This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross
A largely rural area with an economy focused on agriculture, fishing, and textiles, the total pre War population of the Scottish Borders was just over 100,000. This figure grew dramatically in the immediate aftermath of the Black Thursday nuclear exchanges as large numbers of people moved into the region from the Edinburgh area. Whilst some of the refugees were welcomed into the Border Communities, with resources in short supply many locals were opposed to the sudden influx of newcomers and formed armed groups to resist them. Many police officers were sympathetic to the local population, on several occasions siding with them against the refugees. Whilst they initially concentrated their efforts on opposing the refugees, over the course of time some of these groups also began to raid other communities, taking food, water, and other essential supplies.
The largest and most powerful of these groups are the Border Reivers; originally
formed as a town militia to protect the border towns of Hawick and Kelso, they take
their name from the original Border Reivers, raiders who were active in the region
between the 13th and 17th Centuries (the word “Reive” is an early English word meaning
to rob). Just over two hundred strong, they are led by a local man named Robert Armstrong.
Sixty four years old, Armstrong's family have owned a several hundred hectares of
farmland just outside Hawick for generations, and he was a prominent figure in the
town. His farmhouse now heavily fortified, forms the Reviers' headquarters. Many
of the Reivers knew Armstrong before the War -
The Reivers have brought a degree of stability to the region, and enjoy a good deal
of support in the local area, particularly in their home towns of Hawick and Kelso,
where many people view them as militia who are defending the towns from refugees
and others who would steal their resources given the chance, and they can call on
reinforcements from the populations of both towns should the need arise. The Reivers
are a well disciplined force; in an attempt to keep the area clear of refugees and
other marauder groups, they will usually deal harshly with refugees entering the
area from other parts of Scotland, turning them back by force if necessary, and the
Reivers have earned a reputation for brutality that is not unfounded. They are less
likely to use violence as a first resort against their fellow Borderers however,
so in the event that taxes are unpaid or they are otherwise challenged -
The Reivers also control much of the overland trade between Southern Scotland and Northern England along the East Coast, with those passing through the territory controlled by them required to pay a tax in exchange for safe passage. It is not uncommon to find Reiver patrols operating anywhere up to twenty miles from Hawick and Kelso. Robert Armstrong himself rarely rides with the Reivers when they are out and about, tending instead to remain within his farmhouse whilst the raids are led by his eldest son, thirty eight year old Garry, who effectively serves as his second in command.
With his family having owned land in the Hawick area for generations, Robert Armstrong emerged as a natural leader within the community in the aftermath of the 1997 nuclear exchanges, helping to organise the formation of what would become the Border Reivers. Privately however Armstrong has been working towards his own agenda, with his ambition to control all of the Scottish borders. An even tempered, rational individual, Armstrong has been instrumental in ensuring that the Reivers have remained disciplined and organised (he ordered the banishment of two Reivers who raped a woman near Selkirk at the start of the Year). He will be keen to meet any military personnel entering the area, with a view to recruiting them into the Reivers.
An occasional visitor to the Free City of Newcastle, Armstrong is on good terms with
Kevin Morgan, one of the so called "Three Kings" who control most of Newcastle. He
has also become aware of the Republic of Scotland proclaimed by Alex Stewart, although
for the moment he is not overly concerned by it, for he knows that it is likely to
be many months -
are strong enough to enter the Borders region, so for the moment he is content to keep a wary eye on events further north, sending out occasional scouting parties which have reached as far north as the outskirts of Edinburgh (unknown to Armstrong, Alex Stewart has been doing exactly the same thing, with long range patrols from the Republic of Scotland's armed forces having entered Reiver territory several times in the past few months to carry out covert reconnaissance).
Born in 1940, Armstrong spent three years as a National Serviceman in the British
Army, serving from 1959 to 1962 before leaving the Army and returning to Hawick to
oversee the running of the family farm. He married his wife Margaret in 1963 (the
two had known each other since they were children) and their first son Garry was
born in 1965. The couple have two other children -
The Border Reivers is a collaborative work between myself and Sean Nolan.