a Price for Every Head (Complete)

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by bodyparts » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:13 am

WOW !! What a ride to the bottom. I sure hope he gets a lil good luck to go with all the bad luck he has been having!!

Thank you for another great update to this adventure! Keep up the good work.

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by RingWraithsAnonymous » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:02 pm

to idahobob: you never can tell. All I'll say is that things definitely have the potential to get much worse. Remember this little tid bit?
Down at the bottom, the wendigo knew, was very close to home. Very close.
to DAVEKI: you have a fair point, he was born under a very dark cloud it seems given his luck lately
to 91Eunozs: don't worry, he'll get around to caring for that arm soon.
to bodyparts: it was quite the ride to the bottom indeed. We'll just have to see if good luck is in the cards I suppose.
Sorry for the wait guys. Let me know what you think, enjoy, thanks for taking the time to read this story, and as always thank you for the support.


Chapter 17: Cliff Side

Harry and Victoria woke up shortly after sunrise. Monique was already up, having been on watch duty, though nothing had disturbed them that night.

The rain had ended at some point, but outside the cave it was still soaked. Harry dreaded the day ahead of them, but he knew he wasn't going to be able to sit around in that cave all day.

"What's the plan for you two?" Monique asked him as he was rolling up his sleeping bag.

"What do you mean?"

"How are you getting down to Scott's body?"

"There's a trail, remember? It's not too far from here. We'll have to backtrack a bit, but there's a switchback leading down the cliff to the river."

"When are we leaving?" Victoria asked, having already packed up her things.

"Now. Here's breakfast." Harry said, tossing her a bag of dried home made jerky.

---

It was morning, and Scott woke up once more. His whole body was in pain, and he was pretty sure there were more injuries than what he had thought when he was up in the tree.

The pressing matter was his arm. He'd need to splint it, which meant he'd need to gather materials.

First though, he had to sit up and figure out what all was nearby. He did so- very painfully -and scanned the area. In front of and beside (to the left) him was the mudslide, an amalgam of mud, rocks, and trees. The large divet in the cliff side was evidence of it's destruction. His rifle lay next to his good arm, and the zombie corpse was next to it. He turned his head to look behind him, and saw a large creek gurgling about thirty feet away. The mudslide was had edged into it, redirecting the flow some, but not by much. All around him- where the mudslide wasn't anyway -there were tall trees reaching toward the sky. He strained his eyes, but he still couldn't see the overlook through the leaves

He grabbed his knife from his boot and groaned. He then carefully cut off one sleeve of his shirt, then cut it into strips to use as ties for a splint. He stuffed them in his pocket, put the knife away, and crawled over to a branch sticking out of the 'slide. He managed to break a pair of straight(ish) pieces off of it. With that, he pulled the ties out of his pocket and got started on the task splinting his arm.

---

Harry and Victoria were walking the trail, approaching the overlook. Monique had gone off a separate direction, taking a shortcut to the hotel to meet up with Becca.

Victoria wasn't looking forward to looking for Scott's body, not at all. She'd looked up to him since the first time they'd met all those years ago, when he'd saved her life. Hell, he was the reason she was a hunter, after all. It would only be natural that she'd have an attachment to the man.

What did this mean for his task? He was dead now, so it wasn't like he could continue on and kill the governor. Would she end up doing it? Probably. Question was would Trevor still offer the support he'd promised? His deal had been with Scott, would he keep it if it was now her that was to do the deed?

She didn't have good answers to most of those questions. She and Harry came up on the stone overlook. She stopped and looked over it's edge. She could see the valley, but she couldn't see the bottom of the cliff through the trees. A long ways down probably seventy feet, Scott's backpack was hanging from a tree limb. Scott however, was nowhere to be seen.

"What if his... what if he's stuck in one of those trees?" She asked.

Harry's face was grim, "I don't know. I really don't. Hopefully he's at the bottom. I don't think we'd be able to retrieve his body from a tree."

Victoria continued to stare over the edge. "Let's get to this switchback."

---

They stood at the top. Railing was there to prevent them from falling down the cliff like Scott had. Sections of it were bridges going over small fissures and divets in the earth as it went down. They both looked over the edge of where the trail started, and it disappeared some one hundred feet down under tree cover.

The trail, seeing little use Before, hadn't been in the best of repair to begin with. Almost a decade without maintenance hadn't been kind to it. The railing had been broken in spots, the dirt had washed out in others, leaving tree roots exposed. There were also boards missing from some of the bridges. It was going to be a rough hike down.

But to the pair looking at it, it was going to be a hike that they would take regardless.

Harry stood by the trail sign, reading it before deciding for sure if this would be a good idea.

"It says that it's a fourth of a mile worth of trail to get down to the bottom." he told her, "A fourth of a mile of that." he said, gesturing to the dilapidated trail before them, "Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Are you sure you want to do this?" She countered.

He sighed, "Yes. Now, let's get to it."

She nodded, and they began the trek down.

---

"Now what?" Harry asked.

They were about halfway down. A large foot bridge stood before them. A large boulder had fallen at some point, and had landed in the middle. It was embedded in the hole it had made, sticking out about two or three feet. The bridge bowed severely under it's weight, taking a drop about a foot down at the lowest point from where it was supposed to be.

"We go over it." Victoria said simply.

"I don't know about that." Harry said, "We're gonna walk across that and fall through and die, just like Scott."

She grit her teeth, "If you want to be a pussy, go ahead. I for one am going to cross the damn bridge!"

Harry rolled his eyes, "Alright. Be the guinea pig if you want. I'll watch."

She carefully went across, keeping close to the cliff side in case something did go arry. Thankfully enough for her, it didn't. There was a bit of a hiccup going over the boulder were a foot slid and she almost lost her balance, but other than that she managed to cross it quite successfully.

"Ha." she said, "Told you you were a scaredy."

Harry's jaw worked, "Alright then. Guess I was proved wrong." He told her, doing the same thing she did. He got over the boulder, and was in between it and Victoria when a few boards cracked behind him and he lept for the end of the bridge, fearing that what had happened to Scott at the Yellow Gorge was about to happen to himself.

It didn't. The bridge didn't collapse. The boulder sat a little lower, but that was about it.

Victoria was laughing at him. His pride was injured, but nothing more. He got up and brushed the dirt from his pants and shirt.

"Oh shut it." he told her.

"Sissy." she said back.

Behind them, the boards cracked once more, and the boulder went tumbling out of its hole, and down the cliff side until it reached the next section of trail, it thudded into the mud and stayed there, stuck.

They stared down at it, and Harry realized that if he'd been slower, he might've gone with it.

"There's no coming back over this bridge." Harry said, "When we come back we'll need to find a different way."

"Are there not other switchbacks?" Victoria asked.

"That actually doesn't sound like a bad idea. There are, yes, but it'll take us even longer. Thankfully those will be on our way home though."

---

It was almost noon. Scott was starving, but hadn't moved much from the spot he'd splinted his arm in, except to get under shade. He looked to the creek and slowly, carefully, stood up and threw his rifle over his shoulder. He then limped over to investigate, figuring that it would be the only place that there would even be maybe food.

The creek was overflowing it's banks by about a foot thanks to the rain. The water was muddy and dark brown. He looked down to the left, at the stream flowing over and around the 'slide. Down the right side, which was also downstream, he saw that the tree cover gave way to a small meadow. Inside the sunny patch, a small cluster of cattails hugged the bank, and the forager in him was pleased.

He was no longer without food.

---

Harry and Victoria were close to the bottom now. The Tar River was up ahead, and all they'd have to do once they found it would be to go to where the Bird Creek merged with it. From there they'd simply follow it until they got close to the overlook. Then they'd search for Scott's corpse.

They could see the last switchback, which then led down a set of stairs. At the bottom was the bottom of the cliff.

That section trail had been the victim of a lot of erosion. Tree roots stuck out above the dirt, making walking the trail a hazardous task if one wasn't careful. They carefully made their way down, until they reached the stairs.

Fifteen feet to the bottom. That was it. The stairs were thankfully in decent condition, though the boards clearly showed their age. Victoria was in front of Harry, and she began to make her way down, the boards creaking under foot.

Harry followed close behind. About a third of the way down, a board shattered under Harry's foot. He hit the stairs painfully, a couple of boards cracking. He and Victoria froze.

"Go ahead." He told her, "I'll start moving when there's less weight on here."

She did so tentatively, but soon found herself on the ground, watching nervously. Harry carefully got up and began to walk down. He was about four feet from the ground when the boards collapsed and he went through. He hit the ground with a holler as his ankle rolled out from under him. He landed on a sharp pointed, broken off piece of board that had stuck in the mud. It punched through his camouflage and stabbed through the back of his upper left thigh before it broke off, the tip poking through the top of his thigh.

"Shit!" He yelled.

Victoria stared at him wide eyed, "Oh damn... what do you need me to do?"

The moans of distant zombies were carried to them on the wind.

"Right now?" he said, "Shoot anything that comes in sight while I patch my leg up. I got a med kit in my pack. You know how to use a bow?"

"No." She answered, readying her rifle.

"Damn. I was hoping we could keep this quiet." He said nervously as he slid his pack off his shoulder.

"I got a silencer." She told him.

"At least something's going our way." he muttered.

---

Scott was sitting at the edge of the stream, munching on cattail root that he'd cleaned off in the creek. It wouldn't have passed an FDA test, that was for sure, but damn it food was food. He had a large pile of the stuff in his hands.

He heard a holler downstream from where he'd acquired the cattails. He stood up, wincing as he did so. His leg hurt terribly. He went over to the nearest downed tree and broke off a branch. He carefully took of his shirt and wrapped it around the end that would be up against his arm pit, making a crutch.

---

Monique was almost to the hotel. She'd called Trevor on the radio hours ago, letting him know what was up. He understood, and said he'd be sending a group to meet her and Becca the next morning.

Given that Scott had died without fulfilling his end of the deal though, he'd told her that he wasn't planning on providing anybody with Ranger support any time soon.
If you think about it everybody lives in the same place: somewhere between the Empire of the Penguins, and the Kingdom of the Elves.

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by DAVE KI » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:46 pm

Sounds like Scott lived up to the bargain. So things went a little south-ish it worked out.
"We'll Fight Them, Sir!, Until Hell Freezes Over, And Then We'll Fight Them On The Ice! Sir!

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by 91Eunozs » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:57 am

Nice update...thanks!
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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by RingWraithsAnonymous » Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:57 pm

With each chapter we get ever closer toward the end, ever closer to the final chapter. Not to worry though, cause this chapter is definitely not the final one. There's at least a few left in this tale yet, so just relax as you read the 18th chapter of a story that was only supposed to be 12 chapters long.

Let me know what you think, enjoy, thanks for taking the time to read this story, and as always thank you for the continued support.


Chapter 18: in the Valley of the Devil

Victoria readied her rifle and watched as the first of the dead came out from behind the trees. She steadied her breathing, and her focus shifted from the panic of what Harry was going to do about that leg of his to concentrating on the task at hand.

She fired the first of what would be many shots.

---

The landslide was far behind him in out of sight.

Scott marched onward at a slow and careful pace, utilizing the crutch as much as he could. As he followed the stream bank in the direction of the holler he'd heard, he heard a faint tapping sound. Gunfire? He couldn't tell, it was almost too faint for it to be that but... Victoria maybe. He then heard another noise, more like an exclamation of pain. It was louder, though it still sounded far off.

He paused and pulled a piece of cat tail root out of his pocket, which was stuffed with them. He took a few bites, chewed, swallowed, and put it back in it's place before resuming the trek.

Ordinarily he would've stayed put, but for all he knew these were his rescuers. Wouldn't that be ironic, rescuing the rescuers? He smiled to himself at the thought, before taking a wrong step and making his leg twinge horribly. He grimaced and braced himself on the crutch for a time, before slowly continuing on.

Eventually he found where the stream met up with the Tar River- though why it had been named that was beyond him. He saw it slowly drifting up ahead, deeper into the valley and slowly wandering further away from the cliff. He continued onward, trying to stay even with the steep embankment he'd fallen down. He froze as he heard the cracking of twigs. He looked around the barren forest floor, but couldn't see anything.

Scott wasn't sure what to expect, so grabbed his rifle with his good arm. He wouldn't be able to shoot worth a damn, but if it was just some zombies he could probably out maneuver them, or at the very least shoot them when they got real close.

He waited, and eventually saw a flash of red in the distance. Soon after he could clearly see Harry and Victoria coming toward him, about a hundred feet off. Harry was limping pretty bad, which was concerning.

Scott smiled, and waved. They saw him and their expressions turned to disbelief. Harry drew his bow and pulled an arrow out of his quiver.

