Winter Game 2018
A yearly tradition that brings our Wayfinder family together over winter break. All the things you love about camp… but in the snow! Dec. 27th-29th every year. A great holiday gift for your Wayfinder child!
This year’s Winter Game will be held in the heart of the Catskills at Frost Valley YMCA at 2000 Frost Valley Road, Claryville, NY. (Some of you may remember we held Winter Game there in 2015.) It’s the perfect setting for playing The Long Night, an Adventure Game written specifically to be played in deep, dark Winter! Roy Graham, the author, offers you this teaser:
The chains around Duschna’s wrists are lead, and they are very heavy. Someone told the jailors it would “limit her devil-born gift.” Ridiculous. But when they lead her out into the courtyard to stand trial, she doesn’t turn into a bird or a cloud of mist or a fleeting thought, so they probably think the chains are working. All she does is flinch away from the sunlight–it’s been days of blindness down in the royal dungeon. When her eyes finally adjust, she stares at the great pile of wood they’ve built for her. The last place she will ever stand.
When Duschna was fourteen, she learned how to fly. It was an immensely complicated working and one with very little practical application. What use was a minute of flight when it took almost two entire days of preparation to achieve? Not to mention the risks. But since the moment the diviners of the Ashbough School had told her about her abilities, she knew she had to try. Two years of tutelage later, she was ready to do just that.
The courtyard is ringed with people. That, she did not expect. In the front row, she recognizes a man from her old neighborhood. Not three months ago, Duschna had cured his son of fairy-blindness. She searches his face for regret, for shame, but finds only fear. He won’t even meet her eyes. The murmuring of the crowd hushes, and Duschna turns her head to the balcony, where a proctor stands in the white robes of his order.
“Duschna Vedenin. I trust you are familiar with your crimes?”
First she attuned herself to the ritual circle she had drawn into the sand. Walking the perimeter, her fingers twitched in little mystical shapes, activating the components laid out so carefully in nodes of the circle’s design. Volcanic ash for lift, swiped from the private supply of a guest lecturer. A brass spiral for control–she had forged it herself, in the inscribing lab, and it was already glowing red-hot. Willowmoss taken from under the lake, to slow her fall when the spell ran out. She really hoped that last part worked.
“Treating with infernal powers. The practicing of witchcraft. The plotting against and cursing of the citizens of Proska.” All false, except she supposes the one about witchcraft. That hardly matters now, though. This is a show for the gathered masses. One of the city’s best practicing thaumaturgists, a woman who had consulted with the czar himself on one occasion, in league with all the other devil worshippers and heretics. Duschna doesn’t trouble herself to listen all that closely. The chains are so heavy on her wrists. There is a bird in the courtyard’s alder tree, hopping from branch to branch. As the proctor reaches a fever pitch in his accusations, the sparrow takes off, startled, into the sky.
Despite the days of preparation, the years of study, flight still seemed to sneak up on her. One moment she was walking the outer edge of her ritual circle; the next, her feet were kicking through empty air. It started slow–then the volcanic ash kicked in, and she was racing up, up, terrifying the sparrows, punching through a cloud. Her eyes burned from the wind, but she didn’t care. Down below she could make out the school, the robed students bustling from class to class, so far away they looked like moths. In that moment, she realized she didn’t care whether or not the Willowmoss worked, if she hit the ground so hard they never found all the pieces—it had been worth it.
As the flames of the pyre catch on her long and ragged prisoner’s gown, Duschna does not dwell on the heat or the pain. She does not think about Ilya, her wife, who had begged Duschna to join her when she fled to the countryside weeks ago. She does not think about Sergei, the gentle old thaumaturgist who had counted her as an apprentice for five years and a colleague for ten, before the witchhunters had stuck a sword through his chest. She does not think about the many happy memories she had made here in the capital: the little victories, the magical breakthroughs, the moments of random kindness between strangers. As she goes up in flames, Duschna is looking up at the sky. She is remembering what it was like to fly.