War is but a distant memory in the hearts and minds of those who dwell in Arcadia. For today’s children war is not even something that happened to their parents but to their grandparents. The stories are still told, of course, because this is not a land where stories are ever allowed to die, but increasingly the young are getting tired of their elders’ tales.
“It was a time of great heroes,” boomed the voice of Eshu near and far, weaving myth and reality together around the campfires. “They stood nigh-on twenty feet tall, and wielded the magic of the World, the true Glamour that is born and dies in but a single moment when a legend is formed…”
And old ladies huddled around the same fire would whisper to their grandkids. “One of them was called Gustaf, or something, you know – my sister’s husband’s stepfather swears blind he saw him in a pub once. Persimmon, he was. Or Pansy, maybe. I forget the house he told me.”
The children would run off and fight with sticks or climb trees. They’d grown up with the stories, and they’d grown tired of them in a way that their parents never could. War stories were old. Boring.
Before long, those kids grew into adulthood, and came to understand the world. How peace had prospered, how trade triumphed over battle, and how it was still all goddamn boring! They craved excitement, adventure, fun, all the things they’d been told about in the context of other people having the fun. And now that they were adults, they damn well wanted to do something about it.
Whether it was some conscious decision, whether what happened was what they truly wanted, nobody knows, and perhaps we will never know. I doubt that it was quite what they had in mind, really. But the truth is, the world was full of disaffected youths who had finally acquired the two driving forces of change: power and desire. And something happened.
One Samhain night, winds gusted and lightning flashed, branches snapped and rain fell, across all the lands of the Fair Folk. While we all sheltered inside, the outside changed around us.
Morning came, and the rain stopped. But the wind and the lightning didn’t. It looked for all the world like the flickering, crashing clouds that enveloped the sky were spiralling inwards towards some point far distant.
We, the adults, the ones who revelled in the old stories, looked up with ignorance and fear in our hearts. But the children, who weren’t children anymore, felt one thing only: “Oh, fuck yes!”
This is a sequel of sorts to my unexpectedly successful Changeling game, “In Love and War”. It is set two generations after the events of that game, however many years that is in the bizarre chronology of Fairyland. The original characters live on as myths and legends warped by time, but through the storytellers’ continuing obsession with them, they’ve managed to bore the hell out of an entire world’s teenagers.
A desire to have their own adventures in an otherwise dull world, that awkward adolescent new-found power – that’s you, that’s the characters.
You might have just fucked up the entire world without realising or even really caring. But, you know, fuck it. It was a shit world anyway. Now there’s adventure, or peril, or fun, or death, or something at the end of that swirling vortex in the sky. Doesn’t matter what, at least it’s something.
This is not a world of politics and armies and gleaming armour and glorious battle. That stuff’s for grannies. Even more certainly it’s not about negotiations and committees and vegetable gardens, your parents can keep all of that. This is a world of angry punk kids suddenly given something to live for, and excuse to stick a nail through the end of a baseball bat, pack up, head out, and tell Arcadia itself to shut the fuck up and take notice.