Scott's smile turned into panic and he frantically waved his arms around in the air and hollered, "Not dead! Not dead!"

Victoria grabbed Harry's arm, "Wait." she told him. She turned back to Scott, that look of disbelief still painting her face. She began to walk toward Scott, and Harry followed cautiously behind. She stopped about thirty feet from the man that was supposed to be dead.

"You fell down a cliff." She said, "You're dead."

"I feel dead." Scott told her, "Can't hardly walk for shit either, but I'll ask you this: if I were dead, why would I be talking to you about it?"

She ran over before Harry could stop her and gave him an all too tight hug. Scott had barely managed to get his broken arm out of the way. He wrapped his left arm around her, still holding onto the rifle. Victoria broke from his grasp and then punched him in the arm.

"Oww!" he exclaimed, "What the hell?!"

"You can't keep doing that to me." She told him quietly, "One of these days I'll quit coming to save your sorry ass."

Harry was about ten feet away now. He looked over at his old friend, "Scott...? "

"Harry?"

"...You have got to be the luckiest unlucky bastard I've ever met in my entire life."

"You don't seem to be doing too good yourself." Scott told him.

"Hurt my leg. You look like a dog turd."

"Also hurt my leg... and broke my arm." he said, showing off the splint.

"How did you do it?" Victoria asked. "Not die I mean."

"Well..." Scott said, "I landed in a tree halfway down- I think it was halfway down anyway, I don't know for sure. Then I rode a landslide down to the bottom and well... here I am. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure myself."

Harry clapped a hand on his shoulder, "It's great to see you're still standing. Now, let's get over to the next switchback. We can't go back up the one we came down to get you, so we'll have to hit up the one even further down stream. Can you walk?"

"I'm standing here aren't I?" Scott told him, "Knee hurts like hell though. So why did you guys even come after me if you thought I was dead? Where's Monique?"

"We needed your body so we could bury it or cremate it or something." Victoria told him, "And Monique's off getting Becca back to camp."

Scott nodded, "Once we get back to camp ourselves, I think I'll be in a sleeping bag for the next month."

"Agreed." Harry said, "But that's not going to happen unless we get going."

---

"Oh shit." Harry whispered.
"I can't believe it." Victoria muttered.
"We're fucked." Scott told himself.

Harry scanned what was in front of them with his binoculars, "Well, the trail up the cliff's still there." he told them softly.

"That doesn't help if we can't get to it." Victoria whispered sharply.

Up ahead was the switchback alright, and it much better repair than the one Harry had hurt himself on it seemed. About a hundred feet away, in between them and the switchback trail though, was a crashed cargo plane. They were at the edge of a large clearing, and it sat in the center, the wing closest to them broken off and lying in the tall grass. The Tar River had swooped in close to the cliff side, bordering the side of the clearing. The plane itself was stained red from the blood of countless macabre feasts.

Feasts in which the dozens of sleeping wendigos in the area had taken part in.

They slumbered in many places in between the trio and their way up. Some were just inside the open cargo door at the end of the plane. Other's slept under the still attached wing. More were gathered under the nose of the cockpit. A few were just bedded down in the tall grasses. More would surely be resting inside the plane itself.

A large swath around the plane was bare dirt. Skeletons of both animals and humans- most of the latter probably belonging to zombies -were scattered all around as warnings not to come near. Some were mostly intact, while others were in jumbled piles, and others still in messy stacks that reminded them of the termite mounds of Africa. Most of those stacks were taller than Harry, about about five feet wide at the widest, though most were between three and four. Rotting corpses were baking on the wing lying in the grass, giving the air a wretched stink, as if it didn't smell of death enough from the other ghastly decorations of the place.

"See if you can find a path through." Scott whispered.

Harry nodded, continuing his scan of the area.

"Wish there was just a way around." Victoria muttered, staring off at the groups of bedded wendigos, "Have you ever seen one without antlers?"

"No. Did you find one?" Scott whispered.

"A few."

Harry nodded, "Same here. Females maybe?"

Scott shrugged, "You found that path through or not?"

Harry gave him a thumbs up. "A few. All of them are terrible, but this is the only way we have up the cliff."

"Lead the way." Victoria murmured.

The three carefully stepped out into the patch of grass, with Harry in front and Victoria in the middle. Scott was slightly confused about the presence of any vegetation in the clearing, given how little ground plants there were in the national park. He figured it was probably because no zombies were there and alive to trample the grass into oblivion in that little section.

Harry carefully led them through the clearing. He stepped cautiously around the piles of bones, dreadful testaments to the meals and victims of the sleeping creatures nearby. Each step was extremely carefully placed. He almost stepped on a bear skull partway submerged in the earth, and wondered just how many of the beasts it had taken to slay it, and how long ago that monstrous clash had been.

They neared the plane, and Harry took a sharp turn, giving it a wide berth. They got close to the bare, dusty earth, and the smell got worse. The three continued on bravely however, though they all knew what serious danger and peril would come of them making so much as a sound.

The first ramp up the switchback was near. Like the rest of that final resting place of so many, it's surfaces were coated in long dried blood, and bones were scattered around it's surface. Scott reasoned that it was probably how the wendigos got to the top of the cliff to hunt. He figured once they got to the top that they might just render it unusable somehow, possibly by destroying a bridge or a ramp at close to the top.

They got closer to the ramp, and a sound echoed from behind them. A lone growl from the plane. Scott turned his head and saw a wendigo that had noticed their presence. It was remaining quite, but it's gaze was gluttonous, and starved. It lifted it's head up as if to roar, and had it not been for the arrow that pierced it's eye, it very well might have.

Harry stood there, bow in hand, and they all breathed a sigh of relief. They turned around and exited the patch of barren earth, continuing toward their destination.

"Whoa, hold up there!" A man's voice echoed from behind them. They froze, and a feeling of dread sunk in as the wendigos around them began to stir. "Didn't you see the no trespassing signs?"
If you think about it everybody lives in the same place: somewhere between the Empire of the Penguins, and the Kingdom of the Elves.

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by DAVE KI » Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:32 pm

Well looks like the gang has met up. Even a talking wendigo? Probably not,but a great chapter though.
"We'll Fight Them, Sir!, Until Hell Freezes Over, And Then We'll Fight Them On The Ice! Sir!

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by bodyparts » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:28 pm

couple of great updates . thanks for keeping it going. now about this last one...... im reading along and get to the end .... and literally say to my screen " WTF" ! great twisty. good job with that.

MOAR!!

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by 91Eunozs » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:18 am

Well, this should be interesting!
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by DAVE KI » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:51 pm

GGGRRRRRR not funny :wink: , thought we had an update.
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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by RingWraithsAnonymous » Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:30 pm

to DAVE KI: Talking wendigo? I honestly hadn't thought of that one lol. Definitely sounds interesting, if at least a little bizarre.
to bodyparts: I do what I can with those dirty plot twists.
to 91Eunozs: very interesting indeed I hope.

Let me know what you think, enjoy, thanks for taking the time to read this story, and as always thank you for the continued support.

Chapter 19: Twisted Means

Victoria was the first to face the voice. She spun around in place, rifle drawn. Harry was a bit slower, but soon had an arrow knocked. Scott looked at the ramp ahead of them, knowing they'd never make it. If nothing else, he shared the sentiment of his friends in wanting to kill whatever it was that had brought down this curse upon them. He drew his rifle and carefully turned around.

A man was standing at the opposite end of the dead patch of earth. On his feet were moccasins, and he wore patched up jeans. At his belt was a rather large blade, and a wooden longbow was in his hands, pointing at the trio. His shirt was camouflage, and bore many rips and tears. A bandage was on his left arm.

His head was shrouded however, for he wore a mask. It had large antlers coming from the top, Scott estimated they were a twelve point rack, maybe even fourteen. The face was made from what looked like skin, and covered everything above his mouth. He sported a beard under it, and as Scott stared down the cause of their demise, it became apparent that the mask was something more. The man was wearing a wendigo's antlers and face.

The wendigos, speaking of them, were waking up from there daytime slumber. A few were just starting to stand up, keeping their heads low and their faces in their own shadows. A few began to growl. There was a roar behind them.

"HAAAAAAAAALLLLLTTT!!!!!" The man bellowed until his lungs were devoid of air. The wendigos froze, before putting themselves on the ground, facing him.

Harry, Scott, and Victoria still held their weapons up- as did the strange man -but they were confused as to what they had witnessed.

"Harry?" The stranger asked, "Is that you or did I really loose my mind?"

"Who are you?" Harry demanded.

"Damn," the stranger replied with a scoff, "Thought you'd recognize an old friend." he then took off his mask.

It wasn't anyone Scott recognized, but underneath the mask of tanned wendigo skin was a man slightly younger than both Harry and Scott. His hair was light, and on his face was a collection of various scars. He lowered the bow.

Harry lowered his, "You're dead. You died last winter."

The stranger, holding a bow in one hand and a mask in the other, shrugged. "I don't know about that, I feel pretty damn alive. You on the other hand, are a ghost, or maybe a mirage. Are there mirages in the forest? I wouldn't be surprised."

Harry laughed, "Well I'll be damned, Ben! I can't believe it, what happened?"

"Who is this?" Scott asked.

"Ben... he joined the Rangers shortly after you left. Been going on patrols with him for a long time." Harry explained.

"I'll tell you all about it in a minute." Ben said, "Come on, let's get inside." he told them, ushering us into the back of the plane.

The situation was just bizarre as all hell to Scott, though he figured he'd be getting answers soon. They slowly headed to the plane, the wendigos turning to continue facing Ben, and scrambling out of his way when he got close.

"Rest!" He shouted as he reached the cargo door to the plane. The wendigos settled back to their original positions, as if getting ready to sleep once more.

The three followed him into the plane. Inside were pallets and pallets of canned food. A few wendigos were getting ready to sleep inside, but they parted to let them through. Victoria, Scott, and Harry all got growled at a few times, though never once did one of the usually savage beasts so much as sniff at Ben. He got to the cockpit door, opened it, and ushered the others inside.

The cockpit had been converted into a sleeping quarters of sorts. A sleeping bag sat in the floor. The pair of seats had been shredded with claw marks, meaning nobody was going to be sitting on those. A pack sat in one corner, and empty food cans littered the opposite one. Ben closed the door behind them and sat down on the bed, setting his mask up on the cockpit controls.

"There we go." He said. "So long as we don't get loud, they'll go right back to sleep. Terrifying at night, those things are candy ass in the daylight." he remarked. "I'm sure you all have a lot of questions, hell, I have questions, but one at a time. First though, I'll tell you guys what led me here, then you can tell me what led you here, sound good?"

The trio nodded, sitting on the floor.

"Okay then," he said, "Now, Harry, I don't recognize these two, so I assume they aren't Rangers, so I'll start from the beginning. Harry and I were in a patrol. The Rangers were thinking on maybe clearing out some of the roaming ground of the wendigos, maybe by killing some of them. The patrol we were in went toward this very nest. Nowhere close to it, mind you, we weren't even certain where the plane was. In any event, some shit went down. We got ambushed by some wendigos that evening. A couple died, I almost did. Got gored a good one by one of the fuckers." he lifted his shirt a tad, enough to reveal a rough edged, circular scar close to his navel.
"I don't blame you guys for thinking I was dead, I really don't. Hell, I thought I was dead. I managed to patch myself up though, and spent the night hiding off in a tree. I was recuperating, spending nights in the tree almost freezing to death in the cold, and spending my days almost freezing to death looking for food. I was beginning to starve. The route we took to get there in the first place involved a road through a gorge. I'd lost my maps in the fight, and with that gorge snowed in over my head I had no clue how to get home. Like I said, I was starving, in a bad place. I remembered there was a river down in this valley, and knew what general direction it was in, so I made my way to it. There were fish in it- only places in the whole damn park that have any kind of animals in it are the areas with water -so I stayed. I had a little lean-to shelter off hidden in the bushes at the cliff side. Things were terrible, but looking up. Winter was just beginning to fade away. The snow was melting. I had no clue how long I'd been in the forest by myself at that point, but it was a long time."
"Spring came. I was stocking up on food, smoking some fish during the day when I knew the wendigos wouldn't be active. My wound had healed, and I was about to go home. I went back up the switchback I was close too, only to find a large herd of zombies at the top. So I went right back down." he laughed.
"I knew there was this second switchback, so I headed over to it. It was almost dark, but I wasn't about to give up. 'I'd rather sleep in a tree up there than spend one more day down here,' I told myself. I snuck through them, just like you did. Then Alpha woke up. We'd always suspected they had a pack structure, and it was reaffirmed when the big boss woke up. Got this from him." he said, pointing to his mask.
"He got up and attacked, roaring and growling and carrying on. He was a big motherfucker too, seven feet tall! The others woke up, but kept their distance, waiting to see me get killed and hoping they'd get to eat scraps later. He chased me around. I kept running around the plane, but no matter what, they wouldn't let me leave the dirt patch. They'd block my path, shove me back and growl at me. My old compound bow got snapped in half when the bastard caught up to me. Damn near got killed then too. I drew my knife and slit his throat before he even had a chance though. After that I waited for the wendigos to come at me. I was gonna kill them all until I got ate. But they didn't. Instead, they cowered. I guess I became the Alpha. A few have challenged me since, but I've killed them all."

