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Author Topic: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]  (Read 202 times)

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Offline Marakai2.0

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Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« on: November 05, 2017, 04:49:33 PM »
It was long past dark, the having long ago finished its blinding descent below the horizon. The warmth of those bright rays, in their absense, quickly robbed the red planet of the comfort of heat, leaving behind only the chill and bringing out the creatures of the night.

That was all well and good for the Ghost of the Frontier. Either in the dead of night, or broad daylight, the infamous bandit was perfectly capable of plying their craft, be it lifting some expensive pieces delivering swift, unseen death. A night like this seemed perfect, however, as Ghost crouched behind a ridge and peered through the nightscope of their sniper rifle.

They found it quite odd, surveying the camp below them and finding not a single guard. They had been watching and stalking the patrols of this camp, unable to glean their purpose but memorizing their routines and schedules. Three days, they'd been watching and skulking about, waiting for the perfect conditions to strike and remove the greatest valuables they had to offer. It was odd, then and every night they'd watched, to see not a single one among them on watch at night. They were either extremely confident they would not be found, hidden as they were in their canyon, or they were wildly incompetent.

Confidence or incompetence both were things Ghost had no fear of. They lifted the rifle up and away from their face, peering down with large, lamplike orange eyes. This would be a piece of cake, so to speak.

Nimbly, they vaulted over the edge of the ridge, landing feet first in the gentle slope of gravel and loose scree, taking several quick and small steps to control their descent as well as the level of noise they created. Upon the halting of their movement, they crouched down behind one ramshackle building, listening intently for signs of life within and without, wary of movement.

They were inside the camp; they now had only to quietly make their way to their storehouse.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 02:39:12 AM by Marakai2.0 »

Offline GoblinFae

Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!]
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 06:29:16 PM »
Unawares of the spectre lurking on the fridges of their camp, the slavers were divided into two major groups. The larger of the two groups was stationed in the longhouse with cages upon cages of "merchandise" and "livestock" on display. Humans, shifters, and beasts were crammed into the tiny cages, awaiting purchase or death, whichever came sooner. The poor souls were so broken that they had long since given up on crying out or trying to escape. The guards's duties were then to ensure that they did not kill each other or themselves. Some of the slavers would even go so far as to sample the goods when the main boss was out working to acquire more stock. Tonight was one of those nights and the traffickers were busy getting their fun for the third day in a row. Hidden deep in the canyon they found themselves to be arrogant and cocky about their safety. No one had ever found them before and as far as they knew no one would find them now.

The second, smaller group comprised of a handful of heavily armed yet relaxed men playing cards within the large storeroom. This group was supposed to be monitoring the camp and the supply room both. Bitter at not having their own night of fun though they shirked some of their duties. As long as the ringleader's prized pet remained locked within and quiet. It was forbidden to touch the little faunapath beyond the regular beatings for disobedience and failure. As long as the small body remained tucked away and quiet, the men left the pet be.

Said pet though was on her best behaviour. Little Carolina was still reeling in pain from her latest beating. They had brought in an aggressive wolf shifter with the intention of using her to tame him. The beast had wanted nothing to do with her though and not only resisted the pull of her gift but had managed to kill two of the slavers and severely maim four more. They had pushed her harder than ever before to bend the creature to her will. In the end, like many before him, Carolina broke his mind. Unlike all the previous shifters though she had unleashed the true beast that attempted to go on a rampage until the men were forced to shoot him like a dog.

That was when the pain truly began for her. Laying in the cold and filthy room, Carolina had managed to tuck herself onto one of the lowest shelves in the back of the room just to avoid rekindling their wrath and interest in her. Every breath hurt. Her face was pulsing with radiating spikes of heat. But, both of those hurts were fairly normal for her though. The one that kept her so incredibly still on that shelf despite hunger and thirst that could be alleviated by the muck they called food, was white-hot searing pain that came from every little jostle of her little arm. With it cradled awkwardly against her chest and laying as still as a corpse she could almost bear the pain of every beat of her heart. Her eyes slowly closed as she struggled to fall asleep to forget the pain for a bit.

