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Thread: (M) The Treasure of the Lost Mountains IC (bluemoon x Siks apocy RP) (M)

  1. #171
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    If there was one thing Ez was good at, it was drinking. She knew her limit and could pace herself so that she maintained a general state of calm without feeling too incapacitated. She didn’t always follow these guidelines, but here in unchartered territory--at least for her--she wasn’t going to drink herself into oblivion. The alcohol was allowing her to keep her head, the anger still fuming within her at both herself and the now dead rulers of Endver. The situation had her hackles raised. If she had not insisted on going into her birthplace to trade...if the two men had not drugged them and then taken Jackal prisoner...if she could have avoided atonement...lots of ifs, and it all boiled down to her making a score of bad decisions. Her lover’s blindness was on her shoulders..she had used his ‘other’ self to turn the tide in their favor for the uprising. It was unforgivable, and Jackal’s coldness towards her was her penance. She would endure, and wait for him to accept her again….if he could.

    Taking a deep breath, the scavver flexed her left hand, working out the stiffness it suffered from daily. The scar in the center of her palm was still tender, her use limited to basic function. She wore fingerless gloves now, the leather uppers covering the scars she had received at the hands of Aidan and Theo. She also wore her typically restrained hair down, allowing the long strands to hang over the side of her face. Another attempt to hide her punishment for past sins. These physical flaws she accepted as she did her others...reluctantly, but with grace.

    Looking over the camp, Ez finally let her gaze fall on Jack as he set up his site. She had not bothered to set up her own...her plans for the night having nothing to do with sleep. She watched the way he moved and felt his discomfort keenly. He would need to be tended to and her daughter was the best caregiver they had at present. Despite the fact she was aware of Deck and Sammy’s disapproval of the way things were being handled...their quick glances enough to draw suspicion...she pulled back her shoulders and made her way over to her daughter. It was time to set the record straight as to who was in charge.

    “Sam?” she said, drawing the girl’s attention away from setting up her tent beside Matches. “I need you to prepare that tea for Jackal, and help him change out his bandages...see if there is anything else he needs.”

    Samantha let out a sigh and nodded, her blue eyes looking over the older woman skeptically. “Okay...mom. Deck is putting on the water now...I’ll get it prepared as soon as it is hot. I’m almost finished here.”

    It was Ezra’s turn to nod. “Good.” Well, that was easy enough. Brushing her hair behind her ear, she chewed her lower lip then huffed out a breath. Next up… “I also need you to inform Deck that you and he have first watch tonight. I’ll take over from there..work out the schedule as I go along. You can take the rest of the night to get some sleep. We’ll ride a little harder tomorrow and I need the two of you at your best. This territory is fresh and I don’t know what to expect.”

    “I’ll let him know...but are you sure? Maybe you should be resting? You look awful tired mom, and I’m sure Deck and I…”

    “That’s the plan Sammy,” Ez interrupted. “Pass it along. I’m going to scout out the area a bit more, but will be back in a few hours.”

    Not waiting for her daughter’s response, the scavver went back to her mount and grabbed up the reins. She walked the horse around the outer perimeter, pausing briefly when she was abreast of Jackal’s camp. Clicking her tongue, she grabbed the horn of Clove’s saddle and pulled herself up, her heels digging into the beast’s side as she steered him away from the hilltop and its nighttime occupants.

  2. #172
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    Sammy watched Ezra go letting out a low sigh. "Alright mom." She said more to herself than the retreating woman. Gathering up the bandages she gnawed on her lip in thought, a habit she picked up from watching Ezra do it so much. She was running down idea after idea of how to help Ezra see reason and go to Jackal instead of feeding into his wish to be isolated. She knew the man's physical pain and could feel her mother's mental pain.

    Those two had become so close even since Outpost 4, they needed each other. Ezra needed Jackal's strength and calming presence and Jackal needed Ezra's practicality and grounding effect that kept him from chasing after shadows for his treasure. They were broken people who only felt whole around one another. Samantha wasn't sure if she'd call it love or terminal co-dependency, but it was a true and as real as the people themselves. Neither would be at peace until they could come to terms again. But despite her best efforts she was at a loss as to how to fix it. She was so lost in thought that upon feeling a warm heavy hand touch her arm she let out a short scream and jumped away dropping the bandages and medicine into her rucksack at her feet. Deck low rich laughter brought her back and colored her face scarlet as she knelt down to grab the dropped items. "You becomin' more an' more like yur momma e'eryday Sammy. Used to be able to make her jump like that as a girl too."

    Clicking her tongue Sammy tucked the bandages and ointment into her medical bag. "Did you give her a heart attack too? Is the tea ready? I should get over to Jackal before it gets too late."

    Deck nodded picking up the tea pot and poured it into the tin cup in his left hand, but he didn't hand it over to the young woman. "Yeah it's ready, but ifin ya don't mind I'd like to go change his bandages an' have a little man to man talk with'im. I ain't a infamous gunslinger like'im, but I am older. Maybe I got some sage advice I can beat into his head 'bout women. You spread Ezra's little plan 'bout camp so everyone knows what's happinin'." Seeing no reason to argue with him Sammy handed the bandages and ointment to the old man before she whistled for everyone attention to tell the plan of the night. Taking his leave of the young woman Deck made his way slowly over to Jackal knowing the man's keen hearing would pick him up before too long.

    And it did, but only after he heard Ezra' approach and exit besides his camp. He could feel her eyes boring into him he did his best to not "look" at her. He was sure his shame would be too obvious, so he occupied himself with still setting up his tent, but his ears followed her as she rode away on Clove. Once she was out of earshot he let out a low sigh and quickly finished putting his tent up, his ears peaked up again as he heard the slow clopping steps of Deck approaching. His head swiveled a little and he nodded in the direction of the old man's footsteps. "Good afternoon Deck, Sammy busy?"

    Deck let out a low chuckle setting the ointment down on a rock before handing the tea to the blind gunman. "Naw, I just wanna get away from the cookin' fire for a spell. I'm gettin' too old to sit by it all day. Ya know how many times I gone an' singed the hair off my arms durin' this here trip?"

    Jackal chuckled back sipping the tea slowly hoping whatever magic it might have will start working soon. "I can't even guess Deck...a million times?" He sat down on his pack groaning gently at the movement.

    Deck let out a short barking laugh beginning to gently peel the old bandages off Jackal's back using steady gentle pulls. "Haha, maybe been so long I'm ain't even sure it grows anymore. How ya feelin' today boy?" He winced lightly listening to the skin ripping gently as each bandage was removed.

