|Ashur|| "Oh, Bertha, sweetheart," the man wails, holding his ten-gallon hat to his chest and lowering his head in respect. At his feet lies a brahmin. One of its heads popped from a rifle bullet; the other head is coated in blood but just as dead. Behind him, still attached to Bertha by a yoke, is a wagon with broken wheels, a split down its center, a few spilled crates and jugs piled up behind it, and a broken dream.
It is also on fire.
"My sweet Bertha, what did they do to you?" He yells his heartbreak and collapses to his knees, folding himself over Bertha's cooling carcass. The flies join in his misery.
This is the scene three travelers stumble upon, on a long dusty stretch of road leading out from Bitter Lake, that eventually winds its way through the rolling countryside of rural El Dorado and then cuts through it. A man, a brahmin, and all the tears in the world.
|Stockton||Stockton's got his pistols on his hips, strapped to them really. When they approach the burning cart and murdered brahmin, all he can think is out loud, "Shit, this is a trap er a setup," he mutters while pulling the Desert Eagle first. The other gun staying at his hip for now. A glance over his shoulder to ensure he has companions in this late evening, "We doin' the goodly neighbor shtick again?" he asks the Legionairre in particular. Their ninja-like friend is quiet.|
|Saeko||"Such a trap seems...wasteful, were they to kill a beast every time they wanted pray..." Saeko comments as she continues her path, her cloak wrapped around her form and her bow remaining on her back. Her other weapons? Both them and her attire are covered by the screen of her outer clothing. "You were attacked?" she questions of the man, making her way forwards with or without the others. "And yet you live? What did they take?" Yep. Saeko was the 'to the point' sort.|
|Ashur|| "H-Hey, friends," the man says, lifting a snot-stained face as the group approaches him. His eyes are red and already starting to swell. "W-Welcome to Eustace's Emporium of Endless Entertainment!"
Oh, so that's what the sign on top of the cart says, behind the tongues of flame reducing it to blackened char.
"Your f-first stop for miracles, curiosities, and mysterious d.. d... "
He bursts into tears again and throws himself back down on the dead brahmin. There's a loud crack, a POP, and one of the wagon's remaining wheels gives, sending the whole thing teetering over with a thunderous crash of splintering wood. A snowglobe tumbles out and smashes against a rock.
"I'm.. having a bit of a crisis right now, friends. But if there's anything left that isn't on fire or stolen, I'd much appreciate your patronage."
Then Saeko approaches, and he interprets her question as compassion. "Everything! I never should have trusted that merc. His protection fees were too good to be true-- he sold me out!"
Behind, quiet, Ashur stares at the man. A look to Stockton. A shrug.
|Stockton||Stockton pops his neck a few times when he uses the M word. That stove pipe hatted merchant is given a square look through the dark plastic T-visor. "What was his name?" he asks, because Mercs sometimes police other Mercs for breaking contracts. A nod given to the ninja girl, because she's hundred percent correct. "As fer patronage, we'll have tah see about that...later," he grumbles, pulling the slide on the Deagle back he racks the first round and grins at Ashur, "Try not tah rip off any dicks off the bat?"|
|Ashur|| The weepy man turns to blow his nose and then stares up at Stockton. "He said his name was Stanley Two-Eyes." It's a name Stockton will vaguely recall if he keeps up to date on the regional mercenary scene-- a lanky man with half a shaved head seen in a saloon or mentioned by business acquaintances. A decent shot with his rifle, but with a poorly-hidden chem addiction and gambling debts in every settlement he passes through. "We stopped here so Stanley could take a shit, he walks off behind that hill." A point to the nearby, sparsely-treed hill the wagon died in the shadow of. "A few minutes later, I hear a hollerin', and over the top of it run these drug-crazed psychos! I grabbed my shotgun and started running, firing when they got close. Bertha spooked and tried to defend me.."
He clears his throat. "I lost 'em. When I came back, well..." He looks down at his beloved brahmin and completely pillaged inventory.
|Saeko|| "Laden with spoils, they won't have gone far." Saeko comments, looking out towards the path. Surely there would be a trail, even if she may not be the best at following it. They would have to make do. "They could be caught." She wasn't exactly promising to return all that had been stolen, but it was an offer left hanging for the man. Everything had a price, even Saeko needed to eat. "The hill would be a place to start."
