I started the game in a tour group, we were separate from most of the other LARP. Sunshine Sahara Tours was guided by Paige, a very cheerful and upbeat American. I was there with my long term girlfriend, Bianca. We’d met up with her sister Rachel and Rachel’s new boyfriend Gerard on the tour. We were shown a number of elegant remains on our way to the historic Al Shir-Ma site and then we were plunged into the marketplace.
The market was intense, not much room to get through and way too many people yelling at us to buy stuff, cheap tourist tack. Bianca and I both bought fans though, which turned out to be very wise investments given the heat. At the end of the alleyway there was a dead end but it opened up to a strange, veiled old woman who said odd things. She insinuated that I had a husband, which I most certainly did not. Anyway, she seemed to be the only option for getting out of the market but she wouldn’t let us go through together. After a few others from the tour group had gone through and not returned Bianca and I decided to try it. Bianca went first on the understanding that I’d be right behind her.
Matthew, the PE teacher who I thought had a nice sense of humour was the next through after Bianca, but I went through after him. On the other side was a strange sight, Al Shir-Ma as it had been thousands of years ago with the famed fountain in the middle. Bianca and I had a jolly time exploring and talking to the locals who all pretended to be from the past. We realised it was a kind of SCA style historical re-enactment kind of show and ‘played along’. We took pictures in front of the fountain and were told we weren’t allowed into the Sultana’s court. I was called a slovenly woman at some point in there, which felt a bit harsh given that I had deliberately worn clothes that covered my shoulders and I had a head scarf.
Then something strange happened, Bianca said she remembered something…like a past life. Then I felt like I remembered…we were really from here. The seven years we’d spent in the future were the unusual years. Seven years coincidentally matched up with the Djinn disappearing and the fountain running dry. Bianca said that she might be a Djinn and I had nothing to say about that. Except that we both remembered that I did, in fact, have a husband. If he was around, things were about to get very interesting indeed.
I spent a little time freaking out with some of the other tourists and then my husband Abdullah tracked me down. He was overjoyed to see me. I was less than overjoyed to see him. The reason I had taken up with Bianca/Badi in the first place was because she had told me he cheated on me with the sultan’s harem, he’d been allowed in as a reward for services as the court scribe. I also recalled how he had treated me more as an assistant, a lesser scholar and how Bianca had done nothing but encourage me to finish my PhD and had always been super supportive.
He was very sweet, saying he’d been searching seven years for me and had never given up hope. That he loved me and wanted to be with me no matter what. I explained to him about the future, about how wonderful it was. I showed him my camera and the novel I’d brought along to read. I have him a ‘one square meal’ bar to try out and he exclaimed over how delicious it was. When he came back to asking me to come back to him I faltered though, and went to find Badi.
Badi had been running around connecting up to her Djinn siblings and Finding Stuff Out. She asked if I wanted to go back to the future or if I was happy to stay in the magical Al Shir-Ma of the past. I was pretty dead set on returning. People had already insulted me, women weren’t allowed to be scholars and I was uncomfortable with the clothing I would be expected to wear. I told her that and she nodded, agreeing that she’d rather return as well. After all, our dogs Toby and Nick were waiting for us!
Picture: Drama between me, Abdullah and Badi.
I was feeling like this was a fairly straight forward decision about who to choose so I told Abdullah that he’d hurt me pretty badly and I wasn’t sure I could forgive him. Then he dropped a bombshell on me: He’d never cheated on me, he’d never even been into the sultan’s harem. I didn’t believe him, but he looked right into my eyes and pleaded with me, promising that he wouldn’t lie, that he had in fact given everything up for me, and couldn’t I see that? I found myself starting to believe him, but I had to speak to Badi before I made him any promises. He was melting my angry heart quite effectively and I could feel tears coming. I tracked Badi down in the coffee house, where (I think) I stormed past the sultana to get to her. Badi smiled and asked me to sit but I said I had to speak with her privately.
I put it to her, had she lied about Abdullah cheating on me? She shook her head. I was crying by this point, actually crying tears in the real world, and as I explained what he had said to me she started saying maybe she’d been mistaken. I lost my temper a bit and said it should be something she’s sure on, that I left my husband because of what she’d said after all! I stormed out of the room and went and sat in a dark corner and tried to gather my emotions together. (I think Dale came by to ask if I was all right around then). Then a beggar approached me and asked if I was okay, and I admitted I was not and a little bit of my troubles. He suggested I find one of the magic people and ask them to divine the truth for me on the whole problem. I agreed that it was a good idea and then excused myself briefly from the game. I went to the bathrooms and had a bit of a cry and reassured myself that it was in fact, just a game and I could probably not take it all so personally. It was tough though, Sophie had written a very sad, very emotional love triangle that I had unravelled. I had a brain wave about how I could solve it though, and feeling better for that I went back into the game.
I sought out Ruth, who was playing Nafi, she had been in the tour group and was a Djinn. I asked her for the truth miracle and she said she wasn’t sure if her powers would be needed elsewhere, but if not she would do it. I decided to give myself a break from the emo and pitched my solution idea to Abdullah. I had already told him I wanted to go Back to the Future and he said he would go with me. I suggested that he could accompany us back, but that I wasn’t willing to give up Badi. He nodded like ‘no problem at all’ and then I realised he thought we were just friends. I was quick to correct this belief, there had to be no lies between any of us from now on. I told him that we had essentially been living as “husband and wife” and that I wasn’t going to stop with that, but he could you know…join in. The look on Blair’s face as that revelation hit was priceless and I saw that I had dealt him and went away to give him some time to process everything.
Badi was busy (I think, I’m not sure how the time line went) so I connected up with Matthew again. I say again, we’d had conversations all evening. He’d nearly been arrested for murder and was worried that the guards were going to execute him so he was definitely keen to return to the future. I’d unloaded the whole ‘having a husband’ problem on him earlier and he’d said something like “That’s a lot more straightness than you’d be used to,” which made me laugh. By now the Djinn had let us know that it looked like they’d be able to do a spell and send us back, and he’d got engaged to his true love, also a Djinn, as well. It was nice to have conversations with someone who understood and wasn’t a cause of emo for me.
Nafi did the miracle and it was revealed that Adbullah hadn’t been lying to me about cheating. He also confirmed that he was alright with the ‘second wife’ scenario, little did he know that in the relationship structure he was going to be the second wife! I sought out Badi, who was incredibly apologetic. She actually went down on her knees when she saw me and I had to draw her up into an embrace to let her know everything was okay. I assured her that I wanted to be with her and I pitched my threesome idea. She agreed very quickly (Naomi said on NZRag that she would have agreed to anything to keep me!) and I felt a wave of relief.
Abdullah stayed quite close for the rest of the night, obviously not trusting Badi to disappear with me again. me and Matthew played a prank on the historians of our time by finding a likely wall and carving “Matthew Parker was here” a smiley face and “Invest in Apple” on it. He wanted me to put my name on there too, but I’d realised how ethically dubious it was by that point and refused. We did have an excellent laugh about it though, and potentially messed up some research or created an unsolved mystery.
I saw Nick around then, he wasn’t busy and I wasn’t busy but we had zero reason to talk to each other. We kind of made eye contact, looked away, made eye contact and then laughed.
In the end the Djinn restored the water to the mystical fountain and we got enough Djinn to return us to the future, where I was all set to live a happy polyamorous life with my two loves.