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The Lost Marshal Returns


ChaosLenny
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The Lost Marshal Returns

 

I haven’t written anything for Malifaux for awhile. This is just a little story that is a continuation of a story I wrote a couple years back about a character The Lost Marshal. I believe it’s still on the forums if you’d like to see the first part. Thanks for taking a look.

 

 

 

They called him ‘The Lone Marshal’. He wasn’t one to linger in Justice’s flock. He rode out night after night bringing the Guild’s retribution. Tonight was no different. His eyes scanned the shadows of the overgrown road ahead, as his horse kept an easy pace. His dark hat was pulled low hiding his face in the shadows framed in the high collar of his long coat that had caught itself in the wind.

 

“Wouldn’t ride that way,” an even voice said catching the Marshal unaware. He was thankful the shadows hid his surprise. Catching the Marshal unaware was rarer than mercy from Neverborn. His eyes quickly found the source of the voice.

 

It was just an old man. A grizzled example of one of the may pioneers trying to carve out a life this side of the breech. Worn denim and frayed flannel hung about his small frame, his face lost in the wild unkempt mess of his graying beard and hair. The Marshal hadn’t noticed him in the darkness of the road he moved his hand to his rifle.

 

“No need for that son,” the old man said with a broken grin. “I’m just an old man, been out in these swamps for too long. I’m not who you need to worry about.”

 

“Speak,” the Marshal said in cool voice. He had no patience for this fool. Still though he was curious if merely for the fact the old man had caught him unaware, no one caught him unaware.

 

“Are you sure you want to know,” the old man smiled. The glare from the shadowy rider answered the old man’s question. He cleared his throat spitting into the bog water. “You go down that road Marshal you might not come back. See you’ve made him angry. Justice put you out to ride in his place but the older things in the world, hell in both worlds, they know different. They demand a reckoning.”

 

The old man raised a bushy grey eyebrow to the sound of the Marshal’s rifle hammer cocking back. The sound seemed to echo through the swamp. The frontiersman merely smiled and waved away the gesture. “Son, your quarrel isn’t with me. If you listen to me you’ll head back. Go back to the city; leave the ghost of the wilds to the wilds. Put down your rifle and cloak, maybe find a family.” The old man chuckling, the dark magic that the Marshals employ takes a toll on a man’s body and soul, family not an option for one like this.

 

“My patience is wearing thin,” the Marshal hissed.

 

“Very well,” the old man continued. “Cash is down that road. Justice thought she buried him on the hill. He didn’t stay in the ground. The Lost Marshal is waiting for you. Turn back son.”

 

The rider laughed relaxing his hold on his rifle. “Ghost stories old man, there is no Lost Marshal. You’ve wasted enough of my time tonight.”

“Don’t think saving your life is a waste,” he replied. “It’s all true son, it’s all true. Six rode out and five came back that night. Cash was damned for his love. Drug out and buried on the hill. A thirteen carved in his chest to number his sins. He didn’t stay in the ground though. He wrangled the steed Onyx from the Devil’s own stables in the darkest part of hell. He rode up from death that night. He rides still. You head down that road only death is waiting for you.”

 

“You’re insane. I serve Lady Justice and there is no such rider,” The Marshal said coolly.

The old man smiled again. He reached into his shirt and produced a thinly rolled cigarette, the paper yellowed from the damp. His hand produced a match and struck it on one of his shirt buttons. The warm glow flashed a moment in the dark as the cigarette burned to life slowly smoldering.

 

“I went to the hag once,” the old man said a hint of resignation in his voice. “She didn’t tell me how I’d make my fortune but she did tell me how I’d die.” He took a long draw off his smoke. “Man can’t change his fate.” He straightened up and regarded the Marshal. A feat in itself men found it hard to be in the Marshal’s presence. “Cash is waiting for you. You ride down that road to the thicket and he’ll be there. You’ll fall though and The Lost Marshal will take what’s his. Retribution is coming for you and then for Justice. Her sins must be accounted. Now do what you’re going to do.” He spat at the hooves of the Marshal’s horse.

 

The hag’s vision was true. The Marshal quickly leveled his rifle and put a bullet through the old man’s skull. The shower of blood and bone misted into the evening air the bullet doing its work, the old man’s body collapsing to the ground. The cigarette was still smoldering on the broken road.

 

The Lone Marshal spurred his horse down the road to the thicket.

 

 

 

It was not long before the Marshal found the ‘thicket’ the old man spoke of. A grouping of tangled trees at the edge of the swamp, the last of the dry ground before the bog opened up. The night had grown even darker a storm rolling in blocking the moonlight and sending a chilling wind rustling through the trees.

 

The Marshal patted the neck of his horse steadying the beast. It had become unnerved in the storm and the presence that lingered about the thicket. The Marshal couldn’t place it but he was himself a master of dark arts. Something was in the trees. He tethered his mount to a half dead tree by the road. His rifle ready he made his way into the thicket.

