Good morrow, faithful readers! Welcome friends, both longstanding and new! Dragon here, in my persona of an elf maiden, filling in for Mistress Writer. She is, unfortunately, under the weather. At least I think that is the proper idiom. She is once again afflicted with one of her frequent respiratory ailments. I believe I heard Master Miles, her longsuffering mate, tell someone Mistress Writer was coughing up a lung, not that I understand that bit of vernacular. I mean, really, how can someone cough up a lung?
Cleric is administering her healing herbs, and she reports that Mistress Writer is not coughing quite as much as she was, but progress is slow. At any rate, until Mistress Writer is sufficiently recovered to return to her computer keyboard, I fear you will have to bear with me as I attempt to take her place as wordsmith, historian, and entertainer.
A thought recently occurred to me. Although you have been reading for several years now of the adventures shared by me and my companions in this world, what Mistress Writer terms the real world, perchance you are not aware of our prior history. Before the nine of us fell from Mistress Writer’s manuscripts and came to live in this world, we were residents of another world, a world far different from this one. You may term it backward, as it is seriously lacking in your technology. Mistress Writer calls it a medieval world. She notes that it is populated with mythological creatures (such as your obedient servant) and abounds in magic (a force that many believe died out long ago in your world. They are wrong about the magic being gone, of course, but you did not hear that from me.)
Mistress Writer first introduced me into her second manuscript at the point of my initial encounter with her Young Hero, her Gypsy, and Cleric. But I can remember a time before that, a time about which Mistress Writer knows little or nothing. Long before I encountered the others, a dapper young dwarf used to visit me. He sometimes brought me gifts – little wood or stone carvings he made himself. He was an accomplished artist. He and I grew quite fond of each other, though the last time I saw him in my world was long before the events recorded in Mistress Writer’s manuscripts. I have reason to believe he is the Old Dwarf who was the focus of Mistress Writer’s first manuscript, the Old Dwarf who also now finds himself in this world with me and my other companions. Although he and I have never discussed the matter, it is obvious to us, as it should be to you readers, that the Old Dwarf and I share a very special friendship.
Mistress Writer had introduced me in her manuscripts at a point in history when I was a desert dweller. I had been residing there, in the extreme heat, for almost as long as I could remember. Perhaps that is why I so abhor the weather in this place called Minnesota where I now reside. The cold, which seems to last for so many more months than does the heat, seeps into my bones and chills my soul!
The first time I met the Young Hero, the Gypsy, and Cleric in my world, they were visiting my desert. As soon as I encountered them, I invited them to dinner. No, not as my guests; rather, as the main course. You will be relieved to know, I am sure, that did not happen. The four of us became fast friends. I even helped them on a quest!
The Young Hero and I grew particularly close. He was the one who gave me a pronounceable name. I cannot reveal it here, but I can say I was quite enamored of it.
The Young Hero, a half-dwarf, was the star, if you will, of the first two manuscripts in Mistress Writer’s series. He began as a naive and rather sheltered child, raised on a renowned horse farm owned by his adoptive human parents. His best friends – indeed, his only friends for many years – were his adoptive brother, his pony, the Gypsy, and Cleric. The Young Hero was forced by circumstances to grow up quickly. He was forced to assume a role that would, if he could successfully complete his quest, change his world. Although I cannot reveal the nature of his quest, nor if he had successfully completed it by the end of the second book (we know nothing about events past that point, as that was all Mistress Writer had written when we fell out of her manuscripts), I think you would enjoy the segment of his poignant tale with which I am familiar.
The Gypsy, although not the star of Mistress Writer’s tales, was a capable sidekick and a valued member of the ensemble cast. He was a jack-of-all-trades. He and his people were eminent horsemen, and he had some knowledge of magic, learned at his grandmother’s knee. He favored a quick wit and a sharp blade when defending himself or his companions. He also had the peculiar talent of being able to flawlessly imitate any birdcall he heard.
