Hugo de Rune is the deuteragonist of A Plague Tale: Innocence.
Official Description Edit
Hugo has been isolated from the rest of the world since his birth. He's afflicted by a mysterious illness and takes up all of his mother's attention. It has given birth to jealousy in Amicia and contributes to creating a tangible tension between the two kid — who effectively barely know each other.
Sébastien Renard, Narrative Designer[src]
Hugo was born to Robert and Béatrice de Rune ten years after they had their daughter Amicia. It was discovered that the latent curse in the family blood, the Prima Macula, had awoken in Hugo's body at birth. With the help of Laurentius, his parents sought to find a cure to the curse and to keep him hidden from the Inquisition, whose leader, Vitalis Bénévent, wanted to use the Macula to obtain power for himself by transferring it to his own blood. Béatrice would spend all of her time either with Hugo or studying for a cure, which estranged both herself and Hugo from Amicia.
One day, when his father and sister returned from their walk in the surrounding forest of the de Rune estate, the Inquisition raided their home to capture him, killing Robert and most of the estate staff to Hugo's horror. Béatrice showed them to a back gate and shut it behind him, seemingly leading to her death. Amicia kept her brother safe as they sought out Laurentius, protecting him from wrathful villagers, unstoppable hordes of Rats, and the Inquisition. Meeting Mélie, Arthur, and Lucas along the way, the latter of whom makes it his goal to treat Hugo when Laurentius is killed in a house fire, the children make their way to Château d'Ombrage — a ruined castle built to withstand the plague rats. At this point, Hugo has been suffering headaches, weakness in his legs, and hears voices whenever rats are near.
Unbeknownst to Hugo — due to his sister trying to hide the bitter truth — he and Amicia managed to escape the estate and avoid landing in the hands of the Inquisition through their mother's sacrifice. When the boy started to make a fuss demanding to see their mother, Amicia broke the news to him that Béatrice was dead, although he did not believe her at first.
Hugo overhears his friends revealing that his mother is, in fact, alive, but soon faints as he passes the Second Threshold.
Despite Lucas' best efforts, the Macula progresses to a dangerous stage, leaving Hugo burning with a fever, his head splitting with pain, and his veins blackening. This prompts Amicia and Lucas to go back to the de Rune estate to find Béatrice's lab and research, which Lucas uses to make a treatment that eases the symptoms and slows the curse's progress.
The following day, Hugo broke off from the group to find his way into the Inquisition headquarters, where he eventually finds his mother, who helps him pass the First Threshold as they attempt to escape; however, they are caught by Vitalis, who sends his men to kill Béatrice, forcing Hugo to fully awaken his powers to control the plague rats.
After a month with no sign of Hugo, those at the château had begun to move on but were suddenly assaulted by the largest rat horde yet, so large that it overflowed the pit defenses. It was Hugo directing the horde at the command of Lord Nicholas, who ordered the boy to kill his sister or he would have to watch Nicholas murder his mother. Although vengeful towards his sister for being lied to, he forgives her and uses his rats to instead kill Nicholas. The children decide to use Hugo's power to take the fight to the Inquisition headquarters and rescue Béatrice.
Reaching the cathedral, Hugo's rats slaughter all the guards and they find Vitalis seemingly alone in the chamber surrounded by dead parishioners whom he had sacrificed to feed his own controllable rat horde. The two battle with their rats, with Vitalis initially pushing Hugo's horde back, but Hugo uses his rats to remove those Vitalis is using to protect his body from damage, allowing Amicia to kill the madman with her sling.
After three days of no rat problems, Hugo is free to behave like a child again, enjoying the sense of happiness now fallen over the town, convincing his sister to win him an apple at a sling-shooting game. Although he wished to attend the fair, elements of the Inquisition are still looking for him and they leave Aquitaine once and for all with Béatrice and Lucas. Hugo is last seen playfully teasing his sister in the back of their cart, the two having replaced their once-distant relationship with that of two loving siblings.
General Description Edit
Physical Appearance Edit
As a five-year-old boy, Hugo is very small with a build typical of a boy of that age: very slim, which his limbs and head not fully proportioned. His hair is long, brown and disheveled. His clothing changes three times throughout the story. He starts in a simple blue shirt with a raised color, a white shirt beneath, and dark pants. When they reach Clervie's home, he dons a yellow shirt, a red shawl that covers this left sleeve, a braided leather belt, brown pants, muddied arm wraps, and boots. Finally, after he spends some time with the Inquisition, he wears a black tunic with gold embroidered into the hems and red stripes, a red shirt beneath, and black pants with boots.