The three listeners sat there in awe. Finally Scott spoke up.

"Our story is a bit less impressive." he said with a sad attempt at a laugh, "We were out in the area saving an injured Ranger. Got attacked by a herd. Managed to escape, but things didn't go as planned. I fell down the cliff. Trees broke my fall."

Ben grimaced, "Damn. Go on, sorry. Didn't mean to interrupt."

"Anyway, I sat at the bottom for a bit. Got my broken arm splinted, and a crutch for my injured knee. I ran into these two again, and we were heading to the switchback to get back to the Ranger station when you found us."

"Huh," Ben said, "I'll be damned. So who are you exactly? And who is she?"

"We work together." Scott told him, "Trevor hired us to save the injured Ranger. Turns out it was one of his wives."

Ben nodded, thinking, "Ahh, got ya. Any question for me then?"

"So you've just been here, eating canned vegetables and leading wendigos?" Harry asked dubiously.

"Basically. We thought this was an airliner, a passenger jet, but as you guys saw, that was wrong. I'm guessing the plane was supposed to be making airdrops early in the outbreak days, I don't know for sure. Being top dog isn't a bad gig. Most days I wander the forest, and nights I sleep."

"How come you never came back to camp?" Victoria asked.

"They wouldn't let me." he said, "Believe me, I tried those first few nights. They'd find me while hunting and drag me back. For a while, each night after their hunts they offered me food. Took a while to convince them I wouldn't eat it."

"So how do you control them?" Harry asked, "This whole thing is pretty weird."

"It really is." Ben said, "They seem to understand most of what I say most of the time. Given that I'm in charge, they listen. They're actually pretty intelligent. It's kinda scary though. So long as you guys stick with me though, you'll be fine. Just remember: they are still wendigos. If they see weakness, they tend to try and wanna fight you."

"So... can we leave?" Victoria asked.

Ben was silent for a moment, a brief stutter as if he wasn't sure how to answer. That concerned me. "Not tonight. It'll be dark soon. I'll get you guys some dinner, then we can sleep here. I assume you all have sleeping bags?"

The others nodded, except for Scott, who admitted he'd lost his pack. He told them he would be fine with sleeping on the floor though, and that night, after dinner, he did so, his shirt under his head like a pillow.

---

The next morning they ate breakfast.

"So you're Scott Owens, huh?" Ben asked, "Harry talked about you- hell, everybody talked about you when I showed up."

"The one and only, so far as I know." Scott replied.

"I need some fresh air," Harry said, "Anyone care to join me?"

Scott said sure and stood up.

"Just be careful." Ben said, "Stay close to the door."

They nodded and stepped out, Harry closing the door behind them. He looked through it's round window, and saw Ben and Victoria start talking about God only knew what.

"Alright." Harry whispered, "I need to talk to you about something."

"What?" Scott asked. He observed the inside of the plane, noticing there weren't any wendigos inside. A few were just beginning to fall asleep down at the cargo ramp, but they paid the pair of freshmeats no mind.

"Ben's off." Harry said, "I'm not sure what it is, but he doesn't seem like him."

"Isn't that to be expected?" Scott questioned, "He's been living on his own with ghouls for months. That has to take a toll on someone. If we can find a way to get him back to what counts as civilization around here, he'll be fine."

"I dunno," Harry said, "I know him pretty well. Something's off."

Scott shrugged, "I dunno what to tell you, except that I didn't sleep for shit last night."

"I'll give you my sleeping bag tonight, how about that?"

"I appreciate that, thanks."

"What do you mean?!" They heard from inside.

Harry quickly opened the door, "What's going on?" he demanded.

"Easy easy." Ben said, "Don't stir the beasts outside."

"This motherfucker says we can't leave." Victoria said.

Scott scoffed, "The hell does that mean?"

"Ben?" Harry asked.

Ben sighed, "I've been so lonely. I'd go with you, but the monsters won't let me leave. I can't let you leave me."

"I'm going home." Scott said, looking for his rifle. It was still leaning against the far wall where he left it.

"Living here won't be so bad with others." Ben said, "The wendigos protect us. We have plenty of food. Come on guys, you'd live in peace."

"No." Scott said, "I have a job to do. One I'll die trying to do."

Ben groaned. Harry grabbed his bow. Victoria had an odd look on her face. Scott glanced at his rifle. If he could've grabbed it without being obvious, he would've.

Ben sighed, "Alright. You two can go."

"Two?" Victoria demanded, "The hell does that mean? There are three of us!"

"Easy, easy. What I mean is... one of you is staying. I can't do it alone anymore."

Scott took a step closer to his rifle.

Harry said, "Well we're all going. I for one am not staying here."

"Wow." Ben said with a sad, cackling laugh. Scott took another step closer to his rifle. "I guess they threw you under the bus, sweetheart." he said, talking to Victoria.

She went to grab her rifle, and Ben grabbed her by the arm. Scott rushed to his rifle, and Harry knocked an arrow.

Ben was faster. He had his large knife to Victoria's throat, and had drawn a pistol- one nobody knew he had -from his person. "Freeze!" he ordered, "Or shit's gonna be bad."

Scott stopped in his tracks, the pistol aimed at him. He stood up straight, faced Ben, and put his hands in the air. "You have us over a barrel, what's your play now?"

Harry had the bow dead on him, "Shit's already bad. I don't want to shoot you Ben, I really don't. Just let-"

A flick of a wrist and a gunshot later, and Harry was on the ground, blood gurgling out of his throat. Scott lunged for his rifle, and Ben shot it in the mag well, destroying the internals.

Scott froze. The rifle. The rifle his wife had given him, the very last thing he had from his family was now broken. An asshole with a pistol had ruined the last renaming piece of his old life.

Victoria gasped upon seeing Harry dying on the floor. She struggled, and Ben tightened his grip on her, pushing the bevel of the knife right against the bottom of her lower jaw, the edge hovering a few specks away from her throat. She froze.

Scott was seething. His rifle was useless, and Harry had died. And for what? He sat there, motionless as Ben shot the internals of Victoria's rifle too. He then clocked her in the back of the head, knocking her unconscious. Ben glared at Scott, and Scott returned it, but with the fury and intensity of a family man scorned many times over.

"You fucked up." Ben said, gun pointed at Scott. "She'll come to understand in time. I have a feeling you never will though. I don't want to waste my last bullet on you. Please leave."

"You are the one that fucked up!!!" Scott roared. Wendigos, already stirred by the gunshot, were standing at the entrance to the plane, sensing a challenge of leadership.

"Get! Out!" Ben said, gun arm shaking.

Scott screamed in pure, condensed rage.

He'd been through too much shit. Mary died those years ago. His Mad Dog was murdered. Salvador was eaten. His horse was gone. His house was burned down. Robin and Terrance were murdered. He'd almost been eaten many times now. He'd been shot at. He'd fallen down a fucking cliff and went down with a landslide. His arm was broken. His knee had dislocated. His last picture of Mary and Maddie was gone, and now his rifle was desecrated. Harry was murdered by some psycho. Victoria was about to held captive. Scott was about to be killed by some self serving asshole. He had been through too much shit, survived too much, lost too much, to not kill the cocksucker that had gotten his baby girl killed.

All those thoughts went through his head in an instant as he charged Ben. Ben fired the gun, missing. Scott tackled him, broken arm and injured knee be damned. He wailed his fist down on the man underneath him. Ben kneed him in the balls, and shoved him out of the room. He got up and rushed out, slamming the door behind him. The wendigos subdued growls and howls and roars echoed from outside. Scott tried to get up, and Ben roared, kicking him in the side. Scott rolled closer to the end. He kept trying to stand, and each time Ben would kick him right back down, sending him further down the aisle. Scott tried to stand up a final time, beaten and bruised bloody. Ben kicked him in the back with a growl, and Scott rolled down the ramp of the plane.

He rolled out and sprawled into the dirt, smacking his face on a rock. The wendigos back up. He willed himself to get up, and did so, blood dripping from his nose and mouth. Ben came up on him, knife drawn. Scott drew his boot knife awkwardly with his good arm, staggering and swaying as he tried like hell to stay standing.

Ben took a swipe at him, and Scott dodged it, barely staying upright. He took a few awkward swings, missing. Ben stabbed at him, and Scott managed to stab his knife hand. Ben howled, and dropped his blade in the dust. Scott swayed as Ben retreated. Scott limped slowly toward him as Ben ripped a large femur bone out of one of the skeletal pillars.

Scott lunged forward and missed, collapsing on his front. Ben stomping on his knife hand, then kicked his blade away. Scott rolled over and pathetically lunged at Ben's feet, throwing his opponent off balance. Ben fell to the ground and dropped the femur bone, the cacophony of wendigo calls increasing in volume as the fight intensified before their eyes. Ben rolled and grabbed Scott by the broken arm. Scott screamed in pain as Ben snapped it and the stabilizers of Scott's splint over his knee, Scott's arm now double broken.

Ben was huffing and puffing as Scott lay there and screamed in pain, barely able to move. Ben got up and grabbed the femur bone back up. He raised it over his head, and slammed it down on Scott's stomach. Scott cried out in pain. The femur bone came down upon his chest too, then was being used to pummel Scott's head. Scott covered his face with his good arm, and it too took a fair amount of punishment in exchange for his face being mostly protected.

Scott coughed and blood came out. Ben stood over him.

"This is my castle. My rules." Ben growled.

"Pussy." Scott rasped, "Needs a club to kill a disable man."

Ben raised the bone back over his head for the final time, ready to strike. A silhouette appeared behind him, and blood began raining down on Scott. Ben's body collapsed upon him, and Scott was ready to be slaughtered by whatever wendigo had seen an opportunity in their fight.

Then he heard the silence. The wendigos had stopped. Maybe they thought he was dead? He wasn't sure, but he realized the silhouette that Scott couldn't make out- because the sun was over it's shoulder -had red hair instead of antlers.

He squinted, "Victoria?"

She collapsed to her knees next to him and cried, Ben's now bloody knife in her hand. "I told you not to scare me like that."

Scott groaned. "Sorry."

The wendigos began to make sounds, mostly low growls. Victoria stood up in the morning sun and wiping the tears from her face.

"HALT!!!!!" She barked. The wendigos eased down.

It appeared that she was the new Alpha.
If you think about it everybody lives in the same place: somewhere between the Empire of the Penguins, and the Kingdom of the Elves.

DAVE KI
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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by DAVE KI » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:04 pm

Now that is what updates and chapters are made of! And best of luck to Victoria in her new role. A chapter well worth the wait.
"We'll Fight Them, Sir!, Until Hell Freezes Over, And Then We'll Fight Them On The Ice! Sir!

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by bodyparts » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:31 pm

wow!! that was awesome !! thanks for an outstanding update!

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by RingWraithsAnonymous » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:00 pm

Nothing much to say this time.

Let me know what you think, enjoy, thanks for taking the time to read this story, and as always thank you for the continued support.


Chapter 20: the Last Details

Roughly a season later...

Scott woke up that morning in his tent with a drawn out yawn. He yawned once more and got dressed for the morning and day ahead of him, being gentle with his recently healed arm. In all honesty the doctor at the Ranger Island was kinda mad at Scott for even wanting to be active with it this soon, but it was an unavoidable thing in Scott's opinion.

He buttoned up his shirt, a blue plaid, before grabbing his newly made walking stick and put on his boots. He then stepped outside and took a breath of fresh air.

It was early autumn now instead of early summer. The first leaves were turning colors on the trees, though a sparse few had fallen yet. The air was turning colder too, and it seemed with each blow of the wind the weather seemed to get cloudier and ever closer to winter. That day was fairly clear of clouds, except for a few cirrus clouds. A storm appeared to be brewing over the mountains though, which could spell rain for them if the wind blew right... or wrong, depending on your outlook.

Scott closed his eyes and soaked it in. He was getting his beard back, something he was glad for. Never liked his face being cold.