    Acting as if he felt nothing Jackal sipped his tea leaning forward on his pack.
    "Same as yesterday...sore and tired."

    Deck nodded watching the burns turn an angry red as he reached the middle of the younger man's back.
    "I can understand that, Been kinda tense 'round here the last few days ain't it?"

    The lawman snorted lightly. He could see where this conversation might be going, but he also knew it would've happened eventually.
    "Heh, I guess you can say that. But we all just did fight in a war and overthrew a tyrannical dictatorship, tension should be expected."

    Deck clicked his tongue pulling the last of the bandages off.
    "I suppose, still we've done that before an' it ain't been so tense."

    Jackal smirked around the rim of the cup.
    "Damn, I guess we have...what's it been? Three times?"

    The old cook let out another barking laugh picking up the ointment.
    "Lemme see, the Salt Flyers, Liberty, an' now Endver?"

    Giving a slightly shiver as Deck began applying the ointment.
    "Hmm does the Salt Flyer incident count as a war? I always thought of it more as a hunting trip honestly."

    It was Deck's time to snort as he began rubbing the ointment in deep.
    "Ha, maybe for you that's a huntin' trip. I call it "shit I'm too old for."

    Jackal shrugged finishing up his tea.
    "Come on Deck, you're still as strong and healthy as you were fifteen years ago."

    The short cook scoffed.
    "Fifteen years ago, I was the Mayor of Carousel an' had just taken Ezra in as my protégée an' adopted daughter. An' was too old for that shit too."

    Jackal's blind eyes popped open and he half turned to "look" at the cook. Ezra had never mentioned that before.
    "Wait...what?"

    Deck let out a long rich laugh as he finished applying and rubbing in the ointment.
    "I take it she ain't never mentioned that little tidbit 'bout her past huh?"

    The tall man shook his head turning back around hmming gently as a cool wind blows over his burns.
    "No, I thought she'd been on her own since she was fourteen?"

    Deck shrugged unrolling the clean bandages to begin wrapping the wounds.
    "Hmm purty much, but my wife Jinny...always had a big heart. Ezra stumbled into town one day I assume after she had dropped Sammy off at Outpost 4. She always been a tough girl, but trampin' through the wastes so soon after givin' birth was almost too much for her. She was half starved, dying of thirst, an' on the verge o' collapsin' from exhaustion an' rads. We'd seen her an' Sammy's pa come through town a few times, but aside from thinkin' she was kinda young to be makin' goo-goo eyes at a man my age we ain't never paid her much mind. But that day Jinny saw the state she was in, an' rushed out to bring her inside."

    Jackal nodded keeping his breathing level as the bandages touch his still quite raw skin.
    "Sounds like a good woman."

    Deck sniffed lightly seeing glimpses of her face as he retold the story.
    "The best I'd ever known. We always wanted kids, but we made our livin' as Hunters. Travelin' all up an' down Ragged America huntin' the biggest, meanest critters we could find. Not exactly the best circumstances for raisin' young'uns. Good money in the pelts, meat, an' trophies though."

    The lawman nodded again, he'd done some trophy hunting between hunting Black Jacks lots of chips to be made if you got the guts for it.
    "Very true, so how'd you come about becoming the Mayor of Carousel and adopting Ezra? If you were so successful at hunting?"

    Deck had managed to wrap half of the gunman's wounds by now.
    "Hehe, I was forty years old then an' was on my way to recovering from a bullet to the knee after a scrap with some Waste Blaze raiders. Jinny an' I had helped found Carousel back in our twenties so the people just handed me the job. And Ezra was just...an answer to some prayers. Just don't tell her that part, ya know how she is 'bout stuff like that." He chuckled again as he placed the last bandage in place smoothing over the younger man's back with his hand to make sure no bubbles have popped up.

    Jackal sighed slowly stretching his muscles out some standing up.
    "Yes, I know so did you teach her about scavving and such?"

    The old man laughed again pulling a bandana out of his back pocket to wipe his hands off.
    "Naw, she knew more about Scavvin' at fifteen than I could even bother to learn at forty. I taught her huntin' an' better survival though. An' I got her started in trade caravans like this, no matter how smart a teenage girl thinks she is, ain't no one gonna hire her if she ain't able to reach the stirrups o' her horse. I was the Trail Boss for 'bout five years then...then my Jinny succumbed to the rads, after that it just didn't feel right bein' the boss without her."

    Jackal frowned turning around patting the short man's shoulder.
    "I'm sorry to hear that Deck, can't even imagine losing someone like that."

    Deck reached up and padded the other man's hand chuckling.
    "You gettin' close to learnin' it now boy."

    And there it was, a very round about way to get to the core issue. Jackal chuckled pulling his hand back.
    "Oh really?"

    Deck nodded picking up the tea cup, bandages, and ointment.
    "Yup, you an' Ezra ain't even spoke to each other since we left Endver. I know that was a helluva thing, you bein' set on fire an' her gettin' a knife stabbed through her hand. But as we said earlier you both been through worse. What's changed?"

    "Looking" down the lawman shrugged.
    "I failed in the one thing I promised to do. Protect her...I failed to do that in two consecutive towns."

    Deck scoffed again crossing his arms over his barrel like chest.
    "Failed? Son...last I checked Ezra ain't dead...in fact we ain't lost no one since we got rid o' Gabe an' his band o' scumbags in Liberty. That's after goin' through a sandstorm, a bunker full o' fuckin' spider robots, an' a goddamn Inquisition. That's weeks o' travel an' bullshit that you an' Ez have led us through, ya fell for drugged soup an' cakes a couple o' times, so what?"

    The tall man's mouth hardened into a grim line.
    "So what?...so what? This has never happened to me before! I've been surviving the worst of the worst the Wastes had to throw at me for years! I've beaten poisoning, shooting, stabbing, getting shot at and most recently...set on fire. I should not be getting tripped up by the oldest tricks in the books."

    Deck clicked his tongue sounding most unamused.
    "An' ya survived both times d'in't ya? Why should that be stoppin' ya an' Ezra from bein' there for each other?"

    Jackal growled lightly.
    "Because, I'm bad luck! How long until I get her killed Deck?"

    Keeping his voice level Deck squared his shoulders and spread is feet apart making his stand before the fear inducing vigilante.
    "An' why would that bother ya son?"

    Almost fuming Jackal spread his arms as if this whole conversation was a waste of time.
    "Because I love her and I can't stand to lose her! I didn't have to worry about that before!"

    Deck chuckled smugly.
    "Exactly."

    Jackal clenched his teeth.
    "What the fuck do you mean "exactly"?

