This week we find ourselves staring down the barrel of yet another BobTheDoctor27 story, this time his entry for the Tenth Anniversary Contest which brings together the characters of Mersery and Jarodin. These are (at the risk of vanity) two of the wiki’s oldest and most recognisable characters, yet curiously, for one reason or another, both characters have featured more in the works of other wiki creators than in the written works of their own respective creators.
These interpretations have varied in terms of depth, sophistication and accuracy - there are a handful of stories that are merely content to boil Jarodin and Mersery down to archetypes broadly resembling of ‘noble warrior’ and ‘wise elder.’ And for the most part, this is fine, because broadly speaking, these cliches are where these two characters came from.
What distinguishes Exit Wound from many of those stories is the sincerity and respect it affords both these characters. BobTheDoctor27 is never half-hearted when he is given a chance to steer the wheel with another writer’s characters. In this case, his understanding of the characters is absolutely spot-on. In Jarodin and Mersery, he precisely identifies how to best play them off each other, with Mersery as a cautious optimist and Jarodin as a cynic driven to fight for a worthwhile cause, whilst hoping to find himself in the process. Pleasantly, Exit Wound avoids playing these voices against an operatic backdrop, opting instead for something less grand in scale but far richer because of it.
The plot of Exit Wound essentially amounts to a small, characterful ghost story, a distant cry to the high octane melodramatics we often encounter these characters in. In playing the characters more quietly, Bob finds wonderful ways of wringing camaraderie, friendship, humour, grief and melancholy out of both these leads and goes the extra mile to wrap all this goodness up in a neat little action adventure too.
Brimming with stronger character work, an evocative and eerie setting and a brisk pace, Exit Wound is well worth more than a cursory glance!