"Morning to you, Scott." Becca told him.

"Morning," He replied, "Your husband's in his 'office' I assume?"

The blonde nodded, "Yeah," She said, "How's the arm treating you?"

Scott shrugged, "Alright I suppose. How's the leg?"

"Still kinda messed up," She admitted, "Doctor Reed said I should be okay soon. Hell, I'm just lucky to get out of the tent without her freaking out." she joked.

"I understand the feeling," Scott told her.

"I know I say it a lot," She said, "But I really do appreciate what you did."

"And I know I say it a lot," Scott said, "But I didn't do shit. All I did was go into the woods and fall down a cliff."

"You got me to that hotel room."

"You got me there." Scott replied, "Have a good day."

"Thanks. You too." She said as Scott continued on.

The recovery had sucked, it really had. His knee still hurt a quarter of the time, but he had a brace for it, which was definetly better than leaving it with the possibility of it dislocating again so soon. The worst part with the healing of his arm was the lack of both strength and mobility, though he'd regained most of the mobility. The strength not so much yet. He had had to learn to do things left handed, which wasn't so bad, except for his shooting, which had definitely taken a downturn. Now that he could somewhat use his arm though, he hoped that he would soon be back to par. Whether he ever would get back to his old self was an unknown.

Scott passed a collection of a couple dozen wooden crosses, all with a bow leaning against them. He stopped, and looked over at the freshest one, one with Harry's name on it. They hadn't buried him, nor had they buried any of the names that were carved into the crosses, but they served as reminders for the ones they'd burned in the funeral pyres since the Rangers officially became Rangers. A few were missing, never having recieved a pyre. Ben for example, would never get a cross in his honor.

Scott stood in front of his friends cross for a short time. His death couldn't have been for nothing. Scott refused to let that be the case. He just hoped his refusal would be enough, and that his plans for the ever looming future would also be enough. Only time would tell.

He walked up to Trevor's tent, "Knock knock." he declared.

"You know how weird it is to here people say the words, 'knock knock?'" Trevor shouted from inside.

"If you had a door, people could actually knock!" Scott told him, "Then you wouldn't have to hear them say it!"

"Come on in Scott!" Trevor replied.

Scott opened the tent flap and stepped inside, sitting down across from Trevor at his desk.

"You know, you're right." Trevor admitted, "One of these days we'll get around to putting up a few buildings on this little island of our's. For now though, the tents stay, though Anne says the next project after the outpost is finished should be adding a few buildings here."

"Doesn't sound bad to me. How's your morning been?"

"Alright I suppose. Yours?"

"Okay..."

"Good, good..."

An awkward silence followed. Getting Trevor to offer support for Scott's plan wasn't too hard, even if Scott hadn't technically been the one to fulfill the deal. Becca and Monique both had apparently had a stern talking to with Trevor when they found out he was considering not giving as much help as he'd promised. A happy wife, happy life was how the saying went.

Or in Trevor's case, unhappy wives, terrible life, Scott thought.

"Have you gotten your volunteers for the fight?" Scott finally asked him.

"Yeah, yeah I have." Trevor told him, "All but two spots, but those should be no problem to fill once the next patrol comes in."

"Good. I think we need to do it at the end of the month." Scott said.

"How come? I thought we'd talked-"

"I know what we'd talked about and what the plan was, but I had an idea. We need to move it to the end of the month instead of the beginning of next month because that's when the shipping barges come through Brandon."

"What do the shipping barges have to do with anything?" Trevor questioned.

Scott told him of the plan, finishing with, "...besides, it's not like it'll affect timing too much. It'll just move things forward by a couple of days, doesn't even change what patrol cycle we'll be on."

Trevor thought on what he'd heard a minute, "That's not a bad idea, really. That whole aspect of the plan will run much smoother if we just use the barges instead. I like it."

"Glad you do. One more thing though."

"What?"

"I need to pay a visit to the new outpost."

"How come?"

Scott stared at him for a minute, "Were you born stupid or did your mother drop you on your head as a child?"

Trevor rolled his eyes, "Just took me a minute was all, jeez. There's a group going to over there tommorow to bring them some of the supplies from the last tax we took."

Scott nodded, "That's what I thought. Can I go with them?"

"Don't see any reason why not." Trevor told him. "Just so long as you're fine with being there a week. Not including the days ride there."

"That's not a problem for me." Scott answered. He was just happy they had horses. Before the outpost was built, the Rangers didn't have any. That last tax though, they'd asked for a half dozen, along with a wagon. Getting to the outpost otherwise was a two day hike.

"Okay then, looks like you're set." Trevor paused, studying on something, "Did Doc approve of this?"

"What do you think?" Scott said with a smile.

Trevor smiled back, "You know she's gonna be pissed as hell when she finds out. And not just at you, at both of us."

"I won't tell that you're in on it if you don't tell."

---

A few days later

They were close to the outpost. Very close. Scott rode at the back of the group. It was a misty morning. They'd spotted a couple of solitary zombies, but beyond that, the whole trip had been pretty tame.

The wagon in front of him was full of various supplies the outpost had requested, including plenty of things for the upcoming winter. It had been Monique's idea, the outposts (though at that point and time there was only one). The goal was to at some point build a handfull out in the forest, allowing the patrols to have a few nights of safer resting while out. Some though, like the one they were going to, were going to be built to monitor dangerous areas, and make sure things stayed they way they were supposed to.

He steered his horse off to the side of the path and looked past the wagon. He could see the log walls through the trees, and smiled.

"Almost there." he said.

The outpost itself had three walls, with the fourth side overlooking the valley, the cliff serving as a barrier. If something was willing to climb three hundred feet up it to get to them, a ten foot wall would be small potatoes. From what he'd heard though, there was still a fence there to make sure nobody slipped and fell off. Inside there was a central building that was to serve as a barracks, armory, and storage building. In reality, it was like they were building a tiny log fort at the edge of the cliff that overlooked the Tar River Valley.

They reached the gate, and soon enough it was opened and there were welcomed in. Inside was the finished main building, and the beginnings of a few towers along the wall. Scott estimated that they had about an acre an a half, maybe two acres walled off from the outside. Only the gatetower was complete, and the first of four more was under construction. Inside was a multitude of tents, most of them for builders that had been gathered from the surrounding communities, all of them getting paid in free food and the oppurtunity to stay and man the outpost if they so chose. They wouldn't exactly be Rangers, given that they wouldn't leave the walls, but it was still an oppurtunity very few would ever get. The crew was comprised mostly of younger guys, given that most of the older, slightly more expierienced builders had families they didn't want to be apart from for that long.

The intact switchback down to the wendigo nest was at the bottom. That had been a deterring factor for some of the potential workers, though most had been assured saftey measures would be taken, and they had. At a few chokepoints, they had put up walls and gates on the way down, and seeing as wendigos didn't open doors... most of the various tradesmen slept soundly.

There had been some difficulties at first for sure, namely that some of the wendigos down there seemed to prefer the hunting grounds at the top of the cliff. Those had been swiftly resolved though, and they had been encouraged by their leader to try new hunting grounds down in the valley. Apparently they had become quite happy with the arrangement. Although they'd given up some of their old hunting ground, they had now discovered plenty of new areas, some of which had more food than their previous hunting territory.

Few of the workers beleived the tall tale that a living, breathing human was in charge of the massive group of death some 300 feet below them, and even fewer believed the ones that claimed that a woman led them. Almost all of the Rangers knew better though, and Scott definetly knew better.

The gate closed behind them. The Rangers that had come, and the Rangers that were guarding the outpost during it's construction, began unloading things from the wagon and shooting the breeze.

Scott helped them out with the unloading, then asked if he was allowed to hike down to the nest.

"What in the Devil's name is wrong with you?!" One of the builders demanded, having overheard him, "Wanting to go to a place like that."

"Don't speak so soon," the guy next to him said, "That guy looks like the type that could handle it."

A Ranger turned to Scott, "Yeah, you can go. You'll need an escort just in case you twist your ankle or something stupid, but yeah, it should be fine. especially given that it's you."

"And just exactly how is mister important?" The mouthy construction worker asked.

Scott smiled at him, "The kind of important person that could get you fired and have you fed to the wendigos should I feel like it."

The workers friend laughed. The smartmouth himself, was not pleased, "You can't talk to me like that. You got no right."

Scott's smiled grew, though it wasn't one of joy, but more predatory, more of a 'I could make your life miserable' kind of smile. Before he could say anything, one of the Rangers got to him first.

"I'd shut my trap if I were you. This guy could probably have me fed to the wendigos. Does the name Scott Owens ring any bells."

The smartmouth froze, and suddenly had nothing to talk about. His friend was wide eyed, "Wait, you're that guy? You're the badass that took a wendigo down that cliff!" he said, pointing off in the direction of the valley."

"Something like that I guess." Scott told him. "Give this man a cookie."

"Damn! Now, how much of that is made up? Cause I've heard tell that you killed some of the things down there and stuff."

"Well, I sure didn't do that. Hell, I could barely walk after that. Piece of advice: don't go sailing off cliffs. I'm sure a younger guy could probably recover better than I did, but it sure as hell ain't a whole lot of fun." he warned, before he headed off to the switchback.

A Ranger was sent with him, and soon he was making his way down the trail. By the time he was done, he was glad he'd taken the walking stick, otherwise his bad leg would've been in terrible shape.

The nest was a lot like Scott remembered. There was the worn out patch of dirt in the middle of the only field of grass for miles. There were the stacks of bones. The sleeping wendigos. The crashed plane. There was however, something new. A small single story cabin, a square with sides 24 feet in length, sat close to the Tar River.

Scott could only imagine how hard it had been to convince a few of the hired helpers to work on it. More likely than not, hazard pay had been offered. In any event, Scott admired it. It looked cozy.

The Ranger that was with him must've been a greenhorn, because he seemed absolutely terrified.

"W-What do we do?" he asked quietly.

Scott turned to him, "Why, we cross it, what else?" he said at regular volume, causing the Ranger to flinch. A few of the wendigos stirred, but none woke. Scott proceeded to stroll across the nesting grounds, the Ranger following close behind and trying as hard as he could to be stealthy, and not to have a panic attack.

Scott found it odd how at ease he felt, standing in the middle of a group of dozens of wendigos, bones of their past meals surrounding him. Despite his outward confidence however, he would've been lying if he'd had said he wasn't at least a little concerned. He definitely felt safer than he had the last time he'd been there though.

As he approached the cabin, he saw that a trail had been cut through the field, and that what was left was beginning to be walked down. Scott walked the trail and got close to the new building. He saw that the windows had bars in front of the glass, but reasoned it was to make sure they didn't get broken, given the risk involved of having something fragile like that near such wild creatures. He also noticed that there was no light coming from the windows, meaning nobody was home.

"Nobody's here." The Ranger said, "Did they eat her?"

"Probably not." Scott said. "Most likely she's out in the woods. You can stay here if you want. Just don't go inside. She might be mad if she comes back to find you in her house uninvited."

The greenhorn decided staying was a good course of action.

He heard the faint sounds of a woman swearing though, and knew were to start looking. He walked toward the river, finding that a path was beginning to be worn down there as well. He passed a few fresh tree stumps, and eventually came to the river bank.

The Tar River, or at the very least this section of it, wasn't very deep. The water was a bit murky, but it was clear enough you could sort of see the bottom, which was about eight or nine feet below the surface, and only twelve feet across. At the edge of the bank was a slope about three feet down to the shoreline. The shore wasn't a muddy one, but one covered in stones of various sizes, some small, others large, all having been at somepoint uncovered or carried downstream by the current in many, many years past.

Not seeing the red haired lady he was searching for, he looked down one way, then the other, finding her downstream by about eighty feet on the other side of the river. A fallen tree spanned the width of the stream about fifty feet down, which had most likely been her bridge across, and would for sure be Scott's. He watched her for a bit, but she failed to notice him right off. He didn't blame her, as she was in the middle of dealing with a hook jammed under a rock down in the bed of the river.

Scott quietly made his way over, watching as she jerked on the line and tried different things. Soon enough she saw him, and waved, setting down the pole.

Scott waved back. He couldn't quite see the expression on her face at that distance, but he was pretty sure it was a good one. He got up on the large tree trunk and made his way across. She met him at the other end, smiling.

"Welcome, stranger." Victoria said.

Scott hopped off the tree trunk next to her, "That's all you got? Not even a friendly hand shake?" He said with a laugh.

She wrapped her arms around him in a friendly, tight sort of hug that only lasted a few seconds. He retured the embrace it with his good arm, the other holding onto the walking stick.