    Unperturbed by Jackal's raised voice Deck shrugged.
    "You love her Jackal, back then ya could spit in Death's face an' didn't have no one that relied on ya or needed ya. You were a lone wolf...hehe or I guess in yur case lone jackal. Ya knew ya could power through hunger, thirst, exhaustion, an' crawl back from the edge o' death each an' e'erytime it came for ya. But now...you got people rely'en on ya, an' not just Ezra...but Sammy...Matches...the rest o' our Lil' Rascals an' me too. You gotta consider a lotta lives now, an' not just yur own. I ain't afraid to admit that I sure as sin won't be able to survive half this shit you put yurself through. An' Ezra, aside ain't no one else here that tough. So in the back o' yur mind you weigh the pros an' cons more you think o' us before yuself now. Where you mighta said "fuck you" to Liberty as soon as ya got the bad feeling an' just gone back into the wastes to hunt for some meat an' just camp another night in the sands an' rocks, but we was low on supplies an' couldn't make it much longer so ya took the chance. It just so happened to be a bad gamble, but still we ain't dead an' out here?..."Ain't dead" is a win any day. You an' Ez need each other to heal an' we all need ya to lead us. Ain't no one gotten this far in the mad search for this Treasure o' yurs, an' fallin' apart now would just be...dumb an' we ain't a dumb group...crazy sure...but we ain't dumb." Tucking the cup, ointment and bandages under his arm he patted Jackal's arm fondly. "When Ez gets back I wanna see you two talkin' again...figure yur shit out. Otherwise I'm gonna tie ya both to a rock an' make ya make up ya hear me?" Without waiting for Jackal;s response Deck returned to the cooking fire and tossed the bloody bandages into the flames before returning the medical supplies to Sammy's bag.

    The lawman couldn't help but chuckle to himself. It was almost like he was talking with Grandpa Gregor again. That miserable old man was just as fearless and assured in his words as Deck just was. Shaking his head Jackal finished putting his tent together trying to think of what to say to Ezra when she returns.


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  3. #173
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    The sounds of the camp faded as Ezra rode deeper into the night, her troubled thoughts finally able to settle and permit her to focus on the landscape and noises around her. The moon provided the light, it’s nearly full orb casting a dim shadow behind her. Vegetation was sparse, like in most places post-scorch, but the mountains had fared better than the lowlands, a patch of pines not an unlikely sight. Thankfully there were none here, the lofty stands of trees a potential hiding spot for bandits. Breathing a little easier, she whistled low, listening to the reverberations caused by the peaks and valleys around her.

    It was an enjoyable ride, the woman’s reasoning for venturing out again having little to do with scouting. She had the map Becca had given her, the main road to the mining town marked clearly on it. The group had taken a different path, one less traveled, for the obvious reasons, and Ez had already determined their best route. It wasn’t the fastest, but she was in no hurry to reach Silver Springs. The accommodations would be minimal, and she dreaded being trapped in a room with Jackal, the hours of silence more than she could endure again. They had two days at most to settle their differences...or whatever it was that was causing his avoidance...and then she would be walking on needles again to appease him.

    Letting out a heavy sigh, the scavver stopped along the trail when she came to a small brook bubbling out of a crevice in the rock. Clove bent his head to drink, the woman taking the time to scratch at his neck and look into the valley below. It was a quiet night, absent of any hunter’s calls when they prowled for meat...human or otherwise. She would be safe for a while longer on her own, the time of darkness the worst for lone travelers. Squinting at the brush below, she studied the branches, knowing that the rads tended to mutate even the lowest of plant life if the count was high. Somewhere to the east was a hot pocket, that much she knew, but where it began was a mystery. The rad counters they had were still in the green, but Deck had warned they were edging closer to yellow as they moved in a northeastern direction. They would have to remain diligent and keep up with the numbers...a chore she left to the old cook.

    As a light breeze lifted her hair, Ez turned her face away from it, her fingers lifting to the “M” burned into her cheek, her jaw setting as her steady gaze shifted to the saddle bag on her horse's rump. She reached inside, touching the two squares of marred ‘leather’ she had recently added, the tanned quarters residing beside her hat that was made from the skins of two Black Jacks, the grisly reminder of an innocence lost, her younger version not then aware of the extent of the horrors in the world. It was not a mistake she would make again, the group that had become her family was now her eyes and ears in her daily life. To be caught unaware like that would be unlikely...especially with a man like Jackal around.

    She puffed out a breath of agitation when his name came unbidden--her thoughts drifting back to her lover against her will. He was her rock...or had been...but lately the firm foundation was chipping away...soon to be nothing but pebbles that would wash away in the first storm. She could survive it...but what about the others? Would the group be strong enough without him? Did she even want it to be? There was Sammy to think of...and perhaps another...the thought angering the woman as she tugged on Clove’s reins to lead him back. Come the next morning she would ride beside the gunman...it was time for them to patch the wounds that were festering...or cut off the limbs before the disease spread and ruined them all.

  4. #174
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    Default Heart-to-Heart

    The ride into the Mining town was quiet and tense. Word had spread through the small band that this would be the last town for who knew how long. The map had only been seen by Ez, Jackal, and Deck, but talk spread fast in such a small group.

    Murmurs went about that some of the kids were talking about staying in the mining town. They loved the group and could never pay Ezra and Jackal back enough for saving them from their shitty town of Liberty, but going into the worst part of the wastelands that no one in living memory had ever faced was not something most of them wanted to face. But that would be for later, they'd be resting in the mining town for a couple of days. The town was decently sized, bigger than Outpost 4, but smaller than Liberty and Endver. It's main feature was an old mining wheelhouse turned into three story inn, bar, and general store.

    It was laid out in a horse shoe with the abandoned silver mine dominating the back drop. The other buildings were also repurposed buildings from the mine's heyday. They were a livery, blacksmith, gun store, a mining and spelunking equipment shop were the right side of the shoe and on the left were mostly residential, but there was also a medical clinic, tannery, and oddly enough a clothing store. Lots to keep people distracted from their emotional problems.
    -------------------
    Ezra was the first to dismount, her hand going up to stop the others from joining her while she procured them some rooms. She was tired, the long night on watch duty having taken its toll on her. She had postponed her talk with Jack because of it...and the tension between them continued to grow. Even her drinking seemed to be effected, the woman rarely lifting the bottle to her lips during the last leg of their journey. As she walked up the stairs to the entrance, she cast a look over her shoulder at the gunslinger, a sigh slipping from her lips before she disappeared inside.

