Somewhere in the Caucasus Mountains, Sobek hears a familiar, bone-chilling voice.
He glanced at the radio resting on a rickety wooden table to his left.
An original AKM leaned against the far wall. Sobek got up and headed for the door, grabbing his backpack and the ancient rifle. "Not again." He says, opening the door and pushing his scarf up over his face.
*Cue panoramic view of snowy mountains with ominous music*
Then what is? Is there some underlying meaning to this thread that everyone has apparently glossed over? The thread is named "water inaccessible", and in your OP you complain about towns being walled off and the water inaccessible. You say that though it would make sense from an RP perspective to have them walled off, your issue stems from there being nobody to interact with whenever you stroll up the said settlements. I completely fail to see the issue with just moving on? People aren't always going to be in their settlement for your own convenience. Sometimes they're out. Sometimes they're logged off. Sometimes the settlement has simply been abandoned. It's the apocalypse. It's your job as a survivor to improvise.
You don't see how breaking someones walls make sense from an RP perspective? You're dehydrated, the next closest clean water source is too far to make the trek. You're going to pass out and die. Good or evil, the persons property be damned. You, need, that, water. Unless your character is borderline brain-dead, they WILL break a section of the wall to get to it.
Chapter 15: Absolution
Ivan stood alongside Alexei and Mikal in the fields north of Stary as Rachel and her entourage approached from the town. The Mayor, Nathan Osbourne, Hide, and two others walked alongside the woman, their eyes on Ivan, scowls evident on their faces.
Under the bandanna covering his face, Ivan smirked. The girl had lived up to her word, delivering Hide to him for further questioning, though judging by the numbers, it was uncertain whether her intentions were genuine or not. The arrangement was for three to meet three, and yet there were five. Though the smirk tugging at Ivan's lips was one of amusement. He was amused that the girl thought she outnumbered him, when in reality, they outnumbered her.
They'd have never seen Francis in the treeline, laying beneath the lower branches of a pine with a ghilli-wrapped rifle aiming down into the field. Nor would they suspect that one of their own men, was actually one of Ivan's. Mason walked on their far left, maintaining a composure that impressed Ivan. Perhaps he'd been wrong about the kids weak force of will.
"You certainly brought a crowd." Ivan mused as Rachel and her company stopped in front of Ivan and his.
She shrugged. "Three is already a crowd. I figured bringing a couple more couldn't hurt."
"And already violating the first term of our agreement." Ivan leaned forward, letting condescension coat his words. "You're not very familiar with these sorts of meetings, are you?"
Rachel glared at him. "The last time we met you had guns at our heads." She remarked in a brittle tone. "You had us tied to trees-"
"And despite how useless you ended up being, I showed mercy." Ivan said, overriding her. His eyes narrowed. "Don't push me too far.... DON'T try to find out where my mercy's limit is."
Rachel glowered at him for a moment, before speaking. "I brought Hide, just like you wanted." She said, gesturing for him to step forward. The boy did not seem happy to be here, though his face was covered by his mask, Ivan could tell by his body language that he felt uncomfortable.
Ivan nodded in approval. "Good. Now if you'll give us a moment alone to talk, then we'll be on our way."
"That wasn't part of the deal." Rachel said in a cold voice. "Whatever questions you have, you can ask them right here."
Ivan stared at the woman for a long while, his eyes narrowing. "Are you honestly going to make this more difficult than it needs to be? I only have some questions for the kid, and I'd prefer to ask them to him, and him alone."
"Even so," Rachel said, folding her arms and sinking into one hip defiantly. "We want you to ask them here." Her tone was almost threatening. Too threatening for Ivan's liking.
"You're in no position to renegotiate the terms of our agreement." He let a note of hostility enter his tone. His amusement had been short lived, and now he was starting to grow impatient.
Rachel looked to her left and right. "From where I'm standing, it seems I'm in a position to demand whatever I want."
"Francis, put a crosshair on Mr Mayors skull." Ivan asked firmly, reaching up to hold down the PTT of the radio that was strapped to the upper part of his vest. Everyone went tense, then, stances shifting to a more readied state. Ivan kept himself relaxed, and continued to stare at Rachel, his green eyes hard beneath his furrowed brow. "Whatever you decide to do next, you have to ask yourself, if your friend is fast enough to outrun a speeding bullet. Then, you have to wonder which one of you will be next. Is it really worth the risk?"