"How's the arm?"She asked afterward.

"Better. How's the promotion?" he joked.

She rolled her eyes, then asked him, "You ever do any fishing?"

"Yeah. Saw you get your line stuck." he answered.

"Ah... any ideas?"

"Let's first see how bad things are." he told her.

They walked down the river bank to where her pack, fishing gear, and pole were. She picked up the pole and tugged on it a bit, demonstrating to Scott how it was stuck.

"I'm afraid," she said, "that I'll have to cut the line, and I'd rather not. I only have so many hooks."

"Makes sense." Scott replied, looking at where the line went under a rock. It was about five feet under "Where did you get this stuff anyway?"

"Was out hunting one night with part of the pack, was trying to encourage the new hunting ground. Found an old RV, didn't look like it had been touched since the outbreak. Had a tacklebox and a few poles in it for bass. I fished some as a kid, figured might as well take up the hobby again if I could, y'know? Getting some fish really does spice up the diet of canned food."

"Makes sense..." Scott replied absentmindedly, staring down into where the line was stuck. "How many hooks you got left?"

"Two."

"Damn." he said, "Guess we'd probably better salvage this one then, huh?"

"Yeah... Probably ought to think on it some too. Not like it's going anywhere."

"Fair enough. So you went hunting with them, huh?"

"Been hunting with them a handful of times. It's really kind of freaky. A lot of the ones that start out with me get excited and leave or just simply outpace me. I've got a few that seem to be pretty loyal though, that always stick with me. Figure if theres ever a challege for leadership they'd probably have my back, too."

"Sounds like a risky business, being out in the dark with that many of them. Trusting wendigos for backup too."

"Not really. See, Ben's problem was he didn't exist with them. He lived with them, sure, but he didn't work with them. They learn pretty good, and listen to me pretty good too for the most part. Teaching them to use the new hunting ground wasn't hard, and neither was getting them to not be so aggressive toward the Rangers."

"Ah, like teaching dogs then?"

"Kinda, I guess, I don't really know. Never trained dogs before to compare this to. I've managed to get them to let me be gone overnight too, even. If I'm gone more than a night though, they come looking. Damn good at it too. If they can't find my prints, they'll sniff me out. Guess I know who to count on to find my ass if I get lost in the woods." she joked.

"Fair enough. Well, I've figured out how to get that hook." Scott told her.

"Oh?"

Scott took off his boots and socks, knowing they'd be harder to dry. He also set down his pack. He then jumped in the river.

"What the hell is your problem?!" Victoria scolded, "You'll get hypothermia."

Scott was up to his waist in water, shivering. "Y-y-yep. G-got tha-at." he assured her. He then submerged under the stream.

Victoria watched, shaking her head, and grabbed her tinderbox, knowing his foolish ass would need some warmth, quickly. she gathered some twigs from the surrounding area and came back to find Scott sitting on the bank of the Tar River, freezing cold, the chattering of his teeth sounding like distant machine gun fire.

"L-l-l-line N-n-no-not st-t-t-tuck." he informed her. "Rock-k gone."

"Dumbass. What were you thinking? That's river water! In fall! From the mountains! What were you thinking?!"

"I w-wasn't." he chattered.

---

Scott and Victoria sat around a decently sized campfire, Victoria cooking the two fish she'd kept and filleted, while Scott was just doing his best to warm up and not catch hypothermia.

"Thanks." he told her, "The fire helps."

"You're welcome you dummy." She replied in good nature, "Are your clothes drying out alright?"

"Yeah. I'll have to turn around in a minute, my back is still mostly soaked." he said with a chuckle.

"At least you had the sense to take of your footwear. Is your arm even good enough to be doing stuff like that?"

"Don't know. My doctor would birth a cow if she ever found out I did this though."

She laughed, and checking on the fish, deciding it looked done. She pulled a small metal plate and a spork from her pack.

"Don't have anything for you... I normally eat by myself." she told him, "Do you care which one you get?"

"Nope. And don't worry, I've got my own stuff." he told her, getting into his pack.

Given that he said he didn't care, Victoria grabbed the larger of the two fish, "I don't think there are any bones in these," She said, "But be carefull around the edges, I might've clipped a rib or something."

"Thanks for the warning." Scott told her. "Not trying to be rude or nothing, but I'm gonna turn around. My back's turning numb."

They ate in silence for most of the meal, "This fish ain't bad." he told her, "You did a decent job."

"Thank you." she told him, "And, also, thank you for getting my line unstuck. Even if you did it the dumb way."

"You're welcome... I hate to bring it up, but we've gotta talk some about the plan."

He could feel her change in mood to a more sober one, "Yeah. My end is sorted out." She said, "Unless there have been any changes."

"One." he said, before laying out his plans that involved the monthly shipping barge."

"You're right," she said, "It's more efficient, and it really doesn't change much. Still have about three weeks to get ready. I have one question though, one you really need to think over."

"Shoot." he told her.

"What's the plan for after. After the job is done... then what? What are you gonna do with yourself? Go back to being a hunter? Join the Rangers? Shoot yourself? Do you even know what your next play is?"

Scott was silent for a time, "To be honest... no, I don't know what my next play is, so to speak. I really have no idea. I've thought about it some, but it was always an 'I'll cross that bridge when I come to it sort of thing,' y'know? I just... I don't know. Hell, I never even fully decided whether or not I thought I'd survive long enough to do the deed, but it appears that I have... and right now I don't have a future past the end of the month."

"Might be something you want to think about." Victoria told him, "Not trying to press something that's not an issue quite yet, just wanted to see what you were thinking."

"No, I appreciate it, really." He said. "I just... I've been so caught up in what I was going to do to him... what I am going to do to him... I just never thought about what I'd do with myself."

"You could always retire, at least for a bit." She suggested.

"Retire?" Scott said, "I'm not even forty yet."

"Never said it has to be permanent, hell it could just be for a few weeks while you get your shit together." she told him.

"Huh... y'know, retirement doesn't sound so bad. Especially if I have a spot to fish with bass as good as the ones here."

"So you thinking of retiring to the outpost, then?"

"Maybe. Time will tell, I suppose. Time will tell."
If you think about it everybody lives in the same place: somewhere between the Empire of the Penguins, and the Kingdom of the Elves.

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by DAVE KI » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:12 pm

I like it a LOT! Can't wait for the next chapter.
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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by bodyparts » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:51 pm

:clap: :clap: :clap: this story just keeps getting better and better !! thanks for the update and for keeping it going !! looking forward to the next installment .

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by 91Eunozs » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:11 pm

Thanks for the Moar to kick off the weekend!

Nice couple of chapters...
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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by idahobob » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:47 pm

Retire, eh? From personal experience, it ain't all it is cracked up to be. :awesome: :crazy:
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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by RingWraithsAnonymous » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:30 pm

Well all stories have to end, and for this one the day is finally here. It's been a great ride, thanks for sticking with it and I hope you enjoy.


Chapter 21: the Attack on Brandon

"So just like that?" Trevor asked, hours before the attack began, "We'll get the barge? I'm not doubting it'll succeed, I just want to make sure there isn't anything else that needs to be done on our end for it to happen."

"It'll work." Scott assured him.


---

Captain Jenkins was bored out of his mind. It was the exact same run up and then down the river, each and every month for the past three years that he'd had this job. It paid well, paid extremely well in fact, but that didn't change the fact that this route had monotony like no other, especially when compared to his former gig up at the Great Lakes.

What he missed most about his old job- other than getting to be his own boss -was the fact that it was never boring. There were different ports to make stops at. Pirates to fend off. Wenches at the port side bars. Never once was he sitting there slumped in his room going:

"This sucks."

But alas, he'd been hired by 'The Man'. The Man was pretty hands off, given that The Man's hands were full, but it didn't change the fact that he had to do this same route over and over. He'd been hired with the understanding that he'd get to keep his area of work, but after less than a year The Man had demoted Cal Jenkins from captaining a small cargo ship in waters that by all rights should have been called seas, to captaining a dinky river barge and tug boat operation.

There were no different ports. There were no pirates to fend off. And while there were
still wenches at the bars at the various government cities he made shipments to, they were no comparison to the ones up north. Unless you wanted to catch a disease, they were also not very safe for one's health and well being.

He heard a commotion outside and sighed. He got up and as he opened the door, an arrow sailed in his direction. It missed, thunking into the door. He yelped at how close he'd come to death, and then ran forward behind a shipping container to join a pair of his crew members that were hiding behind it.

"What the hell's going on here!"

"We don't know, sir!" The younger of the pair said, "Arrows just started flying from the far bank!"

He waited, and noticed the few crewmen that were not hiding like they were, get shot with arrows. More arrows came, either pinging off of metal shipping containers or thunking into wooden crates.

Captain Jenkins wondered where The Man's soldiers were, the ones put on the boat to 'guard' it.

If only he'd been allowed to keep his previous security contracts, he thought.

He peeked around the corner and saw that The Man's men were dead, at least the pair he saw laying in their own blood next to the side of the barge.

A final arrow thudded into the boat close to their position. Then the barrage of missiles stopped. The captain waited, and the other crewmen he could see also waited for more to come, but none did. Ever so slowly, he cautiously got out from behind their cover to grab the final arrow.

As he continued toward it, he saw it had something on it. He pulled the arrow out of the board of a crate, and noticed a small piece of paper wrapped around the shaft, tied to it with a string. He undid the knot, and opened the message:

cut the engines. prepare to be boarded and do as told

After the sheer amount of chaos he'd seen, it doesn't take a smart man to figure out what the captain's next order for his crew was.

---

"How many did you make?" Scott asked.

"Seven." the teenager told him.

For a job like this, given that none of them had the required skills, they'd hired one of the Insurgence bombmakers under the explicit clause that he keep silent. He seemed like a nice enough kid, about fifteen, maybe sixteen, but a handful of burn scars on his hands and lower arms showed his missteps while dancing with a dangerous mistress known as pyromania. Whether he'd intended to burn himself or not was his own personal business, and for that reason Scott didn't pry.

"That many?"

"A structure as large as that one... you could get away with fewer, but if you scatter these bad boys out around the place... it'll go up in flames spectacularly. Kinda wish I could see the blaze to be honest."

"Good. These aren't purely firebombs though right? You remember what we talked about?"

"Yeah yeah dog don't worry about it." Scott got told, "These babies will have plenty of kick to em. At the very least it ought to be enough to serve your needs."


---

Matt stormed out of the house, shoving his hands in his pockets. His mother had been screaming at him for something inconsequential, as usual. This time it had been over his last burning.

"We've talked about this!" She'd insisted, "You can't go around-"

"What?" Matt had asked, "Can't go around doing what!? It's not like it's shit anybody wants! If they cared what happened to it, they wouldn't have put it in the dumpster!"

"That's not the point! The point is you can't just go around with your hood rat friends being arsonists and vandals! I worry that you'll go to jail and then-"

"Like you've ever cared enough to worry about me."


At that she'd smacked him, and gone back to her room to grab the belt. When she'd gotten back, Matt was no longer in the kitchen and the front door to their apartment had been left open.

At the moment Matt was running over that chain of events for about the fiftieth time, his feet slowly walking down the sidewalk. He had no clue where he was going, but by God he was going somewhere. Somewhere other than home. In fact, he might not go back. He might very well just go to his friend's place and never return, because unless beatings and scoldings were signs of love, Matt's mother didn't give two shits what happened to him.

He had an artifact in his pocket, one of that he'd found in the backroom of an abandoned building- an old smartphone. Took him nearly a week to figure out how to use the damn thing and the charger he'd found with it (truth be told, he was still learning some of it's features), but once he'd figured it out, man oh man was he the cool guy of the group. He was the guy with a phone. So long as the electricity the government provided held out, anyway.

After enough searching and dumpster diving, he'd found a companion for the device: a pair of earbuds. One of them didn't work, but paired up with some of the music he'd found downloaded onto it, he could just about escape from the world. Sure, he'd still see the dirty streets and the cruddy people and the soldiers patrolling around and the American flags that didn't stand for what they used to, but he didn't have to hear it. He didn't have to hear the sounds of the neighbors, or the whores and drug dealers in the back alleys. He didn't have to hear the people passing him in the street, coughing from poor health fostered by poor conditions, or the people pissing and moaning about their jobs. He didn't have to hear the soldiers radios, or their orders to search people for illicit items. He didn't have to hear the Pledge of Allegiance being broadcast from the speakers mounted on the street corners each morning.

Matt had heard that other government cities were different, especially out west, but that didn't matter here. Here sucked.

