To celebrate the launch of OUT OF PLAY, I'd like to share a scene with you. Gillian has just arrived at the Larp camp, and is looking for the kitchen where she'll be volunteering for the weekend.
Somehow she gets entangled with a group of elves and requires some rescuing. It was a fun scene to write, and pushed me a little bit outside of my usual comfort zone.
“Hi there, little lady,” a deep voice boomed.
Oh shit. What now? I turned around. One of the sword-carrying manly types had edged up behind the group and stood threateningly close to the green orb circling me. He caressed the hilt of his fake sword in a decidedly suggestive fashion. Good Lord. From the pot to the fire. But it worked. The green people backed away from him, clearly not wanting an altercation.
“I couldn’t help but overhear you were looking for the kitchens.” He reached into the circle of green bodies, grabbed my elbow, and pulled me out. The green people twittered and gabbled but did nothing to try to pull me back.
“I can see you are new here, so let me give you a hint. A beautiful lady like you shouldn’t be interacting with elfish scum. And certainly not if you were my female.” He gave me some kind of knowing male look and peered down at my corset-enhanced chest. I clutched the edges of my hooded cape together. Was this really happening? In a haze, I allowed him to place my hand on his forearm and steer me away, presumably in the direction of the kitchens.
“I am Ivan, the Great Wanderer. Leader of this troupe.” He used his free hand to refer to the four lads and the one tough-looking broad who were accompanying us. Along with a variety of hatchets, knives, and spears, each carried a matching shield picturing two wolves biting each other’s tail. The wolves formed a ring about each of the much-dented and hammered-upon shields and looked to be hand painted. I couldn’t fathom how much time might have been spent crafting the devices, all for a weekend hobby. But now was not the time to ask.
“Nice to meet you, Ivan. I,” and here I used my hand to touch my own chest importantly, “am Gretchen, the Great…Wenchen.” What the…? Had that just come out of my mouth? Indeed it had. But who cared? It was just nuts anyway. “I am here to, er, assist with food for the weekend. My first time. Just checking things out. I do thank you for your help.”
Ivan graciously insisted on carrying my bags. I didn’t bother pulling out my useless map, which I’d shoved into my pocket during my elfish detainment, and instead trusted my rescuer not to lead me astray. His friends, er, troupe, fanned out and watched the trees around us – for what or who, God only knew.
For once, it was nice to meet the kind of guy who could carry a whole conversation himself. He talked about his great and powerful broadsword – it sounded more to me like he was talking about the merits of his manhood, but I kept it professional. Which means I did not snigger or make any jokes. My recent experience had highlighted the fact that I was obviously the minority here.
I was only an hour from the city limits, but I’d never experienced anything like this in my life. It felt like waking up in a foreign country. Did Ralph accost helpless kitchen maids? I hoped not. So far, this had been an odder experience than I’d anticipated, and that was saying something.
As we rounded one last stand of trees, I could also see a cabin and cooking shack, in front of which a few cooking fires were already burning. Needless to say, I’d never been so thankful to see a black cauldron hanging over a smouldering fire.
“Thanks for your assistance, kind sir.” I took my belongings back from Ivan and scampered off as fast as my thirty-eight-year-old legs in floor-length homespun would let me.
“I’m not a sir, milady, I’m a scoundrel,” he called after my departing backside. His troupe laughed as I entered the Out-of-play area, and I’d no doubt my face was a flaming mask of mortification.
What's an Unblog?
I've been told that blogs need to be updated regularly and consistently. So let's be clear: this is not a blog.