So the good news is that I’ve got a new comic for you today from Heroines For Hire. The bad news, is that my artist is overwhelmed with work right now, so we’re taking a few weeks off from the strip. And because it’s convention season, that may not be the only multi-week break. So keep checking back, or subscribe to the rss feed on the comic website.
Also, here’s a continuation of the short prose piece from the site:
Derrick Van Houten was born into an extremely unfortunate position. His family was mid-level nobility in Thudd. Not very close to the throne by succession, but plenty of money and a palatial estate situated on gorgeous wooded grounds.
As a child, Derrick wanted for nothing. If there was a toy he desired, his parents would buy it. If he wanted a new pony, his parents got him one. If none of the village children would play with him, his parents found him playmates.
Of course, you’re probably thinking to yourself that this sounds like a charmed life. And indeed, when Derrick was a child, everything was alright with the world. He may have grown up spoiled and entitled, but he was happily and comfortably spoiled and entitled.
It was as Derrick reached adolescence that the reality of his situation set in. Though he was the son of a wealthy, noble family, he was also the second son of that family. Which meant that when he was an adult, he would never be inheriting his parents’ estate, or the title that went with it.
He could have become the heir by killing off his older brother Colin in a convenient “accident.” Amongst his peers, it was certainly not an uncommon occurrence. As a matter of fact, his best friend Sigmund had done away with his own brother back when they were teenagers.
Not terribly bright or inventive, Sigmund had done the deed on a hunting trip, luring his brother Dolph alone into the woods. Such a clichéd plot would normally never have succeeded, but for the fact that Sigmund’s brother was even less bright than Sigmund.
And so it was with tears streaming down his face(courtesy of chopped onions from the scullery maid) that Sigmund, his dead brother’s shroud-covered corpse at his side, had announced to his stunned parents that he had mistaken Dolph for a deer and shot him with his crossbow.
“It was a cruel trick of the light,” Sigmund told them. In their grief, Sigmund’s parents either conveniently or willfully ignored the fact that Sigmund had managed to reload his crossbow and shoot Dolph three additional times. If Dolph hadn’t been killed by Sigmund’s initial shot, those additional crossbow bolts definitely finished the job.
But Derrick had no desire to kill off Colin. His older brother had been one of his closest companions growing up. When Derrick was bullied by some the other children of noble houses, it was Colin that stood up for him. When Derrick had crashed the family carriage joyriding, Colin took the blame, telling their parents that he had run it into a tree trying to impress a girl. And speaking of girls, it was Colin that had arranged for a local doxie to deflower Derrick on his 16th birthday.
Derrick loved his brother. And much as he would have also loved being heir of House Van Houten, he knew that he would have to find his own way in the world.