He pulled the phone out of his pocket and the earbuds, connected them, and found one of the downloaded playlists that he liked. Almost instantly metal music began pumping itself through his ear and into his brain, and he began to calm down a little. His mother had called it 'violence causing, brain rotting bullshit' but Matt had found that it was quite the opposite. For him at least it allowed him to concentrate, to calm down, to reign in some of his darker emotions, and he didn't think he was getting any dumber. He might've been, but if this was the path to getting dumber, at least he'd enjoy the ride.

As he began to calm down, he realized where he was going. Toward the place he'd made the bombs for for those people. He'd been paid well to not ask questions and not spill any beans, so he'd been happy to do just that, but he'd often wondered why exactly it was that place. It wasn't like it was significant in any way. It was a piece of shit building really, just like all the others in the condemned part of town close to the wall.

Nevertheless, his feet were taking him there, and he didn't have any opposition to his destination. Not like he had anything better to do, for he still hadn't quite figured out his next move.

Soon enough he stood with the back door of a brick building to his left and a mostly empty dumpster to his right. Inside were only a few bundles of old books and (those would burn quite nicely) an old vodka bottle. The old warehouse stood before him, and the city wall was right down the street, though no watchtowers could see him where he was. It had caution tape in front of the closed garage doors and keep out signs posted around the walls. Boards covered the ground level windows, and a padlock and chain kept the door shut.

Matt wasn't entirely sure what the government had planned with this part of town. He suspected it would probably have some sort of military aspect to it. Whatever the plans were, most of the old warehouses and factories in this neighborhood were not a part of said plans, and thus many had been condemned for the last few months while they prepared to put in God knew what to replace them.

He leaned against the wall of the brick three story building behind him, music still going. He was alone, and decided what he wanted to do. At some point he'd probably try and track down one of his buddies and stay with them, maybe a contact of the Insurgence. They'd often offered him a permanent spot on their roster, but Matt just wasn't too sure on whether or not he wanted to stick his neck out quite that far. Doing what he did for them would be bad enough if he ever got caught, imagine the hellfire and brimstone that would rain down on him if he got caught and was also an actual member.

There was something under the dumpster, but he couldn't quite tell what it was. He saw that the large metal box had wheels, and so he pushed with what might he had, thankful that it wasn't weighed down a whole lot. He got it about a foot away from the wall, and looked down. He was quite disappointed to find out what he'd seen had been nothing more than a pile of old clothes. They had been there long enough to grow moss, but other than that it was a boring discovery. Then he saw what looked like metal of some kind.

The very tip of something, which looked like a small blade, stuck out from under a pair of crusty pants that grew patches of green fuzzy moss. He squatted down behind the dumpster and got out his folding knife. He unfolded it, and carefully lifted up the nasty garment hiding what could potentially be a treasure. When he saw what was under, he was disappointed no longer.

It was a pocket knife. Instead of it being a simple one blade folder though, like the one he had, it was one of the ones that had a smaller blade, but had multiple different attachments.

He wiped it off with the edge of his jacket, then began to inspect it. There was the main blade, which had been unfolded, and then an even smaller one half the length. There was also a small saw blade, a pair of scissors, a can opener, and a file broken off at the base. On the back was a corkscrew, a screwdriver, and some funny looking pointed thing with a hole a third of the way down and a grove down one edge that also went a third of the way down.

It was a hell of a find. One of his friends had one. It was more complete than the one before Matt (the file wasn't broken off and it had tweezers and a toothpick), but he had had to pay money for it. Matt had found one almost just like it for free, though it probably could do with a liberal dose of soap. He stuffed it in his pocket next to his lighter and stood up.

He almost jumped when he noticed someone with their back to him standing in front of the padlocked door. Matt hid, peeking around the side of the dumpster, curious what someone would want with that place. The figure wore a black hoodie, had a backpack ,and a pair of bolt cutters in the one hand. He used the cutters and the padlock hit the ground with a clink. The door was opened and the figure went inside.

Matt watched the door, waiting, wondering what business the stranger had inside. He couldn't risk leaving, because there was the possibility that the strange man- or woman -was up to nefarious purposes. Matt could be shot, or worse, and he wasn't cool with that. Whether his mother cared what happened to him or not, Matt very much cared about his well being. Always take care of number one.

After a while, Matt began to worry. Maybe he'd been spotted, and they were waiting for him to come out so they could get him. He shoved away such paranoid thoughts. He stuck a hand in his pocket and clutched his lighter, hoping it along with the music would help calm him down.

Eventually the figure did come out , but instead of slowly sneaking about they were dashing away. Matt noticed the backpack was missing, and remembered how many times the Insurgence had him make bombs to go in backpacks to drop off for bombings. He then also remembered the seven bombs he'd made and had been told not to ask questions about, so long as he made enough for this building.

As Matt remembered those details in a split second, his brain screamed, 'OH SHIT!!!!!' and he listened. He vaulted over the edge of the dumpster and landed inside on some books, slamming the door down on top of him. He didn't have to wait long for his suspicions to be confirmed. With a series of seven loud booms, several things slammed into the dumpster, and smaller pieces rained down onto it. The air inside got a little hotter, and he began to pant and sweat as music blared in his ears and his jacket began to feel awfully toasty. Things quit pitter pattering onto the lid above him, and he popped it open, poking out like a meerkat.

He found himself standing there like an idiot in a dumpster, watching the biggest fire he'd ever seen in his life. The large warehouse had collapsed, bits of debris scattered all over. The air was sweltering, and he felt like he was sweating off what little extra weight he had. His eyes stung, the heat and brightness offending them. The music kept on and a smile broke out on his face, followed by euphorically crazed laughter at the sight of something so beautiful.

---

"If this is supposed to be the distraction," Victoria had begun to ask, "Then why just set the warehouse on fire? Do you think it'll be enough?"

"It's the initial distraction," Scott told her, "It gets the hornets nest stirred up, hopefully enough to draw some guards away from the riverside so that your team can get in and cause trouble, which will serve as the main distraction."

"What about the citizens? The people that aren't government?"

"There's a reason the majority of the dangerous stuff will go down in the slums."


---

The barge, now under the control of a few Rangers (not that Captain Jenkins new they were Rangers, truth be told he believed them to be rebels of some kind), got up to the docks as planned. The 'rebels' themselves were in plain clothes, so their presence wouldn't be too out of place on board the vessel. There were only a few, but a few were all that was needed.

A pair of soldiers came on board and began to ask the captain questions. He was acting nervous, but beyond that everything seemed fine. The bodies and arrows had been moved, and some stuff had been rearranged to hide the blood stains.

It was the most bizarre hijacking Cal had ever seen, but he was perfectly fine with the way things were going so long as he would be allowed to live. Shortly after stopping the engines, the rebels had come to the ship on a small boat, going back and forth between the barge and the river bank many times to get what they needed on board. Normally he and what was left of the crew would've all been held hostage for ransom or something, or their cargo would've been stolen. Instead they'd replaced what was in one of the shipping containers with something else. Something much worse.

The captain showed the soldiers his papers and credentials, and they accepted them as usual. Then a shipping container made a scrapping noise. He cringed internally, not sure what would happen. Whatever it was, he dearly hoped it wouldn't involve his untimely demise, not that any demise is all that timely. The soldiers walked over, and asked for it to be opened.

Captain Jenkins swallowed and ordered one of the crew members to open it. Instead of one of them, the leader of the rebels came forward. Few people had ever struck fear into Cal, which was something he was proud of: he was almost never let himself be intimidated. He could count the amount of men that had ever caused him to be nervous on one hand. The amount of women that had ever made him nervous... up until an hour ago, that number had been one- his mother when she ran out of cigarettes. Now the young ginger that was about to open the door was also on that list. What had ended up in that shipping container had made everybody nervous, including the rebels. Except for her. She had been at complete calm and ease of mind, and for anybody to be in that kind of mental state around the walking nightmares in that container... quite frankly it terrified him.

She walked over to the container. As she opened the door, Cal backed up a handful of paces, though the soldiers didn't notice- or if they did, didn't care. He cringed as it opened. Nothing came out though. The container was dark, and silent. The soldiers stepped in front of it and looked inside.

"Holy shit!!!" came out of one mouth. "What the fuck?!?!" came out of the other. Both men lifted their rifles and took the first of what they thought at the time would be many steps back. They were wrong.

They were wrong because before they had a chance to do jack shit, claws, antlers, and fangs of overlarge proportions had already torn into them, their blood staining the deck of the barge.

The monsters had come out to play.

---

"So what will you be doing while all of this goes down?" Victoria asked.

A fish jumped up out of the Tar River. "That was a big one. Shame you don't catch them that size, huh?"

Victoria rolled her eyes, "So? What's your part in this?"

"Well, after the warehouse goes up, and after you and the wendigos begin causing shit down at the docks, me and a handful of the best shots the Rangers have to offer are going to make our way down to the governors office."


---

Getting in had been way easier than it would've been without the carnage ensuing down at the river. Despite that aspect working in his favor, Scott dearly hoped Victoria was okay.

Scott and three other Rangers were on their way through downtown Brandon. They had already heard the warehouse explode, and a handful of military trucks had rushed past them in that direction. Soon after there had been gunfire in the direction of the river, and even more military vehicles had sped off in that direction. The loud speakers were telling everybody to calmly make their way home and to stay inside.

As far as everybody else was concerned, Scott and his companions were heading home. They had dressed like townspeople, though the Rangers weren't too keen on not having their longbows out and ready. Instead they all had a ski mask, a plate carrier, a draco pistol, and a handful of extra magazines all stored in the duffel bag the bulkier ranger carried.

He saw the building up ahead. The tallest in Brandon, it was only six stories tall. Before it had been an office building for a regional accounting firm. Currently it was the governor's, the bottom five floors living quarters and work spaces for the staff and guards, with the top level being for the governor and his advisers.

A military truck rushed down the street past them as the gunfire near the docks intensified. Smoke could be seen beginning to rise above the skyline.

The four assassins walked into a back alley behind the office building and grabbed their gear.

"Remember," Scott told them before things started to get interesting, "Your jobs are to comb the building, scare people. If they put up a fight, shoot them, but unless it's a guard or soldier let them run and scream. Shoot the ceiling, bark threats, make them think your goal is to slaughter them, but don't actually shoot them unless you have to."

"We know the plan." One of the Rangers told him, "Let's just get on with this."

Scott slipped on his ski mask and tried the emergency exit, only to find it locked. The Ranger that had brought the bag pulled out a halligan bar to solve that particular problem. That was when the real fun began.

---

"Welcome back." Chris told him from the porch of his cabin, "I see you brought friends."

"Don't worry about them, they know I'll shoot them if they talk. How's your head doing?"

One of the two Rangers standing behind Scott suddenly tensed up, their eyes growing wide. Chris smiled internally at the sight.

"Better. Bessie isn't happy about this, I just hope you know that."

"I figured. She still pissed? I really wouldn't blame her if she was."

"She's calmed down a bit. To be honest, she's madder about this than about what you did." Chris informed him.

"Yeah well... I'm glad you reconsidered."

"I had to help man." Chris said, "I just hope that this is enough."

Scott looked over the guns on the table, "It is, thank you. You sure about everything though? It's not too late to back out of the second half of our agreement, we can get someone else."

Chris stared at him, "I'm sure. You weren't the only one these assholes have taken people from."


---

Among the hunters, back when most of the ones in the area hadn't been killed, Scott had been known as an extremely successful tracker. He was the guy you hired when you needed someone to be chased down, to be found.

Chris had a different specialty. He was the guy you hired when you wanted a bandit leader shot from the cover of darkness, the guy you hired when you needed someone to be eliminated before they knew what had hit them, the guy you hired when you wanted someone shot through their bedroom window. Chris had been known as an ambusher and a sniper.

He had rushed up the various sections of the ladder of a tower crane. It was a structure left over on the construction site for an unfinished hospital near downtown Brandon. Climbing to the top of a structure that had been there many years longer than intended might not have been the safest prospect, but it was the one that provided the best vantage point.

Chris got up in the operator's cab and closed the hatch behind him. The bonfire down in the condemned part of town had already started, and Chris was cursing himself for not having gotten here sooner. He hated to have to set up this quickly, but he'd gone through hell just trying to get the officials to let him in the walls. Pulling off fake identification was hard work sometimes- wasn't like he could use his real papers, he would've been shot.

The windows had already been smashed out long ago, and a few dozen names and dates had been painted in small print on the inside, along with some rather rude graffiti. The most recent signature was dated a year prior.

