Guardian Owl takes a puff off of his pipe and ponders a bit. Then he clicks a his beak on the stem of the pipe as he searched for the proper words to start this very delicate conversation.
“You know, adventurer… it’s not easy for me to break the fourth wall, but I’m the only one who can do it. This monocle has… special properties. Sure, I get accused of being too slow at times, but I’m cautious and careful in my speech, even more methodical with my actions. Let’s just say it’s better me than Cheshire Cat, he’ll just infuriate you. Greymane spits when he speaks and Prisca sounds just as stuck-up as she looks.”
He pauses to chuckle at his own candor.
“I guess you’ll have to grant me a bit of lead-time to get to the point. I admit that I’m slow to it. But hey, at least I pack a better punch than Bosswolf. You get him mad and he does what, exactly, counter attack? Psshaw… child that’s not an offense, that’s weaponized apathy. My magic is absolutely the strongest in the kingdom, even if I do take my time getting there. I’m anything but apathetic. And, I’m sorry if you want someone faster to the point, I’d warn you that Gravemaker (really just Brienne) sounds very much like an angry chipmunk. Quite distracting.” He nods, self satisfied before repeating. “Quite distracting.”
Your bemused annoyance with the delays seem to startle him.
“Oh! Sorry. I did have a point. I suppose, right? Wisdom doesn’t come fast, that’s why it takes years to get there. Doesn’t come easy either, I tell you what child.” Nods to himself, pensively. “Learned a few lessons the hard way. Truth be told, I’ll admit I had a bit of a tiff with Panther in my youth… never know she’s the same age as I am… she is. Well, I still have a few feathers that don’t grown right. Quite catty that one. But yes, yes. The point I guess you’re wanting… why I’m bothering to talk to a human being that regards me as little more than a card… mere pixels on a screen. Pshaww. I’m quite amazed at these parallel universe theories. If you’ve got time later, I’d be happy to tell you what we see YOU as… and oh, boy… we do see you.”
Owl chuckles and nods cryptically at the hidden punchline of the joke.
“But I suppose you’ll be wanting to know what the big fuss is, why I’m speaking to ya. I’ll get to it now. Currency. The answers, like in every good movie with a twist, have always been there from the beginning. You know how Brienne becomes Gravemaker? She’s not the only nature hero to masquerade as someone else. I’ll run off some cliches to see if it clicks. It’s the quiet ones you gotta watch. It’s always the ones you suspect the least. Don’t trust anyone that is too nice. Hide the knife behind the smile. We all wear masks.”
Owl watches your eyes for a moment, to see if you are processing. In frustration, he screeches.
“PAY ATTENTION! The Dark Lord could be anyone, right? With a little armor and some dark magic? The players in your world all think “huh… why did they never release a dark lord card blah blah blah…” Small Giant is not a play on the size of the company, but the size of the hero. Their symbol is a cartoonish exaggeration of confused eyeballs, not planets. think of the most unassuming woodcutter, put him in armor and think of him in a brand new paradigm… That narrows it down very quickly. It appears that he is merely Little John’s babyfaced son. But it is far, far darker than that.”
Owl raises an eyebrow to see if you’ve caught up.
“Fine. Your world now has no patience for innuendo or nuance. Wisdom is reduced to a few words on a picture only to be chuckled at as you down your ADHD meds with your overpriced coffees before you click the ‘next’ button.
I’ll just spit it out: Derric IS the Dark Lord. Tired of the long hours, tough love and ribbing over the inability to grow a ‘man’s beard’ over the years, Derric’s heart grew cold. Things didn’t go so well with Jenneh and Aife never gave him the time of day, so his mind went into the kinds of dark places the sanity goes to die. But he was smarter than his father Little John… he knew that he had to keep up appearances. So, by day, he cut trees with his father. By night he practiced dark magic. Slept so little he went madder by the day. Then, after an awkward tryst with a demon left him with a baby girl (whom he named Sartana), he found a way out. He found a way away from it all, a method to his madness materialized. He could have everything he wanted. Power, Solititude… no accountability… You clearly do not see where I am going with this. Fine. Again, I must spell it out. He found a way into your dimension. Is it such a surprise that the story with the Dark Lord ended so abruptly? Somewhere between his experiments with the portal and the emergence onto your plane of existence, he made brief attempts to woo Hel… to no avail, as Sartana was already quite a pistol at the tender age of 11. This merely cemented his plan further. He now masquerades as an employee of Small Giant Games, hiding in plain sight, talking with people and keeping their minds at ease while his master plan unfolds.”
Owl shakes his head. “Do I really have to spell it out? Fine. He gets power through the use of your energies in the game. The first law of thermodynamics is in play… energy cannot be created or destroyed. Where do you think it all goes? You spend it because he sucks it from you… then he gets paid double when his wealth increases from these microtransgressions---- err… microtransactions. Need I mention the irony that some people pay money to try and draw me, the one most opposed to the Dark Lord? I need some food, mead and a long nap. This is draining and I need my energy. Until next time…”