|Date of Birth:||2149|
|Date of Death:||2199|
One of the so-called Warlords of Detroit, Durham Red inherited his position following years of service to others. He would manage to outlast most of his peers and ultimately was one of the last of his kind.
While the first decades of the 22nd century saw waves of migration into the Detroit Wasteland, not all of those that traveled to the fallen city did so in order to colonize it. There were also more than a few raiders who moved into the ruined city in order to prey on these emergent settlements. The idea of preying on growing settlements held more appeal than roaming the wilderness, holding the promise of not only richer pickings but also more consistent targets.
Sean Durham, later known as Durham Red, was born to a pair of raiders in 2149, growing up in the Detroit Wasteland. From the outset, he was raised in their world, with violence and cruelty being the norms for his environment. His parents quickly found uses for him as a scout and lookout, and then pressed him into service as soon as he was old enough to hold a gun. He showed a talent for violence and a willingness to engage in wanton cruelty to get a point across that saw him quickly rise in power. By 2146, Durham Red was the leader of his own gang, but still sought more power for himself.
His dreams of power were aided by his nearest rival. Black Alice was another young raider warlord who was rising in power, having absorbed two other Raider gangs. He saw in her not a rival but actually a potential ally, given how much the pair of them had in common. He reached out to her through runners, finding that rather simply killing them on sight, she instead showed interest in his offers.
The pair of them met and began negotiations. Both of them reasoned that conflict between the pair of them would be futile, and likely only destroy their gangs or at least, make them vulnerable to outside predation. Instead, they saw that their best option lay in an alliance, where the pair of them would work together to bring their corner of the Detroit Wasteland to heel, building a shared empire that they could co-rule. It didn’t hurt that the pair of them were developing a mutual attraction, one that was as much physical as it was emotional.
Before this alliance could come to fruition, outside forces intervened to force their hands. Reports reached both Black Alice and Durham Red of a massive force moving into the Detroit Wasteland from the North-West, a conquering army that was absorbing other raider gangs and settlements or putting them to the sword. Black Alice sent scouts to discover the truth of the matter. What they found was that this force did indeed exist, lead by a self-declared warlord calling himself Preah Khan who was apparently intent on claiming the city of Chryslus Castle for his own.
Using this information, the pair of them tried to plan their next move. Neither wanted to risk destruction at the hands of this would-be conqueror, but at the same time it became clear that neither had the numbers to fight him head-on. Their goal was now less based on conquest and expansion as it was simple survival in the face of a superior foe. But once again, they would be faced with an unexpected threat.
A second Warlord had entered the city, this time from the east. Known only as the Butcher, they were aggressively devouring territory as they advanced through the ruins. Seeing the very real possibility that they could end up sandwiched between two hostile forces, both Black Alice and Durham red took the leap of approaching the Butcher and offering an alliance. Their decision was based on simple necessity; Alice would reach their territories before Preah Khan would, and as such posed a more immediate threat.
Despite her fearsome demeanour, the Butcher proved to be receptive to their advances. She laid out a simple offer. The pair of them would become her vassals and fight alongside her armies, while providing her with intelligence on the local situation and her own rivals. In return, they would be allowed to continue to exist and retain control of their gangs, even if they answered to her. While it was a surrender of their autonomy, both Black Alice and Durham Red saw the offer as their only way to survive, and gladly accepted it.
In order to cement her control over the pair of them, the Butcher assigned one of her own lieutenants to supervise the pair of them and ensure that they followed her orders. Two-Suns was a tribal warrior, apparently descended from the same tribe as the Butcher. While keeping control over the pair of them he also was careful enough to give the pair of them enough freedom to operate that they were not hamstrung or hindered by micro-management. Through their alliance, the Butcher’s forces were able to advance through the Detroit Wasteland, carefully encircling Preah Khan’s without his realising it.
While they had staved off their own destruction, Durham Red and Black Alice had no intention of remaining subservient to the Butcher. Both of them began looking for ways to exert their independence from their new master or, at the very least, gain some degree of freedom. Durham Red found an avenue through Two-Suns; he found the Tribal warrior to be somewhat attractive and charismatic, making him an ideal target for seduction. What resulted was unexpected; Durham found himself falling for Two-Suns, the pair of them starting a passionate affair.