She spares a glance back to the two men, perhaps not getting the inside joke of ripped off dicks, but just as much to see if they are on-board for the intended tracking.
|Stockton||Stockton snorts sharply, "Stanley Two-Shits." He mutters and grinds his teeth a bit, there was a gambling debt owed certainly a cool ten caps. A nod is given to Saeko, "Good point, we get a move on, we can catch up. But we need to keep low, if he's got his rifle up we won't wanna get picked off followin' them." He looks back at Ashur and smirks, "You up fer another punch fest?" Glancing back to the merchant he chuffs, "We're gonna find the lil shit, and as much of yer stuff as we can. Just sit tight, and don't go wanderin' off. Maybe put yer cart out," he suggests and picks up to start heading towards the hills, ducking low.|
|Ashur|| Saeko is too busy keeping a vigilant look-out for potential ambushers to detect a path; instead, the talented ninja girl leaves that up to Stockton, whose eyes are like a hawk. All the little signs leap out at him: the lines where the grasses are flattened from being walked over, the grooves in the dirt past a tree on the other side of the hill where something was dragged. It leads toward the horizon, up a gentle incline to a ring of steeper hills. It's about thirty minutes minutes of idle, boring walking, a lot of it uphill, well off the usual foot-paths people tread.
But when at last the group makes it, wandering through the light trees and shrubs, they see it: a small cabin with a still and some sort of funky-looking post-apocalyptic meth lab equivalent visible through the window, chugging smoke into the air in front of a cave entrance. A reed-thin tweaker in a gas mask is inside working on it.
|Saeko||It was the first time in a while she'd tracked with a team, and for Saeko? These folks were quite different from her brothers. She'd deal with the sadder memories such thoughts might bring another time, for now? Saeko nods her head to the others and pats Stockton's shoulder before she draws her sword and sets out, intending to sneak closer. The 'Kunoichi' had no qualms about killing, especially when it comes to raiders. She moves to creep close and bring her sword to the unaware man silently. No sense leaving a threat behind them to discover them...|
|Sparrow||Sparrows been here, really, she has. It's no surprise no one realized she as tailing Stokcton, walking silent and stoic and quiet as a mouse. The stern young blonde having not said a word. She's got her medkit and her stimpak with her though but she's definately letting the two more capable bodies handle the brunt of the Scouting.|
|Saeko||A sword stabbing into someone isn't actually silent, but with practice it can be rather quiet. Especially when it comes to people not really wearing armor. A practiced motion and a twist of the stabbing blade, Saeko's sword erupts through the front of the man's chest before he's lowered towards the dirt. A flick of her blade later and the asian woman moves to rejoin the others, doing her best to blink her eyes clear of the sting. She'd payed enough attention to keep her breath held. The gasmask was kinda a hint to that being a good idea.|
|Ashur|| The cave is deep and its mouth is hung with cans on strings to serve as curtain and warning symbol. The group manages to notice that, because unlike the majority of the gang they're not drugged out of their gourds.
Within, there is a table. The table has two men. An older one, mohawked, one-eyed. He has a pistol at his hip. The other is much smaller, with sallow pock-marked skin, two good teeth, and terrible arthritis. He's about forty, and in his gnarled hand he holds a dog's leash. Eyes follow that leash for yards and yards..
BEHOLD KROG, SON OF KROG.
Fifteen feet long, a tail half that again, four-legged, amphibian. A long flat snout with rows of teeth and terrible crushing power. Its claws could carve ruts in the stonework of the cave.