Rachel seemed a little less sure of herself now, and eventually gave Ivan a nod, stepping back. Feeling the tension in his chest loosen, Ivan stepped away from the rest of the group with Hide, and began asking him questions. He asked about the killer on the radio, and anything that the boy knew about him. He asked why he was acting so strange the other day, and how he lost his eye. After the questions, he gave the boy a job. The boy was innocent, or at least acted so. He had been mercilessly beaten by this new world since the outbreak occurred, and only wanted a safe place to call his own, freinds that he could watch out for, and would in turn, watch out for him. He knew nothing of the killer, who he was, what his plans for for the future, nothing.
Eventually Ivan gave up. "Fine. I want one thing from you." He stepped close and looked Hide in the eye. He spoke calmly, with a gentle tone. "Keep you eyes.... eye, open. If you see anything of note, I want to know about it. If you think someone is acting suspicious, I want to know. If you find out this killers identity, I want to know. I'm not going to threaten you, but if you care about Stary, if you care about your friends that live there.... you WILL try to find this guy. He doesn't care about you, your friends or anyone else, and he'll kill them without a second thought. Think of what you're doing as a.... public service. A way to prove yourself. Do that, and you'll earn their respect. Earn mine too. It never hurts to have more friends out there, friends that can get things done."
Hide nodded. "I guess you're right. I'll try to find out what I can about this guy, and I'll try to get the information to you."
Ivan stepped back. "Good. Rachel has a frequency you can reach me on, if you learn anything. And do try not to fall for any of his tricks. The last place you want to end up is in the middle of town with your head twisted backwards."
Hide swallowed and nodded again, before returning to Rachel and the others, who were watching with piercing eyes.
Ivan clapped his gloved hands together, his shoulder relaxing. "Right then. I think we've done what we've come here to do, so we'll get out of your hair now. Mason, lets go."
Rachel and her group watched with surprise as Mason stepped away from them, and joined Ivan and his lot, giving the woman a shrug as he passed. The look emitting from her eyes could have melted steel, Ivan thought. "I am glad that, despite your initial non-compliance, we could get this whole thing sorted without the need for bloodshed." Ivan remarked dryly. "It would have been a sorry thing, to leave four more corpses in this lovely country. However...." His brow furrowed as he frowned. "Do not test me again. That is twice I've shown you mercy. I promise, you won't be so happy if there has to be a third time."
And with that, Ivan turned and started walking back towards the treeline, towards Francis, with Alexei, Mikal and Mason as his side. He nodded to the younger man, more impressed with him now after proving his nerve. The group that they had gathered was small, but in it, he was starting to see it's strength.
The woods were one of the places where Ivan felt safe. Hidden away from the world, surrounded by trees from all sides, his dark clothing blending in well with his surroundings. He'd taken off his bandanna and his beanie to let the cool breeze fall upon his face. It was here he could walk, in silence and in thought. It was here, where away from prying eyes, away from the distraction of other peoples company, that he could explore the empty feeling in his chest, the feeling of longing, it be with his better half again. It was so simple. She was just a radio call away. And yet.... he knew in the back of his mind that he risked everything if he went back now. Santoro was not the sort of man to break a promise, a trait he and Ivan both shared. Ivan had promised to kill him, and Santoro had promised to make him watch, as he killed her.
As long as I stay away.... he won't make his play. Ivan reminded himself. It was a reassuring thought, but it torn him up all the same, knowing that as long as that snake remained hidden in the grass, he couldn't go back. No. Only one path was clear, and it was stained with Santoro's blood.
"Don't move." A voice growled from behind him. Ivan froze. He didn't have a weapon in his hand, and he knew better than to make a draw without first knowing what he was up against. He heard a set of footsteps behind him as the stranger approached. "Keep your hands out at your sides, fingers spread."
Ivan slowly raised his hands out to chest height, out at either side. He heard a second set of footsteps to his side, and he slowly turned his head to see a man in a ski mask approach with an AK-74 poised.
"If you want my shit," Ivan said slowly. "Go ahead and take it. I don't want no further trouble."