Using information provided by Alice and Durham, the Butcher was able to score her first major victory. Her forces ambushed an advance by Preah Khan’s own army, smashing his forces and driving him back from Chryslus Castle. As the rival warlord retreated, she pushed the initiative and drove on the castle itself, seeking to bring it under her control. This invasion very nearly succeeded, until a random sniper was able to kill the Butcher as she was on the verge of a critical breakthrough into the city itself.
This sudden turn of events threw her army into chaos. Deprived of their leader, its forces broke and ran, abandoning their efforts at conquest and instead focusing on their own survival. Black Alice did what she could to preserve her forces, rallying her troops and withdrawing back to their holdings, safe from retaliation by the Chryslus Castle forces. While they had suffered losses for no real gain, she had managed to keep her forces still relatively intact. Now she needed to deal with new challenges that had presented themselves in the aftermath.
The first was the discovery of his affair with Two-Suns by Black Alice. This revelation came by a most awkward means, as it came out that at the same time that Durham Red had been having an affair with the tribal warrior, he had also been carrying on one with Black Alice. As uncomfortable as this love triangle had become, however, it paled before the second issue.
One of the Butcher’s closest lieutenants, a man known as Hacksaw, had claimed control of her army. He demanded that Black Alice and Durham Red accept his authority and surrender themselves to him. The pair of them disagreed with this, having no desire to yield their autonomy and declare their allegiance after having just regained their independence. To their surprise, Two-Suns agreed with their judgment, apparently having no love for Hacksaw. They sent a message back, declaring their independence and warning Hacksaw against trying to bring them to heel while Preah Khan was still a threat.
Having sorted out this rivalry, the three of them also needed to sort out their own relationship. It was not easy; while both Alice and Durham had begun relationships with Two-Suns out of convenience, they both had developed an attraction to the man. Furthermore, they still were attracted and emotionally involved with each other. After much discussion, they reached an agreement to simply maintain a three-way relationship, one where all the partners would be equal.
As expected, Preah Khan did not pass up the opportunity presented to him by the Butcher’s death. He instead pressed into what was now Black Alice’s forces, seeking to claim her territory for his own. In turn, she launched her own drive south towards Park Lane, hoping to take the city for herself while leaving Preah Khan and Hacksaw to fight over Chryslus Castle. As she advanced, she approached the Raider gangs and other groups her forces encountered with a simple offer; join her army peacefully or be destroyed. The majority chose the former option, allowing Black Alice to rapidly expand her reach.
This move proved to be a sound one as Hacksaw and his army came under attack from an unexpected third party. A new warlord, calling themselves Bun-Bun the Destroyer, had entered the fray and started his advance into the Detroit Wasteland by going through Hacksaw’s forces. In short order, their former ally was crushed by Bun-Bun, with Hacksaw himself being killed at the Warlord’s own hands.
Assessing the situation, Black Alice reached the conclusion that Bun-Bun would likely go after Preah Khan next. This was a logical deduction based on the relative positions of the two forces, as well as the newcomer’s previous path. Of course, that she was trying to make logical assumptions about a man who wore a Power Armour suit and a rabbit mascot head did make such conclusions suspect. As such, she figured that sooner or later they would have to face Bun-Bun themselves, and had to devise their own plan to eliminate him.
As much as hated to admit it, their best counter to Bun-Bun came by chance. Exploration of newly-acquired territories yielded a most unexpected prize; a battered but functional T-45d Power Armour that had been stashed in a basement and sealed away at some point after the Great War. After some discussion, both Durham Red and Two-Suns agreed that Black Alice should be the one to operate the suit; she was the most technically literate of the three, and as such would likely get more out of it than they would.
Alice used what resources they had at their disposal to repair and modify the suit for what she saw as an inevitable conflict. As expected, Preah Kahn’s army engaged Bun-Bun’s, with the two groups proving to be initially equally matched. However, as Bun-Bun himself came to the fore, Preah Khan’s forces proved to be incapable of stopping him as expected. He was proving to be a decisive weapon in and of himself, with their forces having no way to stop his Power Armour. Eventually, Preah Khan was forced to yield the field, letting Bun-Bun advance straight towards her forces.