    It was a modest building, the furniture sparse, the curtains threadbare, but everything appeared clean. A small desk was set up, a tall man standing behind it, dressed in a outfit that has seen a seamstress many times over. Offering a smile, Ez reserved five rooms, two of which were adjoined by an interior door. Dinner was ordered for the entire group and then she returned outside. She pocketed one key, gave another to Deck, then handed the others to Sammy, allowing them to work out among themselves who slept where. She moved up next to Vash and lay her hand lightly against the animal's side, her other settling on Jackal's boot.

    "Let me help you down," she said. "I'll get the animals bedded in for the night...Deck can help you to our room."

    The gunman chuckled gingerly gripping his animal's saddle until he felt solid ground underfoot. "I can find my way I think." He pulled one of the tent poles from the wagon and began using it to tap his way across the street.

    He had only gone a few steps before Ez came up beside him and firmly pressed a metallic key into the palm of his free hand, closing his fingers around it. "The room is up one flight of stairs...second door on your left," she said. She moved away, looking to Deck to lend assistance should it be needed, then grabbing up the reins of their two mounts.

    It didn't take her long to get to the stables, the two animals stripped of their saddles and brushed down before she filled their food and water buckets. She could hear the others members of her group around her, their preparations similar to hers. She dawdled a bit longer, wishing she had an excuse not to go to her room, the inevitable discussion she needed to have with Jack preying on her mind. There was only an hour before the food would be served, not long enough to rest her eyes or she would have feigned exhaustion and taken a nap. With nothing to do but face him, she wiped the dust from her clothes and headed back to the hotel.

    It took him a few minutes longer than he expected, but soon he found the room and much to his amusement he found a large bathtub. Feeling around the room he found a water pipe and began filling the tub up. It would be cold water, but it had the wonderful effect of numbing his wounds enough so he wouldn't feel them as much. It took him a few minutes to fill the tub up, but soon he was stripped down and slipping into the cool clear waters, feeling the world around him seeming to slow down as his ever throbbing injuries began to dull.

    Ez walked into the room shortly afterwards, her eyes straining to see in the low light. Darkness was setting outside, a fact that would make no difference to the lawman, other than the change in temperature. It was no wonder he had not bothered to illuminate the space. Taking the time to light the candles placed strategically about, she only then turned her attention to Jack, not at all prepared to see him unclad and reclining in the old porcelain clawfoot.

    "Jack," she said in a breathless voice, the heat in her face flushing her cheeks a bright pink. How long had it been since she had lain with him? Far too long, would have been her answer. Unable to look away, she stared at him openly...another thing he would miss in his state. "I can give you privacy if you want. I just wanted to let you know dinner would be served soon...but...I...I can bring you a plate if you'd rather."

    The lawman had just settled in, the pain along his burns pulsating lightly into full dullness, almost feeling like himself again. He began to lose himself in the darkness he'd become accustomed to when he heard footsteps approaching the door, the door then opening. His hand reached for his pistol, but as he heard Ezra's voice he relaxed and placed the weapon back into the pile of his clothes. "No...it's ok... it'll be nice to have the company. Besides you probably need a bath too." Slowly he stood and shifted around in the tub so Ezra could join him if she wished.

    His offer was obvious, but unexpected, the scavver standing there silently for a moment before she approached. "I would like that," she said in a soft tone, her body already warming to the idea. She reached down and put her hand in the water, nearly shivering at its chill. She had suffered colder in the many lakes and streams she had bathed in, but she had been hoping for some heat at least.

    Stripping down, she confirmed what Jack had said, the layer of sweat and dirt on her skin enough to disgust the most hard worn traveler. Since when had she allowed herself to become so filthy? Even her clothes could stand up on their own. It would soon enough be remedied, she thought, a sigh escaping her as she ran her hand lightly over her stomach. Her face twisted with a scowl of uncertainty before she tossed her belongings aside and stepped into the tub, taking care not to bump into Jackal as she situated herself on the opposite side.

    Oblivious to her troubled features Jackal simply moved about so she could fit comfortably with him, his leg touching hers, feeling the slight shiver of the cold water quake through her. Frowning lightly he "looked" at her. "Sorry about the cold water, I didn't think carrying buckets of hot water to the tub would be smart in my current..."condition." He chuckled lightly waving his hand before his blind eyes though much to his surprise he saw the vague black shape of his hand moving in front of him. Hardly something to jump for joy over, but it was a good sign he hoped.

    He never realized how important his sight was to his line of work. Sure he'd been blinded before, but those were just from flash bangs or something else getting thrown into his eyes. But this near total blindness was something he was glad to have avoided before Endver. He never would've lasted a day fighting Black Jacks had he been blind then. But it had given him a chance to stop and experience the world around him in a way he hadn't before. Every sound was amplified, every smell doubled, every touch like a bolt of lighting to his mind's eye. He didn't wanna say he could see people through sound and touch, but he could get a good idea about them that way.

    As the woman settled in Jackal picked up a washcloth and reached forward, handing it to her. "Here Ezzy, I'm just gonna soak a bit you can wash up first."

    The cold was nearly forgotten when he used the nickname he had given her, her fingers brushing his as she took the offered cloth and causing her breath to catch in her throat. It was the first skin-to-skin contact she'd had with him in a while, and their current state of dress...or lack thereof...was more than she could endure. Reaching out, she touched his leg hesitantly, her fingers resting lightly against him.

    "I could wash you," she offered.

    The man's voice was lost on his tongue as he felt her hand touch his leg and thigh, the memory of his burns forgotten by the cold water. How long had it been since they were like this? He found himself asking. The pain of his wounds and his blindness had dominated his attentions since they happened, and the thought of being touched always made him squirm away to avoid the intense pain. But the conversation he had with Deck out in the wastes played over and over in his mind. He couldn't push her away anymore, his burns would heal, his sight would return, but if he lost Ezra...well that was it, he wouldn't get her back.

    Reaching down he gripped her hand pulling it up his body and kissed the fingers lightly. "I would like that." He said softly mentally preparing himself for it.

    A soft breath escaped her, Ez taking her hand away gently, her fingers tracing the line of Jack's jaw before she retreated. She had missed him...desperately...even more than she'd realized. With a nervous tremor brought on by his familiar scent, she dipped the washcloth into the water, rubbing the cake of soap along it until there was a good lather.

    "It's going to be cold," she warned needlessly, her hand touching his chest before she followed it with the cloth. The light in the room was low, but still enough to allow the woman to see the more tender areas on his skin. These she dabbed lightly, washing his front before leaning into him and reaching around to wash the rest, her breath hot against his neck.

