To Three-Word-Wednesday (Today’s words are Liberated, Muddy, and Vicious). It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these, I had to go digging in my tags.. April 29, 2011!
It was dirty, it was vicious, and it was illegal, even by the lax regulations that counted as law in the wastelands. But it was necessary to get the job done, and nobody had ever said of the Rangers that they did not do the job.
They slipped in at night, like raiders, like bandits. They slid through the cracks in the outpost’s defenses, like assassins, like thieves. They took what they needed and were gone without being sighted, like ghosts in the night. When they moved on, there no proof they’d been there, except the holes in the storeroom.
It was muddy, it was nasty, and it was immoral, even by the standards of the gods who would have wastelanders and rangers as subjects. But they had to do it, and so they did it. Rangers prayed for forgiveness rather than petitioning for permission.
They collected their supplies from seventeen small outposts and villages, townships, farmsteads, way-stations and junkyards. They left no payment, note, IOU, nor apology. They left three corpses behind, none of them their own, and did not miss a single piece of their equipment.
Raiders, their victims assumed, monsters and ghosts. The rangers preferred those assumptions.
It was messy, it was close to monstrous, and it was exactly what they had been recruited to do. They had a job to do, and they had not been hired to keep their hands too clean.
They built a machine out of blood-soaked gears and mud-caked pipes. They hammered it together with stolen tools and liberated rivets; they fueled it with oil seasoned with widows’ tears and their own tired prayers.
It looked like an abomination, and there were some – even among the Rangers – that would say that it was. But it would get the job done.
They were muddy, they were vicious, and they were at the border for only one reason. The laws that the wastelands pretended to honor ignored them, and the only gods that would have them as subjects were looking the other way, lest they see something they shouldn’t.
The Rangers couldn’t care. They had a job to do, and a city to take back from the monsters. Their task was bloody and violent, dirty and nasty, but it was what they had been recruited to do, and there was no-one who would say that the Rangers did not do the job.
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