The leash wraps around its left hind foot. Krog, son of Krog, naps.
|Saeko||Saeko spares a look towards the others. The others whom brought guns, larger guns specifically. They're going to have to cover her. She's sneaky and then some, but she's not -actually- able to turn invisible despite what some people might believe. Perhaps if she found herself a Stealthboy. For now? The asian woman brings her sword out and moves to creep closer before springing her silent attack on the men. Here's hoping her friends brought weapons heavy enough to kill 'Krog, son of Krog.'|
|Saeko||A rushing blur of angry asian, Saeko's blade comes flashing towards the man whom actually manages to turn around and -almost- avoid her. Weapon held two-handed in a rush that would truely seem like Saeko was actually 'Psycho', her sword flashes through the man as she twists and actually manages to slice the other man behind him as she moves to rush forward and cleave her way through the raiders.|
|Stockton||Stockton tracks Saeko's motions, but only barely, she's a blur of whirling girl and blade. It leaves him only momentarily stunned. Stalking up like a gunslinger ought to, he fires off a quick snap shot from his ten milimeter, narrowly missing as the old Raider dances back to avoid Saeko's punishment. The follow up shot comes from the barking Desert Eagle, the slide clacking back as he sends a bullet into the chest of their mark, dropping him. It'll only be a matter of time before there's more, so he's already moving deeper, ready to continue his gun-kata.|
|Ashur|| "Oh fuck Bill!" cries the two-toothed older man as his friend is spontaneously cut in half and the tip of the blade nicks his own chest. He flails backwards, chair tipping over along with the table, and Stockton's first shot goes wide-- but the second rings loud and clear, stopping him in his tracks. He falls, and as he does, he tugs on the leash before expiring. "Get 'em.. Krog!"
From the shadows further into the cave comes Krog, awakened by the combat. He rocks the ground with each step, and from deeper on, the sound of many voices can be heard rising in unison. They will come soon-- but will any be left for them to kill?
Saeko is the closest. Krog lumbers forth, striding past the dead body of his master, and with a reptilian-eyed blink, snatches at her with his jaws.
He misses. Get your head in the game, Krog! Your best friend's dead!
|Sparrow||Sparrow lifts Misfire; she takes aim at Son of Krog and she reels back on her heels as a burst of fire comes from the gun. The first time, it misses. Because? Well frankly because Sparrow is -afraid- of thi gun. She's said as much before. The first shot misses totally but after compensation and udnerstanding the subtle recoil of the rifle she adjusts and unloads the last half of her clip into KROG.|
|Saeko||That...thing was trying to eat her. Saeko clearly didn't want to be eaten. As Sparrow and Stockton open fire at the creature she weaves in, stepping forward with a swift slash at the creature's hide and wounding it lightly. Its armor was thick, but her blade still found a place to bite. Letting the motion of her first strike carry her in an elegant pirouette, Saeko's blade slams down two-handed with a cry, steel singing through the air as it slashes deeply into the head of the monster.|
|Ashur|| There are bullets, swords, fists and teeth-- the mad lashings of Krog's body as death comes upon him see him rampage from enemy to enemy in a desperate offense. It is only Stockton who gets seized by the great beast's jaws, digging into his side and grabbing him.. but before Krog can inflict more damage, Sparrow's killing blow puts him out of his misery!
The scaled beast settles onto the ground, looks around with yellow eyes, and then they close forevermore. Krog is dead.
Coming up from deeper in the caves, three young men. Chem addicts, by the looks of them-- sores on their skin, itching themselves, rotting teeth. They hold machetes.
Well, they held machetes. They drop them at the sight of Krog, son of Krog.
|Stockton||Stockton growls out as the jaws of the mighty beast wrap around him, the bottom jaws catch the unguarded flank though and the wildman experience brief pain until the ring of Reason brings this particular fight to a close. A grunt comes and he nods his thanks to Sparrow for bringing the beast down. The appearance of the tweakers comes as no surprise and he glares through that former Legion helm. It's kinda scary. "Where's the fuckin' Merc? Where's Two-Eyes? Answer and I won't put a slug in yer guts and leave you to rot with the lizard."|
|Sparrow||Sparrow drops the rifle and once she does pulls Reason from her Holster and lifts the revolver. She takes aim and after a moment a powerful kickback launches a projectile into the already failing form of Krog. She checks on Stockton, "How bad?" She asks as she keeps her gun leveled up, already pointed at the back of the cave and the three addicts crawling out of the hole. But this is Stock and Seako's gig the wasteland Doctor moves over to check the wound to make sure Stock isnt going to bleed out or isn't poisoned.|
|Ashur|| Ashur walks up toward one of the surrendered chem addicts. The boy can't be more than seventeen, and already he looks so worn out-- needle marks, bleeding gums, a yellow tint to his waxpaper skin. He jitters. Stares up at the golden brawler.
