A Garden at the End of the World

/ By TheIrishDayDreamer [+Watch]

Replies: 32 / 136 days 19 hours 5 minutes 37 seconds

In 2017 the toxoplasmosa gondii parasite evolved. Having already silently infected almost half of the earth's population a global rush for containment began. They were too slow. The parasites rendered their hosts ineffective; causing delirium and panic that made almost half the planet powerless to stop what happened next. A sudden, almost schizophrenic, turn in personality that turned hosts into violent and dangerous hunters. These things were driven by their passenger's darkest desire; to find, infect and reproduce at whatever the cost. Infection occurred with the exchange of bodily fluids and with a head start of almost half the world's population the hunters very nearly wiped out the rest within the first six months of outbreak. It wasn't pretty.

Now it's 2030. Thirteen years since the outbreak. Civilisation has been reduced to a few colonies hiding anywhere they think can hold down. Normally in the heavily fortified secure districts of cities or hiding away in the middle of nowhere. The toxoplasmos gondii has evolved even further. Survivors have adapted to survive it, but it's not easy. Hunters adapt too, after all.

[b 8th March, 2030.]
Logan, Utah.
The former United States of America.

Our roleplay starts with the community living behind the reinforced walls of Merlin. A check point during the outbreak built around the grounds of an abandoned football stadium. Now, some ten years later, it's taken the trade name of Merlin. The walls have been built and rebuilt over and over again by a local population estimated at 400 at best. A shack town with little running water or power. There's been no visible government in almost ten years. Law is something you take into your own hands or ask the local sheriff to help with. Trade is straight or quid pro quo unless you have bullets; the new currency of survival. This is where we start, but where we'll go is anywhere's guess.

[b A Simple Skeleton.]
Brief History:

Now taking into account that bullets are rare, and as valuable a commodity as medicine these days, firearms are hard to come by. Rarer still is having enough ammunition to effectively use them. Portraits shot [b not] be animated and should reflect the theme of the RP.

[b Meet the Residents.]

Name: Charlie Freeman
Age: 25
History: Charlie was only 12 when the outbreak occurred and her family had tried to protect he and keep her safe but the truth of the matter was she was the only one who could have kept her safe. Both of her parents had been subjected to the plague that was bringing the dead back to life and she was the one who had to kill them. Growing up in this life made one hard and fear was something that no longer existed within her. For many years she wondered the streets of this harsh world until she was recruited into the community at the age of 19. This community is now where she now resides.

Name: Eric Roberts
Age: 30
History: Eric was one of the firs residents of Merlin but tragedy compelled him to stray. Eight years later he returns to Merlin this very day, wary as to how much of what he left behind will be waiting for him.

Name: Oriath Orla.
Age: 35
Brief History: Oriath was 22 when the outbreak started. Her knowledge of medicine has helped her survive these years. And not trusting anyone. However, she still practices medicine to help as many citizens as she can.

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They were alone now. Ethan didn't feel any better. He had a deeper sense of regret. One he couldn't even start to explain. But for now it was Charlie and Ethan versus the world. The red glow pooled between the buildings. Giving the shuffling carcasses of the hunters an even more demonic appearance. One twisted and snapped it's lip-less mouth at him before diving at neck. He shoved past it and kept going. Ahead at the near end of the street there were ghosts. Some were fighting on. But a few stopped to look at the flares he had fired. Ethan took aim and fired one over their heads. It landed with a pop and then burned a most brilliant hue of green.

The hunters turned to it and sprinted at the ghosts. One went down with a scream that cut off seconds later as two hunters, fighting for a share, two him in two. Ethan didn't stop to look and kept going. They rounded to another street. This one leading out of the city centre. He called on his childhood. Thought of all the buildings and names he remembered from a different time. Where are they set up? He wondered.

