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"In ProtoSeifer's exact words, 'I'll control the world with fear. It takes too much to do it like my old man.' Not only is this kind of non-threatening coming from a blocky sprite or a girly man (take your pick depending on how much you can look past the graphics), but it doesn't make much sense. But I'm getting stuck on those pesky things like 'sense' and 'believable motivation' and missing the fact that we're just supposed to think ProtoSeifer is an intimidating and bad dude. Yeah. Not in that outfit."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy VII Part 6




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06.25.11

And so, our story begins…

Dear Diary,

First, I apologize for that pretentious title – I heard it in a strange dream I had this morning. The woman who said it sounded exactly like Madam Hooch from the Harry Potter movies and the Lady Cassandra from Doctor Who.  Weird. She also asked me if I was male or female, which was even weirder since I’m 100%, undoubtedly male.  I mean, I’m still a boy, but I’m pretty sure there are no girl parts here.

Anyway, I thought the title was quite appropriate, given that this is my first ever diary entry and all. Oh, my dear diary, you simply would not believe how shitty today was.  Well, every day is pretty much a giant heap of shit for me, since I’m an orphan living on the streets, but today just took the cake.  Where to begin?  Hmm, I guess a fucking bird SHITTING ON MY HEAD is a good place to start. Seriously — there I was, hanging out with my big sister in the downtrodden, snow-covered slum we call home, when a robin suddenly decided my forehead was the perfect place to empty its bowels.  As I regurgitated the crust of moldy bread I’d eaten for breakfast, Rose tried to tell me that having a bird crap on you is a sign of luck, like finding a four-leaf clover.  Somehow I doubt she’d be saying that if she’d been on the receiving end of the aforementioned piece of crap.  And, hard as it is to believe, the day only got worse from there.

While I tried to scrape the worst of the bird muck out of my hair, Rose stared at the majestic Castle Fairfax in the distance and started to talk longingly about what it would be like to live there, as she always did when we were cold and hungry.  That is to say, all the fucking time.  She tried to tell me all about the castle’s owner, Lord Lucien, and how lonely he must be since his wife and kid died.  Like I care about any of that, I wanted to say.  He’s not the one out here freezing his balls off while scrabbling around in the dirt for food, begging for gold and fending off drunken tramps.  I’m sure he’ll understand if I don’t send him a freaking sympathy card.

Now, Rose and I have had to grow up more quickly than most — living in poverty kind of does that to you.  This is the only life I can remember, and our parents died so long ago that I can’t even remember them (not that they were anyone important anyway).  The reason I’m telling you all this is so you understand why the two of us were so eager to listen to the weird old guy who claimed to be peddling “magical” items from his run-down trader’s caravan in the square.  Actually, Rose told me he was bullshitting us at first, but I knew she secretly wanted to believe, too — after all, magic has been gone from Albion for hundreds of years.  Our curiosity only increased when a mysterious old lady in a hooded robe appeared out of nowhere and declared “We live in grim times indeed if the young are too world-weary to believe in magic”.  Strangely, her voice was the one I’d heard in my dream, but I dismissed it as a coincidence.  My first mistake of the day.

Rose politely tried to make excuses to leave, but the creepy old lady just wouldn’t take the hint — she kept yammering on about a decrepit-looking music box being sold by “Mystical Murgo”.  According to her, the crummy old thing held more magical power than even the trader himself realized.  Thinking back, neither I nor Rose thought to ask her how she knew so damn much about all this, especially since she appeared to be blind.  The robed woman finished her mystical rambling with a beguiling “For five gold pieces, you could find out for yourself.”  Rose told her we could eat for a week for that amount, but I could already tell she was having second thoughts — after all, if we did stumble upon something truly magical, we’d never need to worry about food or gold again!  As she walked off into the snow, the woman dangled her carrot one last time, imploring Rose to think about “her dream” and “the inside of that beautiful castle”.  Unless she’d been eavesdropping on our earlier conversation, there’s no way she could have known about any of this.  But we didn’t let a silly little thing like that trouble us — we had to find five gold pieces for that shiny music box!  Even if it turned out to be a piece of junk, we could listen to its out-of-tune melody as we tried to ignore the hunger pangs and the bitter winter winds.  It was a win-win!

The first gold piece was easy enough to obtain — our old friend Derek the Guard had lost a bunch of arrest warrants, and needed somebody to find them.  He always was such a scatterbrain!  The next gold coin presented itself just as easily, and all we had to do to get it was pose for an eccentric gentlemen with a strange contraption he called a “camera”.  Now, this situation isn’t as disturbing as it probably sounds, diary — the man in question (Barnum, I think his name was) said he was an inventor, and needed to test out his new creation.  Apparently, this camera thingamajig creates an exact image of the person standing before it!  How amazing is that?  We are truly living in the age of innovation.  Unfortunately, I messed up the picture — while Rose struck a coquettish, inoffensive pose, I…well, farted.  Don’t blame me, diary — it was probably the brazier-roasted rat I ate for dinner last night.  Vermin just doesn’t seem to agree with my sensitive stomach.  Still, Barnum seemed happy enough to hand over the gold piece as he’d agreed, and even promised to show us the picture once the three months development time had passed.