 

Any normal guildsman or marshal might have turned away. Not him though he was the best and he rode alone as often as not. He had faced the dead, demons, even the pale rider. He had not fallen. It would take more than a few trees and a ghost story to unnerve him. Despite his sense of dark magic, most of Malifaux was built on dark magic. This was no different.

 

He came to a clearing in the center of the thicket. His coat blowing caught in the wind; he could smell the rain that was soon to come. He saw no trace of man, ghost, or demon. Just broken branches and twisted trees made up the make shift circle. Lighting had come with the storm illuminating the darkness in brilliant flashes.

 

Wasted my time, the Marshal thought to himself. He had enough of it, he smiled to himself the old man deserved the bullet he had given him. It was enough to threaten him and insult Justice. This merely confirmed the course of his action. He was about to head back to his horse and pursue the business that had brought him out this night.

 

“You killed an innocent,” the voice was raspy but echoed across the bog. “You don’t ride for justice. You ride for a blind one who calls herself Justice. You wear the marshal’s star but you are unworthy.”

 

The Lone Marshal spun his rifle at the ready. Lighting hit as his leveled his barrel at the voice, the flash illuminating the figure who spoke. The Marshal’s heart jumped in his chest, his eyes widened at the sight before him.

 

There stood The Lost Marshal. A ghost story brought to life. He was tall and well muscle dressed in tattered black leathers. His coat blew out behind him in the wind exposing his bare chest. The number thirteen carved above his heart still fresh and trickling black blood down his pale skin. His hair a shaggy mess darker than raven’s wing it cascaded around his shoulders and framed his face hidden behind a half mask which appeared to be a broken skull. His eyes blazed crimson two points of hatred and fury.

 

The Lone Marshal fired at the Lost Marshal. The Lone Marshal never missed, he never became unnerved but the shot echoed and then the next. The Lost Marshal merely stood calmly. The Lost Marshal rested his hands on the butts of his Peacebringers.

 

“I was guilty once. Loved a woman and sinned for it,” The Lost Marshal said his voice echoing in the other’s head. “I paid for it in this world and the next. Have you paid for your sins?”

 

The Lone Marshal fired again. Again his shots could not find the mark. The Lost Marshal drew his Peacemakers. His shots rang out in the darkness each of his bullets blazed with the witchfire of Soul Stones. They tore through The Lone Marshal, and he collapsed to the ground. The energy of the bullets ripping through the necromantic magic he imbued himself with.  He could feel his life leaving him.

 

The Lost Marshal slowly closed the distance between them. He kneeled down before the dying man. Calmly he reached out and tore the Marshal’s badge from the man’s coat. He pinned it to his own lapel only inverting the star. He waved his hand over the Lone Marshal’s wounds. They glowed a hellish green and the wounded man screamed in pain as the bullets rose out of the wounds into the man’s outstretched hand. Necromantic magic sealing the wounds and knitting the flesh.

 

“You won’t die today,” The Lost Marshal said in an even tone. “When she finds you, you tell her that I am coming and death is riding with me. Retribution is coming.” He raised his hand his fingers tipped in inky black claws. The Lone Marshal screamed as he scratched the number three into his chest above his heart.

 

“You killed an innocent, you fired on a fellow marshal, and you follow if the command is just or not. You have been marked for your sins,” The Lost Marshal stood and walked away from the writhing choking man. The Lone Marshal his sight growing dim saw the shadows pull together from them the form of a massive black horse manifested. The dark figure mounted and the horse reared high on its back legs.

“Onyx away,” The Lost Marshal yelled his voice echoing with the thunder as the rain began to fall. The last thing The Lone Marshall saw before blackness consumed him was the figure riding into the night passing through the thicket like a specter.

 

 

 

 

They found him the following morning. Lying on the road, his body broken and scarred but he lived. He told the Guild, he told Justice, what he saw that night. There was no trace of the Lost Marshal or the old man just the story and the scars. Seven bullet scars and a number three carved into the flesh above his heart.

 

The Guild and Justice had told him it was a Neverborn playing with his head. Cash had died long ago and The Lost Marshal was a myth. No one had heard or seen from him in years, and even at that it was always ghost stories nothing more. He didn’t believe it.

 

He looked out of the window of the Sanitarium they had sent him to recover in. He looked out past the dark streets of the macabre Metropolis. Past the high walls and sounds of the city, to the mountains and bogs beyond the Guild’s authority and he knew.

He knew out there somewhere the dark rider was there. In the shadows between life and death, and good and evil he was there. He knew what The Lost Marshal had said was true. They were all guilty the Guild, the necromancers, the Arcanist. They all pursued their own agendas toppled who they needed to. Not even Lady Justice was above it.

 

And he knew just as he knew the sun would rise The Lost Marshal would be coming for them all and Hell would be coming with him.

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