The new light revealed more hunters. They were climbing out of buildings, cars and seemingly out of thin air. But now they were all running away from Merlin. Ethan checked on Charlie then ran harder. The Ghosts doubled their efforts. Their stragglers were torn down. Someone among them must still be in charge because they suddenly shot off path and dived into an alley. The hunters that immediately followed them were suddenly blown away in a hail of bullets from the other end.

Ethan took cover beside it and peeked around the corner. The Ghosts didn't have a base. They had vehicles! Two flat bed trucks, the kind they used to have in the army complete with some sort of marpat camouflage. They were parked facing away from them but in the back he could clearly make out the nose of a gun. A large one, with a large belt of ammo feeding into it's barrel. The remaining Ghosts climbed inside.

"They're getting away!" He shouted in frustration.

One of them banged on the side and the trucks pulled out. The hunters continued to follow them but they were mowed down too. Soon there was hardly any left. Ethan finally came out of hiding and watching them drive off. More trucks joined them and together they drove out of sight.

This was just the tip of it. He knew. Trucks and heavy machine guns were only the beginning. This was just a recon.

"Now that they know what's out here they'll be back." He said to Charlie.
  Ethan Roberts / TheIrishDayDreamer / 108d 15h 22m 58s
When she noticed the look upon his face once she had said whatever she needed to towards him, she felt slightly guilty about the possibility of making him feel worse than he already did. If she blamed anyone, it was whoever had the gates opened for them. They had let them in and quite frankly, if she knew who they were she wouldn't necessarily be holding back on ripping them a new one right now.

When he seemed to accept they were here to help he told them where to go and watched as he shot the flare into the air and saw that it grabbed the attention of the horde and she allowed herself to smile for a moment before watching him run North towards the direction that the ghosts had moved to. She shook her head and told Dante and the others to go ahead and follow their orders.

"I'm not leaving him alone out there." She said as she ran after him. Charlie didn't surround herself with people, nor did she often find herself caring but this was the son of the man who had saved her life and given her a home and she knew that he would have been disappointed in her if she did nothing to help him.

"Look, I know you don't want help but Alistair would have my head if he knew that we had allowed you to run into the centre of their camp without any help at all. I'm here to cover you, not hinder you but please don't do this alone." Charlie said, running along side him and watching as the dead moved towards them.
  Charlie / d1gn17y / 113d 17h 32m 18s
As Charlie spoke Ethan felt something pull at him. A feeling stronger than your average guilt. He pushed it down and concentrated. The volunteers arrived and Ethan noted they had dressed for the occasion. Busting out riot shields and heavy batons. Dante too had taken one. They were the vanguard. Merlin's select unit of crazies that openly engaged hunters and other freaks.

"You guys take care of the stragglers that don't follow the horde."

He looked at each of them. Heavy, slow, but a formidable force in their own right.

"We got this." Dante bashed his shield.

Ethan raised the gun and fired. A brilliant streak of red phosphorus shot into the air where it oxidised and covered the area in a red glow. A lot of hunters had gathered to awe at it. Ethan quickly reloaded and fired one more round north after the ghosts. The horde staggered, shuffled, and started moving north with it.

"Go deal with the ones already fixing for Merlin."

Then he started north. Chasing the ghosts.
  Ethan Roberts / TheIrishDayDreamer / 113d 21h 32m 34s
Charlie was relieved when he stopped as as he did, she was finally in equal footing with him and then came to a halt herself. Dante and some others who claimed they wanted to help were not too far behind and she watched as he told her she couldn't have come and prepared the flare gun.

"I don't care what you think. Merlin is my home and if I can stop the hunters from taking everyone in that place then I will do whatever I can to prevent that, whether you like that or not. You came to Merlin knowing that they were coming and that they would eventually attack us. Yes, it was sooner rather than later but surely you must have known that when they did you wouldn't be expected to take them out by yourself just because you had knowledge of them. Stop putting all the blame onto yourself. I can see it in your eyes."

