In April 2020, I wrote and released Bear, a solo tabletop role-playing game (available here.) It is a game that allows the player to tell an ongoing story that they can revisit at any time (with the player imagined as a magically empowered patron of an adventurer in another world), and I’ve decided to write down the story I’ve been telling whilst playing it here.
Bear walks through the cobbled streets of a small town. She knows she’s breaking another promise, but she’s happy – anxious, but happy – to be doing it. It feels clean.
Her heart beats faster, and it’s strange to be amongst people, threading through them all, surrounded entirely. A few flakes of snow fall as she reaches the church, and the churchyard.
The promise she made was that she wouldn’t visit her sister’s grave – a promise made in petulance. She didn’t, really, mean it. It was said as if such a thing could be a kind of defiance, to swear against doing something you were terrified of, trying to make it look like an act of strength.
She sits, happy, at the side of her sister’s grave, talking to her. Saying she’s here. And glad to be. There shouldn’t be intervention here. This needs to be Bear, alone. No stories, no advice, just witnessing.
A stout barrel of an elderly woman is being robbed on a street adjoining the churchyard, and Bear runs towards the noise. She is perpetual motion, gouts of green flame blocking the street the thieves run down.
Unlike anything anyone has seen.
Bear retrieves the bag, returning it, and receives a pastry from within it as thanks. The thieves have disappeared, the strangeness of their disappearance not fully understood in the speed of everything. Bear instead simply eats the pastry as she sits by her sister’s grave. In the back of her mind, however, she knows that her abilities have now been witnessed. And that changes things.