Natasha Ivanovna Plekhanova lived a simple life out on the edges of the Eastern Waste of the United Republics of the Red Star. She had a small house which she used as a base, spending a great deal of her time running the lines of traps she had set for fox and sable. She slept most nights out under the stars. Only returning home when her sledge, in the winter, or her travois, in the summer, was full.
Once home she spent her time cleaning the hides and preparing them for the traders that came by the town of Shrokyoi Pyatna that was two days travel from her house. Not that Shrokyoi Pyatna was much of a town. Three buildings. One a bar, one a general store, and one a train station for the trains that thundered by.
When she got to town on her twice yearly trips, she scrupulously avoided talking to anyone except the lead trader and the proprietor of the general store. The trader to make a deal for her pelts, the storekeeper to purchase the few supplies she needed. Ammunition for her rifle and shotgun, salt, a large bag of sugar, wool yarn, a single bottle of vodka. She made sure to arrive on the rainiest or coldest days she could to keep from accidentally meeting fellow travelers in passing and never removed her hat or her scarf. In the store she asked for things by pointing with one gloved hand and she always merely nodded or shook her head during the negotiations with the traders.
The quality of her furs was always excellent and she paid the store in gold so neither trader nor storekeeper bothered her with any talking. Most individuals had no idea of her name or gender and simply called her "Ochotnyk", "The Trapper". Sometimes a bright young fool would get the idea that there might be even more gold wherever she lived or on her person. They would follow her into the vast woods and if they were lucky, would merely get lost and not killed by the weather or wildlife.
At home she spent her time making and repairing her clothes with bone needles and gut thread or knitting socks and mitten liners, preparing her hides, tending her small garden, and hoping that eventually some of her memories would fade.
Each night, whether she was on the hunt or at her small cabin, she said a prayer to Pravda the Goddess and Spirit of Truth, so that she would protect those that had fallen where Natasha had not. Every New Year and Mid-Summer's Eve she opened up a bottle of vodka and drank it dry while toasting her fallen comrades and weeping. The next morning, still red-eyed and sick, she would head out to the woods and begin trapping again.
And so she lived. Solitary and sad amid the beautiful desolation of the Eastern Wastes. Occasionally members of the Red Fleet would pass through her area on training and survival exercises, but they never knew she or her cabin were there. She made well sure of that. But even those intrusions were extremely rare. Where she was, no one else wanted to be. It really was as simple as that.
That said, it was no wonder that she was completely surprised to find the body of a young woman, naked and badly burned, laying in the snow across her path.a/n
The World of the Red Star created and masterminded by Chris Gossett and Archangel Studio.