Charlie assessed the situation at hand, seeing that horde making their way to Merlin and listening as Ethan relayed his plan to them now that the volunteers where within earshot. "We will do whatever you need us to do." She said after giving Dante a look of disapproval at the level of excitement in his voice right now. Some people living in this world saw this as purely a game yet others, like herself, [b wanted] survive and she wanted to protect the place she had come to know as home over the last few years.
  Charlie / d1gn17y / 115d 17h 59m 32s
Ethan could hear the blood rushing to his head. His legs were already tired before he had made it to the end of the street. The sun was going down faster than he felt he could run. Charlie was behind him. Followed by Dante and volunteers.

Ethan stopped. He was far enough away now. He broke the flare gun open and popped a round it. It snapped shut with a click and he turned to Charlie.

'You shouldn't have come.' But he had no time to argue. They were standing at a crossroads. To the south was Merlin. To the North was the retreating Ghosts. The East and West avenues were already starting to come to life. Shambled and mutated. The hunters resembled a moving fungus as much as they did a human begin. Some of them were blind. But some of them were moving towards the flares at a canter. The moved as a horde. Clicking and snapping their jaws. Soon they would be on them. Dante, Charlie and the few others who made it arrived.

'We're going to have to lead them north,' he pointed at the backs of the retreating Ghosts, 'Merlin can deal with the stragglers and with any luck we can lead them back to their camp.'

'Yeah man, let's turn the tide on these bastards!' Dante cheered.
  Ethan Roberts / TheIrishDayDreamer / 115d 18h 19m 59s
Something didn't feel right as she fought through the intruders. Many of them were not putting up much of a fight or even attempting to get past them so they could attack Merlin and as she pulled a knife out f one man's neck she cam to realise that they were merely a distraction for what was to come. A loud explosive noise could be heard and just as that happened she saw their invaders start to retreat at the order of another and she ran in the direction of the gate to see it destroyed.

Their only entrance was now permanently open and she couldn't see how it could ever be repaired. "God damn it!" She shouted as she looked up at the flares that were intended to lead those that were already dead to feed on the living. Charlie moved towards the engineers and where Alistair stood to receive any orders and when Dante relayed that it wasn't likely that the gate would be repairable she cursed once more.

"Why in the hell was the gate open in the first place. There was supposed to be a guard on the wall and should have seen them coming from a mile off. How is this even possible?" Charlie asked, frustrated that someone within Merlin would have been careless enough to simply open the gates and leaving them vulnerable to such an attack. Before she knew it Ethan was suggesting that he was going to draw anything away that might be making their way to them and she could tell by the look in Alistair's eyes that he disapproved but she had seen that look before. One of responsibility and guilt and she knew that no one would talk him out of it. He reached for the flare gun in his rucksack and ran out of the destroyed gates leaving Dante preparing for a group of them to quickly run after them.

"Alistair, we will draw whatever we can away but if we are not successful you need to get everyone to safety. Set up explosives at the gates and if they come you blow them, take out as many as you can at once and get people weapons, anything that they can use to defend themselves." She knew that he would know what to do but no one here was thinking straight and before she knew it she was out of the gates before Dante or anyone else because she carried everything she need on her anyway.

"Ethan, some of us are coming to help you." She shouted to him when she was in a relative distance to him that would allow him to hear her. Her run slowed sightly to a jog now that he was in sight and hoped that he might slow down for a moment so they could discuss a plan of action.
  Charlie / d1gn17y / 115d 19h 12m 5s
Ethan blitzed through the crushing build up of wardens and ghosts. Kicking and punching. Twisting arms and stamping legs and when everything else failed he straight up head butted one girl so hard he felt her nose crunch. He took a moment to look up and feel like they were going to win. Then an explosion tore through the crowd. Followed by the twisted yawn of tearing metal. Then the gate slowly fell to the ground with a crash.

"The gate is down. Retreat!" Someone ordered.

