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The Blacksmith
Quote1 It's true, it's dangerous out there... But sometimes it's fun too... Quote2
Hugo
Source: "The Apprentice"

Hugo de Rune is the deuteragonist of A Plague Tale: Innocence.

Amicia's little brother, she must protect him not only from external threats but from the greatest threat of all that lives within his blood. It is him that drives much of the story.

BiographyEdit

Quote1 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. Quote2
Official description[1]
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Background and Early LifeEdit

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.

The de Rune LegacyEdit

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 majority of the estate staff to the boy's horror. Béatrice led them to a back gate and shut it behind him, seemingly leading to her death. Through their mother's sacrifice, the siblings escape the encroaching soldiers.

The StrangersEdit

Upon washing up on a nearby village, the siblings begin seeking out Laurentius, the doctor treating Hugo since a young age. When the boy starts 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. In a rage, he runs off and is captured by the leader of the local brute squad, Conrad Malfort, and Amicia is forced to kill him to rescue Hugo before hiding in the church.

RetributionEdit

Within the church, Father Thomas recognizes the family crest on Hugo's pendant and offers to help the two escape via an underground tunnel. When they finally escape into the sunlight, Hugo pines for his mother, who he is finally accepting may be dead, and is comforted by an embrace from his sister.

The ApprenticeEdit

On the way to Laurentius' farmstead, Hugo suffers another crippling headache and hears voices, forcing him to be carried some of the way by Amicia. Upon meeting the old man he is immediately recognized and, together with Lucas, are told to find the Chateau d'Ombrage. Hugo is horrified by Amicia having to let a pig get eaten alive by rats as a distraction but gets over it when the three are forced to flee to a boat.

The Ravens' SpoilsEdit

Exhausted by the whole ordeal, Hugo sleeps in his sister's lap during the boat ride while Lucas explains the nature of his affliction. While running and playing with frogs, he finds a discarded English heater shield. Once they manage to sneak through the battlefield without being caught, both he and Amicia are captured by soldiers of the English Army.

Damaged GoodsEdit

Taken to the English's camp, Hugo is recognized by an officer and is locked in a cage, set to be ransomed to the inquisition. Amicia escapes and rescues him with the help of Arthur and Mélie, but they are almost recaptured by Nicholas.

The Path Before UsEdit

Exhausted, Hugo and Amicia hide with Mélie and rest a bit before being forced to move. While riding a reaction ferry across an underground lake, he and Amicia joke about monsters living in the water and recollect something their mother told them about such creatures. Finding the castle at long last, Hugo sits in front of a fire with the others to rest.

Our HomeEdit

Finally, in a safe, peaceful environment, Lucas happily explores the castle ruins and wakes up Amicia to show her around. They then share a mournful moment over the loss of their parents, hanging their pendants on a tree. The extent of his affliction becomes apparent now with a web of blackened veins spreading up his neck towards his face as well as his exhaustion.

In the Shadow of RampartsEdit

In order to help her brother, Amicia agrees to find and steal the Sanguinis Intinera, a book with clues on how to cure him. He stays behind at the castle with Lucas.

The Way of RosesEdit

Hugo greets his sister, who returns with the book as well as a new ally, Rodric. The larger, older boy immediately takes a liking to Hugo and they get along well right away.

AliveEdit

Hugo overhears his friends revealing that his mother is, in fact, alive, but soon faints as he passes the Second Threshold.

All That RemainsEdit

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. However, he does not reveal that he knows of the deception about his mother's death, and begins to secretly resent Amicia for keeping Béatrice from him.

PenanceEdit

The following day, Hugo broke off from the group to find his way into the Inquisition headquarters, hoping to find his mother. Amicia pursues him on her own, and in a fevered dream (after having been knocked unconscious by a fall) she finds him only for him to escape again, led away by Nicholas.

Blood Ties Edit

At the Bastion, Hugo is subjected to tests and has blood taken to transfer his power to Vitalis, but is not allowed to see his mother. He escapes, taking advantage of his small size to remain undetected and eventually finds his mother, who helps him pass the First Threshold. 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.

RemembranceEdit

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 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.

CoronationEdit

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. As the Inquisitor breathes his last, Hugo looks into his eyes and no longer shows any fear.

For Each OtherEdit

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.

Creation and DevelopmentEdit

Design and AppearanceEdit

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.

Personality and TraitsEdit

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.

Abilities and SkillsEdit

GeneralEdit

Quote1 Well, aren't you a fount of knowledge! Quote2
Amicia
  • 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 unknown 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 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 displeases 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.

CombatEdit

Quote1 You are a tough kid, Hugo. Tougher than I am. Quote2
Rodric encouraging Hugo
Coronation
  • 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 psychological 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.

