This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross

Bloody Mary

“Faisel Khan is the bloke that runs things in Leicester. I heard he’s hiring mercenaries to fight Bloody Mary. No way would I take her on – she’s a fucking psycho bitch. Her troops went through a village near Market Harborough a couple of weeks ago. The word is the villagers wouldn’t pay her “tax” so she butchered the guy in charge and his entire family. They didn’t die quick either.”

Pub landlord overheard talking to a customer, the Old Horse Pub, Leicester, June 2000

The area to the south and east of Leicester is the home to a powerful marauder group led by a woman who is known throughout the region as Bloody Mary, a reference to Queen Mary I, who, as Queen of England, had nearly three hundred religious dissenters burned at the stake during her five year reign. Mary’s real name is Anna Stanton. Born in Nottingham in 1975, she was a student nurse at the outbreak of the Twilight War. Like many she fled Nottingham in the aftermath of the November 1997 nuclear strike on London, a decision that probably saved her life as Nottingham was consumed by nuclear fire in early December. Christmas found Anna living in a refugee camp outside Loughborough with her sister Kate and several thousand other survivors of the attacks on Nottingham and Derby. Their parents had not been so lucky; unwilling to leave their home, both died in the Nottingham attack.

Conditions in the camp were bleak, with lawlessness rife. A small detachment of Home Service Force troops were responsible for maintaining order, but many of them had only been recruited in the three months leading up to the nuclear exchanges, and they lacked equipment, experience, and leadership. Anna’s nursing skills were put to good use, as she worked anything from twelve to sixteen hours a day in the camp’s makeshift hospital, where many of the patients were condemned to die a lingering death from radiation sickness. Drugs were in short supply so in many cases the best that the medical staff could do was make their patients as comfortable as possible. When she wasn’t at the hospital Anna tried to look after Kate. Her sister was only seventeen, should have been enjoying life, should have been thinking about University, about boys, about the future. Instead every day was a struggle for survival.

Kate was attacked the day after Christmas, what would normally have been Boxing Day, but in the camp was just another day. Making her way back to the tent she shared with Anna and nearly a dozen others she was grabbed from behind, dragged into a space between two tents and brutally raped by a member of the Home Service Force, men who were supposed to protect her. When he was done he simply walked away, leaving her there. She had no idea how long she lay in the dirt, half naked, alone. Eventually she found her way back to her own tent, but every time she closed her eyes she could see her attacker’s face. She couldn’t sleep. Anna stole some pills from the infirmary’s meagre stocks. The pills helped Kate to sleep.

Days passed. Kate wouldn’t leave the tent. Anna nursed her as best she could. Kate described her attacker. Older, in his forties maybe, with dark hair, a moustache. Three stripes on his rank insignia, a sergeant. As she held Kate one thought kept turning over in Anna’s mind. Revenge. She wanted the man who had hurt her sister to pay for his crime. Anna sought out the commander of the HSF troops, an overweight, overage Royal Logistics Corps Lieutenant. The man just shrugged. No evidence, no proof. He was too busy. What did she expect him to do?

On the 10th of January 1998 Kate took her own life. An overdose of pills. An escape from the horrors of the camp. She left Anna a note saying she had gone to join Mummy and Daddy. Anna cried until she had no tears left to shed. Then she stole a knife. She sought out the sergeant first. There were places in the camp that couples went, places where they could be alone. Places where total strangers went to fuck, to try and forget the horrors of the War for five minutes, ten, thirty. She caught the Sergeant’s eye one day. Smiled at him. A whispered suggestion to meet her at one of those places. It was an invitation he couldn’t refuse. He couldn’t believe his luck as he touched her. Anna couldn't understand it. There were plenty of women who would have went with him willingly. Why had he had to rape Kate? It made no sense. She reached for the knife. He would never touch another woman. Afterwards, as he lay dead, his throat cut, his eyes wide open in surprise, Anna was surprised how easy it had been. Then she mutilated his corpse. The fat lieutenant was next. He had denied her justice. She slipped into his tent. Unseen. He was eating his dinner. The fat bastard. People were starving, people he was supposed to protect. He tried to rise, to defend himself, but she was too quick for him. The knife plunged into his heart. Over and over. When it was done, she left the camp, never to return.

She walked south for several days until she encountered a small gang of marauders operating near Market Harborough. Her hands and clothes still covered in the dead soldiers’ blood, there was something about her that unnerved the marauders. She joined their band. They called her Bloody Mary, the first time that sobriquet was applied to her. Several days after she joined them the leader tried to force himself upon her. She smiled. As his fingers fumbled with the buttons of her jeans she plunged her knife into him. Again and again. Blood everywhere. As the man lay dying she mutilated him as well. Shortly afterwards she became the group’s leader. No one challenged her.

Mary’s group has grown steadily since then, absorbing several smaller groups and gaining fresh recruits, and is currently approximately two hundred and fifty strong. At the end of 1999 they seized the small town of Oakham, which was almost equidistant between Leicester and Peterborough. Most of the town's inhabitants fled, making their way to either Peterborough or Leicester, leaving the marauders in full control of the town (less than fifty of Oakham's original residents remain, most of them elderly people who have lived in the town for their entire life; so long as they offer no resistance they are generally left alone by the marauders; indeed Mary exiled several members from the group after she found out they had been victimising one elderly couple). They have fortified their positions at Oakham, fashioning improvised barricades, with the approaches to the town always guarded. The marauders also have control of Oakham Water, the second largest reservoir of drinking water in England.

The group roams throughout the region terrorising local communities and demanding “tribute” in the form of food, water, alcohol fuels, or other items of value. Mary tolerates no opposition, those who cannot – or will not – are dealt with swiftly and harshly. Troops from the Leicester Defence Force have fought several clashes with Mary's group, most recently in April when they launched an attack on their stronghold at Oakham, but the marauders have always come off best, seizing weapons and equipment from the troops in the process. Consequently, they are reasonably well armed, with numbers of L2A3 Sterling SMG’s and L1A1 SLR’s as well as civilian hunting rifles and shotguns and police issue MP5 SMG’s, although ammunition is in short supply. They have several civilian vehicles, including a Land Rover Discovery SUV and a minibus as well as two military Land Rovers and an FV603 Saracen APC taken from the troops sent from Leicester. All of their vehicles are alcohol fuelled.

Five feet seven inches tall, slim, and dark haired, Bloody Mary is a torn and twisted individual.  She has a well deserved reputation for mercilessness and cruelty, and is greatly feared throughout the region, with even the hint that her band is in the vicinity enough to cause panic. Whilst she carries an MP5 submachine gun, Mary prefers to look into the eyes of those that she is about to kill and her preferred weapons are a knife and the knife that she used to kill the HSF sergeant and the Army lieutenant in January 1998. She has a particular hatred for soldiers, feeling that they betrayed her and her sister in the camp. Unknown to anyone however, is the fact that she still carries Kate's suicide note in the pocket of her jeans and perhaps somewhere deep within her tormented soul linger vestiges of the student nurse called Anna Stanton.