With a primal roar the ghosts turned in retreat. Leaving their dead and wounded in the dust. Then came the pops of red and green flares. Trails of smoke zipped into the sky and even in the dwindling light they were clearly visible for miles around.

"They're ringing the damn dinner bells!" Alistair shouted.

Merlin's gate was destroyed. Night was falling. Their ammo was nearly spent and now the Ghost Nation had left them for the Hunters who would no doubt see the flares and had already started towards them. Merlin was defenseless. Standing under the arch where the gate once was. Ethan couldn't help it. The guilt was already spreading over him. Consuming him.

"Ethan get inside." Alistair shouted.

Dante was soon beside him. He was soon joined by a team of engineers. They assessed the gate and promptly came to the conclusion that it was ruined.

"If a horde shows up we're fucked." Dante sagged.

Ethan turned to the chief. Even all after all their years apart Ethan noticed the telling look of defeat in his father's eyes. It had been there the night his mother was killed. Now it was back. And it mourned for all his people.

"Dad, I can save it." Ethan promised everyone.

He had already found his rucksack and tipped it's contents onto the floor. Bullets of all makes scattered across the dirt. Along with the only gun he ever carried; a flare gun. Ethan grabbed it.

"I need to go out. If there is a horde out there I'll draw it away."

"No you damn well won't!" Chief Roberts tried to reach for the gun but Ethan snatched it away.

"I will." And he turned away and ran.

Alistair kicked the dirt. Sending a few rounds flying. Dante moved to follow Ethan.

"I'm going too. Anybody else want to help grab anything you can and hussle the fuck up."
  TheIrishDayDreamer / 116d 16h 5m 16s
Charlie took note of the way Ethan looked at the gun and handed it back to her but she didn't have time to react. There were still many people who didn't like guns even though there were times when they would come in useful. Guns wouldn't have been her weapon of choice either if she hadn't been asked to guard Merlin but fact of the matter was they came in useful when trying to protect the place from high ground.

Charlie nodded towards him when he told her they were worse and she muttered to herself. "Great." The gate had come to halt and before Alistair shouted anything she could hear the mechanics shut down and before she knew it Ethan was moving into the crowd and fighting the invaders in hand to hand combat. In a normal situation she might have watched in awe for a few moments. It had been a long time since she had seen a newcomer with a useful set of skills and she couldn't help but be impressed, even if it was only for a short few seconds before she joined him in battle but attacked the side opposite in hopes that she would stop anyone from getting further into Merlin.

Charlie reached for the knife hanging at her leg and allowed the strap of the gun fall to the front to place it carefully on her back. Several people fell at her hand within a short space of time but it wasn't all without wounds inflicted up on too. By the time she had unarmed six men her patched up wound on her cheek from the week before had reopened and she found several scraps down her arms and chest. Someone reached for her gun and as they did she took hold of their hands and put all of her strength into getting them into the perfect position for her to flip them over her shoulder and onto the floor before she took her shoe to his face.

"That's my property you are touching there." She said in disdain and started towards her next mission.
  Charlie / d1gn17y / 116d 18h 24m 47s
For some reason, as she was just going to run back to Merlin, the gate had shut behind her.
She didn't have time to swear, as she just panicked. She stood there terrified for a millisecond, then was taken by surprise as she heard the Ghost Nation charging.
She didn't have time to move, so she just stood there, revealing her weapon.
Not that that could help, but she could at least try.
Anyway, as the Ghost Nation was charging towards her, she ducked, and was trampled on several times, but she seemed fine.
But as she moved, she forgot about a pain in her back.
She limped towards the Ghost Nation, and decided to help the citizens there. Even if there was probably no hope.
  Oriath / tone_ / 116d 18h 44m 37s
The skirmish was harsh on Merlin's already succinct supply of ammunition. A lot of the wardens soon abandoned their rifles and drew on hammers, lances and all manner of crudely fashioned weaponry. Ethan held back by his father. He watched as the first of the attackers squeezed past the gate. Some of the wardens fell on them. Hacking and stabbing at whatever small pieces of exposed body as they could find.

