Army scouts watched the sun rise over an unknown man rumbling down a rocky hill. The scouts took note and returned to their camp. Weeks more went by before the scouting report would be interpreted. It was determined that the unknown man on the hill was a person of interest, so orders for a search and rescue were sent to a platoon of Rangers from Camp Blessing, patrolling just three klicks from the location.
By the time the Rangers had been sent in, Captain Repass had been MIA for seven months, alone, not by chance but choice. He was the third generation of Repass men to be captain, but his path was longer and more difficult than the one taken by his father or his grandfather, and it showed through his scars and disfigured bones. Seven months ago, in the middle of his company’s operation within enemy territory, he stood in the mouth of a dark cave that he had discovered earlier that day, and radioed in for air support, dropping one hundred and fifty-five millimeter rounds of pain and anger on the head of his men.
The Ranger platoon that was sent to find him walked up and down several hills around the valley for hours until they found boot prints leading up to the cave. They immediately recognized the rank smell of sweat and blood. While the rest secured the area outside, three Rangers went in.
They were greeted by neat piles of flayed human skulls, smiling, and staring back in gleeful surprise of their unexpected visitors. In the middle of the floor was a smoldering fire and a foot roasting cheerfully above it. There were hundreds of bones, everywhere, charred and flayed, splintered and crushed, scattered throughout. When the human flesh was discovered, hanging on wooden racks to dry, the Rangers raced for the exit to escape the revolting stench.
In the distance Repass watched the Ranger platoon through his rifle scope. On a tanned and muscled bicep he sported a tattoo of a skull, with glaring eyes, a dagger in its teeth, and the words Paladin and Knight written on red banners above and below it. His tired face was darkened and dry from too much time in the sun, and shaped into sharp points by hard winds and morbid diet. He aimed his rifle at the radioman’s head. When the Ranger started talking into his handset Repass knew he’d lost his cave.
“Die, you piece of shit,” he muttered, exhaled and took a shot.
The shot was off by yards. In frustration he stared up at the sun as if seeing it for the first time ever, he raised a hand to block its light.
“No more,” he said. “No more.”