[P] [M] satires, twilights and ozone, the animals have gone down below
Halifax Airport

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: language, graphic descriptions of violence and death.
Some people, Marlowe had realized, were a waste of air.

He had been patient. Too goddamned patient, if he was being truthful. Now, three days past the limit he had given the man, the stupid bastard was a no-show. That was to be expected, though, wasn't it? Some people just took advantage of any open hand offered to them. If the whole world was truthful and honest, there wouldn't be a need for things like collateral or for soldiers to fight in wars, but here they were.

If he had been wealthy – if it hadn't been the principle of the thing – Marlowe might have let the wolf go without a second thought. The problem with that was in what came after: one person with a big enough mouth would spread word about how he had pulled a fast one on the folks at La Estrella Roja, and that would be bad for business. Now that they were just getting things back to where they needed to be the last thing Marlowe wanted was to have anything threaten that.

No wolves who thought they were going to walk away without paying what they owed.

No psycho kids who thought boiling cats was an appropriate way to spend an afternoon.

No, there were limits. There had to be limits, because without them everything became chaos. If no one took control, the whole damn thing would fall apart. Marlowe had done this because he was suited to the job. For similar reasons, when he resolved himself to track down the errant debtor, he chose not their guard (who might have seemed an obvious choice) but Landon.

They had been very careful about how they behaved around each other. In public, they could fake things well enough. Landon was a good pretender. He looked pretty content around his big goofy brother and the muscle-bound girl that Marlowe inferred was their sister, though she hadn't stuck around all that long. There was never really a moment where the two men were alone. Whether or not this was intentional was hard to say. It worked out better for them to keep this careful distance.

To his credit, Landon never cracked.

The day was downright miserable – cold and blustery, but dry. Maybe that was part of the reason the wolf tried to rip him off. No sane person would willingly spend hours hunting down a man over some insignificant bundle of weed when temperatures dipped below freezing.

Jecamiah trudged onward, looking as angry about the situation as Marlowe felt. The rust-colored stallion had gone so far as to try and bite Landon when he made the mistake of getting too close. Maybe he could sense what kind of man the dog really was.

They made good time, all things considered. Their destination was not terribly far, but with the biting wind blowing at their backs it was a miserable journey. Following the old road had made it easier on all three, for while the forest had begun to reclaim the ground, enough of the asphalt remained to make the trail relatively flat. As it began to curve, signs of life became more apparent – the smell of a campfire from one of the old hotels, a building which even from the distance stunk of urine and other markings left by those who passed through. They weren't far from the borders of the Cavalieri, which could create its own problems. The coyote didn't think they'd run into them in this weather, though. From what he had heard about the place, they had everything they needed close to their walled city. There was no reason for anyone to be skulking around, especially not in this weather.

Marlowe indicated the larger structure up ahead. “Sounds like he's been hiding out in there.”

[+ 642]
The whole question here is: am I a monster, or a victim myself?
Character WikiLa Estrella Roja | Player Wiki
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He considered killing him.

At times that seemed like the easier solution, if one didn't account for the planning and the mess and the luck. Marlowe would be prepared for it too—a result of sharing the same problem.

Landon was lucky for the buffer of his siblings in those intervening days. They were the only aces he had when it came to his shitty hand in life, but then Mosie left again, this time determined to find Ness and Enlil. He let her go, because trying to keep her at La Estrella Roja would only drive her away permanently. Landon was a patient person. She would have to work off Enlil's damaging ideas and that kind of thing took time. In the long run, she would realize that her brothers were her real home. And who knew, maybe she'd even bring Ness back.

Rebuilding trust was a long, laborious process, and they were only at the beginning of the summit. La Estrella Roja was a part of that equation for what it represented to Mosie—stability, community, hope. She longed for her family to return to some golden era that never happened, where her brothers were happy and their father was more than just a miserable drunk. Landon had been surprised that she cared at all about their no-good itinerant mother, but now it seemed possible she had always hoped that this woman might wander in through the front doors and somehow make up for everything that happened to them.

In counting these factors, he relented to the difficult option of working with Marlowe. He couldn't give a shit about what was good for business, could let the world burn with all its saints and devils too. His family meant more than any kingdom of heaven and any terrible god. Maybe death was still the answer in the end (for whom was it not?), but they could confuse the equation for a while and buy themselves some much needed time.

When Marlowe had come to him for this task, Landon did not refuse—it was not a choice anymore. Whether either of them knew it, the wheel of fortune had started to spin.

They left the schoolhouse, and Landon endured the miserable cold and Marlowe's crappy horse snapping at him without complaint. If he were as mad and petty as the coyote seemed to believe, this action might've sealed the stallion's fate. But there was method to Landon's apparent madness, rules which he knew he would soon need to reveal to Marlowe if he hoped to win back some of his trust. He had only ever killed out of necessity. It was unlikely Jecamiah or Maya would ever become necessary; Marlowe, however, already was.

The wind kicked up again, reminding him of the next few hours. There were two opponents, the weather and the unknown thief, and three if he counted Marlowe, who had likely dragged him out there with the hopes he'd fail against one or the other. It wasn't a mark against the old devil, because they both wanted something to happen, he thought; admittedly, Landon liked when people bet against him. It made things interesting.

His gaze tracked the building that Marlowe pointed out, another grand monument of the old world become a mausoleum. This one was plant and ivy-run like the other buildings, but in the dead of winter, the vines stretched like spidery veins over its shattered facade. The only wise choice the thief made was choosing to bunker down in a place as large and dangerous as this one. From what appeared to be the second story of the airport, a thin line of black smoke peeled away from the exterior, so subtle one could almost miss it. Landon tipped his head toward the sign of life—it was no burning bush, but neither were they apostles.

In the fields of asphalt and snow surrounding the building, carcasses of giant metal birds lay tipped on their sides, gnarled rebar poking rib-like through the exposed bellies. The smell of iron rust and decomposition rose and fell as they passed through it, another cemetery for hungry ghosts. They soon came to what had once been the entrance, lined by blackened bollards and a collapsed awning. The glass of the windows had long ago been blown out, leaving great maws of sharp metal and icicle teeth to guard the interior instead. It took him a moment to spot the passage the thief had made and blocked with a large sheet of rusted metal.

His gaze flicked to Marlowe and his bad leg, and the horse he'd have to leave behind. If it were the summer, or even a drier day, they could've started a fire to flush the thief out. Lacking this, they had but one option. Landon wedged his fingers around the sheet — it was thin, hardly worth the trouble it took to stand it up, except for the noise it made when he touched it. The thief would know someone was coming. "There's probably another way," he said. It stood to reason that if he planned to escape, then there was an escape route they could use. "We could split up. Surprise him."
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Sorry this is so long!!

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