This year’s LARP was about a number of planets interconnected by gates which were shut down 500 years ago being reunited. My character, Marianne La Grange, was from the delegation from Arboria. We lived on the tops of gigantic trees and dressed like Victorians.
That’s us. You’ll notice I am standing rather close to a gentleman with a white scarf and a walking stick? That’s Alan Copeland the 26th, current King of New London. We were kind of involved. The thing is though, my character had a reason for going in the delegation that was more than just curiosity. My character’s family was immortal. My parents had cracked the gene coding or something and I’d been alive roughly 560 years. I was keen to catch up with my siblings and also…my husband. I’d married Steven back before the shutdown and we were separated when the gates closed. I had indulged in any number of flings since then, but I hadn’t let myself fall in love with anyone else until Alan…just a couple of years ago.
So, I was anxious. Of course, this was all a secret. None of the rest of the delegation knew my secret, although the physician had been suspicious. Alan’s father, Alan Copeland the 25th had been asking some awkward questions so I left New London and travelled. When I heard that the 25th was killed I went back to see the 26th. Right around that time the gates reopened.
Once we’d passed through the decontamination and waited in quarantine for the required amount of time we were ushered by our AI through to the main meeting area. Alan’s butler and head of security soon secured a room for our exclusive use and Alan set up a table to receive guests. He and the delegate from New Berlin began their peace negotiations and I plucked up the courage to go into the room and search for my brother.
Immediately I found the room at the back which was a bar, so I headed there. It seemed like a good way to steady my nerves. I ran into a member of the delegation from Bharat (Sophie), who seemed very friendly and made it clear that she was available for hire if I needed any help during the evening. Of the ass-kicking kind. Inside the bar I met a couple more people and was introduced to a number of the delegates from Eclatia. I was keen for this. Eclatia was a media planet, obsessed with a reputation culture, TV, movies and who was the most famous. Last I knew my brother Orion was on that planet. The Eclatians were all very friendly and complimentary, assuring me that I could be the Next Big Thing. I didn’t think having my image recorded for all time was a good idea though, so I declined each offer made.
I don’t know if anyone noticed this, if Stephen (Nick) himself noticed this even, but I approached him and chickened out about 6 times before I actually stayed and caught his eye and spoke to him. It must have been hilarious to watch. I know Cat saw me fretting at one point and assured me that I did recognise my husband and I had to tell her that I knew that, I was just working up the courage.
When Stephen and I first talked it was very awkward indeed. We talked about where we’d been and tried to talk about how we felt. He asked if I was still using his last name and I had to admit that I was and he got quiet. I excused myself, saying I had to get a drink, and ran back to the Arborian room. Alan and I spoke a little but he was still meeting people so I downed my drink and went back out.
I tracked down my little sister Skylar, who had aged dramatically, and was kind of crazy paranoid (played by Margie). She had a lot of trouble getting away to talk to me, and made me promise that if anyone asked what we were talking about she’d asked about my necklace. Orion found me and revealed himself, he’d become head of the church of Eclatia (naturally) and was keen to catch up with me. I vented about my love life predicament to both of them.
I ran into one of the Cigani delegation, played by Jackie and I complimented her on her fantastic dress (won the costume prize) and we exchanged pleasantries. Then I spent a while sitting with Stephen and being very awkward about what had happened. I asked him if he had pursued any matters of the heart while in Cigani and he said he hadn’t. I came clean about Alan and we both sat there. I said I thought Stephen’s bag was nice and he said my dress was pretty. Then he said he didn’t think he’d seen it before and I said, no you wouldn’t have. We kind of laughed. One of the other Cigani (Svend) sat next to me for an announcement from the AIs and we had a very light conversation in which we both hinted in non-explicit terms that we’d both been around before the shut down of the gates. It was very subtle and awesome. He also planted a seed of doubt about Alan, pointing out that calling all your sons the same name was rather strange.