Offline Marakai2.0

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Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!]
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2017, 09:45:00 AM »
The sounds that reached the bandits ears were less than what they had hoped for, and with their head pressed up against the weather beaten boards Ghost could only hear them too well.

From men, they could hear grunts of animalistic pleasure, which in and of itself didn't bother them. What did bother them were the other sounds - the whimpers and groans of the others, some with sounds of protest and others of pain, accompanied by the rhythmic sound of old metal rattling and screeching as
a something or a someone was forced up against it.

They knew all too well what those sounds were. Someone was having their way with someone else, and by the sound of multiple voices laughing and jeering there were more than just a few within.

That was a non-issue, other than the fire that was burning in their gut, a fire born from anger. Whatever the circumstances, taking someone against their will was simply wrong. Ghost saw it like this: it was always better to scare or kill someone than to needlessly torture something. In their book, stealing was fine. Things could be replaced, and doing without wasn't the end of the world. Murder was fine, if the goal was justified; the Frontier was a hard, unforgiving place, and if one wasn't prepared to fight for their life, than they weren't worth keeping alive. There was no room out their for weakness.

But to cause needless pain for pleasure...that was just plain wrong, no matter how you looked at it. Ghost decided right then and there that those men needed to die.

They'd already scoped out the entirety of the camp from all available angles, having previously skulked from rock to rock to do so; therefore, the worry of running into anyone was nil, seeing as there were no guards. All they had to do was figure out where their targets were, and one location was already set firmly in their mind. Silently, Ghost stepped along the wall, pulling away just enough so as to not slide the crimson-stained fabric of their garb along the rough wooden structure, making their way stealthily toward the front of the building.

Ghost poked their head around the corner to ascertain there was no one in sight before stepping out into the open and making their way to the door. One, maybe, they could catch by surprise - the door opened towards them, out of the building rather than requiring them to push it open. And so, rather than simply kicking it open, they raised an arm and allowed a thin, white hand to slide from their wide loose sleeve, before knocking once, hard.

A second time, just as hard, and then a third time, even louder to make sure it was heard. Then they quickly stepped to the side, making sure their rifle was strapped securely to their back before sliding two short but lethally sharp combat knives from their waist.

Ghost fully intended on this meeting ending one way, and one way only.

Offline GoblinFae

Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 03:27:31 AM »
The first knock was missed by the group of men as they violently took their pleasures from a few choice slaves. The second was easily ignored by those seeking pleasure though a look went about the men as they silently rooted out who should answe it. At last by the third knock the youngest of the group, a man who was still very much a boy, was torn from his lover while another took his place. Cragic growled harshly at the men but scuttled off all the same.

He was reinserting and adjusting himself in his pants when he kicked the door open, completely unwary or uncaring of who was on the other side. "What the hell you want?" He growled, expecting to see one of the other men from the storeroom begging for a taste. With one hand in his pants and the other holding them up, Cragic would hold no challenge to the unknown intruder.

The others however continued on with their fun, loving the way the slaves screamed and cried as more pain was applied to them. With so many of them broken this was one of the few ways they could still get a rise out of them and how the men loved to see them break anew. With their backs to the door they would not be able to see their own end before it was too late. The other caged slaves had no love for the traffickers that stole them from homes and families and tortured and mutilated them for sport. Those that would see the end for what it was, held their curious silence or turned away, unable to face another horror and master thrust upon them.

Offline Marakai2.0

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Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 09:04:52 AM »
There was one thing that most people didn't suspect about Ghost when said people saw their wanted poster tacked and taped up all over the Frontier and even in a megacity or two. One thing that some would see as a disadvantage to exploit, a thing that would give many pause when they first would see the bandit.

Ghost was, in reality, a rather thin person. While their thick made them appear much wider than they actually were, the truth was that they were easily small enough to fit in that small empty space at the corner of the door, the heavy obstruction barely hitting against them as their heavy garb absorbed the impact.

