The Fell Gard Codices

This chapter grew a bit as I worked on it, to the point where I ended up dividing it into two shorter chapters. Part of that growth, I feel, I should have seen coming.

There’s something that happens with a lot of writers, in which a theme or image or idea recurs in their fiction. I’ve got something like that. It seems as though in almost anything I write, if it goes on long enough, a one-eyed old man with a wide-brimmed hat and travelling staff will show up, frequently accompanied by ravens and wolves. There’s something about this character that I can’t get away from. I wasn’t planning to have him appear at this point, indeed was not consciously planning his entrance into Fell Gard at all, but the dice gave him an opening and he took it. So there he is.

Since this is a chapter from Hochelaga’s point of view, a few words about her: the original idea of having a little girl as wizard came about because of role-playing games’ notorious tendency to make wizards very weak at the beginning of play. Oh, sure, they grow into vast power — if they survive — but they tend to be both physically fragile and capable of very little magic. Now, in much fantasy fiction, wizards are often old and wise. There seemed to me to be a contradiction there. How can an elderly wizard be so weak at the start of a story and grow so quickly into vast power?

I have a couple of ideas, actually. But the one I decided to go with was to scrap the idea of an elderly wizard and go with the wizard as child. We’ll be seeing some other varieties of magicians turning up later, I think. (We sort of already have, in Gamelyn; who’s spent years being initiated into various other levels of knowledge, learning background, and only recently has begun to pick up actual magic.)

Oh, and a note on Hochelaga’s name; for those who don’t already know what it means, if you do a quick google search, you can find out easily enough. I imagine an explanation will be forthcoming in the story, since it’s turning out to be a fairly major sub-plot for her.

Next time, though, the story shifts back to the conflict in the garden.

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