Knowing that she was their only effective counter, Black Alice threw herself into the forefront of their army. She personally engaged Bun-Bun, with their first clash proving to be somewhat indecisive. While her Power Armour was the superior of the two, Bun-Bun had a certain mania to him that gave him an edge. Eventually, the pair of them disengaged from each other and pulled back. And while it hadn’t been the decisive blow that Black Alice had hoped for, they had, for the first time, fought Bun-Bun to a standstill.
This clash would come to characterize their relationship. As much as their two armies were clashing with each other for control of the Detroit Wasteland, Bun-Bun seemed to be driven to personally defeat Black Alice. He would be at the forefront of his forces, throwing himself at her troops at every opportunity in order to lure her out. And she would, in turn, engage him, trying to put him down. Despite the protection that Alice’s suit offered, she was injured a number of times in these battles; her suit could only stop so much, especially when faced with Bun-Bun’s oft-frenzied Super Sledge blows.
However, Alice had learned from these engagements and how to exploit Bun-Bun’s seeming obsession. She launched a new offensive, deliberately putting herself at the forefront of her forces and deliberately making herself a target. Bun-Bun in turn chose to engage her, abandoning everything else. She lured him into an ambush, pinning him down with her forces before engaging him herself. During the battle, Alice was able to rupture Bun-Bun’s fusion core; the resultant explosion destroyed its suit and incinerated its occupant.
The threat of Bun-Bun was over, but his army still remained. While she had struck a blow, the truth was that Black Alice was still stuck in a quagmire, facing the forces of Preah Khan as well as what was left of Bun-Bun’s forces. Added to that, White Fang, one of Bun-Bun’s lieutenants, had taken control of a portion of much of his army, and was proving to be a more capable leader than Bun-Bun had been. While lacking his mania and sheer physical strength, they were more tactically astute and capable, and better at looking at the big picture rather than obsessively focus on a single target.
By the middle of 2187, the situation had become somewhat bleak. Black Alice’s forces had failed to make any significant advance, and instead the conflicts between the warlords had bogged down into almost static lines across the Detroit Wasteland. By this point, she, Preah Khan and the other warlords were more focused on each other with their dreams of conquest shelved indefinitely. The three settlements that had been their targets, Chryslus Castle, Park Lane and Grand Central, had largely remained untouched, and had almost become irrelevant to their conflicts.
Durham Red’s personal life was also suffering as the conflict dragged on. He, Black Alice and Two-Suns had come to a complex agreement regarding their three-way romance, where each was willing to give the others either the space or inclusion that they wanted at any given time. However, due to her focus on fighting Bun-Bun, Black Alice had less and less time for both of the two men. Consequently, Durham Red was in turn spending more time with Two-Suns, to the point where they were all but excluding Black Alice.
Their problems would come to a head in September of that year. During a break in one offensive, Black Alice and Two-Suns were engaged in discussion and planning for their next move. A lone scout from Preah Khan’s forces managed to infiltrate their perimeter and took up a position overlooking the pair. Not realising who he was observing, he took a shot at Two Suns, putting a bullet through his head. Alice was paralyzed, seeing one of her lovers not only die rather violently in front of her, but to have his blood and gore splattered on her face in the process. And while the scout was driven off before he could take a second shot, the damage had been done.
Two-Suns’ death was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Black Alice made it clear to Durham Red that she was simply done with everything; the warlords, the Detroit Wasteland, a war that was going nowhere and so on. She made it clear that she was going to abdicate her position and leave the ruined city. While she had no destination in mind, she also knew that she wanted to simply get away. She implored Durham Red to leave with her in the hope that they could renew what they once had together.
Instead, he made it abundantly clear that he intended to stay, and see this conflict out one way or another. While Two-Suns’ death had shocked him as well, there was a need within him to see this conflict through to its conclusion, regardless of what it might be. He saw her decision to leave as a betrayal, as if she was abandoning all that they had worked for. He made his case to her, but she seemed to be determined to leave no less. And so, she simply walked out of his life and the Detroit Wasteland as a whole.
Durham Red was left as the sole leader of their army, a position that he had previously effectively shared with Black Alice. And while he didn’t have the same need to personally engage White Fang as Black Alice had with Bun-Bun, the rival warlord was proving to be a capable foe. Compared to the large-scale, blunt engagements that characterised their engagements with Preah Khan’s army, White Fang preferred smaller scale and more mobile engagements that served to drag out his troops. In order to engage one of them, Durham Red needed to ensure he did not expose his forces to the other.
