I am young, I am free, I am new, I am... alive.
I am a child, aware and bright, yet my mind is shrouded in the
darkness of ignorance. I know the gentleness of the one whose arms
surround me. I know little else, except that the arms give me
protection and love.
I am also aware of someone else. She is in the same arms that I am
in. The same arms that love and protect me, they are protecting her
too. But that cannot be right! They are meant to protect me... how can
their be enough for another?
I don't know why, but as my awareness grows I immediately feel a
resentment for this other one. I lash out towards it with a foot. It
brings out a strange squeal in response, a loud cry... of protest? No,
not protest, not really. Need? Not quite. Protest and need are
certainly there, but there is something else. It is something that is
being protested to, a distress that needs comforting, but what is that
distress that I have inflicted on the other one? And why do I find
myself enjoying it, having the ability to inflict it?
I do it again. I lash out with my foot, which connects with the other
one once more. There is another cry of distress, and I feel yet another
rush of power, an elation no less...
Not for long, as I suddenly feel the same distress on the back of the
leg I lashed out with. I find myself giving out a cry of my own, and
feel a subsequent reluctance to inflict any more pain... ah!
That was it. That was what I was inflicting on the other one. That
was what I enjoyed inflicting on the other one. I liked inflicting pain
on it... on her, hurting her for taking up some of the space in the
precious loving arms that were rightfully mine. I enjoyed tormenting
her. I enjoyed it a lot. I would very much like to torment her again.
Well, why not?
Yet another kick. There is another squeal... and another sharp slap
across the back of my leg. This is much sharper in fact. It really
hurts, and stings in a way that is clearly not going to stop for a long
I whimper and cry for some time until the pain finally ebbs.
So that is the feeling I inflicted on the other one? How terrible.
And yet how wonderful when I inflict it, rather than feel it. How
powerful it makes me feel, being able to torment another. Especially
one who takes what is rightfully mine.
Well it looks like I can't torment her now, not like this. Something,
or someone maybe, is stopping me. But I think I may get other chances.
Maybe even find other ways...

* * *

I am Derva. She is Kully. They are not our real names of course, or
even our calling names. Those would give others the power of calling
over us, so I will not even think of them. Not that they are in use yet
We are so very young, Kully and I, just a few centuries old. Still
long enough for me to forget the moment of my birth - I have no
memory of that. Kully tells me she cannot remember it either.
Does that make us special, I wonder? Does anyone remember our birth,
bar our mother? For that matter, are we the only elves, the only people
of any kind, who cannot remember the moment of their own birth?
We are child, though, it is not our place to ask such questions. In
fact, the last time I asked the question the only person who listened
was my cousin Elli, who simply sniffed that if we were worth the bother
of telling, we would already know the answer. And then she walked away.
I like to think that she was just trying to hide the fact that she did
not know either. But who can be sure of that? She left our village with
her parents some thirty years ago, by the way. Last I heard, they had
settled with the Cavern Elves of the East.
We are all child to the elfin kin - elflings if you will. Kully and
I are child to but one of the elfin kin. A King of the elfin kin.
We are the elves of Elvenhame. My father is the mightiest, oldest
and wisest elf in all the worlds. There is a song that the
superstitious mortals of the Westermen sing of him...

The name of an Elf King
Is a very powerful sting.
For speak it to him, or even sing,
And he must give his signet ring.
The Elf-King's name?
That would be telling.

Most mortals would sneer at that as so much superstitious nonsense.
Well, they are entitled to their opinions of course, but that does not
change the fact that the legend is true. Any mortal addressing an elf
by name has the power of calling over him or her. With the power of
calling over the King of the Earth Elves, he must give his signet ring
to the mortal, giving the mortal rulership. It is the lowest indignity
for a King, submitting to the authority of a mere mortal.
No mortal shall know that I am the elfling daughter of the Greatest
King in all elvendom, Eldring.