    The man gave a soft smile. "The cold never bothered me anyway." He chuckled lightly, her touch like electricity rushing across his skin. It had been so long he'd forgotten how good it felt, he'd been a fool. Pain was nothing new to him, he'd stitched gun shot wounds with just a needle, thread, and some high proof whiskey many times before. He'd even treated burn wounds on his own before, granted he'd never had wounds this extensive all at once before...but still he should've been stronger than he has been. Especially with a woman like Ezra at his side.

    His body reacted accordingly as she moved over the front of his body and as she moved closer and reached around to begin cleaning his back, he pulled her closer into his lap and wrapped his long scarred arms around her, holding her close, their bodies connecting once again after too long apart. "I'm sorry Ezzy." Was all he said before he lifted his blind eyes up to gaze at her face, his mind's eye filling in her features, reminding him where her lips were. Moving one hand up to cup her face he kissed her deeply, losing himself in the sensation of being with her again.
    ----------
    Spent, Ezra pressed her head to Jackal's shoulder, draping her arms about his waist loosely. In her sated state, the cold water around her was nearly forgotten, the cloth she had been using floating uselessly on its surface. Her eyes lifted to look at the lawman, a sigh slipping from between her lips as she regarded him. Love was a fickle emotion, one she had never expected to experience...especially with a man known as a stone-cold killer...yet here it was. She loved him whole-heartedly, and the loneliness she had felt these past few weeks without his comfort disappeared in that instant.

    For a few moments she held onto the silence that grew between them, her lover's apology playing through her head as she fought against her own guilt. None of it would have happened if only she had listened to the warning from her friend Becca. It was her own decision to take them into the town, and as a result, Jackal had suffered. Never mind her own pain. With an effort of will, she pulled back, placing her hand against him and shaking her head as she sighed with frustration.

    "I'm the one who needs forgiving. My stupidity has left you blind. Your forgiveness is the only thing that matters to me now."

    The tall man sat in silence with her for a few seconds before he gripped her chin and kissed her lips fondly. "Both of our stupidity led to my blindness. We knew right away we shouldn't have gone into Endver like we did. But as Deck told me, it ain't killed us so wasn't that bad." He hands slowly slid down the woman's wet body, feeling a slight tremor from the cold water both in his hands and on her flesh. "But let's get out of here before we get wrinkly." Reluctantly moving apart Jackal slowly stood up and felt around the tub before he moved slowly out of the tub blindly grabbing one of the towels he left hung on a nearby chair.

    With a nod, Ez rose up to join him, pulling the plug on the drain before stepping out and grabbing her own towel. Rubbing her body dry, she let her gaze linger on him, his acceptance of his disability mystifying to her even now. He continued to be independent, refusing assistance except on rare occasions. It was more than most people could endure...another feature of the man that proved his survival instincts. Her only worry was that it wouldn't be enough.

    Sighing lightly, the woman slipped into clean underclothes and approached the lawman, taking his hand in her own and looking up. He had settled her mind about the laying of guilt and although it would take her time to accept, she was at least relieved he seemed on good terms with it. Any further explanations on the reasons for their time apart could wait. A slight clearing of her throat preceded her squeezing his hand affectionately to hold his attention.

    "We need to talk about the future Jack...about the risks we could face if we head deeper into the wastelands. It will be new territory for me and the dangers may be more than a man...in your condition...can handle."

    Breathing in the woman's clean scent, he let go of her hand and fumbled around with finding clean underclothes for himself and slid into them. "Yes, I've been thinking the same thing, this is new territory for us all. Come, we can talk it over while you apply Sammy's ointment." Gripping Ezra's hand again he leaned down and kissed her lips fondly before leading her to the room's single bed.

    More than happy to oblige, the scavver dipped her cool fingers into the salve as soon as the two were situated on the soft mattress, her knees digging deeply into the well-worn cover. She smoothed the oily balm over his shoulders and neck, her breath quickening as she did so, the warmth from his lips lingering in her memory. Moving around him to start on his chest, she resisted the urge to kiss him again...to start up another round of love-making.

    "Does it still hurt when you wear a shirt?" she asked to distract herself.

    Hissing softly as the salve touched his skin his muscles clenched a little at the initial shock, but he was soon able to will it back into the comfortable dullness from before. He nodded lightly straightening his back so she could cover his wounds more easily. "A little, but from what Sammy has told me the burns are starting to scab over and harden so as long as I don't move too quickly or wear anything tight it's not too bad." Keeping his breath even he placed his hands on Ezra thighs as she knelt before him his muscle twitching lightly whenever she touched a tender spot. "So...what's the word among the kids? I've heard some of them whispering nervously, but couldn't make out much."

    Pausing in her application to look down at his hands, she hmmed softly, her gaze lifting a moment later, her breathing a bit harsher. "I...think they are afraid," she said, "...the unknown...they are not seasoned fighters." She shrugged...such habits were hard to break... "I mean...I don't know for sure, but I think some of them might want to stay here."

    Finishing with his front, she continued to kneel before him, reluctant to move away from his touch. "I need to do your back," she said, her hands falling to cover his, "...but if you keep this up, I'm going to move on to other things."

    Jackal chuckled giving her one last kiss before he flipped himself around so his back was facing her. "We can save that for later, but yes I suspected as much...and honestly. I wouldn't blame them if they all stayed here. Wasn't even sure I'd make it this far with a group still behind me, even if they're just a bunch of kids and a crusty old man." He smiled looking back at Ezra with his blind eyes. "And my Ezzy of course."

    Laughing softly, she put her hand against the small of his back and started to rub upwards. "Of course," she agreed, shaking her head at the lightness she was feeling. "I too was not expecting us to get this far. There have been a lot of changes." Smiling to herself, she gently smoothed over the rest of his back, leaning forward when she was done and planting a kiss on his shoulder.

    "You're all set lover. Perhaps you would like something to eat now? I can bring two plates up."

    Jackal let out a relieved sigh, he was always glad when the ointment got applied before his body started to warm up, because even if they were healing, his burns still sang painfully when the air touched them. Now that he was in town and out of the wind and dirt he expected he could leave the burns to air out some now. He just hoped the pain wouldn't come back in full force once the ointment dried. "Sounds like a plan to me Ezzy, it'll give me time to find my pants." He chuckled slowly moving off the bed moving a little bit more stiffly as we went over to his pack to find a pair of pants that weren't caked in road dust.

    "Don't bother on my account," she said as she stood up a heartbeat later, "...you look fine as you are." The comment was followed with a light laugh, her eyes skirting over his masculine form hungrily. Already dressed in the black tank top that was her typical attire, she only had to grab her leather pants and boots and slip them on, a task she performed while in motion.

    "I'll be right back," she called behind her as she exited.