Despite the challenges that the situation represented, he threw himself into the problem with a certain drive and determination. Part of it came from a need to prove that he was a capable leader in his own right rather than just Black Alice’s right hand. He was determined to outdo her and end the conflict that had consumed the Detroit Wasteland, showing that he could do what she and the other Warlords had not.
Gambling on his assessment of Preah Khan’s goals, Durham Red pivoted his forces to focus on White Fang. His decision was based on several factors, chief among them was that White Fang had a smaller army than Preah Khan did, while also holding less territory. Parallel to this, Preah Khan was again trying to focus on taking one of the Detroit Wasteland communities, leaving his attention suitably distracted. While not fully stripping his forces from the Preah Khan front, Durham Red did begin rotating his troops and reorganising his forces to move on his new target.
In the spring of 2188, Durham Red launched his new offensive, with his forces pushing into White Fang’s territories en masse. At first, the force and numbers of his offensive seemed to work to his favor, as the White Fang’s outnumbered troops were either crushed or retreated in disarray. Durham Red quickly advanced deep into White Fang’s territories, while his forces suffered relatively light losses. Many of those were quickly made up with conscripting the prisoners taken from White Fang’s forces. For the moment, Durham Red was convinced that his victory was not only inevitable, but that it would also be swift in a stark contrast to the bloody, drawn-out meat grinders that had characterised the Warlords’ campaigns so far.
This success proved to be only short-lived, as White Fang rallied their forces in an effort to turn around the invasion. He dispersed them across his territories, adapting his tactics of small-scale invasive incursions while doing his utmost to avoid large-scale, set-piece battles. This adaptation served to favor his smaller but more mobile forces, as well as the more heavily built-up terrain that they were now fighting in. His forces harassed and stalked Durham Red’s, doing their best to slow the down and whittle their numbers.
Faced with this threat, Durham Red’s forces quickly bogged down. They were left chasing shadows and fighting an enemy that seemed to be both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The advance faltered, its rapid strides being turned into a bloody crawl. As the situation changed, Durham Red’s burning drive for conquest was sapped, replaced with a growing frustration and then, in turn, exhaustion. He still wanted to crush White Fang, but now was becoming ever increasingly dispassionate towards his goals.
None the less, he was still determined to end the conflict. He created a largely static line, his forces digging in and reinforcing what he had claimed, as if goading White Fang to try and reclaim it. At the same time, his forces adapted, becoming better at hunting down the small packs of troops that had so long harried his advance. White Fang’s forces were now being destroyed piecemeal, slowly wearing down his army while sapping the mobility that had until this point served him so well.
Convinced that White Fang was now on the back foot, Durham Red ordered his forces into a renewed advance aimed at eliminating his rival. Now the opposing Warlord’s forces were being ferreted out and killed before they could dig in and become persistent threats. Durham’s advance was still slow and bloody, however, with his forces paying dearly for every block they took. All of this took its toll on the Warlord, who was becoming ever increasingly melancholy and prone to depression, but no less determined to end this battle.
It was not until the middle of 2192 that the conflict finally ended. Durham Red’s forces had cornered White Fang, having depleted his forces and slowly crawled through most of his territory. Perhaps realising the depth of his situation, the Warlord chose to make a last stand against Durham’s forces. Holing up in an old bar, White Fang and his remaining men held off Durham Red’s assault for six hours before finally succumbing to the sheer weight of numbers and depletion of their own supplies.
Durham Red had conquered his rival, but the victory was a hollow one. Rather than the crushing victory he had hoped for, both his forces and those of his enemy had been bled white, leaving him with little to show for his win. What little was left of White Fang’s troops were absorbed into his ranks, but even then his numbers were well down on where they had been before the start of this offensive. Even White Fang’s territories yielded little reward; with how badly depleted his forces were, Durham Red was forced to abandon much of the other warlord’s former holdings in order to consolidate what he had left.
The only upshot to the whole fiasco was that Preah Khan had, for whatever reason, not taken advantage of the conflict to prey on Durham Red’s holdings. Taking a realistic, if fatalistic stance, Durham Red simply assumed that this was only a temporary situation and that, sooner or later, the rival Warlord would turn their attention towards his expanded holdings, protected as they were through a depleted and exhausted army. Rather than risk triggering another bloody conflict, Durham instead chose to once again dig in and simply prepare for the worst.
