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What We Played: Love in the Time of the Mistake (Polaris)

Martin
user 10655881
Seattle, WA
Post #: 4
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An unusually sub-epic Polaris game in the default setting. Three players, two protagonists.

Bigby was a well respected knight at the tail end of his career, a renowned ice-sculptor, and an (apparently single) father of a teenage daughter, Matilde. The trouble started with Matilde, who had fallen in love with a boy, Perseus, who loved her back, but was trapped by a contract betrothing him to a girl (Delsonora) who wasn't interested in him either. Bigby spoke to the boy's father, who expressed a willingness to break the context if he had a pretext, but only evidence of misconduct on Delsonora's part would suffice. Bigby hired spies to investigate Delsonora, and whisper about her a bit behind her back, but stopped short of publicly slandering her, and told Matilde to find another boy. She, however, had other plans...

Rema was a young knight in the last days of her training, raised in a monastery and singularly unschooled in the ways of the world. She had a crush on the hopelessly haughty Lord Kuma, who generally refused to give her the time of day. Things turned ugly when her best friend, Diera, started a relationship with Lord Kuma and tried to convince Rema to join them for a threesome. Rema was scandalized, and the two didn't speak for weeks. But while they weren't speaking, a fellow student threatened to expose Diera's affair unless Rema let him come in first in their exams. Rema went along for a while, being too idealistic to come up with a better plan, but ultimately enlisted Diera's aid to destroy the bully's reputation. When he tried to retaliate, Rema challenged him to a duel, and dealt him a humiliating and public defeat. The friends completed their training, but the taint of scandal followed them after that, and some in the Council made a motion to deny knighthood to commoners such as Rema, because they lacked the breeding and dignity of their betters.

Matilde didn't find another boy. Instead, she and Perseus sought the aid of an old and vile witch called Phaedra. In exchange for a lock of Matilde's hair, Phaedra gave the couple a love potion, which they slipped into Delsonora's drink. Matilde told her father what they did, and said to send out his spies again. Sure enough, they caught Delsonora in a compromising position before the potion wore off, and the engagement was canceled. Delsonora was cast out into the street, Matilde and Perseus were married, and the witch sat in the back of the wedding, chortling at some private joke. The next day she approached Bigby and offered him a trade: in exchange for his sacred Starlight Sword, she would refrain from using the lock of Matilde's hair to burn the poor girl to death. Bigby agreed, though the betrayal of his vows as a knight wounded him to the core. (Losing his last point of Zeal)

Rema's honor had been called into question, and there is only one way for a knight to respond to such a challenge: by seeking out heroic acts to perform. She killed her first demon by strength, and her second by base trickery, and after that she was simply addicted to the glory of heroics. Her critics were silenced for the time being, but nothing she could do would earn their respect. She buried her despair in her work, looking everywhere for the one heroic deed that would finally redeem her. (Losing her last point of Zeal)

Bigby rode hell-for-leather to assure his daughter's safety, and was horrified to see a luminous figure riding beside him: the Solaris Knight. The lord of the Mistaken offered Bigby a place among the ranks of the demons, which he refused; but his resolve was badly shaken. Mathilde was safe, and next Bigby turned his wrath on the witch. He struck her down and recovered his sword, but it was cursed- the blade burned red hot with unseen fire, and could only kill what the wielder loved. Supernatural signs followed the sword, and caused the King's Archon to investigate the matter more fully. Bigby let his daughter be arrested for sorcery rather than incriminate himself, and she in turn blamed him to escape the stake. In the end both were exiled far to the south. (Weariness 6) Bigby slew his daughter with the burning sword, and tried to kill himself- but the sword wouldn't strike him. Instead he road north again with the Solaris Knight to avenge himself on the world.

Rema met the Frost Maiden by the roadside. The demon told her it pitied her, and that after all they were not so different. Though she rejected the Maiden's words as lies and manipulations, she was spurred to prove them wrong once and for all by winning true glory. She announced her intention to slay the Lady of the Wastes, a fearsome sorceress responsible for the death of many knights. Her teacher tried to make her reconsider, but her pride was too great, and she turned her back on him. (Weariness 6) She and Diera rode out to the Lady's tower, and were struck down almost before they could draw their swords. As Rema lay broken and helpless, the Frost Maiden appeared again, to taunt her with the consequences of her rashness. She bled to death soon after, still defying the demon out loud even as her heart filled with despair.
sev (Cheryl)
sevoo
Seattle, WA
Post #: 13
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My favorite moments:

Rema, losing interest in Lord Kuma the instant he might be showing interest in return. That was a 'be careful what you wish for' moment, but it also underscored a bit of her character in my mind: nothing's ever pure enough. Her unreasonably high standards for herself are part of what got her killed, in the end.

Matilde, attempting to sneak back into her house and finding her father waiting for her (oooh, I had that experience when I was about 12, and my dad was sitting in that *exact* same posture, waiting...)

Bigby's end, when everyone at the table agreed, but of *course* the cursed sword wouldn't kill him.
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