I had a very emotional, difficult and moving (unobserved by anyone) scene with Alan about how I was immortal and how some of my family were out there, and my husband. He made it clear that he would fight for me and he told me that he was dying of Arborian cancer. I spent about a half hour looking around for a cure for him, and eventually did find him a solution because there was so much epic medical tech out in the room.
The actual LARP storyline was progressing all this time, with the revelation that six people would have to give up their lives to the machine to keep the gates open, finding out who was compatible etc. I mostly ignored it and didn’t even see when people went into the machine. I was aware that we would all die if this didn’t happen but I was too busy sorting out my love life, quite frankly.
Near the end of the game my brother Orion quietly asked if I knew of anyone who could ‘take care’ of someone who was causing trouble for our family and I was able to connect him to Sophie’s character and get her some work. I introduced Stephen to Alan and they had a very civil talk about how both of them wanted me to come home with them. Alan asked Stephen to annul our marriage. I was watching and feeling conflicted, I really wanted one of them to make the choice for me and at the same time I wanted to be treated like a person and not bartered off. Stephen in a very roundabout and long winded way made it clear that it had to be my decision. Whatever choice I made he would honour. They then started talking about Alan’s illness so I fled the room without a word.
I ran into Erik at that point. Now, Erik and I always have a completely different LARP experience, because he loves political intrigue and plotting and I (clearly) am all about the emotional side of things. So generally we never talk in the LARP. I was determined to change this, so I thrust my hand in his face and introduced myself. Erik laughed and he gave me his name in exchange. He asked if I was having a good evening and I had to admit that I wasn’t. He asked if there was anything he could do to help (which people had been asking all night and was very sweet and ultimately no. No one could help.) So I said, how would you choose between two men? And he admitted that it was a difficult decision.
The Arborians at this point were panicking and trying to extract Alan. They pressed me to go with them. I ran to Stephen and asked him what his plans were, a question he had been avoiding all night with good reason. He said he had some things to sort out with the Cigani people and after that he would like to travel with me. I was still conflicted when I ran into my nephew. He asked if I’d made a choice and I’m afraid I rather lost my temper a bit and shouted ‘how do you make this kind of choice?!’ I may have also said that my heart was being torn two ways…or I may have said that to someone else earlier in the evening. Understanding my position as only another immortal could he gave me the most sensible advice of the evening ‘who will be there for you in 100 years?’
I approached the Arborian delegation and choking back mostly real tears I pressed the ring Alan had given me back into his hand. It was a very emotional scene, I was barely able to talk, just said sorry again and again. Alan started to raise his voice and I turned away and found Stephen again. I looked back to see the Arborians rush out of the room. I was suddenly nervous about whether Stephen would be happy or not. I interrupted his conversation with the other Cigani and said quietly ‘the Arborians have left’. He just kind of looked at me for a minute and then asked if I was alright, if I was sure, and I said I was and he smiled and I gave him a big hug. Apparently he’d told the Cigani that we were betrothed so the Countess told me not to cry, that it was a happy time and we should have a big party.
So the night ended happily, I was reunited with my lovely husband, I was welcomed to a new world and if I’d gone with Alan I most likely would have been shot for associating with a tyrant who was doing awful experiments on people. Glad I made the non-evil choice!
Thanks so much to everyone who made this LARP happen, it was an amazing set and made it so easy to immerse myself into the character. The writers, everyone who built the set, everyone who dressed up. Especial thanks to Norm for being our AI. Thanks also to Ants, Nick P, Margie, the guy playing Orion (who it occurs to me I hugged without permission, breaking one of the LARP rules, so sorry!) for being the most awesome suitors and family possible. I also had amazing in character conversations with so many other people, so thanks to you as well.
Can’t wait to see the footage captured over the night! My piece to camera was intentionally vague and un-informative. Hopefully that wasn’t true of everyone 🙂
(Post larp, tired out, excuse the expression.) Lovely detailed costume photo courtesy of Karen, whom I didn’t say a single word to in character.