So, two down, three to go.  This was even easier than we’d hoped to imagine! Wondering where to look next, we heard a commotion down one of the many alleys in the area.  Turned out one of the local bullies, Rex, had cornered a stray dog and was going to kill it.  Well, Rose didn’t like that idea at all.  Neither did I, but I was too scared to intervene.  Hey, the dude had a knife!  When Rose tried to remonstrate with the young ruffian, he straight-up headbutted her down to the ground.  Okay, I know the girl annoyed me at times, but she was my sister (yes, that’s “was”. More on that later), so I had to act.  I drew my wooden sword and went to town on that little punk.  Crappy as it was, the sword hurt him enough to send his ass running back to the alley he crawled out from, calling me a “nutter” as he left.  Rose thanked me for my help, but insisted she “could have taken him”.  Well, I’d have liked to see her accomplish that, seeing as she was out cold on the floor. More importantly, the dog we’d saved seemed quite taken with us, but we were forced to leave him behind because, duh, we were homeless – we couldn’t even afford to feed ourselves.  Plus, he probably had fleas, and I doubt the bedbugs in the hessian sack I called a bedroll would have wanted to share.

Our third gold coin was easiest of all to get — all we had to do was retrieve a recovering alcoholic’s bottle of booze.  Of course, we handed the bottle to his long-suffering wife instead.  We may have been street urchins, but we had morals too, you know — binge-drinking is an epidemic here in Albion.  After a quick beetle-extermination job, we received gold coin number four from a jittery warehouse owner.  Why someone with entomophobia would choose a career which involves spending long periods of time in dingy, beetle-infested places is beyond me.  But hey, we got a gold piece out of it, so I didn’t care if it made no sense.

On our way back to the square, we came across a peculiar scene — a hefty young guy was shouting up at a pretty young girl on a balcony.  Before long, her overbearing mother dragged her inside, forbidding her to ever speak to “that no-good delinquent Monty” ever again.  Now, we could see the guy needed our help.  All he asked was that we deliver a note to his beloved Belinda without her hideous mother seeing it.  Task accomplished, Belinda and Monty were free to run away and start a new life together.  Oh, and we got a gold piece for our trouble, too.  Not that we really cared about that — we were just happy we’d been able to help out two star-crossed lovers in whatever small way we could.  Our actions were entirely altruistic.  Honest!

Five gold coins in our sweaty little mitts, Rose and I made our way back to Mystical Murgo in order to buy our preciousss music box. When he handed it over, Murgo told us to make sure we used it somewhere quiet.  Well, our makeshift wooden shack seemed the perfect place!

Well, diary, you wouldn’t believe the disappointment we felt when the music box simply emitted some sparkly lights, spun around and exploded.  Our wishes didn’t come true, or so we thought.  Even more dejected than usual, Rose said we should go to bed.  I just wanted the day to be over with already, so I agreed with her, curling up next to the dog who had somehow found his way to our “home”.  I had only been asleep for half an hour or so when I was woken by the dog’s angry barking.  I could hardly believe the sight that awaited me — one of Lord Lucien’s personal guards had come to find us.  Apparently, Lucien very much wanted to meet us, and we were to be personally escorted to the castle!  Rose was so excited, bless her heart — she really thought her wish had come true.  Little did she know what lay in store…

We were greeted in the entrance hall by a butler named Jeeves.  Rose tried to “Ask” (ha ha!) what Lucien wanted with us, but he was suspiciously evasive as he led us through the grand hallways of the building.  Seeing it in person, I finally understood why Rose had been squeeing over it for so long — the place was truly awe-inspiring.  I found myself wondering what it would be like to live there, as my dear sister had so many times before.  As we neared Lucien’s study, Jeeves revealed that he spent most of his time studying history in there, books and documents relating to the Old Kingdom in particular.  Why, what a coincidence, I thought.  The music box we just bought was supposedly an Old Kingdom relic, too.  We’ll have to tell His Lordship all about it! Rose said as much out loud, to which Jeeves replied “Oh…yes, I believe Lord Lucien…heard about that.”  Thinking back, that should have set alarm bells ringing.  But you must understand, diary, we were so excited at the thought of meeting Lord Lucien himself that we were too giddy to pay much attention to anything else.

After showing us in, Jeeves left the room.  Lord Lucien was incredibly handsome.  In fact, I felt a strange feeling when I first cast my eyes upon him.  What was this feeling, diary?  I so wish I could understand it.