Charlie held out a pistol. An old war model with a full clip of ammunition. He held it like it was diseased before passing it back.

'Are these the ghosts you were talking about?' She clipped.

'Worse,' He trailed off as a bullet slammed against the tables he was using for cover. The invaders had pushed through and dismantled the locking mechanism. With a groan the gate ground to a halt. Trapped ajar with more invaders screaming through.

'God dammit they're sabotaging the gate!' Alistair shouted over the din of battle.

An invaders closed in. Less was the blast of rifles as men and women took up arms in melee. Ethan broke from cover and cut across the path of an approaching attacker and tossed him to the ground before moving onto the next. This time trapping their weapon his arm and thrusting his palm into their throat. They dropped clutching at their windpipe. Cussing as they coughed. Ethan held his weapon in his hands before, like the pistol, he tossed it aside and kicked the invader across the face. They dropped to the floor, moaned, and did not get back up.

Ethan hated guns. A difficult moral to have in today's world. Yet he found a way to survive without them.
  TheIrishDayDreamer / 120d 19h 53m 23s
Just as she finished talking she was sure that Alastair was about to ask her to take someone with her. He very rarely allowed them to leave Merlin solo, especially on raids in case they came across something too big for one person to handle. Charlie was also head strong though and would her own way if that was indeed what he wanted. Something interrupted their conversation though because as soon as her lips parted to begin a potential protest there were gunshots heard from the gates.

"Shit." She muttered under her breath, knowing this would mean her personal mission would now be delayed. Even before Alistair shouted for her to make her way to the wake was already moving at a fast pace, removing the safety from her gun and she reached for the sharp knife that she kept close to her thigh. She wouldn't waste the bullets if she didn't need to. They were already in short supply and she wasn't willing to run dry on that front.

Alistair and Ethan ran close behind and noticing that Ethan didn't have a visible weapon she turned towards him. "Here." She threw a hand gun towards him and assumed he would have a knife of some kind on him. She took a position pointing her gun at the gates in hopes they would close quick enough. No one was prepared from this and that was evident for the screams that came from the residents of Merlin although it was difficult to tell the difference between the screams of terror and the screams of war.

For those who were close enough, Charlie use her knife to disengage and found a spot close to their head or necks and exploited that weakness. For those too far she would need to use the bullets that she desperately didn't want to. She was next to Ethan at one point and amongst the fighting she shouted towards him. "Are these the ghosts you were talking about?"
  Charlie / d1gn17y / 122d 21h 39m 34s
Dante was on the wall when the doc was taking her leave. So soon as they opened the gate that he spotted them. A ramshackle crowd juxtaposed against the setting light of the sun. In the blood orange glow he spotted their tan uniform armour. Each one looked ferocious, and was complimented by a bastard looking weapon that looked one half halberd and one half rifle.

'Close the damn gate now!' He roared as he lifted the butt of his pre-war rifle to his shoulder and aimed down range.

He let out a deep breath, sighted the first invader he saw, and pulled back on the trigger.


The shot could be heard back at the plaza. Alistair and Ethan shared looks. Alistair rounded on Charlie.

'Get to the damn wall.'

Ethan didn't have a gun but he headed there all the same. His father, ever the ranger, had an M4 across his chest and his head up. As the gate came into view he could see their attackers just beyond the gate. One of the great maw of Merlin, as they called it. Was it could never be interrupted. Once it started to open it had to finish before it could be closed. But once it was shut, it remained so.

'Mount the gangways, take fire at anyone who fires on you.'

Several wardens spread out and up the wall. Ethan watched as his father and several others took up firing positions on the ground. He stayed by his side. The attackers kept coming. Closer and closer. Dante could see the pale paintings on their faces. Making them to look like some kind of wraith. He pulled back on the rifle again and again. Sent one invader after the next to meet their god. Still they came.

