Hail and well met, old friends and new readers! Once again, I, Dragon, will continue relating our adventure while Mistress Writer continues her recovery.
I tip-toed into Mistress Writer’s bedchamber. Cleric was sitting next to the bed, a look of concern on her face, while Mistress Writer slumbered. I gestured to Cleric to follow me into the hallway.
“How is the patient today?”
“I am worried, Dragon. I feel Mistress Writer should be up and about by now. Her procedure, which her doctors designated as minor surgery, was days ago.”
I frowned. “She has been up.”
“She has been out of the bedchamber.” Cleric was quick to correct me. “She has not been up. When she leaves the bedchamber, she reclines on the soft bench in the great room.”
“Couch. Living Room. How long has it been since we fell out of Mistress Writer’s manuscripts? How long have we lived in this world? We should all make a better effort to refer to objects in the vernacular.”
Cleric scowled. “Do not confuse the issue. Whatever you call the furniture or the room, Mistress Writer remains prone most of the day!”
I returned Cleric’s scowl, and added some smoke for good measure. “She sits at the table for meals, and she walks around the house a bit. She has even stepped out onto the deck.”
Sorceress and the Gypsy joined us, and Sorceress addressed me. “Have you told Mistress Writer what we discovered about the conduit?”
“Not yet. I wish to wait until she is feeling well.”
“Maybe I could entertain her with some juggling, or tell her some jokes.” The Gypsy grinned and waggled his eyebrows.
He choked as I blew a cloud of smoke in his face. “Mistress Writer does not need to be entertained. She needs to heal. I strongly suggest we all give her the time she needs to do so.” I emphasized my suggestion with a snarl, making sure every one of my dagger-sharp teeth were visible. The Gypsy, still choking, nodded and waved his hand to indicate his understanding.
The days stretched into weeks. Mistress Writer and her spouse, Master Miles, were as disheartened as were we, her characters, at her lack of improvement. She was still unable to sit for more than very short periods of time, and she spent most of her days wandering aimlessly around the house and yard. At Master Miles’ urging, she sometimes took her camera onto the deck and captured images of the myriad birds and creatures that visited the yard. But her spirits remained low. They sank even lower when her follow-up examination by her physician, four weeks after surgery, revealed that she was not healing as quickly as the doctor had anticipated.
“Another month of being relegated to the house and the yard! No nature walks! I have missed all of spring migration and now I will miss nesting season.” Mistress Writer, an avid bird watcher, spoke in a monotone. Her shoulders were drooped and she stared at her hands, clasped tightly on her lap.
“Your doctor does not wish you to take walks?” Sorceress raised an eyebrow.
“Only very slow, short walks around the house and yard. My doctor explained that there is still much swelling, and long walks would cause stress and friction in the area of the stitches. That would only delay healing further.” Mistress Writer sighed.
“Well, at least there is abundant wildlife in your back yard. You do not seem to be lacking for willing avian and mammalian subjects for your photography.” I gestured toward the deck, where a chipmunk struck a coy pose near the broom while several birds lined up on the railing.
“And you do seem to be somewhat more comfortable when sitting now.” Cleric plumped a pillow and positioned it on the couch behind Mistress Writer. “You may be frustrated now, but I am sure your next visit with your doctor will yield more encouraging results.”
Mistress Writer shrugged her shoulders and reached for her camera. I suppose you are right. I will try harder to make the best of it.”
Several more days passed before I found the opportunity to be alone with Mistress Writer. Master Miles was running errands and would be gone for several hours. The Foreman and the lads were working their horses in the front yard. Cleric and Sorceress were downstairs in the conference room drying herbs and preparing sundry powders, oils, and other materials used for healing and for a variety of spell components. The Arrogant One and the Bounty Hunter were still occupying the loft in the garden shed and, at my request, the Old Dwarf had stationed himself near the shed and was keeping those two under close observation.
I found Mistress Writer in the living room, watching and photographing the birds on the deck.
“Yes? What is it, Dragon?” She placed her camera on the coffee table and took a seat on the couch.
“We must talk.” I shrank to the size of a Cocker Spaniel and curled up on the couch next to her. “Do you remember, prior to your recent surgery, you had asked me and my fellow spell casters to determine if there was any way for us to enter our own world through the magic conduit which allowed passage of several items from there into your world?”
Mistress Writer nodded. “Have you made a determination?”
I inclined my head in assent. “My fellow magic users and I located the conduit. The Gypsy lad held it immobile for me while I examined it. I discovered a barrier within the conduit, through which I was unable to pass. Since each of my companions are proficient in a different form of magic, each of them in turn attempted, as I had, to defeat the barrier and pass through the conduit into our own world. None of them were able to do so. We have therefore concluded that the conduit is a one-way passage from our world into yours. We do not believe there is any danger the Arrogant One and the Bounty Hunter will find a way to use it to enter our world and become supreme rulers through the use of the annoying elf’s illusions.”