"He don't want no further trouble." Another voice mused.... a voice that sent chills down Ivan's spine. "You hear that boys? If thats the case we should just let him go, seeing as he isn't interested in any 'further trouble'." Ivan turned slowly to the source of the voice.
Anthony Santoro walked up alongside the first man that'd spoken, a .45 handgun in his grip. The other man was dressed the same as the one at Ivans side, this one holding an M4 carbine.
"Is this all I warrant?" Ivan demanded dryly. "Two men, and your foul hide?"
Santoro chuckled, shaking his head. "You've lost your touch, Lynch." He smirked, stepped forward into the light that shone down between the branches above. Santoro looked more battered than the last time they'd seen each other. The wounds Ivan had inflicted upon him had mostly healed, but a small amount of bruising still remained. His clothes were ragged and dirty, and his usual stubble had grown out into a short, messy beard that covered the lower half of his face, which appeared gaunt with prolonged travel.
"You look like shit." Ivan spat. "This world too hard for you, eh?"
"Oh, shut up Ivan." Santoro groaned, rolling his eyes uncaringly. "Y'know I never took you for a sore loser. Then again.... considering what you did to Jackie Marco, I guess I can say I'm not all that surprised."
"Stick around." Ivan sneered, slowly lowering his arms back down, his stance shifting to a more readied one. "Maybe I'll show you what happens first hand to people that cross me. You missed it all, hiding behind that desk of yours, getting better men to do your dirty work for you."
"I seem to recall." Santoro said slowly, putting a finger to his chin in exaggerated thought. "That the only reason you succeeded in your little vendetta, was because of all the resource I gave you. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish, sitting behind a desk."
"Well then go find yourself a new one." Ivan laughed harshly. "See how much good it does you out here."
Santoro paused for a moment, before laughing as well, slapping his thigh in a sarcastic gesture. "Ah you crack me up, Mr Lynch. Underneath that stony exterior I always knew you had a sense of humor-"
"Why are you here." Ivan demanded with an exasperated sigh. "Didn't you say that, you weren't going to kill me until you'd broken me first?"
"Yes Ivan, well.... it seems finding your little squeeze out here is a little more difficult than it seems. There's no real way to track a person aside from word of mouth, and nobody seems to know who I'm looking for, so I decided to come back to the source.
"And how did you find me." Ivan demanded.
"Oh it wasn't hard. See, I know it mustn't be obvious from your perspective, but a character like you tends to stand out around here. All one has to do is ask around for the angry, cynical, raspy voiced American bastard that sports a leather jacket and an attitude that's about as pleasant as hugging a cactus." Santoro began pacing, back and forth, back and forth, keeping his gaze fixed on Ivan the whole time. "You see, I don't fuckin' know what this gal of yours looks like. Hell, I don't even know her name. And for all I know you've got her hidden away in some butt-fuck cabin in the woods, while you go on your little hunt."
"So?" Ivan asked, watching Santoro's movements carefully, his gaze flicking quickly to the man at his side, then back. "What happens now?"
"Now?" Santoro asks, smiling. "Now, you get down on your knees, with your hands in the air. Then, once we've stripped your of weapons and communication.... I'm going to take my sweet, fucking, time, ripping your little girlfriends location out of your throat. I don't care if it takes all evening, all night, all week. All the things you did to Marcos followers, I'm going to do to you and then some.... until I get what I want."
Ivan drilled him with a hateful stare, as Santoro reached to his belt and drew a large bowie knife. "Then we're going to take a little road trip to her location. I'm going to cut off your eyelids, and make you watch as we cut her, fuck her, and kill her screaming in front of you. Now...." Santoro gestured downwards with his .45. "Put your hands in the air and kneel."
Ivan kept his eyes on Santoro as he paced, slowly lowering himself to one knee, his hand on the ground to support him.... right beside the knife in his boot-sheath. He paused.
"What was the last thing you said to me before you scampered off into the woods, Anthony?" He watched Santoro pace to the right.... "The only thing wrong with killing you....." He turned around, and then walk back, right across his first gunman's line of fire. "Is that I can only do it once."
