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City of Heroes, City of Villains celebrate Valentines Day with a wedding

February 15, 2008

City of Heroes, City of Villains celebrate Valentine’s Day with a wedding
By Michael Lafferty

Manticore and Sister Psyche tie the knot, but the celebration is spoiled by Lord Recluse

It had been a frantic morning for the young hero. First there were the Council in Brickstown to deal with, and then a mix-up at the dry cleaners almost meant that he would not have his best spandex ready in time. But things have a way of working out, and now there he stood, in a moment he would long cherish.

When he was much younger the names of Manticore and Sister Psyche had stirred him to the hope that – one day – he, too, might have a name that meant something. And now he was, not only on the verge of seeing these two legendary figures, but witnessing an event that would have a profound impact on all their lives.

He looked upward, drinking in the setting.

The sky overhead was a gentle bouquet of amber, orange and wisps of white, reflecting off the pool at the heart of the floating platform in Ourobouros. It was a special day, painted in the serious tones of formality, but underscored with the orchestrations of a love long tended and coming to fruition.

Manticore and Sister Psyche, two of the stalwart heroes of Paragon City, stood atop the steps near the wall of the floating isle with Positron between them. The moment was at hand, when the hearts of these two warriors were to be united in the bonds of matrimony.

City of Heroes PC screenshots

A hush fell over the assembled crowd, heroes and villains alike, and then Positron spoke:

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the joining of Manticore and Sister Psyche in holy matrimony.

When I originally recruited Manticore and Sister Psyche to re-form the Freedom Phalanx with Synapse and myself, I had no idea that I was putting into motion a relationship that would be tested by an entire gamut of setbacks.

Everything from giant monsters, to natural disasters, to alien invasions, to rampaging lunatics, the Phalanx has faced it and our members have come to rely on each other more and more.

What took a while for any of us to notice was the relationship that grew between Manticore and Sister Psyche.

Valentine’s Day was the setting in the world of the massively multiplayer online superhero game City of Heroes (and City of Villains) for the marriage between the two heroes. While players from within the game assembled on the test server, and lined up to get a chance to take part in the wedding, which ran every 10-15 minutes for several hours to accommodate the host of players, the heroes were those who have played a big part in the game’s success. Manticore was played by Sean Dornan-Fish (who created the character) while his wife, Jennifer Dornan-Fish, took on the role of Sister Psyche. Matt Miller appeared in the role of Positron and NCsoft community managers were on hand to make certain the wedding guests did not get out of line.

But if there is one constant in the world of Paragon City it is that nothing is ever truly what it may seem. There are layers to the story underlying the game, with some instances of treachery. Was trouble on the horizon on this special day?

City of Heroes PC screenshots

The young hero, standing in the crowd, shifted his feet uncomfortably. ‘What are all these villains doing here?” he wondered. It was true that Manticore had gone undercover with the Arachnos crime syndicate and perhaps friends made while there transcended the philosophies of good and evil at such a special event. But then, something seemed amiss during the part of the ceremony when Manticore and Sister Psyche read their personalized wedding vows. Even as Manticore was speaking, the hair was beginning to prickle on the back of the neck of the hero …

Ironically, it wasn't until Lord Recluse dampened everyone's powers that I truly understood what I felt for you. Have you ever wondered why you were the first person I sought out during that dark time?

Truly, deeply, and with every fiber of my being I trusted you. The rest of the world only sees the actions I take. They view me as the loose cannon of the Freedom Phalanx who takes reckless actions without fully considering the consequences.

You have always seen me differently because you can see the thoughts and sense the feelings behind the actions. You have always been the one, the only one, who knows I have a plan.

Even when it was a plan like 'I have to kill Statesman', which must have sounded crazy at the time, you saw more than the rest and you trusted me.

‘Plan? What plan?’ The young hero was growing restless, eyes casting about. A few members of the Arachnos legion were fading away from the crowd, working further behind the assembled mass, gaining distance, but for what?

Manticore’s words grabbed his attention. Here was the culmination of what brought all these disparate personalities together.

Shalice, here before our friends, the open sky, the endless sea, and the ancient earth, I give you this ring which represents the harmonious blend of two spirits, forming a stronger whole.

Carved from the same metal as the ring you give me, it binds us forever.

Sister Psyche responded, her words echoing precisely those of Manticore’s. And then it was Positron’s turn:

With the power vested in me by the state of Rhode Island, and Ken's 24 Hour Internet Ministry, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife... You may now kiss the bride!

City of Heroes PC screenshots

Rose petals and confetti danced in the air, but in the stunning silence that followed, they were the only things moving – other than Lord Recluse (the power behind Arachnos and the most reviled villain in all of Paragon City) and his most trusted lieutenants, who appeared on the platform behind the couple. Accusatory words cut through the ceremony and then the peace was shattered.

Spells flew out, blades were slicing and fists connected with flesh, striking down heroes and villains. Healing prayers kept some from falling, but nova blasts downed many. A few seemed genuinely confused by the full-on player-versus-player battle that erupted, and that moment of indecision would prove to be their undoing.

Only in City of Heroes/Villains could a ceremony of love on Valentine’s Day turn into a slaughter. “Kiss the bride?” It would have been better stated that “you may now punch the bride.” The young hero tried to find Manticore in the commotion, but he had disappeared. Was this all part of some nefarious scheme? A ruse to lure the heroes into a trap?

City of Heroes PC screenshots

There were no clear answers, only an incredible battle that proved to be wonderfully entertaining. Heroes and villains alike were treated to an after-party at Pod D, sort of a neutral-site dance club, which sported a giant window with a ski chalet outside in a snow globe. City of Heroes and City of Villains treated players on the test server to a wonderful episode that should only prove to deepen the storylines and give players something to talk about in the days to come.

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