Ghost waited only a second before stepping out of the shadow behind the door, knives held loosely at their side. While the young slaver addressed the empty space, Ghost crept behind him, before raising one arm up to drive a knife downward like a spike, sinking deep into the base of his neck. The other shot inward and upward, sliding neatly between two ribs and deep into his liver. The bandit let out a small smile when the slaver went went limp, yet continued still to breathe for a moment longer. A blade through the spinal column left him neatly paralyzed, and made him a nice little shield for their entrance.

"Well...hello, there...." came the voice, the words as smooth as silk, yet dripping with venom, the tone and timbre not lending the hazardous of guesses to the owners gender. Ghost leaned close to the man's ear, speaking through the fabric covering their face.

"Thank you ever so kindly for opening the door, young man. Such a gentleman...." Beneath their hooded, concealed face, Ghosts mouth curled into a wicked grin. "Pity those are the only good mannerisms you seem to possess."

The knife in the man's side plunged yet deeper, the angle of the blade allowing it to dig perhaps an inch into a lung.

"Such a waste of a life." Ghost twisted this knife, tearing the hole in the man's lung even wider before removing it and letting the wound pour with blood, the other knife drug sideways to tear a grisly gash across muscle. Ghost barely noticed the spray of blood that dotted their face and hood - it was simply another reason they wore red, after all.

The man - a boy, really, truly a waste - dropped to the floor, barely alive, paralyzed from the neck down, and quickly bleeding to death. Ghost turned from them without a care, and stepped into the building properly, both knives dripping with blood. The sight they saw made them sneer - not only were the others engaging in the very thing Ghost has decided they were worthy of death, they weren't even aware of their presence.

That was no good...people like this needed to know they were going to die.

"Fuckin' incompetent, the whole lot of ya. Here half ya are with your fuckin' pants around your goddamn ankles, having a fine old time, while there's someone here ta kill ya."

Offline GoblinFae

Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2017, 01:54:41 PM »
Unaware of the loss of their fellow man, it was a massive shock that startled the some twenty odd men into whirling around to face their intruder. A mixture of expressions flashed across their features ranging from surprise to disgust and confusion. While some rushed to draw up their trousers, others began taking up their weapons. Swords and guns were equipped hastily though with an ease that suggested at least some experience. Warily, the men fanned out in hope of surrounding the infamous murdering bandit. The slaves remained still in their cages or chained to theirs where they had been abandoned. There would be no escape for them until this was all over, whatever that outcome might be.

Ghost was a well known entity on the Frontier. They were a whispered myth spoken about in whispers in the dark. No one knew who or what they were. There are so many tales and legends of their existence and even more rumours regarding their death. Some say they were born of the sands themselves and fed on the blood of their enemies. Others claimed they were a true wraith from another plane of existence. They had sold their soul to play on the realm of mortals. There was no way to kill them without using dark magics to accomplish the banishment spell. Still more believed that Ghost was some government experiment gone rogue and forever lost in the desert to roam and wreak havoc on unsuspecting trespassers. The tales were countless and grew by number every year. So little was actually known about the creature. But, in all the stories there was always one truth that prevailed: wherever the ghost passed, the Reaper was never far behind.

Offline Marakai2.0

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Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2017, 03:17:12 PM »
Watching the shock and recognition flirting across their faces brought only a small amount of amusement to the legendary bandit, a twisted grin forming, hidden behind crimson fabric. Lamplike orange eyes, pupilless and with a dim glow, tracked every movement the slavers made as they made themselves presentable  (as if that would matter) and armed themselves.

While they watched, they paced back and forth with deliberate slowness, boots thudding heavily across the rough wooden floor, the sound betraying the idea this being had far more mass than was visible. Long, spiderlike fingers twirled their two blood-coated, gleaming knives, a show of flashing metal accompanied by the sound of parting air, their motions deft and extremely well practiced. This was more than just a bandit - this was a warrior, a butcher, a fighter. One could see in their stance, if they truly observed, the semblance of a military bearing, shoulders squared despite their predatory pacing.

"Are you...about done? I coulda killed the lot of you at least three times by now." They stopped, and turned to face the middle of the room, their gaze shifting from face to face as the slavers surrounded them.