    ----------

    The main level was abuzz with activity when Ez made her way down the stairs, the members of her group sitting at tables or along benches in anticipation as the food was being set out. There was a plate piled high with a chicken-like white meat and another with a mix of vegetables...potatoes and carrots being the most common. Loaves of crusty bread were set out beside them, the room smelling like heaven. Even Deck seemed impressed.

    She made her way to him and offered a smile, touching his hand affectionately. "Thank you," she said, knowing that the old cook had spoken to Jackal recently on her behalf, the lawman's comment while they were in the tub proof of that. "I think we can work through it now." There was a nagging desire to tell him of her suspicions of her condition, but she resisted, instead leaning into him and hugging him tightly, the act itself unusual for her.

    "You good Ez?" he asked with concern, but it was obvious by her glow that things were much improved since he had had the conversation with Sammy.

    "Yes," was all she responded, the contact broken just as quickly as it had been made, the scavver moving to fill two plates and grabbing a couple pints of ale before she left the others to enjoy their dinner.

    ----------------

    Feeling better than he had in many weeks, Jackal moved about the dark hotel room with almost a spring in his step. All the time he'd spent worrying about being a failure and forgoing being close to Ezra to avoid some pain just seemed laughable now. Still a part of him was glad for the isolation, it grew the love he and Ezra felt and it allowed him to learn how to use his other senses more keenly.

    He still had hopes his eyesight would return of course, but he had adapted and survived, as he always had, and now he stood at the precipice. Beyond the town lay the true wasteland of Ragged America, what they had been through already would seem a day at the beach compared to what he heard lay to the East. Water would become more precious than food or ammo, and any animals they brought with them would likely die in a matter of days, and likely the humans riding them would follow soon after. Even if most of the kids wanted to press on with this journey would it be wise to even let them?

    The less people braving the sands and winds the better, from a logical stand point he supposed. Sure less supplies could be carried, but less supplies would be needed, so what little they brought could theoretically last longer. A double-edged sword to be sure, but the tall man was still at a loss as to how to proceed. He could leave it all up to the kids to decide, he already knew he'd press on even if it meant by himself, but could he just leave everyone behind like that? Especially after what they've all been through together. Might be the least cruel thing to do but then again...what about Ezra?

    He sincerely doubted she would leave his side even if he had his full sight again. But her coming with him would be near enough a death sentence. Shaking the worry from his mind he decided to wait and talk with Ezra about it when she came back.

    It was the sound of an object hitting the motel room's door that clued him to her arrival, a muffled curse preceding the knob turning as Ez came inside, the food balanced on her arm and the drinks clutched in her hand. "I hope you're real hungry," she said as she placed the items on the table and grabbed her wet towel. "Spilled my damn ale," she said, wiping her hands, then the front of her shirt and pants. "Good thing I didn't try out for waitressing...can't juggle worth a shit."

    Sitting down with a huff, the woman patted the seat next to hers. "Care to join me?" she asked with a light laugh. "I'll let you navigate yourself since you are such an independent sort. You can just follow the smell of spilled beer." Scooting her chair back, she moved out of the man's path, making sure he had a straight shot to the table.

    Standing up from the bed Jackal chuckled as he moved carefully to the table, using his hands to find the edge of the wooden surface and the chair before sitting down. "Hehe, guess we should've saved that bath until after dinner. Hope you have some clean clothes left otherwise someone might accuse you of being an alcoholic." With a smile he slowly reached his hands around the table, grabbing up the utensils as his hand touched it. Following his nose his mouth began to water. "Hmm smells like Deck's famous stew, didn't know it, but that's exactly what my stomach wanted."

    With a barely suppressed smile, the scavver shook her head. "I've already been accused of being the drinker in the group," she said, "...no reason to hide it with clean clothes." Laughing lightly, she put her hand on his affectionately. "As for the food lover, don't let your nose fool you. I'm sure it won't taste as good as Deck's, but the hotel put out a decent spread. If you mix everything on your plate together, it will be just like stew."

    Hesitating briefly, she took a bite of her food, unable to squelch the fear that it might be drugged. It caused her to eat slowly, following each forkful with a swig of ale to draw it out. Putting the days of eating in strange towns behind them would be a blessing, but the stop here was a necessity, the fate of each member of their group weighing in as they each assessed their goals. She would move on, but which direction depended on Jack. As she chewed slowly, she looked at the man who had stolen her heart, smiling as she envisioned her future with him.

    Jackal smiled, and as he took a mouthful of food and chewed it he nodded then swallowed the first bite. "Hmm, nope not as good as Deck's, but not bad. Tastes like they put too much salt in it." With a light shrug he continued eating, the memories from the last two towns playing over in his mind as well as they were with Ezra.

    And honestly this town would've made much more sense to trap travelers in rather than Liberty or Endver. Silver Springs was the last town before uncharted wilderness. The edge of the world it's been called a few times. The mines below it were the only reason for it's existence, but it's distance and isolation were the only reasons it wasn't a central hub for humanity. So grabbing people off the trail would be much easier as they're vanishing could simply be attributed to dying somewhere...anywhere but the town.

    As he ate though something in the tall man's heart told him they wouldn't be poisoned this time. The Lord only threw so much at you at a time. Even the troubles from these last few weeks couldn't last forever, and as they were about to jump off the edge of the world it seemed a logical place as any to give them a break. The food was indeed too salty and he found himself drinking almost as much as Ezra, the ale was warm, but it washed the food down well enough. Even after all this time with Ezra he still wasn't a big fan of alcohol, but his tolerance for it's taste and effects have changed.

    The meal continued on in silence. As the last forkful went in, Jackal let out a content sigh and wiped his mouth on his red, white, and blue bandana. "Hmm yeah...not as good as Deck's but fills you up."

    Ezra nodded, her plate already pushed aside half eaten. "It's not...and it does, " she said, "...but I think my brain was hungrier than my stomach." Getting up, she grabbed their dishes and put them over by the door, planning on taking them down to the kitchen later.

    "I was hoping you might be up for discussing the last leg of our journey Jack. I plan on talking to everyone tomorrow morning about their thoughts, but I wanted to have everything ironed out before then." Moving back over to the table, she sat down again, kicking her legs out and putting her hand on her stomach. She moaned lightly...she really had eaten to much. Or maybe it was the warm ale. Chilled was the only way to go.

    "I think a few days here should be long enough to let the animals get some rest...unless you think we should wait longer...but there's also the purchase of supplies to go over. But most of all, I need to know if you feel up to continuing on."

