Sometimes, I am glad I am not my roleplaying characters. On the other hand, I still have to have the hard conversations that my roleplaying characters have, so it’s not really like I have much emotional distance.
I am, of course, talking about Slayers East last night was my character (Candy, the slayer)’s spotlight episode in which I had decided I wanted her to sort her shit out. What this boils down to is she had to start being honest with people and not run from her problems any more.
The ‘episode’ ran roughly like this for Candy: Candy running, flashing back to bad stuff. candy meets the Big Bad, who sees that she has made herself weak, causes her immense pain and steals the main magical artefact this season has focussed on. Candy goes home, tells her step-father Brian who gets very angry with her, she is unable to cope with this and goes to see Zak her step-brother who reveals he has magic and uses it to see into her psyche.
School the next day and Candy is sent to the school counsellor, and spends the entire day offloading to him. After school she goes to Nick’s house for combat training and finds him doing magic over his comatose father. They have a talk, and end up kissing. The others have worked out that the wellspring of power is at Nick’s mansion and head up there.
When they arrive, Lex is awake again and kind of evil. Langbourne (Big Bad) arrives and encourages him to be more crazy. Lex decides to kill Candy, and then everyone else. Langbourne magics a snake out of an NPC and Cass and Cynth battle that while Candy and Lex duel. Candy spent a lot of time ascertaining how evil he had become and Nick eventually nodded his assent that his Father had to die. Candy beat and killed Lex.
Langbourne set fire to the mansion, the characters run out, Nick runs off into the forest, Candy retrieves him, everyone goes home and Candy speaks to her family.
One awesome scene involved me as Candy and Morgue as Nick, the boy she loves but never managed to get anywhere with after she’d discovered him trying to do magic. We were walking in the woods and trying to get what we felt for each other out in the open. It was an incredibly difficult scene to play, because both of them have been denying it for so long, and were so scared to open themselves up to each other.
There were lots of long pauses, full of tension and uncertainty. Finally (after another character had interrupted) Candy burst out with “Nick, I really, really care about you, and all that stuff that Petra* said wouldn’t have hurt so much if I didn’t” Morgue didn’t seem to know what to say…there was a long pause, and Candy became worried that she had said the wrong thing, so I followed up with “and I know you’re really busy at the moment worrying about your Dad and everything so if you want to..” and Nick kissed her. And it was awesome.
That kiss is the payoff that me and the fans have been wanting for so, so long.
That aside the whole session was incredibly emotional for me. Following all the flashbacks at the start to the ways Candy is messed up and a scene with the Big Bad where he exploited her weakness to steal back an essential magical item I was physically shaking. I had to really work to keep my breathing regular and deep. I have mused before on the level of connection I feel for Candy, I think it’s a combination of length of time playing her and a reaction to the awesome work the entire group puts into their characters.
I haven’t been able to connect to any character so deeply, and that is due to the supportive nature of the group and the way everyone is willing to just dive in, mess up their characters and rely on each other to pull the group together and succeed. I really dread the end of the series, because I love this game so much.
So, at the end of last night’s session when Candy had killed Nick’s father (he’d gone bad. Real bad) and then brought him home to rest she went into her family and friends and tried to explain the weakness that the Big Bad had been exploiting. It was really hard for me to say, and when Blair said supportive things as Brian and Morgue as Merryl and Scott as Zak spoke up too, I did in fact cry a tiny tear.
Hard stuff. But very worth it.
*Petra Nick’s girlfriend from the start of the season who yelled at Candy at a party for ‘leading Nick on’, on a stage, in front of everyone.