* * *

The target is over a hundred feet away. It is painted on the rough
bark trunk of an ancient oak tree, a small gold spot at the centre of a
larger red circle.
Suspended at head height on a thread from an overhanging branch
around thirty feet nearer to us is the entry circle, a tiny wooden ring
no broader in circumference than the width of two fingers. Any shot we
fire that does not pass through the entry ring and hit the target will
be called a foul, and not counted in the contest.
It is only a game, an elfling contest, and thus of no importance.
Therefore we take it most seriously, for only when we are involved in
deeds unimportant are we allowed to compete with each other.
We have both done well so far. I have scored two reds and a gold with
my first three arrows. Kully has two golds, although she also has a
foul to her name. Nonetheless, Kully leads by six points to five as I
line up my final shot.
I am grateful that Kully maintains an honest silence as I prepare to
fire. She is often talkative, but she shows enough honour to allow me a
fair chance to take all my shots without distraction.
My fourth arrow pierces its way through the tiny entry ring, just
scraping the inside edge slightly before sailing onwards until it
strikes the target dead centre.
Better still, it has sliced Kully's second arrow in two, dislodging
it from the target, precisely as I'd hoped! I gain three points, and
cut Kully's score by three in the process. Now she can only win by
puling the same trick.
I glance furtively at my twin sister. Her deep blue eyes glaze
slightly, her jaw seems to clench a little more than usual. Maybe her
lips seem a little whiter than when she was leading. Other than that,
her face offers no betrayal of the choking anger she is undoubtedly
feeling. I know it torments her whenever I show her up like that - it
is not very gallant to shoot an opponent's arrow in a friendly contest
after all - and in a strange way it even hurts me a little to sense
her humiliation, but somehow I can never resist it. It is almost as
though I enjoy inflicting it on her.
When Kully finally makes her response, her arrow passes flawlessly
through the entry ring, but buries itself only in the target's red
umbra. One single point. I win the contest by eight points to four.
Kully looks at me in a way that makes me turn away. Even so, I can
still feel my cheek absorbing the cloying heat of her stare.
"Good contest," I grunt, not imagining for a moment that Kully will
feel any better for that.
"Good contest," she echoes, the tiniest tremble in her voice. "Good
enough to play fairly."
I turn and look at her, hoping I can silence any complaint by simply
staring it down. "Of course," I say firmly, "As I did. No rules were
"You struck my arrow with your arrow," Kully points out coldly.
"That is not against the rules," I answer, raising my voice a little
more than perhaps I should.
"It is not done," replies Kully.
"Untrue. I did it."
"Indeed you did." In acknowledgment of my victory, Kully bows her
head to me briefly. Very briefly. "I admire and respect you," says she,
eyes full of quiet anger, voice full of sad irony, "as I would any man
or woman."
A mortal reference. The insult is not lost on me.