RelationshipsEdit

Béatrice de RuneEdit

Hugo and his mother are incredibly close. Due to possessing the Prima Macula, Hugo has had to stay tucked away most of his life, and during this, his mother has been the one caring for him. Not only does she look after Hugo before the events of the game, she also tries to stall the Macula from reaching the first threshold. Because Hugo was so close to her, when he and Amicia have to escape the Inquisition and leave their mother behind, he's distraught at being away from her for so long. This worsens when Amicia tells him their mother is dead, which makes him run away from her in anguish. However, eventually, Hugo is able to mostly understand that his mother is gone and instead focuses on survival.

Later on in the story, Amicia learns that she and Hugo's mother is alive, but decides not to tell Hugo since she doesn't want to give him false hope that they may see her again. But, Hugo overhears this, which drives him to find Nicholas so he can take him to the Inquisition so he can find his mother.

Béatrice is a huge driving factor for Hugo throughout the events of the game. Many of his decisions are based around her and his desire to be back with her, such as when he turns himself over to the Inquisition just for the chance to see her again.

Amicia de RuneEdit

At the beginning of the game, Hugo and Amicia don't have a good relationship; they're more strangers than they are brother and sister. Because of the Prima Macula, Hugo has been raised mostly in isolation, with the exception of seeing their mother. From the start, Amicia is somewhat jealous of Hugo, since he got to spend all his time with their mother while Amicia almost never got to see her. She also is annoyed by Hugo's naivety and curiosity, both stemming from his young age and from being sheltered for so long. Amicia is used to only having to look after herself, and, at first, she hates also having to look after Hugo.

Over time, this starts to change, and the De Rune children begin to rely on and trust one another more and more. This is especially apparent when Hugo finally starts to accept that their mother isn't coming back, and starts relying on Amicia fully. Amicia also becomes more accepting of Hugo's behavior, as she begins to understand why he acts the way he does.

Hugo and Amicia's relationship is arguably the most important one in the game. Not only do we see the two grow because of each other, they also come to love and support one another no matter what. This is evident when Hugo turns himself into the Inquisition, and Amicia is heartbroken at losing him, even manifesting in a horrid dream that taunted her for her inability to protect him. The bond between them is shown to be unbreakable when Amicia is the one who's able snap Hugo out of his trance when Nicholas brings him to kill her and their friends. Amicia embraces her brother, and he forgives her for not telling him about their mother. Ultimately, their relationship is what enables them to survive and defeat the Inquisition.

Robert de Rune Edit

Hugo was never very close to his father due to being raised in isolation because of the Prima Macula. Instead, Amicia was very close to him. Regardless, Robert is still shown to care very deeply about his son, and even gives his life trying to protect him from the Inquisition. When Hugo learns his parents are dead, he's more upset about his mother, but still mourns the loss of his father.

LucasEdit

Following the death of Laurentius, Lucas becomes Hugo's primary physician, and focuses on slowing down the Prima Macula as Hugo's mother once did. Lucas and Hugo are friendly toward one another, with the Hugo showing admiration and wonder towards Lucas' alchemy. He even goes so far as to call Lucas a sorcerer after he completes a tonic.

Mélie and ArthurEdit

Hugo didn't interact with the twins very much due to both of them finding him to be somewhat creepy. This is amplified when Mélie learns Hugo can control the rats. However, both the twins still want to look after Hugo not only for his sake but also for Amicia. Mélie herself advised Amicia to do the best she could by her brother because, as Arthur had with her, someday he would save her in return.

RodricEdit

Hugo and Rodric become good friends, and Rodric treats the boy like a little brother of sorts. Hugo admires Rodric's strength and courage, while the older boy offers the lad encouragement and praise, going so far as to claim Hugo was even tougher and braver than himself. His last words were to Hugo, apologizing that he could not do more, which left Hugo heartbroken.

NicholasEdit

Nicholas views the boy more as an objective, a means to an end, but when they first meet in Blood Ties he masks this as a sort of kindness. However, once the boy is no longer useful, he becomes harsher, rougher, physically shoving him aside and resolving to kill him personally.

Vitalis BénéventEdit

Being the natural carrier of the Macula, Hugo becomes an obsession for Vitalis, with the Inquisitor keeping the boy under close watch even as his family tried to hide him. He views the boy, particularly his blood, as a means to an end, to stop the plague and obtain power. As such, he pushes the boy to the extreme, constantly hounding him on the run and forcing him to awaken his power to save his mother, despite the toll it took on his young mind and body. Vitalis even sent him to kill his sister, who was emotionally holding him back from progressing to another threshold of the disease as this also prevented Vitalis from crossing.

Conrad MalfortEdit

Conrad, in his maddened state of grief, sees Hugo as a threat to the survivors in his village. He manages to capture the boy and handles him roughly but does not kill him instead using him to bait his sister into the open.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Hugo de Rune. © 2019 A Plague Tale: Innocence.
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