The first thing Lucien asked us was about the music box.  In fact, that’s all he seemed interested in, and when Rose told him it had vanished after we activated it, his eyes lit up.  He told us he was working on something amazing, and that we might be just the people he needed to help him.  He very nicely asked us to stand in a big circle inscribed on the floor.  Even though we thought it was a strange request, we did as he asked — if we helped him out, maybe he would let us live in the castle!

Then something strange happened.  As soon as we stepped inside the circle, it lit up with a weird blue light and we heard some mystical choral chanting.  Well, maybe I just imagined the last part.  Lucien seemed as shocked as we were, as he gasped “It’s true…your blood…you are Heroes!”  Well, that’s one thing I NEVER expected to hear.  By now, both Rose and I thought the poor guy was nuts, probably having descended into insanity after the tragic deaths of his wife and child.  But he seemed to truly believe what he was saying.  He reached out and touched the light being emitted from the circle, which then turned red.  This only seemed to reinforce what he’d been saying, because he rushed over to his bureau and started frantically leafing through one of his books.  “You’re heroes…but you’re not any of the three…one of you is the fourth…” he whispered, a crazed look in his eyes.  Rose was getting scared, and asked him what was wrong.  His response was to — forgive me, diary, I’m still having trouble accepting what happened — pull out a gun and shoot her in the heart.  Yes, just like that.

I stood there in that circle, helpless, as my only family in the world suffered a strangely-bloodless death right in front of me.  But my ordeal wasn’t over yet.  Pointing the gun at me, Lucien said “I’m sorry…but I cannot allow you to live either.”  My short, impoverished life flashed before my eyes…

Fairfax Castle has a magnificent stained-glass window, which Rose had often admired.  I didn’t think much of it when that bastard Lucien shot me through it.  I fell all the way to the streets below, but miraculously, I survived.  Drifting in and out of consciousness, I was aware of the rustling of robes, a familiar dog licking my hand, and a wise female voice telling me “Death is not your destiny today, little Sparrow.”

Yes, it was the weird old lady who had convinced us to buy the damn music box.  It would have been easy to blame her gypsy ass for this whole mess, but she did save my life, so I probably shouldn’t be ungrateful.  As she put me to rest in a strange bed, she told me her name was Theresa, and that one day she would help me avenge Rose’s death.  Quite how she would do that, being about a hundred years old, I had no idea, but I didn’t question her — I just hoped she would shut up and let me get some shut-eye.

I’m still in that bed as I write.  Apparently I’m in a gypsy camp on the edge of Bower Lake, which is far enough away from Bowerstone that I don’t have to worry about that gun-toting bastard Lucien coming after me to finish the job.  Theresa seems to think he believes me to be dead, but I’m not so sure.  She’s also babbling something about my heroic destiny, like I care about that shit — I just want to get better so I can go after Lucien’s ass and stick something long and pointy up it.  Not like that.

Well, I’ll try to write again soon, diary.  Hopefully, I’ll know what the fuck is going on by then, but I won’t hold my breath.

Ben “Sparrow” Recapiere, Bower Lake Gypsy Camp

[Author’s note:  I think it’s important to point out three things – first, my character is (obviously) going to be gay.  Second, he’s about 12 years old (give or take a year or two) during this part of the game.  And finally, the Fable universe’s Albion is heavily based on olde-worlde England. So, this could be the first time in VGR’s history that one of the recappers is actually playing as a 12 year-old British homo.  Now, there’s no way to tell how small Sparrow’s penis is, and there’s no option for whacking off in the game, but I still think this is pretty damn close.  The haters were right about us all along!]

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Posted by Ben

4 Responses to “And so, our story begins…”

  1. Jeanne Says:

    Yay!

    Holy freaking crap, I was so excited when I saw this. Fable II is such a perfect game for VGR. I can’t wait to see which choices you make along the way.

    So, this could be the first time in VGR’s history that one of the recappers is actually playing as a 12 year-old British homo.

    Golden.

  2. MintWhelp Says:

    Weird… Is it just me, or that Lucien guy sort of looks like Robbie Rotten?

    Now, I’ll always envision him like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NKvq5283Tg

  3. Ben Says:

    Holy freaking crap, I was so excited when I saw this. Fable II is such a perfect game for VGR. I can’t wait to see which choices you make along the way.

    Thanks! I stumbled upon the game last year almost by accident, and it quickly became one of my favourite time-sinks ever. Toying with the fickle and insane NPCs of Albion never gets old.

    Now, I’ll always envision him like this

    Uh…wow. I have no idea what I’ve just watched, but he does kinda look like Lucien. Weird.

  4. Aja Says:

    Hurrah! Another Recapiere diary! First-person recaps are so fun.

    I’m not familiar with the Fable games, but this has me thoroughly intrigued. Perplexed and intrigued.

    …And Lucien should know better than to believe that you’re dead. It’s common knowledge by now that falling from a great height will nullify otherwise-fatal wounds.

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