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"Okay, back to the boring mine dungeon. I know that descriptor is unnecessary, since when have we ever had an interesting mine dungeon?"
     -Jeanne, Skies of Arcadia Part 8

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Bandits, bards, and blind fortune tellers piss me off.

Dear Diary,

Well, it’s been quite a while since my last entry — ten years, to be precise. Oops!  I guess I just got sidetracked, or spent a whole lot of time procrastinating.  Not that a descendant of the fabled recappers would ever do such a thing, you understand.

The strange thing is, I don’t actually remember anything that happened during that time — it’s all a black blur.  Almost like I never experienced the entire decade at all!  Weird, huh?  Anyway, today was apparently my birthday, and as soon as I awoke in the…uh…”cozy” caravan the gypsies had been so kind to provide me, Theresa told me to come visit her on the wooden bridge overlooking the camp.  With my trusty pooch (who I’d affectionately nicknamed “Fucker”) at my side, I made my way through the camp and met with Theresa, who hadn’t changed her clothes in the ten years since we’d first met.  Those robes must have things living in them by now. 

Theresa told me that the day had finally come for me to set out on my quest of vengeance.  She also advised me to check out the chest in front of my caravan, into which she’d deposited a few items that “might prove useful”. These so-called “useful items” turned out to be a rusty sword and crossbow, a placebo health potion (no, really, it actually had “placebo” written on it!!) and a spade.  Thanks, Theresa!  I may not be able to cut off Lucien’s head with the rusty sword, but I can probably infect him with tetanus instead!

The final gift Theresa had for me was a mysterious emblem she called the Guild Seal.  She said all the Heroes used to carry them, like that’s of any use to me.  Maybe they’re the heroic equivalent of a member’s card?  She also said something about being able to speak to me through it.  Oh hell no, I felt like telling her.  Sure, I don’t mind you getting in touch to tell me how to solve a difficult puzzle or to tip me off about a hidden item somewhere, but I seriously DO NOT want your ancient voice chiming in to nag me about something when I’m at a critical moment with some hot young adventurer I met on the road. Still, it could be worse — I could have an annoying fairy flying around my head and pointing out the blindingly-obvious, for instance.  How irritating would that be?

Not taking the hint that I would very much like her to stop talking now, Theresa pointed out a decrepit old tomb on a small island in the middle of Bower Lake.  Apparently, my true powers would be unlocked there, or something.  I wasn’t really paying attention.  I was told to seek out the “Chamber of Fate” before she finally left me alone and went off to do…well, whatever it is she does whenever she’s not handing out tiresome lectures to prospective Heroes.  Before setting out for the tomb, I decided to rest in my caravan awhile – all that talk from Old Mother Hubbard had rendered me virtually comatose anyway.

En route to my caravan, I discovered something peculiar — I’d somehow gained the ability to “read” the people I interacted with.  Almost like pressing a button, I could instantly see a person’s name, occupation, sexual preference, personality traits, favourite places, and so on.  But that’s not all.  I could also determine how likeable, funny, and attractive they found me.  This was one thing I was thankful to that old hag for — this way, I could weed out the wankers I came across on my journey straight from the get-go instead of wasting my time trying to impress complete asshats.  Being a hero has its benefits after all!  I scoped out the talent in the camp, but the only gay gypsy I could find had a not-at-all-fabulous porno ‘tache and looked like a carnival worker, so I headed back to my bed.  Alone, I hasten to add.

Refreshed and brimming with energy, I was almost ready to head for the tomb.  Well, I decided to do a little exploring of Bower Lake and its surrounding lush scenery first.  Oh, diary, we had an amazing time, Fucker and I.  He even sniffed out several buried treasures for me, including a blueberry pie and a condom!  As the sun went down over the lake, I finally made my way across the water to the tiny island the tomb stood upon.  There was a strange lock in the door, which my newly-acquired Guild Seal fitted perfectly into.  How convenient!

