I hadn’t expected to get into a fight with Silent Winged Coyote. It just kind of happened that way. He was upset with me, though, because I kept beating him on all the games of chance. It was uncanny, really. Statistically, he ought to have won the challenge, but I rolled a six, and he couldn’t manage to make anything happen on his rerolls. Then he got Very Upset with me when he learned that the weapon I was using (a Very Special Knife) did more damage than he assumed it would. Kind of “I’ve just killed you with one hit” sort of thing. So I healed him enough that he wouldn’t bleed out, and I left the room.
I went to find my family. I told them what had happened. I don’t remember now what had prompted the fracas. I think it had something to do with him threatening me, and me deciding to stand up for myself. I was playing a character that was a sort of mix of one of my favourite characters and one I haven’t played yet but about whom I’ve thought about quite a lot.
Then came the part where SWC’s King announced that the Codex had been breached. That I needed to be punished because I had broken the rules. The King (played by Shoulder Boy) was vehement about this violation. The White King (played by someone I haven’t met, a lovely young woman with white-blond hair) was curiously silent about the issue. I stood and defended my actions.
“I did not break the Codex,” I said, and my voice rang out through the room (which was a kind of theatre in the round, with high-rising platforms circling it on three sides). Everyone stopped and turned their faces in my direction. I hadn’t spoken to anyone but my family before this.
“You attacked this man outside of honourable combat,” the Black King challenged.
“Yes, I did,” I said. “Has the Black King forgotten that the Commandment states that we shall not *kill* one another outside of honourable combat?” The room was silent. “Have all of us forgotten that Commandment? I did not kill that man. In fact, I *healed* him. *He* threatened *me*. Would you rather I allow myself to be berated, threatened, and browbeaten? Would you rather I allow this man to weaken my resolve? I abhor violence, but recognise it is the only language some of us understand.”
“For someone who abhors violence, you seem to know how to use it quite well. Unprovoked, it would seem. Witnesses say you struck first.”
“This is both correct and incorrect. I struck the only physical blow. And I prevented him from dying. I did not wish to kill this man. And I understand that my actions will lead only to his drawing out this conflagration into a true vendetta. I will have to live the rest of my life knowing that that man,” I pointed at SWC’s pale and motionless body lying limp on the floor at the Black King’s feet. I had healed his most grievous, life-threatening wound, but had left the rest of them to knit on their own. “Will now go out of his way to cause harm and dissonance to me and to those close to me. This is my punishment. This, and the knowledge I carry of what I have done.”
“I think I get to dole out the punishments around here, sweetheart,” the Black King said.
The White King stood forward. Her voice was high, pure, and musical. “That language is not appropriate. You do *not* get to dole out the punishments around here.”
The Black King flushed. “Quite right. WE get to dole out the punishments around here, and it’s my position that your pet there needs a leash and ought to be swatted with a rolled up newspaper.”
“That is quite enough,” the White King stated with finality. “The Codex has not been broken. There will be no further discussion of punishment for this one,” she said, gesturing toward me.
The venue then moved to a version of the Royal Alberta Museum which has never existed. But I wish it did. Like a blend between the Parliament buildings and the British Museum, it had grand marble staircases and velvet curtains cordoning off enormous rooms full of tapestries and artworks. It was closed for the evening, and Rico Suave was the head of after-hours security, so he’d got us all clearance to be there.
I spent the rest of the evening mostly in an alternate incarnation, listening, padding through the halls, and slipping into the spaces between places. I was to find out everything I could about what dangers we would be facing, and report those back to my siblings, one of whom was the Bishop.
I woke longing for that game, for that venue, and for that character.