the lance.
Dean had trained them incessantly until their aim was true, and they could hit a moving animal in the head or the heart, their weakest spots, halting them in mid-flight.
He himself was an expert hunter, and he could count on a few fingers the number of times a prey had escaped death by his hand.
Sam, his inventive younger brother, had come up with a way of honing their flint-heads without breaking them, until they were razor sharp, making their weapons far much more efficient than those of the other sparse tribes they encountered on their wanderings.
He smiled as he thought of his brother.
They had lost their mother soon after she gave birth to Sam who had been nursed by another woman of the tribe, alternating him with her own new-born son; and their father John, who had been the former leader of the small group, had been killed in a hunting accident trying to save one of his men from an enraged buffalo.
They had been both young when it had happened but Dean and Sam had grown strong, intelligent and cunning, always together, the elder taking care of the younger, united in a bond of brotherhood that amazed the other members of the tribe.
But that very bond and the need for each brother to look out for the other, coupled with their vanquishing of all that nature threw at them, had benefitted everyone.
Dean had grown to be a great hunter and Sam the powerful Shaman and Medicine-Man of the tribe, his accurate predictions keeping them in food and free from surprise attacks from animals or hostile tribes.
Furthermore, he was always searching for better and more efficient ways of improving their daily lives, and often came up with little ideas to better their harsh existence.
Dean issued whispered orders to the younger and less experienced hunters to spread out behind the watering hole in a semi-circle and frighten the animals into coming towards him and his expert lance-throwers.
When the rest of the group arrived the next day, there was great joy in seeing the hunters at work cleaning the carcasses of the five deer, and everyone set feverishly to preserve what they could for the days to come, and to cure the leather for warm clothing.
Sam sought out his elder brother who had gone on ahead to explore the surrounding country-side.
"I see that none of the prey escaped you, brother," the younger smiled, as he found Dean not too far ahead; relieved and happy to see that his impulsive, risk-taking elder brother was unharmed.
"There would have been nothing to capture if your visions had not told us where to start looking," Dean acknowledged, as he grinned back at his towering little brother.
Sam was the tallest man in the group, as yet they had not come across anyone else bigger, not even amongst the other humans that wandered the plains.
Sam went to stand at the side of his beloved brother, brother who had raised and protected him after the death of their father and he bumped his shoulder against his sibling's.
"Come," Sam said, "the women are cooking some of the meat. We will all eat our fill tonight thanks to you."
Dean locked eyes with him. "We are a team, brother. Together we will lead our people to a new land where the prey is bountiful and the days warmer."
Sam nodded as they held each other's gaze; then turned as one to join their companions in their celebrations for the sucessful kill.