Continuing a (mostly) in-character diary of my adventures in The Witcher 3 [official site]. Probably contains spoilers. N.B. critical opinion & technical complaints are happening elsewhere on the site.
I'm going on a bear hunt.
I'm going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
I'm not scared.
I'm also wearing nothing but my underpants.
Fighting has not, as yet, been terribly exciting. Bar long and brutal tussles with a ghost and griffin, I've just hack'n'slashed wildly until everything disintegrates into conveniently tradeable bodyparts (I have so many severed tongues in my backpack right now) and not really had to worry. I want more. I want drama. I want terror. I want...
I want to box a bear to death at sunset while wearing nothing but my undercrackers, I guess. No weapons, either: I'd become too reliant on the various magical swords I'd spent my earnings on. It was time for my fists to earn their keep. I dunno how to explain it: it just felt so right.
Bears are the only non-boss monster who have presented any kind of excitement: they're big, they're angry, they take a whole lot of killing rather than collapsing into sticky parts after a couple of stabs, and they're more than capable of mauling me to death within a few swipes. When dreaming up a way to make me feel alive again, our ill-tempered ursine friends were my first port of call.
I must be honest and admit that this was not just a chance encounter. I spent a worryingly long time scouting across the countryside for a lone bear, with staged murder on my mind. Finally, I struck lucky just outside Mulbrydale in Velen. I saw the beast from a distance, asleep in the long grass. But the time was not right: it was late at night, the light dim and blood-red. Any fight would feel clandestine and lowly rather than dramatic. So I hid behind a tree and waited until dawn.
6am. The sun at my back. The time could never be more right. I solemnly stripped down, like a well-rehearsed ritual: shirt off, trousers off, no weapons, no potions, no magic. The light glinting off my goosepimpled skin, my surprisingly sensible boxer shorts fluttering in the morning breeze: a half-clad hero. Let's roll.
(Sorry about frame rate wobbles - FRAPS took a heavy toll)
I kept my gloves and boots on because I wanted a boxer aesthetic rather than a drunk-guy-in-the-swimming-pool-changing-rooms aesthetic. I also allowed myself a mid-fight glug of water as my sole concession to death-avoidance, but other than that, this was man versus bear as nature intended. Just call me Bare-Ass Grylls.
You can see how close I came to death, how much harder the bear could hit than I could, in those moments when I was foolish enough to let it. But I made it. I acrobatically punched that poor bear to death on the top of a lonely hillock.
It was my best fight ever. By God, I felt alive. And weirdly reluctant to get dressed again afterwards.
I needed this, I really did. I'd been feeling so emasculated - performing a series of odd-jobs for stony-faced military men with a sideline in sadistic authoritarianism, being told off by former lovers for things I don't remember doing, and most of all being told to wear this shirt in order to impress Charles Dance:
I mean, come on. No wonder I prefer naked wilderness beast-boxing if this is the alternative.