“I’m bored.”, whined Derek The Git as I had come to unaffectionately call him, “Let’s go kill some stuff.”
“I’m a little busy now.” I said as I deftly ducked a low flying plate.
“Albion’s full of quests – People to save, things to kill” opined a passing stranger.
“You can shut up too.” I sighed.
It had only been twenty long minutes that I’d been travelling with Derek and I was starting to get a little annoyed with him. Here I was attempting to stop my wife from divorcing me and selling the kids to the nearest beggar as a cheap source of sustenance, and all the while he’s hurling fireballs around Bowerstone Market and whining on that he wants to kill some stuff. To make things worse he’d started singing at the top of his voice obnoxious songs about girls with large rear ends. This was not going to be a good day. My suspicion was affirmed the next moment as Derek “I’m an almighty god slayer, me” The Git threw one of his fireballs through the window of my house and into my wife’s face. She was not amused, or at least I presume she wasn’t as she died almost instantly and didn’t get to tell me how she felt about the situation so I can’t know for sure. That’s just how life goes sometimes. Still, even if she had been able to tell me I didn’t have the time to listen because they were coming.
In the distance I heard the roar of an approaching storm and, knowing what was coming next, I hurled myself to the ground and clung on for dear life. A tornado appeared in the marketplace and worked its way down the alley between the apothecary and the pawn shop. The tornado came closer and closer, sucking up everything in its path. I looked tearfully at my children and muttered a silent prayer to find them one day, and then the tornado was upon them. My daughter let out a solitary, and quite futile if you think about it, cry for her mother and then they were gone. The tornado subsided in an instant and a small note floated down to the ground, coming to rest on the chest of my recently deceased wife. I reached over and picked it up to read it, half wondering if I’d won the lottery to compensate me for my losses.
DUE TO THE DEATH OF YOUR SPOUSE WE’VE TAKEN YOUR CHILDREN INTO OUR CUSTODY. FAILURE TO CLAIM THEM IN THE NEXT THREE DAYS WILL RESULT IN THEM BEING PUT DOWN AND FED TO THE HOMELESS OF BOWERSTONE. LOVE AND KISSES, ALBION SOCIAL SERVICES (A.S.S.)
I screwed the note up and dropped it on the corpse of my wife, whose name I had already forgotten, wondered briefly why everyone in Bowerstone is determined to feed my kids to the homeless, then marched outside to find Derek.
“…and I cannot lie. You other brothers can’t deny, when a gir…”
“What the bloody hell was that for?”
“I was bored. Let’s go kill something.”
What happened next is lost in the red haze of rage but I’m pretty sure it involved Derek being removed from reality completely and deposited in a world where he couldn’t bother me again. At least, that was the plan. He appeared in Bowerstone Market seconds later, asking if he could have my “Dragonstompy”.
“You killed my wife and now you want my Dragonstomper 48?”
“Yeah, I’ll give it back.”
“You want one of the six only copies in existence of this weapon from the man whose family you just decimated???” I was so astounded at his audacity that I actually pronounced all three question marks here. “A man who doesn’t even have one anyway?”
“Yeah, I’ll let you marry me.”
“I was already married, quite happily until you came along. Then you start acting like an idiot and suddenly my wife wants a divorce. To top that off you killed her just as I’d given her an antique chessboard and convinced her we belong together. And now you want to have my gun???? And I’m supposed to take marrying you as payment???? You should be paying me for all the damage you’ve done!!!!” I struggled to control myself as everyone knows that five of any punctuation in succession is a sure sign of madness, especially when it comes to exclamation points.
I then told him in explicit detail why he was the last person in the world I’d do anything for and then explained the anatomical process he could enact with his request. I even pronounced all seventeen exclamation points at the end of each sentence. He was very quiet for a moment before informing me that his mother had warned him about people like me on live (I can only assume he meant “in life” not “on Live” as the way he said it made no sense) and then he finally left my world in peace and pieces. Why he’d thought I’d even have a Dragonstomper is beyond me. Everyone knows that only Heroes are likely to have weapons of that amount of fame.
I walked to Bowerstone Industrial trying to wrap my head around the hellish events of the past twenty minutes. First a portal had opened out of nowhere and a strange man had walked through. He’d run straight past me and into the blacksmiths’ shop before emerging seconds later and proclaiming it “a bit cruddy”. Then he’d run over to me, told me my outfit was great, told me he used to have that dog (about my dear daughter) and proceeded to wreck my life.
As I approached the orphanage where I hoped to get my child back, I thought I saw Derek again and ducked below the bridge to avoid any more of his obvious insanity. He looked wiser and a bit more colour coordinated this time, and had an adorable little robot dog following him around rather than the collie he’d been travelling with before. As I looked on I started to wonder if it was Derek after all, as he’d grown a full beard in the space of a minute and seemed to have a more regal bearing this time around. Then I knew for sure that it was Derek, or at least a version of him from the future out to ruin my life, as he walked up to my daughter outside the old orphanage and adopted her in front of my eyes.
“Yeah”, I heard him mutter to himself in an unfamiliar voice, “This one goes much better with the wife.”
I fell to my knees in disbelief and a tear filled my eye. We’d been so happy and Albion had prospered since the revolution had ousted Lucien. My family had grown and we’d even managed to gain a little stall under the Bower Bridge after the previous owner accidentally cut his head off with a fish. Sure, I smelled like fish most nights of the week and the wife (why can’t I remember her name, dammit?) wouldn’t let me touch her without having a bath that month, but on the whole we were happy. Little did we know that Derek was waiting in the wings to destroy our happiness for no other reason than the fact that he was a Hero and could do that.
The tears started flowing fully now and people gathered to watch me cry like a baby at the losses I’d suffered. Even the palace workers putting up decorations for the first year anniversary of the coronation stopped what they were doing and looked my way. What else could possibly go wrong today, I wondered. What else could possibly happen now? That’s when the shadow fell across me.
That’s when the shadow fell across all of Bowerstone.