The moment Santoro blocked the gunman's clear line of fire, Ivan drew the knife, and threw it hard at the second gunman to his side, the blade whistling through the air and going straight through the mans eye, and out the back of his skull. As he fell, his weapon went off, spraying bullets wildly into the forest, where at the same time, Ivan made a roll for the nearest tree.
Santoro took cover from the wild spray of automatic fire, getting low and rushing for the tree closest to him as his last man did the same. Ivan un-slung his own M4 from his shoulder and snapped off the safety, slowly sliding his back up the trunk of the tree until he was standing upright. A burst of gunfire went off, and several rounds whistled past Ivan's cover, forcing him to move. As he did, he fired in the direction of the gunshots, catching a glimpse of a balaclava covered head ducking behind a tree.
Ivan dove behind a rock, skidding to a halt and sending leaves flying.
"You're not going to win, Ivan!" Santoro called. "There's nowhere left to run, and you're alone in the woods with us!" He heard Santoro's handgun go off, ducking lower as he head the round punch into the opposite side of the rock.
"I'm not the one who's gonna try and run!" Ivan called back. "And you're wrong...." he raised the tip of his rifle above the rock, prompting another burst of fire from Santoro's gunman, before throwing himself to the side, against the ground and taking swift aim, shooting the man once through the face, and killing him instantly. "You're alone in the woods with me."
Santoro swore and made for the body, but was forced to take cover as Ivan let loose another burst of gunfire. "Fuck you Lynch! When I get out of here I'm gonna-"
"That's just it Anthony." Ivan said, his voice ice cold. "You're not going to make it out of here." A smile tugged at his lips as he slowly got back to his feet, keeping his rifle aimed in the direction he last saw Santoro. "And you know it too."
Santoro swore again and poked out his gun, firing blindly in Ivan's direction. Ivan flinched slightly and fired back a few rounds, before his gun clicked empty. He pressed the mag release, and the moment Santoro heard the magazine hit the rock in front of Ivan, he made a dash for his dead mans fallen rifle, grabbing it clumsily before hiding behind the same tree, just as Ivan slammed another mag into his own gun, and loaded the first round.
"You talk a big game when you have your boys to back you up." Ivan taunted, slowly moving around to the side, closer to the first man he killed. "How do you feel now, alone, with nowhere to run and no-one to come save you?"
"I made you the way you are, Lynch!" Santoro spat. "If it wasn't for me, you'd still be scrubbing plates in some low-tier pizza place, making pennies and living in a one room shithole!"
"Yeah you made me who I am." Ivan agreed, stepping closer and taking cover behind another tree. "You orchestrated your plan masterfully, had be believe for years, that you were my friend, my ally. Had me take down an empire, helped me kill the man who I wanted dead for years."
He peeked, and Santoro fired a blast in his general direction, but he clearly did not have the training Ivan did, none of the shots even hitting the tree he hid behind.
"But you made one, fatal, mistake." Ivan stepped out from behind his cover, closing Santoro down with the butt of his rifle firmly in the crook of his shoulder. He fired one bullet, two, three, as he closed the gap, each punching into the tree his former boss hid behind. Santoro jumped out when he heard Ivan's boot crunch into the leaves, right behind the tree, and went to raise his rifle, but Ivan was too fast, and fire a round right through the other mans shoulder, making his arm go limp, the gun falling to the floor.
Ivan threw his own weapon away as Marco lurched at him with the knife, and grabbed his wrist mid-swing, staring him right in the eyes as he did.
"You did it all, from behind a desk."
Ivan reached out with his other hand, and broke Santoro's thumb, catching the knife as it fell, and plunging it into his opponents gut. Santoro gasped i shock as the cold steel pierced his flesh, and buried itself to the hilt. He fell to the forest floor, on both knees, as Ivan ripped the knife out, his good hand clutching the wound while the other hung uselessly at his side.
"Y-y-you...." Santoro stammered, looking up slowly at Ivan as his face began to pale.
"You knew this was going to happen." Ivan said calmly. Looking down at the small man, blood dripping from his blade. "You knew this was the end for you, the moment you got away from me that day. You knew, that'd you'd wind up dead, on the ground of this country, with my knife through your heart. But you came after me anyway."
