What’s established about Hughes:
He vaguely remembers the Heartland. He likes the blues, and likes to sing old songs but also to make up his own on the spot involving really random lyrics. He has a laid-back attitude, kind of accepting life for what it is. Sometimes he’ll just kinda transform into his crow form. Other times he’ll just kinda be his human form and be there giving this vibe of ‘what, you’re supposed to be a crow’. He kinda takes advantage of the fact people often don’t notice him to do ridiculous things while nobody is looking. He’s highly patient even if other people (read: Sleipnir) are falling apart from anxiety or shouting at him. He likes companionship and doing interesting things he wouldn’t otherwise do, one reason he is still following Sleipnir (another being that he would kinda like to find out who he is, though he’s not in any rush; making up an identity as he goes along is almost as fun). He kind of likes plants and likes to talk/sing to them. He has the potential to be a Soulful and sing life into things.
Having been part of a legendary expedition, and always open to fantastical and weird stories, he was reborn as an Originator, but like most of them doesn’t know it at first. He tells a lot of tall tales (most of them as blues songs probably) but thankfully, few of them have come true, at least in a way that affects the wider world a lot. It helps though that a lot are ultimately inconsequential things such as “three woodpeckers came bursting out of a pie and offered to build the old lady a better house”.
Hughes is predisposed to Incongruity. This opens up a dark side of him, that he will be perfectly willing to deceive people with Incongruity techniques or just general weirdness if it’s for the benefit of others (usually Sleipnir). It also opens up the possibility—if he submits to Incongruity too much—for him to permanently turn into Sibh Kraeh, a new, fabricated folktale figure who can then proceed to warp reality with more weird tales. Kind of like a weird vaguely-Southern-US version of Mother Goose* that’s a little bit dangerous sometimes.
So Sleipnir and Hughes start out as just one story where you control Sleipnir, and then gradually you get some choices for Hughes, kinda like Jasper and Peridot in my fan “practice story” I’m making to develop Stablehand’s story interface. It’s possible for Hughes to totally branch off and do his own thing, probably, or for Sleipnir to leave him, but probably neither of those are advisable. Probably for all intents and purposes, they’re one character storywise, and their best ending(s) is when they work together.
If Sleipnir left Hughes, he’d be putting himself at a distinct disadvantage, and Hughes would be set up for a bad ending though he might be able to avoid it. Hughes could probably get away with going halfway around the world and coming back though, cause underappreciative as Sleipnir can be, he might not even notice he was gone. That could work, it could be like the more obvious thing to do is stay around but if he manoeuvres a little bit he can leave and go find some semi-easter-eggs.
tbh Hughes might be able to go join Ariana, cause the mood of Hughes just going off to mess around goes oddly well with Ariana’s main ending where all she does is do a million sidequests interacting with her own characters and fight her own antagonists and then it’s over and you go waaaaait what did this have to do with any of the other 11 ‘Actors’ :p
What if Ariana is like well I don’t know how we’re going to beat Evil King and Hughes is like well I remember one time when there was this story in Aeterna of how somebody made an artillery battery out of a turkey baster and some toothpicks
Like, unlike things usually go, Hughes actually goes and investigates his weird stories and they actually fruit the way Ariana’s do (possibly more than usual?), so twice the amount of weird antics and crazy stories happen
Geez I think if you did that ending there would HAVE to be some very small effect on the other stories, with the kinda grand scale of it, at least like some small mention of “did you hear about that weird thing that happened in Hinotoria” or something
That’s enough…. stuff happening, that I feel like somebody might mistake this for the Cristofer Fantasy Foundation coming back
(maybe even Tiess Bernh’s group) or something