Bargain has been released (have you picked up your copy yet?) and so we're going to talk a little about it on the blog.
Fair warning - spoilers may be abound. Read at your own risk.
So now that Bargain's out, those who have read it might be wondering about what happened between Meodryt's release (AKA the end of Ancients) and Elise's shopping trip (AKA the beginning of Bargain). It was about two weeks total.
Elise ruminates on much of it in the first couple of chapters of Bargain, but it seems worth expanding on.
My favorite superhero growing up was Spider-Man. I bring this up because his situation is similar to that of Athala, Elise, and Ermolt.
They did a heroic thing.
They made the right choices, smote the villain, and foiled an evil plot.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s a parade in the street for them.
In fact, their actions only made them a reviled target for more legitimate authority. Like Spider-Man, their good deed does not go unpunished. Sure, there’s no Khule version of Jonah Jameson putting out newspapers spinning their successes into crimes, and calling for their arrest, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t wanted posters and law enforcement hunting for them.
The core of the heroes’ problem is that it has been hundreds of years since Dragons walked the world, and the last time it happened, they were villains. The Age of Dragons is not a well-regarded period in Neuges history, and even though the freed Dragon was that of Ydia, the Temple in Khule has no idea what to expect.
Has Meodryt returned to aid and empower the Temple, or become a tyrant over the whole city?
No one knows.
As such, the rumors that a dragon is loose in the city is met with not just fear, but panic.
Consider also what the Temple knows about the circumstances around the dragon’s freedom.
A group of trespassers broke out of prison amid a trail of corpses, killed the deputy warden, and freed a Dragon from its magical bonds.
Sure, we, as the audience, know that this was no small feat, involved the help of a quick-bladed murderer, and the trio nearly died three times over the course of their adventure, but the Temple doesn’t. Not to mention that due to Ingmar’s duplicity, the records Auernheim has of the prisoners are almost nonexistent. The prisoners in question are almost ghosts, only described vaguely. On top of all of that, Ingmar’s mysterious benefactor had his own effect on what information they have. (Hey, side note: you did read the epilogue at the end of Ancients, right? It's called Meanwhile. Check it out.)
In the end, the Temple has to turn to less wholesome sources of information, reaching out to the underground and using them as an information network to try and find out who these mysterious prison breakers are. They had to piece together what happened, using rumors and possibly even cutting deals for reduced sentences to try and get descriptions of Ingmar’s off-the-books guests. How silly did it feel when they finally found the “uncooperative warrior-priestess” they sought was one of their own Conscripts? Once they had that information, they had their own, more reliable records, to find that Elise had been assigned to assist the wizard Athala, and easily find out that they had hired Ermolt, a barbarian mercenary.
With a couple of botched attempts to collect the wayward prisoners, the beginning of Bargain is when the Temple gets serious about bringing them in and questioning them. Because the Temple has been artfully avoiding Meodryt this entire time, since without more information, they can’t know if the Dragon is a friend or foe.
The Dragon, however, has plans of its own.
With that, Heroes, we end the sixth edition of Inside View! Check by on the 15th of every month for new posts that give a glance into the hows, whys, and whats of whys of Riley's Heroes by Necessity series!
Until next month!