* * *

I am Dervlinne. She is Kulaemii. They are not our real names but they
are our calling names. Few will know them, and fewer still will be
Among our people we are now spoken to by our calling names, no longer
by our elfling names, a sign that we have passed our two thousandth
birthday - we are come of age.
She walks through the forest, eyes darting from tree to tree, head
turning this way and that as her keen senses take in every nuance of
the wild. Her fair hair has grown a little longer since last I saw her,
and is tied back in a narrow slither of rope into a high ponytail, that
drapes heavily over her left shoulder, as though it is meant to offer
her an extra layer of protection from... well, from what?
Kulaemii is always so suspicious in the forest. She does not hate the
greenwood... well, that is a redundant point. She is an elf, therefore
she is not capable of hating it.
But she does not love it, at least not as we do. She does not quite
trust it as we do, she is not at ease here as we are... she is not at
home here as we are. She is an Earth elf no less than me. Perhaps more
than me. She is an elf of the land, of the spirits of land and water,
almost like those peculiar "druid" characters that the mortals so
venerate. In some respects it means she has more in common with the
cavern elves, like our loathsome cousin Elita, than with the rest of my
people. We are Earth elves, but we venerate the forest as the natural
lifeblood of the Earth. We can think of no other home, no other place
we would rather be, than the greenwood. In that respect, though it
pains me to admit it, we are rather like the People of Danu, or the
hated Elves of Anwin Wood.
Kulaemii is not. She has shown herself to be quite at home in other
places, including, to my mild disgust, walking amongst the primitive
settlements of mortal men. Can she really be my sister? Well, yes she
is. But she has too much energy for her own good. And too low
I step out from behind the tree I was watching her from with the
barest rustling of the crunchy brown leaves underfoot. Kulaemii turns
without alarm, surprise or even urgency.
"I could gasp 'Dervlinne!'," she sneers in a familiar tone, full of
life and full of lies, "if you need to feel more impressive."
Irony. Such a pointless manner. Irony in form is the very opposite of
its own true meaning, therefore it is a lie. And yet it is only
employed in a manner that allows the listener to recognise it as an
untruth. There is nothing to be gained by a deception that, by nature,
deceives no one. Why tell an untruth without an ulterior purpose?
"I am elfin, honoured sister," I answer, keeping my voice full of
even disdain, as though I were implying that she is somehow less elfin
than I. "It is in my nature to need self-respect, but not in undue
I notice my hands grasp her arms in a restrained embrace that
Kulaemii does little to return. It is entirely a reflexive impulse,
embracing my sister, not a conscious decision. If it were, I would not
do it, for though we may be twins, we are not close. We are always
aware of each other, but we circle each other, we never touch
emotionally. Even so, I still feel I owe it to her to be here, and to
tell her the terrible truth she must know.
"You asked to speak to me, Dervlinne," says Kulaemii, taking a step
away from me. Unexpectedly, I find myself feeling slighted at how she
shrinks from me. I am her sister! There may be little love between us,
but I am still her sister! "What do you want to discuss?"
I paw the leafy ground with my foot, surprised at how difficult it is
finding a way to begin. "It has been several years, Kulaemii," I say,
somewhat pointlessly. "And much has happ-..."
"Don't call me Kulaemii," she interrupts suddenly, and with a
sharpness that almost makes me jump. "You know I hate it when you call
me that."
I cannot help a small smile of surprise at this. "All these
centuries," I protest, "you were so impatient to earn your calling
name, and now that you have it, you wish to be called something else?"
"Maybe I didn't make myself clear," hisses Kulaemii through gritted
teeth, "I hate it when you call me that."
I am saddened at the way this has started. It is not like Kulaemii to
be so unapproachable, so cold or humourless. Not that there is anything
to be gained from humour of course, it is the first brother of irony
and therefore just as valueless.
Or at least that is what I have always believed. But at this moment,
seeing Kulaemii without it, talking to her without it, I find a painful
experience. Why? Maybe I liked her more the way she was when we were
younger. Again I ask why. Perhaps it is just that after our brother,
Pickle, spoke to her recently, he had given me no indication that she
was becoming more distant. She had, by all accounts, been her usual,
cheerful self. In fact, Pickle had seemed rather irritated at this, for
which he could hardly be blamed. There are times when I find her inane
chatter most unsettling. And yet at this moment I find that I would
give anything to hear it again, loud and continuous. Is it only when
she speaks to me that she becomes so cold? And is that what bothers me
I have to know why she is being like this.
"Have I offended you, my sister?" I ask.
A pause. "No." I detect no signs of a lie. But that does not
necessarily mean that I have not been told one.
"Then will you tell me why I cannot call my own sister by name?"
"I won't." Kulaemii folds her arms across her chest defensively. "If
you can't tell why for yourself, you are not worth telling."
I can feel my face colouring slightly. This is the sort of thing
Elita would say. But I feel there is less facetiousness here, and more
"Tell me, Kully, please," I beg her, and only afterwards do I notice
that I have made the faux pas of addressing her by her elfling name.
Such an address to a full-grown elf is considered deeply patronising,
and most take it as a great affront.
Strangely, and to my relief, Kulaemii does not react with any
aggression. She merely fixes me with an even glower that makes her
boyish features look suddenly very much more authoritative and mature,
and answers with a cold instruction. "State your business, Derva."
I, of course, am very much shaken by being addressed in such a
belittling manner, but I do not complain. I dare not complain.
And then it hits me. I realise that this is exactly what is making
her so angry. She is grown up. My sister is grown up. She is a grown
elf. She has come of age and is now one of the princesses of Eldring's
realm. And I have never acknowledged it. In fact I failed, in the worst
way possible, to acknowledge it.
For some reason I have always seen Kulaemii as my little sister. We