And then they came screaming through the gate. Their weapons slashing as stabbing at the front line. Everyone screamed.
  Ethan Roberts / TheIrishDayDreamer / 123d 16h 44m 26s
When the door had slammed shut behind her, she had left her house in order to leave the city of Merlin. As the virus had infected most of the city, so she had to leave quickly. However, she had to stop off somewhere first.

When she had arrived at the hospital, she had seen many patients strapped to their beds. As their wasn't a cure yet, so they had to be strapped against their own will.

When she had finally arrived at reception, she had shown her I.D card and they let her in.

She firstly went to a room where only staff were aloud, and took some medicine. Even though it probably wouldn't help against the infected, but it would help against the injured. The hospital would probably need it more than her, but she needed it as well.

She then stuffed the medicine in her bag which she found in her house. Luckily the bag was formal so no one questioned her.

Most people had come to the hospital for shelter, so she helped the people by giving them food and water. There was lots of food in the kitchens, so she moved the survivors to the Kitchen's, as they couldn't stay in the same place as the patients.

After that, she had left a message at the table to say that she would be leaving Merlin. As she had to find a cure somehow. Even if there probably wasn't one.

So when she had left the message at the table, she went to the toilets and changed into more casual clothes, and left for the borders.

Everyone knew that the borders of Merlin were guarded, so it was no surprise to Oriath that she was stopped in her tracks.

The guard tried not to look annoyed. "And what do you want?"
Oriath shrugged, "Just to get out of Merlin. I'm a doctor."
They both exchanged looks. "Oh." And the gate opened.

She couldn't believe she was actually leaving Merlin, for years she had lived here, and now she was actually leaving.

She decided not to get her weapon out just yet, and instead decided to keep walking, as if she actually knew where she was going.

But little did she know about the Ghost Nation.

As soon as she left the gates, she saw a group of people in the distance. And they didn't look friendly. Judging by their clothing and their attitude.

She wondered why a group of people would want to take everything for themselves?

At any rate, she decided not to call out, and instead run back to the guards and warn them that they were here.

They closed the gates immediately, and ran off to tell whoever was in charge of Merlin.
  Oriath / tone_ / 123d 18h 31m 41s
Charlie nodded and took her leave, knowing that she had a patrol around the back end of Merlin to get to and the more time she spend stood watching Alistair and his newly returned son, the more time she would need to make up late. Besides, it was only a two hour patrol and soon enough she would be released to do whatever she needed to do. She was planning on going outside of the walls today. The hunters hadn’t brought back any decent food for a while but that was mainly due to the lack of animals out there. Many had been infected themselves and because of that, they didn’t often resort to eating the animals unless they were completely sure there was no way they could have been infected like the humans of that world.

She would be going out to see if there was anything to be salvaged from an undercover army base that she had come across several weeks ago, in hopes that it was still untouched and that food and weapons might have been easy to come by there. It wasn’t something she had mentioned to anyone else because she didn’t trust anyone and giving up the location might also mean someone betraying Merlin and taking anything that might be there for themselves. Charlie believed she owed a lot to the residents of Merlin because she was near death when she had stumbled across this place all those years ago and they had made sure that she was granted that which was nearly stripped away from her in her teen years.

Her patrol was a quiet one, as normal, very rarely seeing any kind of action at the south side of the site but she was vigilant as always and the time passed by pretty quickly and before she knew it a man came to take over her station and she took her leave to grab some food before she went outside of the walls. When she arrived, people were sat around the tables talking and she caught sight of the arrival sat with his father. She wasn’t near enough to hear the conversations that took place but it had clearly engaged the rest of the group because people were beginning to end their own conversations and start to listen in to what Ethan was saying. It was then that it was quiet enough for her to overhear some of it as she gathered her own food.

[I “They call themselves the Ghost Nation Tribe; and they're coming to Merlin sooner rather than later.”]

