Arthur Burke served as a harpooner on an English whaling ship before he was forced to flee the United Kingdom after an incident that left three sailors horribly mutilated.
In an effort to escape his pursuers, Burke had to lie low and make his way to the chaotic western front of the war as barbaric men like him were always in demand in these parts by the various mercenary corps.
Most merc captains are indifferent to past crimes, they are only looking for results and Mr Burke managed to make a name of himself as a cut-throat who’s not afraid to get his hands bloody.
“A long road I must still travel. This is but the beginning.” -A tired voice behind a silver mask
Maximilian Muller was a veteran of many battles before this war broke out.
An honest man and a seasoned soldier in his early forties, the cultist spies knew it would be difficult to sway Maximilian to their cause and so he was marked for termination, along with thousands others.
By 1916, all military personnel marked by the cults were pushed to the front lines with little to no support in order to cull their numbers.
It was later that year General Kruger ordered the immediate extermination of all such elements, an atrocity known as Kruger’s betrayal. Entire waves of soldiers were shot in the back by their comrades as they were going over the top, now trapped between the enemy and their treacherous brothers.
People were killed left and right by shell, gas or by the knives of the cultists. The fact that Maximilian was one of the few that survived is a testament to his spirit and his fortitude.
Years later, the old man managed to become one of the most successful mercenaries, offering his services to anyone who can afford them and readily finding empoyment in warbands intent on fighting his former, traitorous comrades.
Maximilian displays the idiosyncratic gear of a successful mercenary, including a custom leather vest fitted with metal plates worn under the tunic, a master-crafted sword and ceremonial helmet.
“It is real, the ghost in the trenches. I know because I’ve seen it.
It was the night that all went to hell. Back then I was attached to a Stray Dogs mixed squad, saboteur division. We found ourselves deep into enemy territory, the trenches were crawling with German soldiers, screams and laughter filled the air. Despite our best efforts, ultimately the primary objective was lost. We were outnumbered five to one and most men were killed in the first moments of the attack. The order to fall back was issued and we broke ranks.
My rifle was damaged by a grenade shrapnel and I had to drop it. I run as fast as I could but I got lost in the unfamiliar trenches, losing the remnants of my comrades as I stumbled into a dead end.
I turned around and there stood a single German, the piercings on his face stretching the skin in bizzare ways as he smiled. He walked slowly as he took aim.
I closed my eyes, preparing for the end. Out of nowhere came a clang followed by an agonised scream. I opened my eyes and was shocked to see the German soldier screaming and cursing, his foot was caught in a mechanical trap, metal teeth biting deep, touching bone.
Then I saw it, the ghost in the trenches. A man in heavy clothes walked from the shadows, his arm extended, revolver in hand. He moved towards the trapped soldier slowly, until the barrel of the gun touched the German’s nose. They both stood there for a long moment, unmoving and silent. The man holstered his gun and reached for the axe on his back. The German’s head hit the ground with a dull thud.
The man then picked up the bloody bear trap, strapped it on his back and turned his head towards me one last time before disappearing in the darkness.”
The drifter is a professional mercenary with a mysterious past. No one knows where he came from and only a handful know his real name. He is accepting jobs no one else does, sneaking in and out of anywhere, unseen.
His survivalist skills truly shine in no man’s land where he makes his way from trench to trench alone, setting up deadly traps and moving undetected.