That high up the wind was blowing roughly through the broken floor to ceiling windows, making it impossible to hear much beyond the sounds in the box. The beanie that came down past his ears didn't help matters any. He couldn't even hear the sirens and loudspeakers down below him. The wind would definitely be something he would have to accommodate for when he went to make his shots.

He had plenty of room to lay prone on the floor. The same vandals that had made their mark on the walls had also managed to remove the chair- he'd seen it down at the bottom of the tower, looking like it had fallen out the window.

Chris got his rifle out of his bag, thanking his lucky stars that it hadn't been searched earlier. It was in two pieces, and he quickly reassembled it. He then unfolded the bipod and extended the legs. He found a spot he was comfortable with and got set up.

The office building was a few city blocks away, and he was high enough to see the roof, which was the entire point in his being there, to make sure everything that went down on the roof was kosher with Scott's plan.

On the near corner there was a roof access door that led to a stairwell through the rest of the building. A helipad sat in the middle, something Chris doubted had been there before. A helicopter was sitting there on it, and a few soldiers were standing guard. Gunfire erupted from the docks, but he kept his focus through his high powered scope. A pair of soldiers came out on to the roof to hurriedly talk to the guards. There was the nodding of heads, some back and forth questions and answers- at least he assumed it was questions and answers, there really was no way to know for sure -, then the two new arrivals left. The ones that had already been there were looking off in the direction of the gunfire, too curious as to what was happening to be paying as much attention to the door and helicopter as they were probably supposed to.

He looked down at the street, and saw the four gunmen step into the alley.

"Good luck." he said under his breath.

---

"So how do you know so much about the layout of that town anyway?" Victoria asked as they walked back to her cabin.

This had been the third time he had visited the Ranger outpost. The attack on Brandon was less than a week away, and Scott was about to head back to the island.

"Was in and out a lot in the early days. Got a lot of supplies there from the folks at the shelter back then, before it turned into what it is today. Hell, I even lived there for a little bit."

"Really?"

"Oh, yeah." Scott told her, "Not for very long of course- I had some disagreements with the people in charge, -but Harry, my family, and I all stayed there for a bit."

"Ah... you know the Insurgence is gonna be pissed they weren't let in on this."

"Fuck em." Scott said, "Most of that operation is nothing more than a joke. Can't really be mad at them though. At least they're trying to make an impact. Even if what they're doing most of the time is small potatoes."

"Right. So what's the deal with the distractions? Why are those needed?"

"Because otherwise there will be too much of a military presence near the office.

"Yeah... so have you decided what you're going to do yet? After the fight?"

"Long term? Hell no. Short term? Maybe."

"Oh? What do your short term plans involve?"

"Well, if I live long enough, a night camping out in the woods, away from the wendigos, with a certain red head I know."

"You asking me out on a date?"

"Maybe, if you wouldn't be to worried about leaving the wendigos at home for the night."

"Well, the answer is yes. So long as you're clear that it's just dinner." she clarified, "And We sleep in separate hammocks- no funny business."

"No funny business huh...? I could be alright with that." Scott told her.

A Ranger came down the trail and waved, "I was looking for ya, Scott. Trevor just called, says he wants us to start heading back."

"Well..." Scott said, "See ya then, I guess."

"Some kind of goodbye that is." Victoria told him, giving him a hug. "See you later. Just remember: you aren't allowed to die yet. You promised me dinner."

Scott laughed, "You're a funny girl you know it?"

"Can't be any funnier than you." was her response.

The three of them walked back to the cabin, and as Scott and the Ranger walked away, Scott turned his head back and waved.

Victoria waved back, and Scott continued walking. He looked back once more, and saw her looking away from him and grinning before she entered the cabin.



---

Occasional gunfire echoed from the floors below. For Scott it had been mostly smooth sailing except for a brief shoot out with the guard on the ground in front of him on the 4th floor. Smooth sailing unless you counted what went down on their way in. That firefight had been bloody. One of the Rangers had died and another had been shot in the arm. They pressed on regardless, and overcame the initial guards before fanning out in the building.

The office workers had been frightened, as expected, and had ran, as expected. The only exception had been a man that tossed a binder- on his way to the exit -at the Ranger with the halligan bar. Said office worker hadn't been much longer for this world.

The soldier before Scott was laying in a pool of his own blood. Scott kicked his rifle away from the dying man and it landed under a desk at one of the many cubicles of the fourth floor.

"Where is he?" Scott demanded.

"Fuck... you..." the man rasped.

Scott shot him again, "Where is he?"

The man groaned in pain and coughed up some blood, "Top floor... probably heading for the roof by now... if he is, you're too late. Helicopter... he'll get out..."

Scott shot him again, getting what he needed. At this point very little mattered to him other than the plan succeeding. He rushed for the stairwell.

---

"Daddy, I'm scared." an almost eleven year old Maddie whimpered from the closet.

"It's gonna be okay." Scott hastily told her with worry in his voice, "Just stay in here, don't open the door until I tell you, and everything will be fine."

"What if it's not?" she asked her father, who a few months before had become a hunter, "What if someone sneaks past you and-"

Scott pulled something from his waistband and handed it to her. It was a small semi-automatic pistol, "You remember what I taught you about how to use one of these?"

"Yes..." she said, "Please, don't go."

"I have to sweetie, otherwise they'll get us. Both of us. Just stay here and shoot anybody who opens the door. Unless I say it's clear, do not open the door, understand?"

"But what if-"

"Don't worry Mad Dog." he'd told her, "I promise I won't let anything happen to you."


---

Scott remembered that broken promise as he stormed out onto the roof. The promise he had kept until the man he was after had given his terrible order. A promise that Scott had failed to live up to because of him.

He saw that the windshield of the helicopter had been shot out, it's pilot dead. Two soldiers were lying there dead as well. He saw a man in his sixties in official clothes and a soldier hiding behind the chopper from the sniper in the crane.

The soldier saw him and rushed forward, taking a shot at him. Scott took a bullet to the chest, but his plate carrier stopped it from entering him. It still hurt like hell to breathe regardless. A bullet came from the sky, and the soldier collapsed, dead.

The older man scampered back and tried to run away as Scott got up. He took off, and Scott shot him in the leg, downing him. He shrieked, and continued to crawl away. Scott walked over and put a boot in his back, then rolled him over.

"Please!" the governor of the greater E. A. Poe National Park region pleaded, "I'll give you anything! I have that kind of power! Please don't kill me! What do you want?! Whatever it is you can have it! I swear."

"You can't bring my daughter back." Scott informed him.

The man was sobbing pitifully. The sight made Scott sick. "I didn't have anything to do with her death! I'm truly sorry for your loss, but-"

Scott kicked him in the teeth, "You're not sorry for jack shit!!! It's your fault she's dead! It's your fault the hunters got attacked! It's your fault my house got burned to the ground! And it is your GODDAMN FAULT MY DAUGHTER WAS MURDERED!!!!!" Scott screamed so loudly he hurt his throat.

The man at his feet was dealing with his bloody mouth that had just lost a few teeth. He began to speak rather rapidly in his defense. "This is what this is about? Revenge!? The hunters were a nuisance! I'm sorry your daughter got caught in the crossfire! I am! But that is-"

"Shut up!!!" Scott ordered, kicking him again. The man spit out his teeth.

"You are a monster...!" the man below him cried.

"There's a simple fact," Scott spoke calmly now, ignoring his prey's comment, "that all hunters know, one you forgot. A fact that you shouldn't have forgot, a fact that because you forgot, is your downfall."

"You have no right! I am the Governor! I was appointed to this shit hole by the acting President himself!" he said, going from attempting diplomacy to being vile, "When he hears about this-"

Scott put a boot on the side of the governor's head, holding it still. He then shot him in the side of the mouth. Guttural sounds of pain, horror, and sorrow came from where his teeth and lower jaw used to be. Now most of it was just a torn up mess.

"One simple fact. That's all." Scott said. "The thing you forgot, the thing you should've remembered is that there is always...

---

"Now," the old man said, "What I told him, and what I'm about to tell you, is to remember this one fact and, it is very-"

"What Is it grandpa?!" a boy of about ten asked enthusiastically.

"Yeah, come on, tell us!" his sister of the same age said.

Scott sat in his rocking chair at his cabin, staring at the two sitting on the porch swing. He took a deep breath of the fresh mountain air that smelled slightly of summer rain. He had been interrupted from the story by the growls of one of the wendigos. The male stood at the edge of the yard next to the gate, sniffing the air. It's mate and young ones were still in their house, a large thing the size of a storage shed. They were the descendants of the ones that had broken off from the nest when Victoria had left for good those many years ago.

"Later." he said, slowly standing up.

"Aww..." the two children protested.

Scott had left out most of the details given their age, but they had asked about what his involvement had been in the overthrow of the old governor. To their surprise, his involvement had been quite a lot. They had been dubious of some things at first, but their grandmother had occasionally interjected, agreeing with some of the things he said. Grandpa might like to twist their leg sometimes, but when he did, grandma had always put things straight.

He reached for his walking stick, now a well worn thing after decades of use. The boy got to it first, handing it to his grandfather.

"Thank you Owen." He said, smiling at the boy.

"Who is it?" his wife called from in the house.

"I don't know yet, dear." he replied.

The wendigo continued growling, and Scott opened the door to the screened in porch, closing and locking it behind him as he walked to the front gate of the stone fence. He set a hand on the wendigo's antler, and it's growls softened. It very easily could've broken from his grasp and caused all kinds of trouble for whoever was approaching the lonely mountain cabin, but it had also been trained well. It knew when to do as told, and a hand on it's antler meant to heel.

"Easy now, Havoc." Scott told it as the growls grew louder once more. They eased down. Though his hearing wasn't much good anymore- too many firefights in his younger days, he figured -he could hear a wagon coming up the trail that led from the small village a few miles away, to Scott's cabin.

He had always wanted to visit the mountains, and after the dust had settled and he got around to doing so, he never saw a reason to leave. The National Park and the town of Brandon were both far to the south.

Indeed, through the trees he saw a wagon coming slowly up the hill, being pulled by a pair of horses. Though the horses protested- Scott guess that they sensed the wendigo -they continued on, the wagon coming to a stop a few yards away from the front gate. It was most likely going to be Trevor.

The man steering it wasn't one Scott recognized, but he looked nervous. A young man hopped out the back, followed by two bulkier men. The two strong ones started unloading some boxes and the driver hopped down to join them, something Scott wasn't surprised by. This wasn't the first time Trevor had come to personally deliver the quarterly supplies and reports.

The young man smiled and waved, "How've things been up here on the mountain, boss?"

"I told you not to call me that. How's your grandfather?"

"Not doing so good, unfortunately. This sickness is getting worse" he said.

"Sorry to here that." Scott said, "He had his moments occasionally, but he is a good man."

The visitor nodded and looked over at Havoc, then back to Scott and asked, "Can I pet him? You've never had them out before whenever I've came to visit."

Scott grinned. That boy obviously wasn't intimidated by jack shit if he was gonna ask to pet Havoc. Nobody had ever asked to pet Havoc.

"That's cause normally I get a letter of warning. You can pet Havoc if you want. I don't recommend it, but you can."

The visitors arm began to lift up and Havoc growled in response. The guy chuckled and lowered his arm, deciding against it.

"Havoc huh?" the man on the other side of the gate said, "That's a badass name." he turned around to the men unloading the wagon, "Hey! Careful with that one! It might explode!" The men tensed up and suddenly began to lower it much slower than they had been, gently setting it in the grass away from everything else.

"Come inside will ya?" Scott said, "I'll go put Havoc up. Have one of the grandkids open the door for ya."

The man nodded, and waited for Scott and his wendigo to start heading for the backyard. He then opened the gate and walked to the porch.

"Hey, will one of you open this for me?"

The two kids outside stared at him with critical glances. The boy then flat out said, "No."

They followed that up with, "We don't trust you."

"I'm a friend of your grandfather's. You saw us talking didn't you?"

"You could be an impostor." the boy said, his voice full of suspense. An imaginary 'dundunduuun' went off in the man's head shortly after and he shook his head.

The front door opened, though the porch door was still shut. Though her hair had faded some with age, it was still easy to tell she was a ginger. "Oh please," she said to the two children, "I've known this man since the day he was born. I'd recognize him out of a hundred impostors. Would one of you let him in?"

Owen's twin sister got up and unlocked the door, though she didn't open it. Owen continued to watch the stranger with a wary eye, still unconvinced. Impostors could be very convincing, he knew- especially if they were spies.

Trevor opened the door and ran a hand through his hair. He hadn't yet lost his hair like his father and grandfather and great-grandfather before him, and they had all lost theirs' young. He was hoping that he'd lucked out and would keep his head of hair until old age. "How've you been, Victoria?"