Santoro tried to get up, but his legs gave out, and he fell backwards against the tree, still holding his wound. "I hope..... you're there to watch her die.... one day.... one day it will happen. It... it.... it will break you all over again..... and I won't be there to catch you.... this time....."
Hate, loathing, bitterness crossed Ivan's face, as he stared down at the man who'd torn his world apart once before. "I said I can only kill you once." He growled, reaching down and grabbing Santoro's dead arm. "So I better make it count."
From there the woods echoed with Santoro's screams, as Ivan skinned the dead limb, before proceeding to slowly remove each of the muscles in his hand and arm, one by one. When Santoro tried to fight, Ivan broke his other shoulder. When he tried to run, Ivan broke both his knees. His screams lasted for almost an hour, as Ivan stripped the flesh from the lower part of each limb, one by one, until all that remained was bone.
He was halfway through the last leg, when he could feel weakness overcome the dying man. Knowing the time had come, Ivan pulled Santoro up by the throat and pressed his back against the tree. He looked him dead in the eye, before plunging the knife into his heart. Santoro stared at Ivan, tears and blood streaking down his face, until the last rattling breath left his lips, and Anthony Santoro died, looking into the face of his own creation, his own monster.
Ivan let go of the handle, and stood with a shuddering breath. He walked over, and picked up his rifle. He then retrieved his own knife from the dead mans skull, cleaning it on his jacket before sheathing it back in his boot.
Standing tall, and not bothering to look back, Ivan left the three corpses to rot as the sun dropped below the horizon, for he had only one thought on his mind.
Evelyn. I'm coming home.
I don't think the issue is with people being afraid of Hostile RP. The issue is that people are BORED of the hostile RP being provided by many groups. (Honestly, I don't really care if it seems that I'm pointing fingers.)
Most of the hostile groups provide very 'samey' kinds of RP, regardless of their group goals or backstories. In all honesty, if it weren't for the armbands, I'd find it difficult to tell them apart. And these groups DOMINATE the server. They're always on in high numbers, at almost all hours, and it's always the same: Initiate, take gear, "give me information", beat if the information isn't good enough, and let go. And hey, I could deal with that on the off occasion, but when it's EVERY day for some people, when its THREE times a day.... trust me, it kills motivation to get on and play.
Some of these groups claim to be "progressing peoples story-lines." But when you're trying to insert yourselves as the antagonists to EVERYONE'S story-lines..... again trust me, it gets stale. People are in fact able to have their own stories with other groups, have their own development with other people, rather than everyone dealing with the same 3-4 massive bandit groups that want information and guns.
Now onto the "They just don't want to have their M4 taken" argument. Fair enough, it's true for some people. Especially those that run solo, those that never have any back up. For some, getting robbed for their rifle every single time they run into a large group gets tedious and boring. And c'mon.... you can't seriously be accusing them of GearRP for wanting to keep their weapon, without also being accused of GearRP for wanting to take their weapon in the first place. "But it's for my own protection." - I know of at LEAST two hostile groups that will either send people on their way with full kit, weapon and ammo included. I know some people that will set their gear on the ground, tell them to run across a field or something and THEN come back for their shit (giving the aggressors plenty of time to get away.) "But then they could hunt us down and kill us." - So what? That's part of the thrill. That feeling of never being 100% safe, even if you have a massive group of mates around you. Honestly? Grow a pair. Potius Cras for instance, are at a CONSTANT disadvantage as their whole group is KOSable at ALL times. My fucking hat off to them, by the way.
TLRD; People are bored of the same Hostile RP style day in and out. Spice things up, don't be all about robbing people and demanding information. You don't even need to initiate to be hostile. Don't try to insert your group into every single persons storyline. Be willing to put yourself at a disadvantage by letting people go WITH their weapon sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes. Acknowledge that everyone is trying to have a good time, and that NOT everyone is part of a group that can help them out if they're always being robbed.
3.10 You may not role-play forced sexual acts upon other characters. All other role play of consensual sexual nature needs to be explicitly agreed upon OOC by all involved players, and carried out on a third party platform. No explicit sexual content is permitted on the game servers.
^How I think it should be written.^ Specifically prohibits Rape RP period, and emphasizes that standard ERP is to be carried out, outside the game servers, to prevent people from walking in on something they'd rather not.