Photo by Maria Dhilla
Alex Alteria, the legendary heroine of Etheria, celebrated her 89th birthday last week, sitting in her Cloud Village cottage amongst her friends, family, and 219 minor health potions. According to Cloud Village locals, Alteria has been guarding her stash of untouched healing items ever since she and her traveling companions defeated the Demon Lord Diabolus almost 70 years ago.
Locals become baffled just by walking into the Alteria residence. Rooms full of healing items aside, the closets and bathrooms are filled to the brim with assorted spell scrolls, duplicate weapons, and revive charms. When asked about her stockpile of supplies, Alteria had this to say: “Look, I may not be the young and beautiful hero I once was, but I’ll be damned if I had to give up these health potions. Who knows if Diabolus will return? Yes, I defeated him in his so-called ‘final form,’ but isn’t that just something someone would say if they, oh, I don’t know, had more forms? Until then, it’s not like keeping these potions around is hurting anyone.”
However, according to Princess Serena, ruler of Etheria and wife to the legendary heroine, the hoarding of healing items is just the beginning. “I can get used to all these potions,” says the Princess, “but to still be carrying that Plain Short Sword around after we presented her with the Ceremonial Blade of the Sky King? Well, it just feels a little ungrateful. What’s worse, she hasn’t changed her clothes in all these years. Despite my insisting that she come to the castle and get outfitted with some royal dress, she still insists on wearing this grimy Cloud Village guard uniform and playing her whole ‘awshucks’ underdog hero role. You’re royalty now, for crying out loud! You could at least look the part.”
“It’s hard for her to stop reliving the glory days,” says Lucius Wolfsbane, the mage of Alteria’s original questing party. “I think she was the one hit hardest by our decision to disband our party. I’ve since gotten a job as a High Alchemist, and it’s been keeping me busy; our old gunner Deadeye Doris, rest her soul, talked about opening a restaurant. But I can tell that all the sitting around during peacetime had got Alex going a little stir-crazy. Heck, I’ve never seen her more alive than when she was toe-to-toe with Etheria’s most dangerous monsters … Now that I say it out loud, maybe we should have paid more attention to her. Not saying she was, like, a sadist, but, you know, we should have helped her find a better outlet after the war. I hope she’s doing okay.”
Alteria has since been seen with her wife, taking walks about Cloud Village and unsuccessfully attempting to smash nearby pottery.