The Hero’s Journal, Entry Twenty-Two: Confidence Man

Age: 29
Alignment: devious
Family: scattered

It’s time to put the sting on Lady Grey. I’ve got to earn her trust and charm her a little to learn the whereabouts of the Archaeologist, then I can turn up the heat. I make my way to Bowerstone North.

You’re goddamned right I am! (enlarge)

The chief of police introduces himself. Lets me know that famous Hero or not, he won’t tolerate trouble on the north side. The shadow of Orchard Farm is hard to get out of.

Well then, let’s not keep the Lady waiting.

The last time we met, I was standing over the bones of her dead sister. Yet Grey is as cool as a rock troll. She resumes trying to work her wiles on me.

Ms. Grey, are you trying to seduce me?

You and Thunder deserve each other.

She claims that she’s instructed her spies to find the Archaeologist’s location, but it will take a few days. Alright, I can play this part for that long. I seek out some counsel from Grey’s enemies, who know her better and want to help me pull the wool over her eyes.

My romance advisor. She works for Grey, and knows just what pitfalls have wrecked past suitors.

My legal advisor. He’s helping me to assemble my case against Grey, for when the time is right. Yes, he is in a cell.

The following day, Lady Grey explains her predicament.

Just say the word and he’s balverine food.

She wants me to clarify matters by fighting Thunder for her hand. Hahaha, lady, I’d do it even if I weren’t on a mission to ruin you.

Thunder, me ole chum.

You sure about that? Because your Lady is the one who asked me to come kick your ass.

He challenges me to a duel on Headsman’s Hill. Fair enough, I’m not averse to some heavy-handed symbolism.

I’ll have you know that the only farm I have ever set foot on was the one I raided with bandits.

Thunder turns out to be sort of a one-trick pony. He’ll leap and spin and slash with his sword, but if evaded for an attempt or two he always resorts to his signature gimmick, a channeled Will attack which generates an expanding lightning field from his sword.

He’s not the only one who can do lightning tricks.

I wear him down quickly. He knows he can’t win this fight, and that makes him desperate.

Buddy, I don’t even WANT her.

Dodge roll disabled for the duration of this cutscene.

He blindsides me with a charge that knocks both of us over a ledge. Now I’m pissed; these fancy clothes I bought are ruined.

When we are done here I’m sending you my dry-cleaning bill.

Am I getting through to you yet?

I’ll take that as a “no”.

He retreats into a cavern. This brawl has lost its charm for me. I follow him in.

Well there’s nowhere left for you to run away to, so yeah, looks like.

I find myself starting to feel sorry for the guy as he starts charging up his lightning field again. He really doesn’t have any other tricks in the bag. It must be hard being an aging Hero; your glories behind you, your body failing, your techniques fading into obsolescence. I think I understand now why Thunder never liked me. I am, and always have been, his replacement.

Charging up a big attack there, Thunder?

Then I remember that I’m doing him a favor by saving him from a life of being tied to Lady Grey and take the shot.

Too slow.

The old Hero capitulates. He’ll stay away from Lady Grey from now on, he says.

Maybe tell her that, the next time you see her. And apologize for all your criticism over the years.

I make my way back to town and dry off. News of the fight’s outcome has already run ahead of me.

Yeah, whatever. Now about that Archaeologist.

Lady Grey informs me that it turns out that the Archaeologist was in the town jail, but that she’s arranged for his release. She’s eager to talk wedding plans. I tell her that will have to wait, because I’m off to hand over evidence against her to the chief of police. Lady Grey sputters like a fish out of water when surprised.

On the way, my romance advisor stops me.

Maybe I didn’t explain the plan clearly.

Nevermind, you’ll see in a minute here.

My heart breaks for her, but I’m a married man already.

If you really have to.

Maybe once this adventure is over. Let me get back to you in a week or two.

I bid my other accomplice farewell.

Don’t let it go to your head.

Face says it all, really.

Damn it! I tipped my hand too soon. I’d love to go after her, but I need to secure the Archaeologist first. Who knows what revenge she might have arranged on short notice. I hurry to the cells.

Idiots!

They’ve already taken him. And by “they”, I mean whatever the hell this is:

These guys are BASTARDS.

They also come in Cool Ranch Caster flavor:

I hate casters.

I fight my way through, chasing after the prisoner. This is easier said than done, because one of them summons a rock troll in my way.

I hate casters SO MUCH.

Battered and bleeding, I catch up with the Archaeologist and escorts just as they’re reaching the docks. I thank my lucky stars that the means of teleportation these things use doesn’t seem to be able to move a human prisoner. They need to put him on an actual boat. There’s still time.

After this I’m fitting this guy with a LoJack.

At least a dozen of these creatures teleport in to stop me as I slash my way down the hill after him. I can’t let them get away; my mother’s freedom depends on it. Finally the last of Jack’s minions explodes in a magical burst of color, and it’s just me alone with the Archaeologist.

Look, there’s no need to go pointing fingers here.

He tells me what I need to know: how to sneak into Bargate Prison.

Yeah, that sounds about right. I’ve been spending a lot of time with the dead lately.

Well thanks for nothing, asshole.

The way forward is clear. I’m gonna go to this cemetery, dig up every grave and smash open every crypt until I find the secret passage, break into the prison and rescue my mother. She’s practically a free woman already.

Next time on The “Heroic” Adventures of Hood…

Hood solves an ancient mystery that has stumped the greatest minds of Albion for generations in about ten minutes.

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