Alright, hopefully the hardest part of this adventure is over (!).
As I move towards the hills, and away from the ‘Rift’, I spot what the book describes as a ‘bizarre apparition’. Look at the illustration and judge for yourself.
This person (thing?) is essentially some kind of knight with full armour, riding on a horse and wearing a bizarre smiley-face mask. This figure has a huge ‘bastard sword’ strapped against his / her back.
Aside : My ten-year-old D & D experience reminds me that a ‘bastard sword’ has nothing to do with whether two other swords snuck out at night to do the dirty deed in the back seat of a car. Rather, it means a large sword that is still meant to be wielded in one hand.
Further aside : This is the introduction to one of the major characters of this saga, and I know better than to try and attack him. This character is like a combination of Groo and Sturm. If you know both of those characters, then congratulations : You read the same books in the 80s as I did.
In any event, my previous attempts at these books mean that I don’t attack or flee, but rather stand my ground and wait.
I ask this idiosyncratic character who they are, and he responds by confirming that he is “Dore le Jeune”, a Paladin Knight. He says that I look like an assassin (!!)
I can respond with a Shuriken, but rather choose to defuse the situation by stating, truthfully, that I worship Kwon the Redeemer and am named ‘Avenger’.
More specifically, this dabbler mentions that I don’t ‘look like’ a worshipper of Kwon but rather resemble an assassin. Rather than indignantly saying that bad-ass Kwon-worshipping assassins are a dime-a-dozen where I come from, I confirm that I only kill evil people, and never without a cause.
Aside : of course, having said that, I remember numerous guards at Quench-Heart Keep, who were simply doing their jobs and trying to, no doubt, earn a living for their respective families. No matter.
Trying to take command of the conversation, I ask why he is here. He confirms that he comes here for ten days in each year to essentially to wait for evil beings to stream out of the Rift, whereupon he kills them. Umm……ok, dude. This sounds suspiciously similiar to me setting up shop in the OK Corral and deciding to shoot the 10 baddest dudes around.
I tell him my story and he (without any pushing from me) leads us into a theological discussion, where he mentions his concern that Kwon might be tolerant of so-called ‘Chaotic’ gods, who are forgiving of disobedience.
Given that I am riding on the dude’s horse, I decide discretion is the better part of valour and confirm that I see it as my duty to convert others to Kwon’s faith of Law and Good.
Dore ‘relaxes’ and I realise that I have said the right thing. Amazing how saying what other people want to hear is an effective tactic.
Dore talks about his father, and it becomes obvious that it is his ambition to, through his good deeds, become a god himself.
Well, there’s nothing wrong with aiming high, I suppose.
More importantly, because Dore is a Paladin, his ‘healing hands’ restore any of my lost Endurance and bring me back to peak fitness.
We arrive at the city of Irsmuncast, and I take my leave, ready to enter the city and take my birthright, by force if necessary.
Stats : Endurance : 20, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 5