It was enough to scare some of the people here. Some were not trained to fight or deal with any situations like this and the very name, ‘Ghost Nation Tribe’ was meant to induce fear itself. Charlie shook her head at the reaction of some of the weaker and told herself that if Merlin were to fall, it would have been their fault for not being better prepared.

“Alistair, I just wanted to inform you that I will be leaving Merlin for the day. I have a potential lead on some possible income for Merlin and I am going to check it out.” Charlie approached them, not taking any notice of the conversation before.
  Charlie / d1gn17y / 123d 22h 16m 32s
Alistair shook his head. 'No, we're good for another mouth at the table.'

And the table, as he put it, was only a later deeper infield. Set up right in the centre of play was a community eats. Several stalls were set out. With it already falling late several people, including Dante, were pushing cans and other goods across the counter into a queue of citizens who filed in to have their share. When each person had something to eat they found a seat at one of the many little wooden park benches that formed an eating are.

Ethan and Alistair approached together. 'Whatever happened to the MRE stashes the feds left us?' Ethan said as he worked a knife into a tin of beans.

'We ran out long ago. Hunting is hard this time of year. Too much of the wildlife has been exposed.'

Animals carried infection just as much as humans. And when they turned it sure wasn't pretty. Alistair lost a good man who went out looking in stag season only to end up beaten to death by his prey.

'Well what can you do.' Ethan said with a mouth full of beans.

For a while they just ate. Sat across the table from each other as if the years apart had never happened.

'So what brought you back?' Alistair had finished, Ethan near enough had as well.

'I can't just come back?'

'Not if I imagined you had a choice. I still have no family out there then?'

'A family? Me? In this era? No.'

Alistair sagged a little. Probably because he realised that Ethan truly was going to be the last of his line.

'That's probably for the best...'

Not much conversation for a while after that. Ethan sat and watched the families that somehow managed to stay together. He recognised one woman. Only then recognised her ten year old son beside her. Ethan sighed.

'Something's coming dad.' He said sadly.

'What?' The old ranger's back straightened up. Like it always would at the thought of a threat.

'I was out West. Met a lot of folk. Saw a lot of things. You don't know how easy you have it this side of the line.'

Alistair bristled at that. 'You ain't seen fuck this side for ten years, don't tell me how easy we had it!'

'I've been watching -'

'What!?' Alistair was losing his cool.

'I saw what it did to Charleston!'

The argument ended there. For years, Chief Roberts had been trading caravans with Charleston. A bigger, more popular settlement out West. But they hadn't sent a caravan in weeks. In fact he had been thinking it was time to send the scouts out.

'What happened to Charleston?' He wasn't even sure he wanted to know.

'The Ghost Nation happened. I don't know how much you know, but these guys are out of San Diego. Now they've reached Charleston. They move slow, but they take down everything they touch. I started watching them in Carson.'

Ethan rolled back to Carson City. The birth place of the Ghost Nation.

'They started out as an idea for a new government. Band together, offer parlay to everyone who hears it. Bring down the setups that were hurting people. It was something even you would have gotten behind.'

Alistair said nothing, just listened. There was plenty of non-starting would be unionists out there. Seemed every year he'd heard about the start, or fall, of another one.

'But they couldn't get people to side with them. Folks were much too proud to give up whatever little corner they'd made for themselves even with the hunters biting at their ankles. Soon they stopped negotiating. Started sabotaging folks and letting the hunters get em. Then they'd swoop in and 'save' the day and take in the survivors. Folks who didn't buy in to the stink they were selling wound up dead and strung up as conspirators.'

Then Ethan turned to everyone at the table, even those who had gathered to listen in to the Ghost Nation.

'They call themselves the Ghost Nation Tribe; and they're coming to Merlin sooner rather than later.'
  Ethan Roberts / TheIrishDayDreamer / 124d 18h 34m 8s

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