The tomb was much, much bigger on the inside than it was on the outside, and absolutely crawling with huge, flying beetles.  Luckily, I was able to smash them to pieces with a huge hammer I found lying around, avoiding an embarrassing death on my first real adventure.  Phew!  Aside from this, my trek through the labyrinthine caves beneath the tomb was quite uneventful — until I reached the Chamber of Fate, that is.

Not even giving me a chance to take in my surroundings, Theresa’s voice came through on the shiny walkie-talkie she’d given me, informing me I stood in all that remained of the once-great Heroes’ Guild.  Apparently, about five hundred years ago the Heroes got all big-headed about their powers, and so the little people (ordinary human beings, diary, not dwarves) revolted and burned down the Guild.  Um, go people power, I guess?  I’m supposedly one of the handful of Heroes that are still around, and by stepping into a pillar of light in this room, I could harness my true power.  Well, I could, if Theresa would stop yapping for two minutes.  She just kept on talking, telling me all about my forebear, whoever the hell he was.  I sure as hell never knew him, so how important could he really be to me?  Diary, it was so boring. I just wanted to go kill something, preferably Lucien.  And by the time she’d finished her monologue, I was this close to adding Theresa to my “People I’m going to shoot through stained-glass windows once I get my castle” list, too.

Eventually I was able to step into the light, and immediately felt an immense strength course through my veins.  Theresa told me this was because my blood was awakening, which was the exact opposite to what my brain was doing every time she spoke to me.  She then instructed me to choose a few abilities to learn (apparently this happens psychically, and not, like, through a menu or something equally ridiculous).  I chose the following skills:

Blades: This magic spell “creates magical swords to impale [my] enemies”, and I’m all about magical phallic weapons.

Block: Defending against physical attacks is a no-brainer.  Hey, those flying beetles can pack a real sting!

Roll: I need to be able to get away from my enemies (and women) quickly.

Well, it was quite fortunate that I’d chosen to learn a magic (sorry, I mean Will) ability, since the exit required magic to activate it.  Without further ado, I aimed a well-charged magical penis at the switch and stepped out into the moonlight and fresh air.  Yes, I’d been in that Goddamn tomb for quite some time.  Not that I could rest yet — Theresa called me up once-a-fucking-gain and advised me to head to Bowerstone.  For obvious reasons, that shithole was pretty much the last place in Albion I wanted to visit, but since the Queen of Ethereal Monologues had decreed it I had little choice.

Upon reaching the entrance to the city, however, I hit a literal roadblock.  The guard told me that nobody was being allowed into the city due to the nefarious deeds of the bandit lord, Thag.  Well, I’d never heard of this guy, so he can’t have been that important, but Theresa wisely (!) pointed out that I could only get into Bowerstone by taking him out.  Resigned to my new mission, I started off in the direction of his camp.  But wait!  I saw a gypsy approaching, with a little white heart above his head, no less.  Yes, it was the gay gypsy from earlier, and it seemed he’d taken quite a shine to me, given that he’d followed me all the way here from our camp.  Maybe he’d heard about my huge magical penises?

Diary, you wouldn’t believe the nerve of this guy.  Having never spoken a word to me in my life until now, “Kieran the Gypsy” walked up to me and demanded we “take a little trip together”!  How preposterous. A hero doesn’t romance just anyone, you know!  I told him this much (through the medium of slapping), which he didn’t take kindly to.  Unfortunately for him, a group of flying beetles attacked at that very moment and plowed through him on their way to me, so I guess I’ll never know what he was about to say.  I’m sure I’ll get over it, though.

Gypsy admirer no longer an issue, I headed for Thag’s camp.  God, it looked a mess.  And the stink of the place!  As soon as the foul stench pervaded my nostrils, I knew Theresa had been right in ordering me to take out these guys.  I mean, I know a bandit camp isn’t going to have en-suite showers and spa facilities, but the place is right next to the freaking lake — these people have no excuse to be so unclean.  Oh, and they, like, attack people and stuff too, and that’s also wrong.  Death to the bandit scum!