"You're makin' a mistake, thinkin' that numbers will give ya any kind of advantage. Ya got me surrounded, blades'n guns pointin' at me, but you're still gonna die. That's a promise."

Offline GoblinFae

Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2017, 08:59:49 PM »
The gunmen kept a wide berth about the unpredictable bandit as they ringed them in. Their taunts and displays only served to make the slavers jumpy as they each raised and aimed their firearms. As one, the lot of them began to rain a hailstorm of bullets towards the splotch of red in the room. Unlucky for them, the guns were old and some of their aims were less than true. A few of the traffickers ere unfortunate enough to get caught in friendly fire and dropped like howling dogs, screaming their pain as they bled out on the floor. The few without guns did their best to stay out of the crossfire though they were young themselves and practically shaking in their boots, praying that the devil of the desert would pass over them.

At last the room was filled with a series of clicks as the last barrage of bullets were emptied and their casings hit the wooden floor. The slavers glanced nervously among themselves, trying to peer through the smog of gunpowder they had created to see the highly hoped for red smear of a former bandit upon the long room floor. It was such a shame really that not one among the twenty recalled the legend that bullets went right through Ghost.

Offline Marakai2.0

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Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2017, 05:00:02 PM »
A quick glance around the room, the instant before the slavers started firing, brought Ghost a small amount of amusement. Most of their guns were but small caliber, and those that weren't almost looked like they were ready to fall apart - pieces that may have once been beautiful and costly, but were now rusted and neglected. Proper firearm maintenance didn't seem to be a priority among this filth.

Lucky for Ghost. They simply lowered their head against the barrage, throwing a thickly covered arm up to protect their face. The pain wasn't unlike being punched by tiny, strong fists, as the bullets were first slowed by the multiple layers of Ghost's crimson garb, and impacted against their dense flesh. A few broke skin, with little penetration, nothing at all dire - they felt only a small bit of warmth as a bit of blood, black as midnight, trickled from those few wounds.

As the gunsmoke permeated the room and the bullets stopped flying, Ghost lowered their arm, unseen. They'd heard bodies falling around them, no doubt victims of friendly fire. How this lot had gone on this long without accidentally killing themselves earlier was beyond them. From within the screen of smoke, two orange lights would again flare to life as the bandit opened their eyes, raising their head again.

They made themself ready, the fabric of their garb rustling slightly, accompanied by the sound of many spent bullets falling to the floor as they were dislodged. And then...

"My turn."

Just those two words, accompanied by those hellish eyes and then a quiet, menacing laugh. Abruptly, those orange lights winked out, the glow gone as the color washed out to give way for pure black.

The first gunman came face-to-face with those nightmare eyes, just as twin knives were buried deep in his gut before wrenched sideways, eviscerating him. The poor man didn't even realize he was dead, not even as Ghost shoved his torn body towards another of his fellows before whirling around and catching the blade of a machete against one keen knife.

Ghost smiled, feeling the strength behind the opposing blade, and simply shoved against it, deflecting the blade and plunging their second knife forward, up and into the others ribcage, while simultaneously reversing the grip on the other blade and slamming it into a fool who apparently thought the Ghost of the Frontier could be snuck up on.

""Really. No challenge at....oh!" Under their hood, Ghost smirked as another came at them, and the bandit dropped to their knees to allow another rusted blade to swing overhead. Both blades still stuck in their respective bodies, Ghost was forced to rely on their own two hands to deal with this aggressor.

Simply grabbing his ankle and pulling with their above average strength was more than enough to upset the man's balance, and as he fell back Ghost stood and retrieved one blade as its holder began to collapse, as well as taking in hand the machete he had wielded.

Slamming that rusty blade downward was more than enough to end that ones life, a foot and a half of jagged steel left quivering in the man's throat. That was four melee combatants dead; Ghost has counted five.

Offline GoblinFae

Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2017, 04:35:25 AM »
Their voice sent a chill through the room though many of the slavers did not live long enough to feel the true extent of it before their bodies began hitting the floor. While the gunmen dropped easily, four of the five swordsman moved in and failed to bring down the legendary Ghost. The fifth had other ideas and hung back hoping for an opening that those before him had failed to see.