    Standing up the man nodded at her suggestion. "Staying here a few days sounds good to me. Vash could use a bath himself and I felt him limping a little the last stretch into town, so that could be something to worry about before we go forward." Picking up his weapons he carried them to the table to be cleaned. This was something he could already do with his eyes closed so it would be a good thing to start on. "I'm sure Deck has had a list of supplies ready since we saw Silver Springs on the horizon, but that will indeed depend on who comes with." He frowned lightly, dissembling his pistol first to begin cleaning. "As for me? I honestly don't know." Shaking his head he focused on his gun. "I can't stop even if I'm blind. I've come too far, if need be I'll just wait until my eyesight returns, but I can't stop." His face hardened a bit, but soon it slacked and he "glanced" at Ezra. "But I also can't expect you and everyone to follow me into almost certain death either."

    Scooting her chair closer, the scavver put her hand on his arm. "We've come too far, Jackal...you're not in this alone. I knew when I accepted this job that we were going into these mountains. I studied your map...and I'm in this for the full run. All in. I will continue to search for this treasure by your side, even if it means staying in this mining town for weeks."

    Bringing her hand back into her lap, she rubbed idly at the puckered scar on her palm, her eyes darkening as she thought about the events which led to her disfigurement and Jack's burns. "Death is not a deterrent...never has been."

    Jackal sighed lightly, secretly glad to hear her say that, but he was at war with himself about it. There was something about this treasure he wasn't telling her. While much of the lore around the Treasure of the Lost Mountains was anecdotal and hard to believe, the few constants he'd come across in hunting for the treasure said the Treasure was a pre-war facility that housed the genetic material for people from before the war. Millions of perfectly healthy zygotes just waiting for the chance at life...but making those lives a reality would require a fertile woman to carry them and a fertile man to spark the genetics material before implanting.

    When he first started this expedition he hadn't gone looking for a fertile woman to guide him. Anyone who knew the wastes would be useful in getting him there. The fact Ezra was a woman of child birthing age was a plus, and after learning she was indeed fertile after the revelation that Sammy was her daughter, the pot sweetened considerably and made him thank the fates for his luck on hiring Ezra to be his guide. She could be useful to him for rebuilding humanity. Foolishly that was his intention at getting close to her in the first place, but now the very idea he could be so callous and cruel to such an amazing woman made him sick to his stomach and threatened to make his lose the entire contents of his stomach on the floor right then.

    Putting his gun down he sighed low, feeling tears welling up in his blind eyes at the very thought of losing her forever by telling her this. She would see all this, their journey, the sacrifices they'd made, and...their relationship...as a set up so he could use her as a brood mare destined to only pop out kids like some Queen Ant until her body gave out and she died right there on the table, only to be shuffled aside like some broken toy and likely be replaced by her daughter, who would be doomed to be the next brood mare and live the exact same life of pain and suffering her mother just did. He knew this would turn her against him, but he loved her too much to keep lying to her like this. He could be ready to leave in a day or two and just avoid her and everyone until then. Deciding on just rolling the dice he pushed his weapons aside and "looked" at Ezra, his cloudy eyes shiny with unwept tears. "That's good to know Ezzy, but before you say that...there's something you need to know. I haven't been completely honest about the Treasure itself. I know...or at least have a very good idea what it is."

    There was no doubt that the mood in the room changed in that instant, Ezra pausing in what she was doing to lift her head and look into her lover's eyes. The moisture she saw in them came as a shock. "What do I need to know Jack?" she said, her voice carrying a bit of uncertainty. She felt her entire body tensing, a cold sweat starting along the back of her neck. "What is the Treasure...other than what you have suggested?"

    Jackal sighed deeply, for once glad he was blind. He could tell by the rising emotion in her voice that her face was the picture of worry and uncertainty. It was too late, he couldn't close this bag anymore. "The...the treasure isn't treasure in the...conventional sense. It's not gold or scrap or even medicine...it's an old world facility called the Genesis ARK. It's where all the DNA and genetic material needed to rebuild the human race was stored by Pre-Fire governments from around the world. It simply requires a fertile man to kickstart the process." His eyes began leaking knowing this would be the killer for them. "And a fertile woman to carry the children."

    Ezra's hands closed into fists, a shudder running through her as she rose to her feet slowly. She didn't want to believe it...every fiber of her being hoping it was all a lie. Blinking rapidly, she took in a ragged breath, a near choking sound coming from her as she regarded him. "You...and me?" she managed, her hands gesturing in the air needlessly. She laughed harshly, her lip lifting in a snarl as she stared at the wetness rolling down his cheeks. "How dare you?" she nearly growled. "This has all been..."

    ...a farce...the words dying in her throat as it got harder to breathe, the scavver's face twisting up in agony as a fist clenched in her chest. "How dare you Jack!" she screamed. "How the fuck could you do that? I loved you...I love..."

    Ezra went silent, her whole world turning upside down in that moment. Why would he tell her this? Why was he hurting her...again? She lashed out, slapping him across the face with everything she had, heedless of his blindness and inability to defend himself in the moment.

    He was expecting the hit as soon as the words left his mouth, but as it connected it hammered in every ounce of pain and horror he could hear in Ezra's voice. It amplified the pain and sent him reeling back in his seat. Immediately his face burned with pain and he could already picture a full red hand mark across his face.

    Tears fell freely down his face and he desperately clung to some past memory of happiness they had to try and get himself through the next couple minutes of explanation. "I'm doing this because I love you Ezzy." He said clearly yet quietly. "That's why I can't let you walk blindly to something like that. Not after everything we've been through. You mean more to me than that...so much more." Holding his head in his hands he wept openly seeing everything crumbling around him again. "Even if that means the end for us. I'd rather you live free without me than trapped as the mother of humanity."

    Her laughter was bitter, a sob choking it back as she stared at him, her hazel eyes burning with fury and pain. “You don’t get to call me that...not anymore. That was for a different man...someone I thought I could trust. I don’t even know who you are anymore. You...you fucking used me. You are no better than the men you hunted down and killed. Your heart is dead...black.”

    Her hand slammed against his chest, a string of curses following as she backed up and hit the table. Shifting slightly, she grabbed its edge and lifted it angrily, the disassembled pieces of Jackal’s weapons and his cleaning supplies scattering across the floor as it fell to its side. Turning on him again, she fought to control her deeper feelings, her chest rising and falling rapidly as she seethed and faltered from within.

    “I mean...nothing...to you...” she managed, her voice breaking with emotion. “You don’t even know what...love...is. How could you?” Her hands curled into her hair as she pressed the heel of her palms into her temples, a gasp escaping her. “If you loved me so much...then why now? Why wait until the last leg of our journey? Why now? Why the fuck now?”