Able to divert my mind from the awful aroma for a moment, I noticed the place was suspiciously deserted.  Right on cue, Theresa’s reverb-addled voice made an unwelcome contribution, warning me “It may be a trap. Keep your wits about you”.  Oh my God, I never would have expected a trap.  Thanks again, Theresa!  Before long, I came across several cages housing kidnapped gypsies, and a large cabin a short distance away.  A bunch of bandits made an ambush, but I made swift work of them with my huge hammer and pointy phalluses of doom.

Seeing his men desecrated, Thag himself emerged from his cabin and kicked poor Fucker right in the snout!  Well, diary, it was game on — nobody hurts my dog and lives to tell the tale.  Taking out the big guy with a well-aimed blade to the face, I retrieved the key to the cages and set the captive gypsies free.  Fortunately, neither of them got up in my grill demanding I take them on a date, instead choosing to run away as fast as their legs could carry them.  Oh, and I also got Thag’s head as a trophy.  Nice.  I simply can’t wait to hang it in my caravan, perhaps on the statement wall.  It’ll accentuate the contrasting colours perfectly!

Alas, interior design would have to wait — with the road to Bowerstone opening again, I had no excuse for not hauling ass over there.  As soon as I stepped through the gates, I was accosted by yet another annoying moron.  This one, a bard named Roland, creamed his corn at the sight of “the Hero of Bower Lake”, so I guessed I was getting a reputation already.  He told me he was in the process of composing a song about me, and it’s probably for the best that I don’t repeat it, lest I besmirch your innocent pages with its pungent shittiness.  It got worse — Roland decided that walking around Bowerstone with me would inspire him to write yet more odes to my heroic prowess.  No!!!

As I explored the large market district (which is considerably nicer than the old town slum Rose and I grew up in), the wandering tard followed me like a lost puppy, regaling me with his terribad ditties all the way.  I eventually shook him off in front of the Cow & Corset, Bowerstone’s only pub (something tells me I’ll be spending a lot of time in there).  No sooner had I lost one annoying wanker, than Theresa called me up on the ol’ Dial-a-Hero.  I guess she realized she’d left me alone for more than ten minutes, and we can’t have that, can we?!

“I have bad news: I’m afraid I will be delayed for a while,” she told me.  Bad news?  I was positively euphoric upon hearing this!  She suggested I earn some money to upgrade my equipment in the meantime, and it just so happened that there was a vacancy at the smithy.  Well, I never fancied myself as a blacksmith, but I needed to make some gold somehow.

And what a career choice it turned out to be, diary.  “Tom the Blacksmith” was the very definition of “man”.  Granted, he had a porno ‘tache, not unlike Kieran the Gypsy Stalker’s, but he also had ripped abs and a large…hammer, so I could overlook the ill-advised facial hair.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t on my wavelength, so to speak, but at least I had something nice to look at while I pounded my anvil.

A few short minutes later, I was a 3-star blacksmith and had a sizeable chunk of gold for my efforts.  This work business is easy!  By now, Theresa had finally bothered to show up, and telepathically told me to meet her in front of the clock tower.  Well, the bitch had kept me waiting this long, so now it was her turn to stand around and pick her ass — I had some shopping to do.  No, not weapons — a haircut and a change of clothes.  What?  I couldn’t wear those peasant rags forever, and my current hairstyle was distinctly unremarkable.  Flowing locks and a new outfit would help enhance my heroic aura!

Despite being the capital of Albion, Bowerstone had a pitiful selection of clothes, but I did manage to find a few bargains.  Now my only problem was deciding which new look suited me best:

The refined young gentleman…

…or the dashing adventurer?

Oops!  I was supposed to take that one out.  Oh well, my secret’s out of the bag now, huh?  Besides, who doesn’t like to experiment once in a while?