She walked over and gave him a hug, "What is it with men and not wanting to hug people they're close too?" she mumbled, causing Trevor to laugh. "I've been alright, I suppose." she answered after. These are my grandkids, Madison and Owen."

"Pleasure to meet you." Trevor said.

The children stared at him until Scott got back.

"C'mon," Victoria said, "The pie is just about ready, why don't you two help me out?"

"Yeah!" they said in unison, following her inside.

"My pies are better." Scott boasted.

"Oh please hon!" Victoria shouted back from inside.

Scott laughed, and Trevor smirked, "Please, have a seat." Scott told him, indicating the porch swing.

Trevor sat down, and Scott eased back into his chair, "Ah... I'm guessing that box didn't actually have explosives?"

"Nope." Trevor answered with a smile, "Salt."

"Messing with the new guys?"

"Hell yeah. Do you know how boring that wagon ride was with the three of them?"

"I'd rather not think about it." Scott said, "So how's your wife? It's been what? Six, seven months since the wedding?"

"Seven, and I have some good news: she's due toward the end of fall."

"Congratulations!" Scott said, "I'm glad to hear it. What are you gonna name em?"

"If it's a girl she's really pushing for Evelyn Marie. I've been kinda thinking Monique, after my grandmother, y'know, but I figure she's the one delivering. If it comes time and she still wants an Evelyn, I can support that. Might try to get Monique as the middle name though, we'll have to wait and see. If it's a boy we decided to keep the legacy going, name him Trevor Garrett."

"Trevor Garrett Wilson the Fourth, huh? I approve." Scott said, "So are you gonna follow your father's and your grandfather's path?" Trevor looked confused, so Scott clarified, "With the marriages?"

"Oh. That." Trevor said with a sigh, "Maybe. Lauren said that as long as it was with a woman she could be friends with, she would probably be fine with it. It's me that might be the problem. I had three mothers and an extra grandmother growing up. When you're a kid, that makes telling your friends stories that involve your family confusing. Not to mention all the looks I got when people found out. You know how it is with the 'super-Christians' so to speak. I never really cared, but things got hostile sometimes. My father's answer was always 'fuck em', but I just don't know how I feel about potentially putting my children through that kinda stuff, y'know?"

"Don't worry, I get it." Scott assured, "Makes you a good father to be, thinking about stuff like that. If you end up deciding you do want to go that route though, move to a place like out here. There's a church down at the village, but their more the relaxed Christian type, if that makes sense."

"It kinda does. I'm glad you get it at least. You ready to talk business?"

"I suppose." Scott said with a sigh. This was always the worst part of Trevor's visits: dealing with the company reports. That had to be the worst part of having a company of your own: dealing with the paperwork that comes with it.

They delved right on in. Morris-Owens Investigative and Protection Services had seen a boon in business, which was to be expected given they had recently opened a new branch office in New England. Other than that most of the report consisted of finances and a growing demand for services under the zone of the Great Lakes branch. Normally Victoria sat in on these meetings, but normally there also weren't little ones that needed tending to around. They had flipped a coin to see which one of them would get out of it, and Victoria had won, something Scott was a little disappointed about.

"I've got all your gold in the wagon too, don't worry." Trevor assured him, "I counted it all up last night too just to make sure."

"Good, thank you." Scott said, "Still weird going back to coin currency. Kinda miss being able to buy a round of beers with some extra .45 rounds. Still better than paper money though, in my opinion."

"Yeah... paper money sounds strange." Trevor admitted, having never handled any of the stuff, or even seen any except for a few times in museums and private collections. He had heard that the government cities still used the stuff, but there weren't any of those that hadn't been abandoned or destroyed for almost a thousand miles "And fragile. What if you got caught out in the rain at the market? Or if your money box caught fire for some reason? not like you can melt burnt paper money down and make it back into coins."

Scott laughed, "Y'know, you've got a point. Paper bills were usually sturdier than your average scrap of notebook paper though."

Trevor shrugged. "Still sounds strange."

---

"So are you gonna tell us?" Madison asked a couple days later.

It was morning, and their parents were coming to get them after children had spent a couple of weeks up at the cabin. Harvest was going to be coming soon, and they were needed back home, something that saddened the twins. They liked hearing their grandparents wild stories, especially the ones of Before. Though they found the concept of a huge metal tube with wings flying people across the ocean to be a little out there. Maybe across the country, but to other continents? No way.

"Tell you what?" Scott said as they sat on the porch.

"The story." Owen said, "You never finished the story from the other day. The one with the Rangers and stuff."

"Oh, yeah. Where was it we left off? I can't quite remember."

"Guns!" Owen said.

"The part about what you told the bad guy." Madison said, rolling her eyes at her brother and his fascination for firearms. (Then again, what average boy that age doesn't have a fascination with gunpowder and lead?)

"Oh... right." Scott said, "Now, what I told him, and what I'm about to tell you, might not make much sense at first. Your father will probably be able to explain what it means to you better than I would be able to, but here it is: The thing to always remember, is that there is always...

...a Price For Every Head."
If you think about it everybody lives in the same place: somewhere between the Empire of the Penguins, and the Kingdom of the Elves.

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by RingWraithsAnonymous » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:35 pm

Afterward

I really don't blame you if you don't read this. If we're being real half the time I skip this section in a book if it has it. I'm not even really sure why I decided to say these things, but it just felt like the thing to do I guess. This is just a bit of a ramble on a handful of things I felt like saying about this story and the creation of it.

the Start
It's kind of amazing to think that this came out of an idea of a short I had. The original plot line was a character running through the forest, being chased by a bounty hunter. It ended with him killing the hunter and making it across the faction border. I guess that's kinda how this one started, except the hunter ended up being the protagonist and didn't die. I ended up deciding to make something a bit longer out of it, which turned into something a lot longer.

the E. A. Poe National Park Region
I made all the locations up in my head, though I took major inspiration from three places. First was my native Missouri Ozarks, mostly for the hills and types of people (The town of Hog Waller came from the fact that one of my neighbors raises pigs). I also took some inspiration from the caves in the area. Second was the state of Vermont, for similar reasons. I visited the state last summer during a road trip, and had a great time. The half mountainous, half hilled landscape of the area I visited was a major help in picturing the kind of landscape I wanted this to be set in. The third was Mohican State Park in Ohio, which I visited during my road trip to Maine and back. I took a lot of inspiration from the place for the kinds of places I wanted in the Park, most notably the overlook was taken from a similar location at Mohican, which also happened to be close to a fire tower.

In the real world, it would probably be somewhere in the American Midwest or near/in the Appalachian Mountain Range, probably somewhere south/southeast of the Great Lakes. Where specifically I have no clue.

What it Became and Finally Ending it
I was never too good at ending stories, but I hope this ending was worth the time it took to read all the way through and wait for updates. If not well... at least I tried.

As I said in the first post, this was meant to be a twelve chapter story. It ended up being twenty one. I didn't add anything after it's planned ending, but what ended up happening was I was finding that (toward the end, especially) there were too many different avenues I wanted to explore. For example:

A two chapter concept that started as: man goes into the woods, rescue a girl, then return chased by zombies. It then turned into a seven chapter plot line of: group goes into the woods, rescue a girl, get chased by zombies, fall of a cliff (in a thunderstorm)/survive a landslide, part of group goes down cliff after him, they find a nest of wendigos. One of them dies. Leader of wendigos killed. One of the group members takes charge of them.

As anyone can see, that's a huge amount of extra plot from the original idea, but all the ideas added ended up being good (at least I hope so). What would start out simple would unfold into something epic in my mind, then next thing you know your story is like the puppy you thought would be a small dog but grew up to be a big one (though you still love him anyway).

To be honest, at least a third of the story is stuff that never was in the original plot line. There was no interaction with Terrance, Robin, or anything else having to do with the Insurgence (I'm not even sure if there was an Insurgence). Scott's home burned down at the very beginning, not a few chapters in. You never got to meet Mad Dog. Hell, Victoria didn't even exist, and neither did Bessie and Chris Flowers... The more I think about it, the more the original plot line sucked.

In fact, I almost kept the story going. I had a few ideas of stuff I could do to keep things moving after what was supposed to be the end, ranging from 'the governor got away' to wild, crazy stuff like 'then the feds were chasing him across the country'. None of the ideas I had were too good, but I was tempted to keep it going, to keep it alive. In the end I decided not too, because I knew the ending that would come out of that wouldn't be as good, wouldn't have as much meaning as this one did. In the end, the story would've suffered.

I did have an idea for an epilogue, which consisted of the stuff that happened at Scott and Victoria's mountain cabin after the time jump. I was too attached to the idea of the final words in the story being 'a Price for Every Head' though, and I didn't know for sure if I was going to do an epilogue, so I decided to just add my plans for it into the final chapter.

What I Learned
I ended up with a takeaway from the writing of this story, one that I hope will improve my future writing. For any future stories I write, I need maps

Specifically, the takeaway was that in the future I need to draw out a basic map of locations I'm planning on using, and nearby ones that I'm probably not using, but might mention. This story didn't have a map, or anything close to it. When I started, I had a few locations I was going to use (and for the most part, no new ones got added). Which for the most part, was good. It worked. The problem I ran into was I didn't have anything to draw from. Referencing locations and past events that occurred there is really tricky when you have no clue what the world looks like past the areas where things will be taking place. For the most part I know kind of where everything is in relation to the other places, but I mentioned places that I have no clue where are. They just... exist... somewhere.

the Future
I'm working on an idea for another story, though right now it's pretty bare bones, and what I do have I'm not going to be giving away. It'll have at least slightly different lore though, so where as I may use wendigos in future works, I doubt they'll make it into this one. I don't know how long it's going to be, or when I'll start posting it, but at some point it will hopefully all come to fruition and I'll have another story to tell.

Final Words on the Subject of a Price for Every Head
The last thing I want to say about this story is words of thanks for sticking with it. I didn't post as often as I meant to sometimes, (Real life, am I right?) but I tried to make a point of finishing it no matter how long it took. Thankfully I did finish it, because otherwise I would've felt real bad about leaving a story half done and leaving you guys hanging for all eternity.

Your encouragement made this all worth while. In some cases (especially early on) you folks helped point out things I hadn't thought of, things I then tried to mention or talk about in the next chapter. If nothing else, the typo catches from before I had someone who was willing to proofread it helped me enough to make me say: thank you.

A special shout out to the commentors:
91Eunozs
bodyparts
Coxy
DAVE KI
Halfapint
idahobob
Kolat
LockMan0

And a big thank you to my proofreader. I seriously can't thank you enough.

Thank you all for the support, thank you for letting me know what you thought, and thank you for reading this tale.

Until next time...


-RingWraithsAnonymous
Last edited by RingWraithsAnonymous on Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
If you think about it everybody lives in the same place: somewhere between the Empire of the Penguins, and the Kingdom of the Elves.

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Re: a Price For Every Head

Post by cusm » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:29 pm

Thank you for an awesome story. I have just read and lurked, but I have enjoyed this from the very beginning and look forward to any more stories you have in the future.

I enjoyed your epilogue as well. I have recently started playing RPGs with my son and I enjoy the backstory of the character part of it as much as actually playing. I will create a story, leave it and come back to it and change and revamp it. Then when I get a chance to play that character reread and re-edit it again to make it feel right.

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Re: a Price for Every Head (Complete)

Post by DAVE KI » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:01 pm

I guess all good things end. That was a great read :D . Can't wait for your next one. That's a hint. :)
"We'll Fight Them, Sir!, Until Hell Freezes Over, And Then We'll Fight Them On The Ice! Sir!

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Re: a Price for Every Head (Complete)

Post by 91Eunozs » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:57 am

Image

Nicely done! Thanks for sharing this story with us...and as you point out, for actually completing it! It was a fun read.

Appreciated the author’s notes too; nice touch. Spotted a couple typos that spell check wouldn’t catch, “new” vs “knew” and one other I can’t recall, but they don’t take away from the story at all.

Really well done!
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Re: a Price for Every Head (Complete)

Post by idahobob » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:20 am

Here is a big THANK YOU for your story. :clap: :clap:

As it is sad for all good things to come to an end, but this one did. And this was one of the good 'uns. I am looking forward to your next effort. Keep up the good work!
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

harleyvato
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Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:09 pm
Location: TEXAS

Re: a Price for Every Head (Complete)

Post by harleyvato » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:21 am

Thank you for all the effort! I read your story and thoroughly enjoyed it, very interesting very engaging, and thoroughly Kept me guessing. Thanks again for your effort looking forward to your next story, please keep up the good work!

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