"Dear Gods, whomever listens, let me help, let me be there. Please, Gods of the Night, I'll be yours as long as it's needed, as much as I was for the Day. I beg you. Help me, help them, help Auros, help yourselves. Take my eyes if that's what it takes, it's the most valuable thing I have to give. Take whatev..."
A burning pain pierces her brain. Everything goes black and quiet... Then the sounds come flooding back in, but different sounds than before. And the world stays black... She calls out, quietly for fear the priests will hear her, she doesn't want to hope she's out of the monastery. Someone tells her, she's in the Green Lands and at first she can't believe it, but then there's Avalaine and all her friends and she's made it. Valk... The realisation that she's not going to see his beautiful face even though he's there is a punch in the gut. The first of many. But there will be no regrets.
Sometimes things just click. And when they do, they click en masse. This weekend was definitely one of those. What an unexpected gift.
I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
It was a bit unclear in advance, but in the end I got to play Josje again last Charm. Hardly anybody knew I was coming, even off game and that made for lots of nervous giggles on the way there (on Saturday afternoon, alone in the car) and sneaking to get to the off-game area before anybody would see me.
In the car a little plan had started brewing. I wanted to make the entrance of Josje as dramatic as the exist had been, otherwise the gravity of it all would fizzle and fail. So I gave her a twist, I'd give my cute priest of Day and All That's Good to the gods of the Night. And I'd make her blind in the process. With the added surprise of not knowing, I think it worked really well. The surprise and love of the people, both in game and off, was almost too much. What a wonderful group of people. And of course, emo-terrorist that I am, I couldn't help but love all the bittersweet tears that we cried the rest of the weekend. I'm so very happy I got to be there to see the end of some very old characters, my friends in-game and off. And finally, really, become a barbarian on the inside and out.
I love it that more and more, taking agency and responsibility for your own fun and game is becoming a normal thing. That my Idea was welcomed with open arms and that it worked so well is something that I need to get used to, but I love it to bits. Because now I had the weekend I wanted, with the play I was looking for and I got to create some emo-terrorist play for other people in the process. Somehow this weekend, and most of the events I've played last year(s) slowly but steadily make me realize that when I feel I know the thing (setting, character, people, etc) and I feel I have the agency, I can actually produce ideas for scenes or development that are Worth It. I always felt that was something for the Big People, but without even noticing it, I've been getting and taking space to test out my own idea's and it's scary as hell. But I'm very curious to see what will happen if I try to do it on purpose, or if I go all oyster on it when there is pressure... That clamp shut on the idea, or not even open up to the grain of sand needed.
Playing a blind character had been on my wish-list for a few years now. I know it's hard and it needs the right setting and people, so I'd never gotten round to it, but the sheer vulnerability of it was so attracting. Having a firm base of friends and a long-running character, this seemed a good chance to try it. And it worked so much better than I'd hoped for! There was always someone around to help me, and it gave me a good excuse to discover what was happening. It also gave the character a certain gravity and it made the whole ordeal feel like something that wasn't easy, which was good, because teleporting across half the world shouldn't be easy...
What I hadn't expected, what how this vulnerability would make me more open to everything happening around me. I think in pictures and feelings and when someone takes away the pictures (I was mostly playing with my eyes closed) all that's left is feelings. So a game full of magic and greenskins and elves turned into For The Feels again anyway. The Nordics can be proud of me ;) I hadn't expected holding hands during a conversation is just as 'close' as looking people in the eye. It sort of grew in the game and I loved the effect on my and the play it made. Of course, it makes sense when you think about it, so this is one I will definitely will remember and abuse in other games.
Josje stayed in the Green Lands — in more ways than one unable to return to the monastery — between people she likes and a culture she really wants to learn more about. She has a job to do and a home to live and wait. I feel much more at ease letting her go than the last time, when she got retired kicking and screaming. Funny how these things work. Her in-game happiness seemed essential to my off-game peace. But probably this is it for the next few years, Josje will stay and learn and grow. If I happen to be here for Charm again, I'll probably just NPC. Because it's better that way. I don't know if I'll find the words to write a new epilogue, because the feelings are still hard to capture. But I feel it's not as needed as normal. She's living in the now, with no worries for the future. Knowing she will see her friends again in this life or the next. Uriël granted her the biggest gift she could ever wish for.