Tiziche popped in and out of the planes of existence as he melted in and out of the shadows. Ghost was not the only monster with tricks up his sleeve. He slipped passed the Red Desth figure fast enough to claim one of his fallen brother's swords before blinking out again. The blades fit comfortably in each hand as he popped in and out around the room, silver flashing in the firelight at each new burst into existence. The Mage flashed behind the intruder, one sword crossed across his body defensively as the other swung up from below hoping to split the murdering bandit from navel to nose.

Offline Marakai2.0

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Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2017, 06:29:20 AM »
It took two potentially lethal seconds for them to notice, but eventually they did; an odd twisting of darkness here and there, such as when a sudden gust would cause a flame to spit and gutter before flaring to life again. These odd cues, the ebbing and flowing of light and shadow, kicked in years of training they'd gone through before coming to this red dustball of a planet.

This last man, this filth slaver, was a mage...and a seemingly adept one, at that, if they were able to slip from one plane of existence to another, flitting between the two like a firefly in the night. Here, Ghost was at a sore disadvantage, as they were not a mage. However, they did know how to fight them.

In the end, a man was a man, pure and simple, whether they were gifted with magic or psionics or otherwise. The simple downfall to any man, or at least those that didn't know how to fix this grievous error in human nature, was this: people are, in their nature, extremely predictable. A combatant will seize and use any advantage they have, and exploit any disadvantage they see, using what knowledge they have - or think they have - of their opponent.

And so, Ghost intentionally remained in one spot, leaving their back completely open and undefended as they stood in the open center of the impromptu slaughterhouse, their pupils, invisibly black on the black of their eyes, were cast to the floor. Waiting for the telltale warping of light, listening for the scuff of boots upon the floor.

There. They saw it, the distortion of light as it's rays, cast upon the rough wooden floor, seemed drained and faded for the briefest of moments. The grip on Ghosts one available knife shifted, a simple push of one finger spinning it upon their palm to point the blade downward.

After the shift of light, there was the scuff of leather upon wood, signalling the incoming attack. Ghost whirled around, pushing the knife in one fist downward into the approaching blade - a movement that would have evolved into a roll, had the attack come from on high - and deflected it with a screech of steel on steel, locking the blades.

They pushed close, face to face with the other, the slaver's defending blade trapped between them, leaving no room to maneuver it. Ghost leaned in, and suddenly those nightmarish eyes of inky black again washed with color, this time filling with a blood-like, almost demonic red, backlit with some kind of bioluminescence.

Their voice came again, low and angry, dripping with malice as a gore-covered blade would drip blood.

"You'll have to try harder than that, boy."

That message delivered, Ghost brought their free hand up, hand opening with fingers curled, offering a strike of stiff palm to the side of the other's throat.

Offline GoblinFae

Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2017, 11:44:46 PM »
The shadow-walker hissed as black bled to crimson and the soulless Ghost finally showed their true colors. The demon of the underworld had finally come out to play. He grunted as his blades were kept from making a strike, one pinned away and the other caught between them. No amount of pushing changed the situation either. Hearing the goading voice only made the mage growl and bare his teeth threateningly. He would show him!

Ghost's hand made contact with Tiziche's throat though it was for the briefest of seconds as he ripped himself out of existence and ported through the shadows elsewhere. There was no honor in the way he fought. This was purely for survival and he was going to win even if it meant playing dirty. His life was worth that at least.

He opened a portal across from the murderer, hoping to trick him into believing that was where he was coming from even as he dropped down from the rafters directly above Ghost. His blades were poised downwards, ready to impale and end the terror of the Frontier once and for all.

Offline Marakai2.0

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Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2017, 03:41:03 PM »
There was the briefest moment of skin-to-skin contact as Ghosts palm connected with the others throat, and the bandit was in the midst of plying crushing force on the others trachea when, suddenly, their opponent vanished yet again.

Following their own momentum, Ghost took a single step forward, ending with one empty hand forward, with the other holding the lethal knife in a defensive stance near their body. All senses were on full alert, Ghost on full lookout for any sign of their opponent.