The Gypsy and I had a contentious relationship. Initially, he was convinced that I would, indeed, have him for dinner someday. It took a long time for him to learn to trust me. Meanwhile, I delighted in teasing him and making him nervous.
Cleric, a pious young woman of elven heritage, was the deity-appointed protector of the Young Hero. I am obliged to admit she fascinated me. I was a creature of magic. I did not understand the concept of religion and deities. Cleric’s allegiance to her goddess made no sense to me. Her failure to obey one she claimed to serve made even less sense.
Oh! Mayhap I should not have revealed that information! Forsooth, Cleric is my friend, and I have no desire to embarrass her. Of course, her faith, coupled with her failure, is a large part of who she was, and how she faced the world. At the end of the second manuscript (which, again, was all Mistress Writer had completed at the time we fell out of them and into this world) Cleric had yet to learn a great deal of her own personal history. I hope her journey of self-discovery, which Mistress Writer is making the focal point of the third manuscript, is rewarding.
One of our number whom I met later in the events chronicled by Mistress Writer was Sorceress. This creature was easier for me to understand than was Cleric. Sorceress and I shared a love of, and a mastery of, magic. We also shared a sense of abiding loyalty to anyone we considered a friend.
None of us, not even Mistress Writer, have ever been able to understand what happened to Sorceress when she fell from the manuscripts. The Sorceress who now resides with us in this world bears little physical resemblance to the Sorceress we knew in our world. In our world Sorceress was not human. She was a member of an exotic race. But the Sorceress we know here and the exotic creature we knew in our world are one and the same. Sorceress remembers almost fainting the first time she laid eyes on my majestic form. She remembers aiding the Young Hero, the Gypsy, and Cleric in their quest. And she remembers a musty little man . . . but wait! You know nothing of him . . . yet.
Another member of our ensemble, The Foreman, was a former cavalry officer who was wounded in battle and left a physical and emotional cripple. He found new purpose when the owner of the most important horse-breeding operation in the kingdom hired him as foreman. He found more than that when he had to save the adopted son of his boss and friend. Terrifying memories plagued the man, and for a time he was full of hatred and prejudice, which complicated his quest to rescue the half-dwarf.
Two more of our companions, the Arrogant One and the Bounty Hunter, were not what you would call our friends in the adventure that Mistress Writer documented. The Arrogant One had only a cameo appearance in Mistress Writer’s second manuscript. The elf was, I must reluctantly admit, an illusionist extraordinaire. His haughty nature and atrocious manners, however, were evident even in his short appearance. I was appalled when Mistress Writer told me the Arrogant One will play a prominent part in the third manuscript.
The Bounty Hunter is a mystery to the rest of us. The Young Hero and his companions made more than one powerful enemy, and more than one bounty hunter was employed to thwart the Young Hero’s quest and retrieve items he had procured. I daresay the Bounty Hunter who ended up here with us could be any one of those bounty hunters, but he refuses to reveal himself to us. He even told us, when he first fell out of the manuscripts, that he was an assassin. Which one he is does not matter, as they were all cunning and dangerous foes. I am not certain I trust him in this world, especially as he and the Arrogant One have become, shall we say, thick as thieves.
The Old Dwarf, the final member of our little band of expatriates, was the focus of the first manuscript, even if he was not exactly the hero. He was someone who generated ambivalence in those who knew him. I have heard him described as one who did all the wrong things for all the right reasons. Suffice it to say, he was the one who set in motion the series of events that Mistress Writer felt important enough to record for posterity.
I hope you have enjoyed this tiny glimpse into the history of the characters with whom you visit each week. The nine of us have changed considerably since our initial entry into this world (or at least most of us have – I doubt the Arrogant One will ever change, despite assurances by Mistress Writer) and I am sure we will continue to change and grow as we persevere in trying to fit into this alien and technologically advanced environment.
Mayhap someday, when Mistress Writer’s manuscripts are published, you will enjoy discovering the grand adventures the nine of us shared. Until then, as Mistress Writer says every week, be sure to come back next week for another of our little adventures. We will leave the porch light on for you!