I slip off my LOTR ring and hand it to lanky kid.
“I’m the king and you’re the villagers. You all have a job…” I look around the basement “and you all need homes. Before we start I want everyone to push all the toys on the floor into the middle of the room.”
They all rush to do my bidding. Jane helps them and gives commands when necessary.
“Jane will be the Queen.” I announce.
“Who’s Jane?” Maegan asks.
“I mean Leena. Leena will be the Queen.”
Jane (aka Leena) stops pushing a doll house to the center of the room and looks at me. We lock eyes for a moment.
“But I want to be the Queen.” Maegan whines, breaking the spell.
“You’re going to be the merchant.” I tell her. She looks at me like she’s trying to decide if that sounds cooler than being a Queen or not.
“Everyone has to build up their village homes around the edges of the room.” I say to the others. “But you must buy stuff from Maegan, or trade, you can’t just take it from the pile in the middle of the room. She’s the village merchant.”
Maegan’s eyes light up.
Everyone has questions about how to play ‘Villager’ but I hold up my hand to silence them.
“I’ve decreed that you must all build homes to sleep in. If you have further questions for the King you are required to bring a dessert offering before my throne…” I look around the basement. “Queen Leena, you will now be known as Queen Jane, can you get me a throne?”
Jane nods and disapears into her room, returning with a chair and a blanket to cover it. She sets up the throne for me and I have a seat.
In no time many tasty desserts from upstairs are brought before me, and the questions asked are as follows, “Am I allowed to have a pretend pet dragon that’s invisible?” “Can I be the village idiot?” and “Will there be a battle against the trolls?”
Jane stands loyally by my side, stopping petty fights as they arrise, mostly bickering in the ‘market place’. I spot a magnetic dart board in the pile of toys that no one has snatched up yet.
“Queen Jane.” I say to her. “Please have someone bring that dart board to the palace and write up invitations to all the homes in my Kingdom. Every villager is invited to attend the royal dart throwing competition tomorrow morning.”
Immediately everyone starts talking about the dart throwing competition, even though they haven’t recieved their invitations yet. I shake my head at their poor roleplaying skills. Jane nods and goes to her room for paper and markers.
Lanky kid is looking bored as the others build their homes. He has been pretending he is invisible but is now unmotivated.
“Ring bearer!” I summon him. “Come here.”
When he gets closer I lower my voice to a whisper.
“Tonight, when the lights go out and all the villagers are asleep for the night I want you to kidnap one of them and trap them in your dungeon.”
He looks excited, but unsure.
“But I don’t have a dungeon.” He whispers back.
“Then make one!” I dismiss him and he runs off.