Instead, things took an unexpected turn. After another three years of relatively little action, the Warlords were shaken up when Preah Khan was deposed by one of his lieutenants, Jimmy Bones. Almost immediately, Preah Khan’s holdings and his armies divided, splitting between those loyal to Jimmy Bones, and those that supported Killmeister, another one of the former Warlords’ lieutenants. Fighting broke out between the two factions, even if they were for the moment only low-level skirmishes and landgrabs. However, it was clear that each of them wanted to be the sole heir to Preah Khan’s power.
Durham Red’s response to this opportunity was half-hearted at best, however. His forces made only limited attempts to opportunistically snatch up territory, and even then very little of what he gained was of any real value. Even after full-scale war erupted between Jimmy Bones and Killmeister, Durham Red still failed to capitalise on the situation in any meaningful way. While there were a number of factors behind this, including the relative exhaustion of his own troops and a desire not to provoke an aggressive response, much of his motivation for this inaction came down to his own malaise.
It was a decision that would come back to haunt him. While Durham Red stood by, Killmeister was able to defeat Jimmy Bones and somewhat reunify Preah Khan’s former army and holdings. Durham Red knew that his next move would be to eliminate his last rival. Rather than taking the offensive while Killmeister was reorganising his forces, however, Durham Red again squandered his opportunity and chose to dig in against what he saw as being inevitable. His forces were used to secure his holdings, but were now less driven by any desire to succeed but rather the fear of what would happen next.
Killmeister proved Durham Red’s predictions to be accurate as he launched his Spring 2199 offensive, aiming to be the last Warlord of Detroit by the end of the century. Durham Red’s forces did their best to hold them off, but were hampered not only by the superior numbers they faced, but also their ow collapsing morale and the indifference of their leader. Many chose to surrender, or simply abandon their posts and melt away into the Detroit Wasteland. Others fought to the death, succumbing to fatalism and dying in pointless last stands that achieved nothing beyond wasting lives.
In the middle of this, Durham Red simply waited for what he felt was inevitable. When Killmeister finally reached him, his plan was simple enough. Dosing up on a cocktail of Chems, he threw himself at the rival Warlord in a suicidal frenzy. It achieved nothing; Durham Red was simply cut down by Killmesiter’s forces.
Originally, Durham Red saw himself as being a pragmatist, one who did what he needed to do in order to survive. Being raised among raiders fostered an attitude that ethics and morals were secondary to survival, while cruelty and violence were useful tools. However, he did not adopt the ‘every man for himself’ attitude that is common to many raiders, nor did he lose himself to excesses. Rather, he saw value in cooperation and restraint, and learned to use them effectively. This sort of pragmatism was what moved him to form an alliance with Black Alice, and then willingly submit to the Butcher’s rule rather than being destroyed.
While they had originally formed an alliance of convenience, Durham Red genuinely loved Black Alice at first. While he saw a lot of himself in her, he also saw in her a way to escape the realities of his life. His relationship with Two-Suns had begun the same way, however like Black Alice, he soon came to love the Tribal warrior. As Black Alice lost herself more and more into her war with Bun-Bun, Durham Red found himself growing distant from her, while Two-Suns remained there for him regardless. The death of Two-Suns shocked him, leaving him unwilling to engage with Black Alice on anything other than a professional level.
After Black Alice left, he became somewhat burned out at a personal level. While he was still active as a warlord, he was doing very little other than continuing to wage a series of ever-increasingly pointless battles. He isolated himself from his men in order to avoid personal entanglements that could potentially hurt him, while turning to chems for release. He grew to regret his decision not to leave with Black Alice, and in some ways envied her. By the time he was killed by Killmeister he had taken on a somewhat fatalistic air, no longer caring if he lived or died.
In his prime, Duram Red was a tall, powerfully built and rugged man. His background and life experiences were etched on his features, which were lined and scarred, and yet he also had a certain handsome cast to them under the dirt and debris. He had thick, red hair, that had lent him his name, and wore a full beard for most of his adult life. Like many raiders, he also wore face-pant to give him a more ferocious demeanour.
During the later years of his life after the death of Two-Suns and the departure of Black Alice, he became somewhat haggard and worn. His chem addiction was clear on his features, which had become pinched and were accompanied by bloodshot eyes.
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