Candles flickered eerily atop gnarled wooden tables, music from  many moons ago filled the air, and an otherwordly mist shrouded us in mystery, as we tarried in the murky taven, awaiting our Quest. My 9 year old son and I were about to take on the ‘Curse of the Scarlet Sorcerer’ in the legendary fantasy realm of ‘Bohemia’ in Hastings as part of the new Legend Quest live role-play experience…

We didn’t quite know what to expect as we sat rather self-consciously in our best fantasy-hero outfits that we had enjoyed rummaging for in the charity shops of Battle the day before. We didn’t know any of the other people there – many of whom sported fantastic costumes, that also helped set the scene, and signalled that we were all on the same page of the adventure to come.

But none of that mattered as soon as the scene was set for the ‘Legend Quest’ that we were undertaking and it was explained that we would all be working as a team, solving puzzles and devising strategies as we battled the Scarlet Sorcerer to rescue the elves Olok and Erith.

The scene was set so effectively by a combination of impressive interaction with characters from the fantasy realm, brilliantly changing props and scenery, and the way us adventurers all got a turn to step into the fantasy realm for ourselves, that it was clear that this new venture will be a hit with both young and old.

It was truly magical to see how my son, and the other young people there, engaged totally with the story and the characters telling it, and made that leap from reading/watching a story unfold, to actually living it for themselves. Imaginations and heroism were ignited as we were able to question characters, decide on what course of action to take, and take on the obstacles in the way of defeating the Scarlet Sorcerer.

There were a few occasions where my 9 year old son hid behind me, much as you’d hide behind the cushions when you’re sat on the sofa at home, and something a bit scary happens – whilst still being unable to quite tear himself away. But the level of ‘scare’ was very well-judged, and there were no tears from anyone present – child or adult! It is a safe and supportive atmosphere to ‘face your fears’ and everyone was very supportive of each other – and equally as delighted when we triumphed in our collective Quest. There was a lot of humour and camaraderie, and the story wove together elements from many well-loved fantasy tales (as all the best stories do) and even had nods to the local area – even mentioning the Wreck of the Amsterdam.

You don’t need to have an in-depth knowledge of the fantasy genre (although my son and I shared several moments of  – Ah – hah! due to our shared love of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and other fantasy adventures) , all you need is a willingness to suspend the mundanity of everyday life for 2 hours, and immerse yourself in another world of smugglers, elves, sorcerers – and whichever creatures are awaiting us in future adventures….

A great bonus at the end, was the chance to have a ‘hero’ portrait’ snapped by Oliver McNeill of Legend Photography (aka the creator of Legend Quests) which provided a fitting memento of the experience.

If you’d like to take on a Legend Quest of your own, then keep up to date with the latest news and events by joining the Facebook group where there will be news of upcoming quests and more…

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