On the 7th of May, 2016, over seventy people will be donning costume and masks for the Split Worlds LARP taking place at the Guildhall in Bath.
I know there are many fans of the books who can’t make it to the ball, so I thought it might be nice to tell everyone a little bit about that evening, and also give you an opportunity to get involved, so you can enjoy it from afar.
The Last Ball of the Season
The full day event involves workshops on etiquette, the Split Worlds universe, dancing and a few other things, a VIP tour of Bath locations featured in the books and also an in character afternoon tea during the day. Then in the evening there is the Last Ball of the Season, which is always a masked ball. If you’ve read Between Two Thorns, the first book in the series, you will have seen the first ball of the season play out on the pages. This LARP is set between books 3 and 4, and the Last Ball of the Season is one of the major highlights of the Aquae Sulis social calendar. It’s traditionally more raucous, more dangerous, and the Fae themselves are known to visit it on occasion. The rules are less strict than at other events, with an emphasis on fun and trying to get away with things more daring than usual. That’s partly the reason why it’s always a masked ball. After all, there will be many months before the next season begins, so memories have a chance to fade…
The players will be characters from the books, the Split Worlds short stories and new ones created especially for the game. They come from over ten different families, with status ranging from Patroon to those with barely any social currency at all. I will be playing the Censor of Aquae Sulis, Cathy’s aunt, and you can watch videos about my costume making process here.
It’s not just a masked ball though…
As part of the masked ball, a large vase is always placed in a prominent position, filled with dozens of folded pieces of paper. Written on each on is a challenge, akin to forfeits in Victorian parlour games. There’s only one rule: you cannot put a forfeit back in the vase: once you have chosen and read the forfeit, you (or someone you can persuade to do it for you) must do what is written on the piece of paper before it can be given to the Censor as proof of your daring.
The Censor herself has placed them in the case and will reward the person who has made her laugh the most with his or her performance of their forfeit. It’s a social dilemma: Some of them might be difficult or embarrassing. Do you dare attract her attention to watch your performance? If you daren’t risk doing what’s on the forfeit and persuade someone else to do it for you, they could steal the opportunity to gain the Censor’s approval from you.
Here’s where you can get involved
I thought it would be fun for the people who can’t come to the event to send in forfeits for the vase. The sender of the one the Censor enjoys the most at the ball will win a prop from the masked ball. I’m not going to reveal the prize now, as it would be a spoiler for the players, but it is something I think fans of the books – in particular fans of Cathy – will be excited about.
Here are some example forfeits to give you an idea of the sort of thing the Censor will be creating herself:
Sing a verse and chorus from a song you love
Recite a poem
Persuade the person nearest to you that you love them using only words, then show them the forfeit
Make a sound like a farmyard animal
To enter, simply put your forfeit in the comments below, making sure you put in the best email address to contact you on (these won’t be published anywhere public). Then you can see what everyone else has suggested so there are no duplicates. (If the comment form doesn’t play nicely with you, try the contact form instead.)
Some gentle rules:
Forfeits must not involve any sort of uninvited physical contact (i.e. grab a person from behind to make them scream)
Forfeits should be the sort of thing you’d be happy for a child to do at a party – i.e. nothing X-rated or involving very adult humour or swearing. (This is to ensure that I am not encouraging the players to do anything they would be very uncomfortable with in the real world.)
There will be lots of photos taken at the ball, and I will make sure that you get to see the vase and forfeits. We might be lucky and get some snaps of people carrying out the forfeits.
So, write your forfeit/s below (or via the contact form) – you can offer as many as you like – and good luck!
P.S. If you are a player, you cannot enter this competition I’m afraid, but please do encourage your friends to join in!