Yes, the Atlantis game is still chugging along, though drawing to a climax soon. And so, I thought it was a good time to reveal a particular aspect of Smeaton's character that has gone unrevealed to the others for over a year. And because the Atlantis game is unlike any other RPG I've ever played, I ended up revealing the secret in a song.
Lemme 'splain. No, is too much. Lemme sum up: efamar and jormungandr have been treating us to song parodies about our characters for a while now. I've got a stack of them in the back of my game binder, parodies of "A Whole New World" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and others. I didn't participate because, though I have written songs before and enjoy the discipline that comes with lyric writing, well, I have to get pretty inspired to do it. The last song I wrote IIRC was composed while driving in a military convoy around northern South Korea.
But then jorm sent around a link to a video of a guy named Matt Mulholland doing a mournful minor-key cover of Rebecca Black's "Friday." And I thought it was cool, so I watched some of his other videos, and ran across an acapella multitrack of Ceelo Green's "Fuck You."
Which sparked something in me, because Smeaton has long had a secret crush on someone else in the group, and a not-so-secret grudge against her boyfriend. And when I actually sang the song for everyone over the weekend (and BTW, having not sung in front of people in years, I had to rehearse a lot--try to imagine what it felt like walking around work for two or three days constantly singing "Fuck You" under your breath), I don't know how many pieces actually fell into place for the people listening, but a few big ones obviously did.
But for the benefit of completeness, here is the timeline of the Smeaton crush (pause while everybody else who knows nothing about the game scrolls down to the next post or else leaves entirely).
THE MEETING: Smeaton wasn't actually impressed by Amice Belden when he met her. She was pretty enough, but bookish and full of fancies about so-called "magic."
THE CHIMERA: His attitude toward her changed over time, especially when they went upcountry to battle a chimera. She showed amazing spirit and bravery, yet still remained feminine and somehow fragile. A contradiction.
THE SOLDIERS: Smeaton kept his feelings buried most of the time, but when the group tried to flee the country to avoid arrest by British soldiers due to their association with the spy, Dr. Travis, he let his feelings show just the slightest bit. When the soldiers leveled their rifles, he cried "Amice" (not "Miss Belden"--one of maybe three times in the entire game he has done that, and nobody ever notices) and tackled her to the ground, covering her body with his. She was very annoyed at his sexism.
The trip to and from the city of the Ghuls did not allow much time for him to dwell on his feelings, what with the seasickness and the Hesperian woman and the giant hydra and all. Amice became more involved with her magical studies and Smeaton wondered if it was simply not meant to be.
CUPID'S ARROW: During a strategy session at Lord Acrisian's house, Smeaton was struck through the heart with an assassin's arrow. Everyone else went their separate ways in the subsequent battle, but Miss Belden ventured down to the lawn where Smeaton lay on the verge of death to bring him back. This was also where the group met rather slippery Jareth Rosewood, spy and scout.
THE WET T-SHIRT: While fighting a sea serpent, Smeaton was swallowed whole and carried off. The others pursued the creature to a submerged cave to rescue him. Amice cast off her heavy dress and swam down in only her shift. Though he tried to bluff his way through, Smeaton was not immune to the beauty on full display.
THE PRINCESS AND THE DEMON: Smeaton's feelings became very confused when he met a beautiful princess imprisoned in a tower. She claimed that she had seen visions of him all her life, and long ago fallen in love with him. They began an affair which seemed doomed, for her visions also showed him being killed protecting her from a fearsome demon. The battle, when it came, though, saw Smeaton emerge victorious against near-impossible odds.
But it was clear that the victory was only temporary. Whoever had sent the demon would merely send another, perhaps stronger, to finish the job. Smeaton needed help to sort this out. And who should show up at precisely the moment he needed help with precisely the help he needed but Amice Belden? As if she knew instinctively, as if they were somehow connected.
THE PIRATES: Once Smeaton's submarine was finally finished, the group set off to find the lost tomb that would give them clues to the location of the next phase of their quest. Along the way, they were beset by pirates. While Smeaton tried to seal the barrel of the deck gun so the sub could dive safely, he was struck by arrows and fell, senseless, into the water below. With no thought for her own safety, Amice cast herself over the gunwale to save him from drowning. Smeaton began to think she might care for him as much as he was coming to care for her. He was even considering finding a way to split amicably from Leda when they reached the Triton city, where things changed.
THE BUGGER AND THE BABY: Once the group reached the Triton city, however, everything went wrong. Leda and Smeaton ended up in some drunken orgy that he only barely remembers, while at the same time, Rosewood and Amice became lovers. Not long after, Leda informed Smeaton that she carried his baby. Smeaton's opportunity had passed.
THE PACT: Smeaton decided his first responsibility was to the child, and so decided that his loyalties must lie with Leda. However, his distrust of the Viceroy and the current Emperor led him to a dark decision: to insure his child's safety (as much as it could be insured), he must overthrow the throne of Atlantis and see Leda made Empress instead. And the first person he approached with the plan was Amice. He still didn't dare reveal his feelings, but now they shared a secret. It was something.
THE POSSESSION: Unfortunately, Amice was soon taken over by the spirit of an evil ancestor, a powerful ancient sorcerer named Daath. She turned against her friends and caused them to be routed in a crucial battle. And here we depart the actual history for a small meta-digression. I would sometimes prepare speeches for Smeaton to deliver in case a certain situation arose. They were often memorable: the Steam Man Whiskey speech, the "We're in Hell" speech, the Dougal Bloody Smeaton speech. I had actually prepared a "Come back to me, My Amice, My Love" speech for Dougal if he ever had occasion to come face-to-face with Dark Amice. Alas, he was off kicking the asses of an entire army of barbarians and giants while the others got to facilitate Amice's return from Heel to Face. Oh, and Rosewood earned Smeaton's enmity by stealing Smeaton's favorite dagger. Bastard.
THE MIND-READING: Nothing further developed between the two during the trip to the Dawn Forge in the furthest reaches of the north, but there was one dangerous moment (not counting the danger of the giant evil-sorcerer-possessed automaton). While debating the fate of the Forge, Lady Victoria used her newly developed powers of telepathy to read Smeaton's mind. If she had tried to read deeply and learn his secrets, the truth might have come out, but she specifically stated that she was only trying to read surface thoughts regarding Smeaton's intentions concerning the Forge. And so his secret feelings remained secret. And his resentment of Rosewood grew.
THE ASSASSINATION AND THE DEATH OF CELAENO: Lately Smeaton's trust in Amice was shaken when she offered to "fake" Leda's assassination as the factions have begun their battle for the Dragon Throne. Smeaton had no guarantee that the assassination would not be real, and it certainly looked real. But in the end, he chose to trust his heart in trusting Amice, and during the subsequent battle with the sorceress Celaeno, Amice healed him back from the brink of death (resulting in another rare use of her given name when Smeaton thanked her).
Truth be told, Smeaton may never reveal his feelings for Amice, almost certainly not while Leda's alive, especially since it seems evident by now that she does not reciprocate them in the least. Which is fine. I mean, there's a reason why you never hear "romantic" as one of the adjectives bandied about concerning Scottish men, and Smeaton is a stiff upper lip-type. He's good at expressing anger, but other emotions, not so much.