Then his leg bends the wrong way as Ashur heel-kicks his kneecap in. It buckles, he screams, and the others panic. Stockton's yelling gets their attention and they assume a faux military straightness. "Th-th-the merc? The merc! Two-Eyes! He's, uh, not here. Yeah. He let us have all this stuff in return for enough jet and psycho to last him a few days."
The boy continues to scream.
"He just had us throw it in the box with the other stuff."
|Saeko|| Saeko herself is more for the silent sort as the others ask their questions. Stockton got chewed on, but her own quick feet had saved the asian herself from any injuries. She'll let the others ask their questions, in the mean time? She steps towards one of the men they'd killed, the one she hadn't bisected with her sword. Bending down, the Wasteland Kunoichi wipes her katana clean of the bloody mix that came from the raider, junkie and Krog himself on the clothing of the fallen man before she stands once more.
Seems she's waiting to see what the others decide to do with the surrendered junkies.
|Stockton||Stockton only flinches a little when the doc comes over and inspects him. "I dunno, I kin still function though," he mutters through his helmet as he gives her a moment to look him over at least for infectious bits. He'd hate to lose a lung mid gunfight. When Ashur steps up and pushes the kneecap the wrong direction he snorts, "One way." Shaking his head he looks at the junkie talking, "Alright, which way did he go with his chems?" he asks pointedly. A glance has him tracking the ninja again, she's a sneaky fuck. Kinda likeable.|
|Ashur|| "He said he was gonna swing by the wagon to see if that cowboy came back," says the junkie with the pretty blue eyes.
"Yeah, and after, he was gonna go meet this an-teeks dealer in Dorado, give him the box," volunteers the junkie with the weeping sore on his left cheek.
"Owwwwwww," helpfully finishes the one whose leg is now bending the opposite way legs should bend.
"Crucify them," Ashur declares, sweeping a cold and cruel look across them all. "Degenerates like this belong on the cross. They will serve as warning to others."
|Sparrow||Sparrow looks towards Ashur and then the young addict. But her expression doesn't change, she's a wastelander. She can't take care of everyone; so she has to take care of the folks she know who are on her side. She's quiet though, unusully so for the usually snarky Cowgirl. She ducks to check the bite and then pulls medkit from her duster to do some quick work on Stock's leg.|
|Stockton||Stockton's face is stoic, and thankfully hidden behind that combat mask. Broken knees are one thing, crucifixion is torture far as the Merc was concerned. And took more time. "You wanna do the damn honors, be my guest, we still got a fuckin' merc to worry 'bout," he explains to the former Legionairre. He quickly reloads his guns and checks the coast. "Let's grab as much of this bullshit...second though. You three," he points his guns at the junkies, "grab as much of this bullshit as you can carry and go back to the merchant."|
|Ashur|| A handful dead, a lead on the traitor merc, and a trio of junkies to deal with-- all in all, it's not the worst day, and the loot from the robbed wagon will have some value if they sell it off.. or rely on the merchant's gratitude. "So be it. We'll let the merchant decide how to punish them; it was his goods stolen." Ashur crouches down as the two junkies still able to walk hop to and gather up the stolen goods as told. They'll bolt first chance they get, but for now they obey.
The third with the crippled leg? Ashur punches him in the throat, twists his hand, and then jerks it to the side. The spikes penetrate flesh and tear open the arteries of the neck, leaving the youth to bleed out and twitch.
Back at the wagon, Eustace isn't here. Did Two-Eyes get him, or did he wisely decide to carry on and get away from this disaster? That remains to be seen.. but the group does have his pillaged loot, at least. Has to be worth some caps to someone. Eventually, everyone will make it back to El Dorado.
Maybe not the two junkies.
|Saeko||Saeko has no problems with killing, that much was already pretty clear. But the option of crucifying the men? That earns a shake of her head. "Wasted effort. If you want them dead then cut them down and be done with it." A look back to Stockton and she nods her approval at his use of the thugs as muscle. Not a bad idea! Only now does she address the Wasteland doctor directly. "Are you unharmed?" she questions of the other woman whose name she'd not been given.|