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The Risen 3 Report, Day 4: The Salem Duck Trials

Anatidaephobia

Featured post

Previously on the Risen 3 Report:

Evil Pirate Porn Star Sisters!
Garth Merenghi’s Dark Arts Place!
Scrotal Fashion!
Several hours of adventuring in the pirate town of Antigua, which I’m not going to tell you about because it was pretty dull!
Now: a suspicious duck.

Jack The Sack’s boss wants me to rid Fog Island of Soul Eaters, which are basically big, bony dogs who seem far more interested in eating my legs than they do my soul. He was pretty rude about it, all “don’t you know who I am” and “the Inquisition is in charge here”, so my scenery-chewing voodoo chum Bones and I simply wander off. We kill a few Hulk Chickens and land-bats (land-bats are really tough, oddly), and I turn into a parrot for a while.

We’ve just about run out of things to do on this side of the island when we hear the sound of combat. “At last, a chance to use my blade!” bellows Voodoo Matt Berry Bones, who fought two land-bats not 30 seconds ago. Still, I appreciate his enthusiasm. Bracing ourselves for more Hulk Chickens or perhaps even one of the damned hellhounds we slew several dozen of back in Antigua, we rush in. And grind to a halt:

Wait. What. Why are they fighting ducks? Who do we help here? Should we even get involved? Is murdering two men to save the lives of a half-dozen wildfowl the noble thing to do? And Bones, why are you so enthusiastic about it?

My dithering lasts too long. The ducks… Oh God. I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but… the ducks didn’t make it.

I know what I must do. I must uncover the reason for this atrocity.

Well, quite. While this goon initially comes across as universally anatidaephobic, he eventually calms somewhat and narrows his fear down to one particular Suspicious Duck. While, inevitably, he wants my help – because after enthusiastically slaughtering half a dozen ducks he suddenly believes further fowlicide is beyond him – he now feels that the duck majority should be left in peace.

I attempt to gesture in disbelief and disgust at all the poor birds who perished on the way to this decision, but as I do I discover that their bodies are apparently made of chicken meat.

Go figure.

I’m still making my mind up about whether I want to go all Elmer Fudd on this purported Suspicious Duck, so I decide to pick the brains of the other bird-bully here. While troublingly un-self-aware, Bones’ reaction is appropriate.

Hey, don’t you call me a White Knight, you nasty little Men’s Rights To Kill Ducks Activist. Although I will accept the label ‘Avian Justice Warrior.’ Issues with sanity aside, he just seems highly unpleasant. No way am I becoming the agent of his spurious prejudices. However, I will check out this Suspicious Duck.

Is this a Suspicious Duck?

No. Is this a Suspicious Duck?

Is this a Suspicious Duck?

No. Is this a Suspicious Duck?

Is this a Suspicious Duck?

No. Is this a Suspicious Duck?

N… wait a minute. That is a very Suspicious Duck! Actually it’s not – it’s just a different colour. (And maybe species, but you’d have to check with Bill Oddie). But it’s labelled Suspicious so I suppose I have to run with that. Even so, this feels wrong. I am really not in the business of attacking people because they don’t look the same as everyone else around them.

But. What if. What if it’s more than simply Suspicious. What if people are in danger because of whatever this Suspicious Duck is up to? Oh man, they’ve got to me: truly, I am suspicious, but I have no way to confirm or disprove those suspicions other than by attacking this Suspicious Duck. If only you could talk to the Suspicious Ducks. Now that would be something.

I turn to leave. Freeze. The suspicion is overwhelming. Maybe, maybe if I stab it just once, lightly, even if it turns out to be Just A Duck after all, it will survive and all will be well. Or even if it is Just A Duck and dies, at least I’ll have proven that it isn’t really a Suspicous Duck. Please, no-one mention the Salem Witch Trials. This is completely different. I don’t have a cool traffic cone-shaped hat with a buckle on the front, for one thing.

Oh God, this is agony. On the one hand, I want to be the guy who defeats evil. On the other hand, I don’t want to the guy who randomly stabs ducks. We just met two of them after all, and those guys were jerks.

I close my eyes, and lunge.

OH GOD.

Oh, God. It really was Suspicious. It was a Soul Eater, no less. Surely there are more efficient ways to eat souls than pretending to be a big brown duck? Still: it’s dead. I’m a hero, not a bird-slaying jerk. I wonder what the bird-slaying jerks have to say about all this.

I AM A HERO TO THE DUCKS. I know this because a madman told me I was.

I’m feeling pretty good about myself, all told. Breezily, I wander back to the duckpond, to watch the now safe and now innocent Peaceful Ducks going about their quacky business. That’s when I notice something terrible. Something I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to live with.

Be my pal. Tell me, am I good man?

The Risen Report will return the week after next.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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