    He allowed her to strike him as much as she wished. Better she get it out now than let it fester and make all this worse. Once she was finished, he "looked" up at her again. "Because I never thought I would make it this far! And beyond this time we might all be dead, and I was always told never let secrets follow you to your grave. And because now you can leave this all behind and you won't die in this stupid quest of mine!" He stood now leaving his scattered weapon about the small room, it'll take him hours to find all the parts, but that was just part of his due punishment he reckoned.

    "You're afraid I'm going to die?" she asked incredulously, her lip lifting in a sneer as she looked up at him. "It's too late for that Jack. That knife you drove into my back is buried too deep. I guess I know now how you felt when you realized Evy was deceiving you."

    Brushing against him as she turned away, she moved through the room in a slow deliberate path, blowing out the candles she had lit until they were left in darkness. "I opened my heart to you...let myself feel...for what?" she asked softly. The sound of her bag opening came next, her hands moving through her belongings by feel. Removing a partially filled bottle of brandy, she unscrewed the cap and took a long drink, once again laughter bubbling out of her.

    "You want to know what's funny Jackal?" she said as she wiped angrily at the tears flowing freely down her cheeks. "I just found out I am pregnant. I was afraid to tell you...but fuck...I guess that fits in nicely." Her breath hitched as her sorrow and bitterness blended. "So...congratulations...you're off to a good start. You have your fucking breeder after all." She tipped back the bottle and drained it, rivulets of the liquid running down the sides of her mouth before she threw it against the wall.

    The sound of glass shattering was met with her footsteps as she made her way to the exit. She paused to look back at him once more before she turned the handle. "I love you Jack...I wish I didn't...but there it is. I hope you rot in hell." She opened the door and stepped out, closing it quietly behind her before she headed for the stairs.

    As the words fell from her mouth everything inside of him fell to dust. Everything he wanted was right there and like the flash of a gun muzzle it was gone like the blowing out of the candles in the room. Standing stunned in the darkness he listened to Ezra's angry footsteps receding into the night. And soon he was alone in the silence and darkness cast off and getting exactly what he deserved.


    Xbox One Gamertag: Free Today56 just say who you are first.
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  5. #175
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    Ezra tried to compose herself as she descended the steps towards the first floor of the hotel. Rubbing at her face, she wiped her tears away, her fingers lifting to push through the tangles in her hair. She knew she wasn’t going to fool anyone, the sounds of her fight with Jackal almost certainly making their way to the ears of everyone below. She could only hope they had not heard the horrible truth Jackal had disclosed. It would be her secret, the need for a lie to cover the end of their journey already foremost in her head.

    As soon as she stepped down, Sammy appeared, the young girl’s eyes already misting over with concern. She started to move closer and Ezra shook her head.

    “This is not a good time Samantha,” she said as gently as she could.

    Tears starting to slip down her cheeks, her daughter nodded. “What happened Mom? I heard you yelling and...”

    It was then that Deck joined them, his calloused hands falling on the young girl’s shoulders and stopping her mid-sentence. He had seen the look on the scavver’s face a few times over the years, and knew it was best to leave her be. She would either drink her way through it or figure out another way to get past whatever was on her mind...and no amount of pestering was going to change that.

    “We need to let your mom alone, Sam. I’m sure she’ll be fine...won’t you Ez?”

    Grateful for his interference, Ez managed a smile, her hand falling lightly on her daughter’s cheek. “It’s going to be okay,” she lied, “...it was just a little misunderstanding. Everything will be worked out in the morning...but I need to get some fresh air.” Reaching out to squeeze the old cook’s hand, she sighed lightly. “We’ll talk tomorrow...I promise.”

    Leaving them, Ezra walked briskly for the door, ignoring the other sets of eyes which fell on her. She was still feeling the shock of the Lost Mountain's true purpose, her thoughts slowing as she allowed herself to become numb, the chill of the night air hardly registering on her bare arms. She had not only left without her jacket, but also her weapons, her pistol and knife still sitting on the floor where she had left them before getting in the tub. Her last true moment of happiness with Jack.

    Silver Springs was not a large town and it took her less than ten minutes to get to the gate. Her destination already decided, she only had to deal with the guards before she could be on her way. The silver coins she kept in her pocket turned out to be the persuasive edge that opened the exit to her, a warning that they would remain closed until daylight her farewell.

    Ez found herself on an outcropping of rock almost an hour later, her journey there misted over in her memory. Climbing over its surface and sitting down, she scooted to the edge and leaned out, the nearly straight drop ending in a dry creek bed filled with scree. Draping her legs over, she extended her arms back, propping herself up on the flat stone and gazed up at the stars which filled the expanse, imagining herself up there among them...away from this life and all the hardships it had brought. She didn’t want to be here anymore, but it wasn’t the same as wanting to die. She just wanted to not exist...to never have been born. There was nothing left for her now...not without Jackal. Sitting up straight again, she looked out across the valley and sighed. It was going to be a long night.

  6. #176
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    As Ezra left and Jackal came back to himself he went about finding his gun parts and putting them together in utter silence. It didn't take him as long as he thought it would, but every second was a misery. His mind was in turmoil, he had lost everything tonight, he deserved it of course. He deserved scrambling around in the dark looking for tiny bits and bolts.

    He heard Deck and Sammy talking with Ezra, and half hoped they would be able to stop her. But he knew better, once she was in a mood only time could bring her out of it. With this new knowledge that she was pregnant he hoped she wouldn't drink herself to death and kill both her and the baby. Even if he wouldn't be apart of the child's life he still didn't want any harm to befall it. But as it stood now that would be about as far as his stake would be in that kids' life. No one came up to check on him which he was glad for, so once his pistol was put together he gathered up his stuff and simply left the room. No one stopped him as he moved quickly and quietly down the steps. Even blind he could feel their eyes on his back and hear their questions in his ears.

    They rumbled through his head like gunshots and even once he was outside he could hear those questions. He needed to get away from them, his first stop was the livery to pack up and grab Vash. Like Ezra, but apart from her, he left the mining town out the back gate. Though he never had to speak with the guards they simply let him go. Even blind and distraught his reputation precedes him. Vash wasn't amused either, but aside from a small warning hiss at the guard who opened the gate he simply plodded on. He'd never leave Jackal's side even if he was being forced to walk on sore paws.

    Once they were free of town Jackal used his partial vision to guide them to the East. He'd likely die on the way there, but he would keep heading for the Lost Mountains. He had nothing else now, so...might as well.


    Xbox One Gamertag: Free Today56 just say who you are first.
    Breath deep as the snow falls around you. Let it fill your lungs and purify the fires of doubt within you.



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