- Goresnout's Treasure-Hunter (70 Platinum, 70 XP, 70 Energy, 7 HP, 8 HP Hard, 9 HP NM)
- Goresnout's Minion (70 Platinum, 70 XP, 70 Energy, 5 HP, 6 HP Hard, 7 HP NM)
- Goresnout's Skull-Breaker (80 Platinum, 80 XP, 80 Energy, 6 HP, 7 HP Hard, 8 HP NM)
- Goresnout's Guardian (80 Platinum, 80 XP, 80 Energy, 6 HP, 7 HP Hard, 8 HP NM)
- Goresnout (200 Platinum, 200 XP, 200 Energy, 1 HP All) Locked until others are defeated.
Your gaze sweeps through their ranks, assessing numbers and threats as your masters taught you. But your glance fixes itself on one particular enemy. In the middle of the bestial host stands a hulking creature, his thick arms and broad torso covered in blue fur - as through he were some fey creature from a children's tale. Vicious little eyes stare from his skull, behind tusks that twitch on either side of a porcine snout.
"That's their leader," you say.
"How do you know?" Jaren asks, keeping his gaze fastened on the nearest enemy as he speaks.
"It's always the ones that look different. Nature's way of marking them out, I suppose."
The blue boar-man gestures at you with his cleaver-like blade, chopping the air as though it were your skull.
"You! You the one kill Bloodhowl!" he says, the words emerging amid snarls and snorts.
Tessa's hand presses against the small of your back. You understand her meaning. She wants you to engage him, taunt him. Heroes' tales are full of such things, and with the people of Marsonne present you have an audience to play to.
"So one of your minions scurried back to tell you, instead of fighting and dying to my blade? But tell me, beast, do you know who I am?"
You hear the intake of breath behind you, and know you've chosen your words well. In the imaginations of bards and chroniclers, those whose songs and stories fill the minds of the masses, heroes declare their identities when facing their adversaries. There's something so dramatic about such epiphanies. And you sense that the townsfolk are eager to hear what reaction will follow when your ancestry is revealed to these creatures. In truth, so are you.
"You human! Human who die soon!"
There's a chattering of approval from the boar-man's minions. You can barely suppress the smile that tries to fight its way across your impassive features. Is the boar-man playing to his audience as well? Trying to impress his minions by threatening you in his primitive version of the common tongue? The thought is amusing beyond measure.
Silence engulgs the room, the ambient growling and hissing from your foes' ranks disappearing as though devoured in a sharp intake of breath from dozens of savage throats. You sense the awe radiating from your companions. They're amazed at the reaction you've drawn from your enemies.
Tessa almost purrs with pleasure at your mastery of the moment. One little word remembered from your studies, a title recorded in the works of Lucian the Scholar - a companion of the Dragon-Rider. It's what the beastmen came to call him. 'God-Slayer'.
Across the cavern, the boar-man's eyes burn with a new fire.
The rest of his words are lost in the cacophonous roar from his minions, but it doesn't matter. He's already played his part as surely as if he were hired to do so. The gods must be smiling on you.
And it occurs to you that he must feel the same way. As you have a chance to slay a ferocious beastman and begin your legend, so too might he slay you instead - and be famed among his kind as the warrior who killed as descendant of the God-Slayer. You laugh, knowing that your mirth will be mistaken for boldness and battle-lust by your allies. The truth of the joke is for you and the gods alone.
(New Brawl boss unlocked)
You lean in close to the boar-man as your blade transfixes him, and his weapon drops from his twitching, powerless hand.
"You don't know how useful you've been," you whisper.
He makes a strange sound, which you choose to take for confusion. Then he exhales, breath and life fleeing from his body in the same moment.
His hefty carcass captures your sword as it crumples, and you have to plant your boot on his sprawling form to tear it free.
You look around the cavern, and see that your companions are dispatching the last of the creatures - Tessa launching arrows into the backs of those who try to flee. In moments it's all over.
A surprising silence fills the cavern, a curious interlude between the clash of battle and the cheer which you can feel rising in each heart.
"What did you say to him?" one of the townspeople asks, awe in his voice. He indicates the slain boar-man.
So that's what they're waiting for. Whatever you say to them will become part of your story, told to hundreds, perhaps in time thousands, of others.
"I told him to greet his gods for me."
A cheer fills the cavern. Thus are legends born.
"Royal soldiers are happy to march into town when they want to collect Crenus' backbreaking taxes."
A medley of cheers, murmurs, and grunts fill the hall. All express agreement with their mayor.
"Or conscript our children," Jaren continues. "But where are they when our lives and homes are threatened?"
There's another spurt of mixed affirmation from the townspeople.
"Crenus builds his armies, seizes iron and grain across the kingdom to arm and feed them. Why? So he can plan some foreign campaign to fill his bloated coffers further? So he can earn a few more passages in the history books? What good is all that when his subjects are left to perish at the hands of beasts and bandits?
Jaren's voice washes over you unheeded as he continues. He's passionate, but no orator. And the words aren't for your benefit, but for theirs...
You gaze at the men and women sitting at the long tables and leaning against the walls. The mood is half solemn, half celebratory. Those who lost loved ones are mourning, whereas others are still full of victory's intoxicating thrill. Fortunately ale and companionship are fit for joy and sorrow alike. And whatever else they might be feeling, all harbor bitter thoughts towards their monarch. All are grateful to you. When they whisper to others in the region, their fellow sufferers and sympathizers, those sentiments will spread like leaves borne on the wind.