were born on the same day (yes I was born first, but only by a few
minutes), she is the same height as me, she is as intelligent as I am.
Yet we do not really look alike, and we do not act alike. It is
generally acknowledged amongst the elves of village that I am the more
mature of the two, the more settled and more level-headed, and so I
have always just accepted it and assumed I was in authority.
Now I realise the terrible mistake it has led to. It is the most
important tradition for all elves to celebrate the coming of age, to
receive formal acknowledgment from the rest of the elfin kin on the
day. And on these days, it is most important of all that the immediate
elfin family are there to stand with the new ascendant for the full
Unsurprisingly I had received my acclimation before Kulaemii. The
difference was negligible, only a matter of about twenty years, but I
made a serious mistake. Kulaemii had already left to take trials among
the People of Danu, but she still made the effort to return to
Elvenhame in time to attend my acclimation and show the traditional
"united front". She was her usual self during the celebrations, full of
chatter and curiosity, full of that strange, unnatural mirth that she
calls "humour".
But when it was her turn to come of age just a few years later, she
chose to have the celebration in her new home of Danu. Most of the
elves of Elvenhame were perfectly prepared to make the journey across
the waters to attend the ceremony and give acclimation, including of
course her family.
Except me. I would have been perfectly happy to be there if Kully had
agreed to compromise and hold the ceremony nearer to home, but I wasn't
prepared to cross seas to attend. I didn't like travelling those kinds
of distances, even via Dream Caverns or ley paths, and certainly not
for someone else's ceremony.
This was certain to annoy Kully a little, I was aware of that. I was
even fond of that fact in a strange way, as there is something
strangely lovable about Kulaemii when she is angered. Only later did I
realise that it had not annoyed her a little. It had made her very
angry indeed. She was feeling insulted that I had not made the effort
to attend her ceremony.
"This is about your acclimation, is it?" I ask.
"I said state your business."
But I cannot just leave it at that. "You cannot still be angry about
that, my sister," I object. "It is in the past. I have apologised many
"You apologise frequently," Kulaemii acknowledges, "but you don't
apologise correctly."
"I don't..."
"It's been thirty-two years since my coming of age ceremony,
Dervlinne," growls Kulaemii, "and I've been waiting all this time."
"For what?"
Kulaemii's face twists in now-uncontained rage. "You're so stupid,
Dervlinne! Stupid!" I have never seen her like this, quaking with so
much unspoken anger. Where has it been hidden all this time? "You
humiliated me! In front of our entire village, you wouldn't go and
acclaim me of age! And you keep on apologising to me for it, but you
never do anything about it!"
I am momentarily dumbstruck. I finally manage to stammer, "I-I don't
understand, Kully...." Alas, I managed to address her by her elfling
name again, "... I don't understand. What do you want me to do?"
Kulaemii shakes her head. "All these years, you've still never
acclaimed me. Still never acknowledged me." She points an accusing
finger at me. "I mean listen to yourself! Even now, you're still
calling me Kully!"
"You told me not to call you Kulaemii..."
"So call me sister," she snarls. "Call me sibling. Call me, 'Hey
you!' if you can't think of anything better! But stop treating me like
a baby!"
"But I still don't see what you want me to..."
"Acclaim me!" she cries. "Acclaim me, in front of the village. Make
that, in front of the whole forest. And acknowledge me as your equal,
not just your irritating hanger-on little sister. I'm your twin, and
it's time you accepted that."
I am now completely dumbstruck. I truly do not know what to say to my
sister, and that is truly unprecedented in all my life. I've always
known how to comfort her, how to tease her, how to command her, how to
manipulate her, and, yes, how to hurt her. Now she has struck me dumb
with a single fact I've never truly credited. She is my twin. She is my
I finally nod. "Yes," I agree. "I acknowledge it." I speak louder. "I
acclaim it before the whole forest. Let the birds and the wolves hear
it. Let the trees and the waters and the skies echo it in triumph! This
elf-maiden is of age! She is swifter than eye with knife in hand. She
is more fleet of foot than the deer in flight, she is a stealthier
hunter than the tiger burning bright. With bow and arrow her eye is
sharper than the hawk's. Her ears are keener than the wolf's." I take
in as deep a breath as I have ever drawn and proclaim at the height of
my voice, "Kulaemii is a warrior!!!"
My words echo across the treetops for some time. Only when they
finally dissipate do I dare look at Kulaemii again. She looks calmer,
more settled. But not satisfied.
"Now," she says calmly, "we go to Elvenhame. You can tell all the
elves that and let them judge accordingly. Then I will be happy."
I hesitate. Kulaemii does not realise why I asked for this meeting,
or why it couldn't be in the village.
"Kully... Kulaemii," I manage to correct myself quickly, "I... I
can't do that."
Kulaemii's temper breaks again, loudly, quickly and stormily. "Can't
or won't?!?" she yells. "Always so proud aren't you, Dervlinne? You
could just about bring yourself to admit to me that you did wrong, but
you can't say it in front of anyone else!"
Kulaemii turns and runs from me.
"Kulaemii, wait!" I call to her, and start to pursue her.
"Don't call me that!" she repeats, spitting with anger. "Don't ever
call me that! My calling name is a lie from your mouth. Don't ever call
me it."
"But Kula-..."
"Leave me alone! You are not my sister! Do not follow me, or ill-luck
will follow you!"
She makes the dreaded gesture of the hex with her fingers and I stop
short, knowing that if I follow her any further I will tread on the
ground that she has cursed, and ill-fortune will follow me wherever I
go. She is soon gone, almost melting into the trees.
"Kulaemii..." I sigh longingly. If only she had stayed to hear. I
could have explained to her why I couldn't go back to the village.
Explained the whole point of why I had asked to meet with her.
Explained how the village of Elvenhame has been conquered by our hated
cousins, the Elves of Anwin Wood. How our father is no longer King, how
he has been overthrown by the dastardly Arawn.
How there is, in short, no village for us to go back to...