This man fought for his life - Ghost could appreciate that. But in their eyes, that life was worth less than the dirt and blood upon the floor, starting once he had decided to join up with a group that caged others like animals.

When the light changed once again, and reality seemed to shift to make way for yet another portal into darkness, Ghost wasted no time in dashing forward, expecting the other to meet them halfway. But, their opponent never reappeared, not when when Ghost dove headlong into the gap in space.

And then, suddenly, they were elsewhere, falling towards the other - that was it. One moment, Ghost was charging into the portal (they could see it, some few yards away, just as it vanished), and the next, they were falling through an open space, toward the floor and their opponent below.

They had less than a split seconds time to right themselves and resume the attack, using their opponents own trick against them, freefalling as they dragged the knife downward, ready to plunge it into the others back as they both would land.

Offline GoblinFae

Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2017, 06:46:54 PM »
Tiziche landed on his feet with cat-like grace that was wasted as his eyes darted about and saw nothing. The devil ghost of the desert was not to be found. For the man time slowed. He turned on his heel searching left then right, his scouring the darkness for the murderer and coming up empty. A solid thump through the center of his back caused him to jerk forward with a grunt.

As if moving through liquid, he felt his body turn, his eyes catching those demonic eyes in a paralyzing stare before time suddenly caught up to him. Pain bled through his system as he hit the ground heavily. The knife in his back prevented the scream his lips so desperately wanted to make, the very breath long since stolen from him. Around him shadows twitched as if wanting to reach out to their master and help him but it was no use. Tiziche drew his last breath, the image of the devil firmly implanted in his psyche as his last thought before meeting his maker.

Offline Marakai2.0

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Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Goblin!] [M]
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2018, 08:26:25 PM »
As Ghost landed, they felt themself roll with their opponent as he crashed to the ground, that fatal blade buried deep into the flesh of his back. As they rolled, Ghost wrenched their blade free and sprung to their feet, unsure if this man had more to give.

After a moment, they realized their quarry was nothing more than a one trick pony. Lamp-like eyes observed the blood pooling around the man, observed that last, rattling breath, watched as those eyes set upon them one last time and stayed that way, fixed and dead.

"Hmph. If all ya wanted ta do was to slow me down, the least ya could have done was make it worth it." Ghost made another noise of contempt in the back of their throat, before moving to reclaim his other blade from amongst the fallen - such a high quality blade need not be left here to rust, as the others these bandits wielded had.

Once finding it and sheathing it in its proper place, they moved toward the door, seemingly on their way to exit entirely, before kneeling down to pick something up.

A large keyring, perhaps knocked loose during the scuffle, laid in the middle of the floor. Many of the keys were rusted and bent, with the teeth worn down on more than a few, but must have been serviceable enough to keep around. After their brief examination of the keys, Ghost looked over one shoulder at the grouping of cages with their disheveled occupants.

".....here. Free yourselves, and get back to wherever ya all came from, if ya can. Take whatever ya need from these dead men, and mind the night. It's less than friendly." They tossed the keyring back towards the cages, watching as it slid across the floor to bump against one of the iron bars within easy reach of that cages occupant.

Nodding once, Ghost turned back toward the door and stepped out again into the night. Surely a camp of this size had more slavers to offer, as well as things more valuable than half starved, filthy slaves.

To Ghost, they had no value. More mouths to feed, more bodies to look after in a place where the very world seemed to want you dead. Just a group of warm bodies to slow them down and make them stand out more. They didn't need that. What they needed was something - some things - of value that could be sold or traded to procure some of those things that were otherwise difficult or impossible to take from the land or its less attentive occupants.

There had to be something, surely.

Off some distance away was another building, of sturdier make if not similarly as poorly maintained as the rest. Aged brick, weather beaten and stained red from the damp and the red earth underfoot, as good a place for a vault or loot cache as any, Ghost supposed. Closer inspection brought to notice a small barred window, up high on the wall, and the bandit could see a dim light burning within. Perhaps occupied, then, or at least recently so. Certainly worth investigation.