Due to his condition, his veins progressively darken and spread, starting at the base of his neck but soon appearing on his face, reaching the corners of his eyes and mouth.
Hugo is, above all, a typical child. His naivety and credulousness are exacerbated by his isolation from the outside world which results in many new experiences, so much so that Hugo is new to the concept of echoes. He is very thoughtful of others, feeling sympathy for animals and apologizes to Amicia as she struggles to cope with his ailment. He also has a tendency to speak out what occurs around him.
Hugo strives to understand why and what is happening, and cannot quite comprehend the entire scope. He is confused as to why he is being affected by the Prima Macula more so than others. As a result of his childhood consisting mostly of being cared for by his mother, he has grown very attached to her, and struggles to fathom being separated from her. This results in his longing for her being prone to emotional outbursts or running off to find her, in which his older sister Amicia finds distressing. He relies on Amicia to protect him and is usually quite compliant, though sulks if he is disappointed and is irked when told that Béatrice is dead.
Skills and Abilities Edit
- Botanical Knowledge: Despite his long time isolation from the outside world, Hugo is quite interested in almost everything, with plants, specifically flowers being the most noticeable subject. He keeps a herbarium of his own while the Gardener of the de Rune family has a habitat of collecting flower specimens for him. He has a considerable amount of knowledge about flowers, which he learns from his mother Béatrice, the one and only relative he has a bond with before the events of the game. With Béatrice being a master alchemist herself, it can be deduced that she is quite knowledgeable about plants and herbs. This ability impresses Amicia as Hugo appears to know about every flower species along their way, and even surpasses Lucas' sometimes as the latter can't seem to recall the exact name of Gladiolus. Although he agrees to teach Amicia in exchange for her sling skill, she doesn't sound too sure if it's a fair deal.
- Bravery: Despite his seemingly pacifistic and sympathetic character, Hugo is quite brave, as he hesitates little while venturing into unkown areas all by himself, despite his potential fears. He is regularly encouraged by Béatrice and Amicia while informing him of any potential dangers, especially the former, as Béatrice values cultivating this specific trait and ability of his to prepare him for his future, when he'll most likely be the one to inherit his father's title, and eventually be Lord Hugo de Rune as he grows up. He also displays this trait when he runs away from Château d'Ombrage in order to turn himself in, and to therefore save his mother all by himself.
- Noble: Hugo is also a noble and possibly the heir of the de Rune family, though he hasn't yet received much of the education due to his young age as a child and his long time isolation from the outside world. He however, does turn out to know about talking manners as he points out that Mélie says a lot of bad words, which unpleases her. He also appears to know a certain amount of book stories, similar to Amicia, as he describes Lucas as a sorcerer. Hugo is quite polite when he is with Amicia, or the others, even in front of the Inquisition.
- Agility and Durability: Despite being a child, Hugo is also agile and durable enough by his standard. Although he needs Amicia's help to climb over obstacles for most of the time, he successfully makes his own attempt at the one time when Amicia forgets to do so, possibly also due to the presence of Béatrice that likely encourages him. He also displays his durability when he makes his own attempt to save Béatrice, being strong and determined enough to travel great distances and sneak past many Inquisitors all by himself, when he is quite proud of the achievement without Amicia's help, and even goes as far as retrieving the key to Béatrice's cell and leading the long way out while keeping using his Imperium ability that's likely to physically drain him. He is also strong enough to pull a mechanism lever, but not tall enough to turn a crank.
- Small Size: Being a young child of five years old, Hugo can easily fit into smaller holes or cabinets and therefore reaches areas that others can't, even Amicia, who's considerably agile on her own. He can retrieve various objects or open doors for the others, specifically Amicia by doing that. He can also fit through tiny windows and even manages to save Amicia's life for once by opening their escape route just in time in "The Strangers".
- Imperium: Though Lucas' elixir manages to force the Prima Macula in Hugo's blood back to its original state, Hugo is able to cohere with the voices in his head thanks to the help from Béatrice, and therefore gains the Imperium ability, namely the ability to control the rats with the phychological surges derived from the Macula. With the additional training from Vitalis and possibly together with Béatrice, Hugo is able to control even larger quantities of rats without risking being attacked, which basically turns himself into a "supreme commander of an army of rats" as the ability name suggests. though he can only command the black rats that are not specially altered by Vitalis. After Hugo finally passes his first threshold later with his sister's help, Amicia can also channel this ability while holding Hugo's hand.