After eventually deciding on a combination of both male outfits (my instinct was that the cross-dressing would have to wait until the fine people of Albion were a little more familiar with me), I went to find grandma before she took to screaming at me through the Guild Seal.  She apologized for the delay (no need, Theresa, seriously) and declared “events are moving quickly indeed”.  Yeah, not quite as quickly as I’d like, thank you very much.

Because she hadn’t annoyed me enough already today, the bitch started guilt-tripping me about the bandits I’d killed earlier.  No, I’m not kidding — she implored me to think about my life and all the memories I had, then reminded me “Thag and his men had just as many”.  WTF? You’re the one who told me to take them out, you crazy old shrew! I should have replied, but as I’m limited to expressing myself through mime (and pen and paper, of course), I had to settle for giving her a thumbs-down.  For some reason, she seemed to find this funny.  I want some of the pills she’s on.

Leading me towards a wall overlooking the ocean, Theresa admitted “The world is better off without Thag — and certainly Bower Lake is in your debt”.  Okay, she’d officially turned schizo.  As I got my hammer ready in anticipation of the voices in her head telling her to kill me, she pointed at a strange, half-built structure out at sea.  This was the Tattered Spire, she claimed, and what’s more, Lucien was there, trying to rebuild it.  Supposedly, the Spire was once a huge phallic tower that was built as “a conduit for all the magic in the world”.  The dude who constructed it eventually went mad and channeled all the magic the tower had accumulated into a massive blast, wiping out civilization.  She showed me all this in a handy vision (once again, thanks Theresa!) then told me that I must stop Lucien from doing the same thing.  I also learned that Lucien had discovered documents which had foretold the coming of a Hero who would stop him using the Spire.  Yes, diary, that would be me.  So, I now had some idea as to why the raging cunt had shot me and Rose, but I was going to kill him anyway, so this little interlude seemed pretty pointless.  Well, I guess it had satisfied Theresa’s exposition urges for a few moments, and I can only be thankful for that.

Because she’s apparently a fortune teller in her spare time, she gave me several tarot cards depicting the other Heroes I must gather to fight Lucien.  The first one, the Hero of Strength, could supposedly be found in the farming village of Oakfield, across the treacherous Rookridge.  By now it was getting late, so I ignored her proclamations of urgency and headed to the Cow & Corset for a mug of ale and a warm bed.

And here I am now, just about to turn in for the night.  I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow — sure, the journey to Oakfield won’t be easy, and I’m positive Theresa will continue to annoy me all the way there, but this Hero of Strength sounds intriguing; I’m picturing a large, muscular dude with a loincloth and a huge sword.  I can’t wait to meet him!  *sigh*

Ben “Sparrow” Recapiere, The Cow & Corset, Bowerstone Market


Posted by Ben

3 Responses to “Bandits, bards, and blind fortune tellers piss me off.”

  1. MintWhelp Says:

    “I had to settle for giving her a thumbs-down. For some reason, she seemed to find this funny. I want some of the pills she’s on.”

    Maybe she thinks herself as Adam Malkovich and that you are her Samus Aran? Or, yeah, maybe she was high, otherwise, how’d else she get those visions of the future and stuff?

  2. Jeanne Says:

    I’m loving this so very much.

    I guess I just got sidetracked, or spent a whole lot of time procrastinating. Not that a descendant of the fabled recappers would ever do such a thing, you understand.

    Hee! Well played.

    The outfits in this game are amazing, especially the crossdressing hooker outfit (which incidentally was the main outfit of my female character).

  3. Ben Says:

    The outfits in this game are amazing, especially the crossdressing hooker outfit (which incidentally was the main outfit of my female character).

    Mine too! When I turned her into a lesbian serial killer after she was hit on by one disgusting male NPC too many, I dyed it red and black, and she looked amazing. And, wow, I think I’ve truly just out-gayed myself with that sentence.

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