A smile slowly spread across Mistress Writer’s face. She took my scaly hand and squeezed it tightly as she sighed in relief. “Thank you, my friend. And I would like to thank Sorceress, Cleric, and my Gypsy, too. You all did a fine job, and I am very grateful”
“We are always glad to be of service.” I hesitated, a small plume of smoke drifting from my nostrils. “Mistress, I have need to discuss something else.”
“Okay. What do you need to discuss?”
I hesitated again. “Mistress, I wish to speak with you regarding one of your theories. I have reason to believe that you have erred.”
Mistress Writer quirked an eyebrow and tilted her head. “Oh? What theory is that?”
“You have postulated that we nine characters who have fallen from your manuscripts into this world exist simultaneously in two worlds. You claim we continue to exist in what you refer to as our world, the world about which you have written, and we exist in this world, the world you call the real world.”
“That is correct. I have long thought this to be true; and as I confided in you after reading the books that passed through the conduit from your world to this one, I now have confirmation of my theory. The books chronicle adventures that have occurred in your world after those events about which I have written in my manuscripts. These more recent events involve most of you nine characters now residing here.”
“So, in what way have I erred?”
I took a deep breath. “Mistress, the nine of us did not come from that which we call our world. We never existed there.”
Mistress Writer gaped at me, as if she could not understand my words. “What do you mean, you never existed there? Did I not chronicle your adventures in that world?”
I licked my lips and swallowed hard. “We – the nine characters who fell out of your manuscripts and into this world – did not come from the world we refer to as our world, the world about which you wrote. We came from your manuscripts. We do not exist simultaneously in both worlds – the world we refer to as our world and this world that you call the real world – because we are not the same beings that exist in the world we refer to as our world. We are merely shadows, or memories, of those beings.”
Mistress Writer furrowed her brow. “And how did you come up with this notion?”
“As with you and your theory, Mistress, I have long held this notion. I just needed proof.”
Her eyes narrowed. “And how did you prove it?”
I forced myself to meet her scrutiny. “I invaded your office.”
She raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest. “My office? Why?” Her voice was steely, her expression grim.
At the sound of disapproval in her voice, I tucked my tail and hung my head. “Mistress, I had need of your manuscripts. The ones from which my fellow characters and I fell into this world.”
“And you could not have just asked to see them?”
“You were occupied with your surgery and then your recovery. I had no desire to trouble you.”
It was a long few moments before Mistress Writer spoke again. When she did, her voice was soft and gentle. “I appreciate your consideration. Of course, you are always welcome in my office, my cherished friend, and you are free to examine anything there.”
I had not realized until that moment I had been holding my breath. I let it out in a rush of relief. “Thank you, Mistress.”
“Now, tell me, how did my manuscripts prove your theory and disprove mine?”
“I am not sure I can explain it. I examined the manuscripts through both physical and magical means. With my unique and exceptional dragon powers, I determined there is much magic in those texts, in your words.”
“Magic?” Mistress Writer scoffed.
I met her skeptical stare. “Magic.”
Her expression changed to one of alarm. “Are you saying someone enchanted my manuscripts?”
“No, Mistress, it is not an enchantment. It is a completely different type of magic. It is magic that you created, with your words.”
Mistress Writer blanched, and her hand flew to her mouth. “No!” She stared at me for a few moments, then said in a quieter voice, “No! It cannot be. Morcant, the evil wizard I once wrote about in a story, accused me of being a witch. He avowed I did not chronicle the events of his trial and subsequent exile; he maintained that I caused the events through my writing.” She paused, searching my face for reassurance. “Did I? Did I cause those horrible events? Did I cause the events in your world?” Her eyes were wide with an apparent mix of fear and distress.
I smiled. “No, Mistress, you did not. You are no witch, Mistress, and the magic of your words did not cause events to unfold. They merely gave birth to us characters, not in the world of which you wrote, but within the pages of your manuscripts.”
“If my words gave birth to you, why did only you nine fall from the pages into this world?”
“Methinks mayhap we are your favorites.”
Mistress Writer snorted and shook her head. “Some of you, yes; but my Arrogant One and my Bounty Hunter? Favorites? Hardly!”
“Then I know not why only we nine fell from your manuscript pages, Mistress. I only know I am very glad I was one who did.”
Mistress Writer looked at me warmly. “Me, too, Dragon. Me, too.”
Be sure to come back and visit from time to time, cherished readers. Mistress Writer should be back to peak health soon, and who knows what mystery or adventure looms on the horizon? We will leave the porch light on for you.