Part Three: “My Character Attacked God” or “Not the Gay Porn Star Look"
Rifling through closets at home, I had all
but completed my costume by the time of the second meeting. A slightly
altered green t-shirt, a pair of black leggings (later replaced by green
jeans after the enlightening and burr-filled hike up Barad-Dur), an old
wool scarf to serve as a sort of belt, and my prop weapons pretty much
turned me into the Elf I had chosen to be.
My mother had always wondered why I had kept every little cardboard tube and miscellaneous thingy that I came across at home and now I felt vindicated.
Pretty much all I needed to buy were the fake Elf ears and I was all set.
My good buddy Creighton, known to the game as Ar-Pharazon the Golden, however, was at a complete loss.
He had never made a costume before in his life and he didn’t have a clue how to go about doing it. All he had were ideas.
“Well, I was looking at the Silmarillion a little bit before and there really isn’t any description of Ar-Pharazon,” he told me one day over a hasty lunch in the Physics majors’ room on campus, “so I’m pretty much free to do whatever. But, I had this idea. You know how he basically went off and attacked God, right?”
Not having read the Silmarillion, I shook my head. “Uh… no?” I ventured.
“Well, Sauron convinced him to go off and attack Valinor, and well, it didn’t go very well.”
“Right,” I said, to indicate that despite the fact that I was somewhat lost, I was still listening to him.
“So, in the canon he was killed, but he’s around for the game. What if he’s not doing so hot?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, my idea is that he’s been crippled.”
For a moment, my brain didn’t register what he said. “Crippled?” I finally asked.
“Yeah, like his entire left side was practically blown away, missing fingers, an eye maybe.”
I blinked at him around a bite of sandwich. “You’re going to cripple yourself? Do you have any idea how hard that will make it to move around in the woods?”
He shrugged. “I’d just have to be careful. But, if he’s crippled, it might explain why he’s there at all but has so few base points. Points reflect power in battle, after all. Right now, with just our base points, you could take me out by yourself.”
“No, I couldn’t,” I answered, “I’m not even a named character.”
“You’ve got 25 base points.”
“I thought it was 20.”
“Nope, 25. I’ve got 20.”
Creighton whipped out the booklet which now held a place of importance next to his topology textbook. He turned to the character charts and showed me both. “See?”
“I stand corrected,” I said, “but isn’t that all the more reason to be able to run away easily?”
“Or all the more reason to be creative with the costume.”
“And you’ve figured out how to do all of this?”
“Actually, I don’t have any idea what I’m doing.”
And that was the beginning of my hand in the costume of Ar-Pharazon the Golden Cripple.
I decided to drag him down Madison’s State Street the following day to some of the places Megan had suggested for finding costuming elements. The store we hit was called Ragstock, a sort of second-hand clothing and accessories store that catered to the off-beat fashion sense. The place was mostly women’s clothing, but there were things that we would be able to work with.
We started with a preliminary cruise around the store just to see what they had. The very first thing that caught my eye was a red feather boa.
“Hey, you could wear this!” I exclaimed in mock excitement, holding up one dangling end of the noxiously-colored boa.
Creighton looked at me with his trademark grimace of annoyance. “Sarah, I am not going for the gay porn star look.”
“Okay, okay,” I chuckled as we moved on. I found that I was rather enjoying the position I found myself in. It’s not every day a guy asks you to help dress him up, after all.
After wandering the store some more and uttering a few phrases my mother probably would have been horrified to hear come out of my mouth, we finally found ourselves hovering around a rack of short kimonos.
“Hey, what do you think of the sleeves on these?” Creighton asked me.
I struggled to swallow a particularly off-color joke about how he sounded asking that and asked him what he was thinking of instead.
“Do you think I could hide my left arm in the sleeve, kinda?” he asked. “You know, like it’s been blown off and I’m trying to hide it.”
“I think it could work,” I said, pulling a black kimono off its hanger and handing it to him, “what do you think of this one?”
He held it up to himself. “Do you think it’ll fit?”
“Well, try it on over your shirt.” He did. “Yeah, I think that’ll work. Wear a black shirt and jeans with that and we’ve got a good start.”
“Okay, now what?” Creighton asked.
“Well, let’s look around some more and see if we can’t find anything that’ll work with it,” I suggested. Once again, we perused the store and we came across pairs of velvet gloves in various colors. “Ooh! These look fun!” I joked.
“Sarah, no gay porn star, remember?”
“Oh, you’re no fun.”
Well, we didn’t find anything else at Ragstock that really worked with the kimono to create the look he was going for, but I did come away with a long kimono of my own and a silver bracelet I was going to wear over one of my brown corduroy gauntlets. All in all, it was a fairly successful day.
The following Sunday we went out to the fabric store with Sarah, Margaret, and Megan and he found some material for a cloak. Another week passed and I asked Creighton how the costume was coming. He told me that he hadn’t really had time to work on it.
“All right, come back to my place,” I finally told him the Thursday night before Second Age Game, “we’ll work on it.”
He had a pin for the cloak. All he needed was a hem in the material. Sounds simple enough, right?
We spent an hour trying to figure out how to load the bobbin on my mother’s sewing machine before we finally gave up and decided the unfinished look helped the concept anyway. Proof positive that I can never become a seamstress.
I think the world should be grateful for this revelation.
“Okay, forget that, then,” I said, “what do you have for a belt?”
Creighton looked at me. “Um… nothing?”
That was my cue to display my skills as a packrat once again. I whipped out the bag of fabric scraps that every girl inevitably gains, whether she sews or not, and pulled out a large piece of shiny red fabric. He gave me that look again.
“It’s not the gay porn star look,” I said, twisting the fabric so that unfinished edges hung out in odd places, “now, put on the kimono, I wanna see if this’ll work.”
Still obviously having doubts, he did so and I tied the piece of red fabric around his waist.
“Hey, it kinda works,” he said, checking it in the mirror of the downstairs bathroom.
“Good,” I said, “now let’s talk about this staff of yours.”
“You mean I can’t just carry around the broom handle?”
“Not if you wanna get costume points. I think it needs some stuff wrapped around the top.”
“Sorta like it used to be a sail or a flag or something and he just grabbed it,” Creighton agreed, “what do you have?”
“Gold lemé,” I answered.
“No purple tupee?”
“They Might Be Giants.”
I put up my hands, signaling that he shouldn’t go any further. “I don’t think I wanna know. Sounds like it might be a gay porn star thing.”
to Part Four
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