* * *

She is Kully. I am Dervlinne.
I need her help. She does not need me.
I am now, to my eternal embarrassment, a member of a force of mortal
keepers of the peace. Apparently they were once called the Northguard,
but nowadays they are spoken of in typically ignorant mortal parlances
as 'The Powers-That-Be', as they fight to defend the northern
territories of what is called 'Inglund' (I think that is how they
pronounce it), in the name of their so-called 'king', Henry III. King
indeed! How little these mortals understand the true nature of power.
In any case, my liege, Arawn, the despot who overthrew and murdered
my father, is in life-debt to the Lord of the Powers-That-Be -
Treguard, Lord and Dungeon Master of Dunshelm. Granting Treguard the
benefit of my services renders part of Arawn's debt.
I confess I find being free of the loathsome usurper's insalubrious
rule is agreeable, but to be a slave to mortals, to be drawn into the
petty world of human affairs and politics is too humiliating for words.
Now there are dire portents for Dunshelm. Its magical Dungeon has
recently been reborn through the, somewhat distasteful, powers of
technology fused with sorcery. It has allowed us to turn the tide of
the war against Inglund's greatest internal threat - the technomancer
Lord Fear - through the obscure and unlimited powers that the Dungeon
has at its disposal.
But Lord Fear has responded by attacking Dunshelm at source. He has
raided the castle and infected it with a plague that could kill
everyone inside it. I would not care, if it were not for the fact that
if Dunshelm falls, the elves are likely to be among Fear's next
targets. He is known for his vindictiveness, and he will surely
remember the help I gave Treguard on a previous quest.
I must find an antidote for the plague and quickly, before it can
infect the inhabitants of the castle. But it is a large task for one,
even an elf. I need as much help as I can find.
Fortunately, I have some help at hand - my brother, Pickle, is with
me, as is one of Arawn's lieutenants, the huntress Velda. I remember
she was once in disgrace at Arawn's court for giving aid to Treguard
against the Elf-King - she won much respect and admiration among the
conquered brethren of Elvenhame that day, I can tell you!
But it is still a huge task, even for three. We need more help. I
know one person who may be willing to get involved. But will she be?
We find Kulaemii in the mortal village of Wolfenden. She is dressed
in slightly odd clothing, including what appear to be polished leather
coverings reinforced by heavy rubber over her feet. Stolen, doubtless,
but there are few enough mortals wearing those things, so why she would
"What do you need?" she asks cheerfully, although I notice, with a
pang, that her cheer is aimed firmly at Pickle, not at me.
Pickle looks irritated to see Kulaemii, but not entirely displeased.
He explains our predicament to Kulaemii, who listens attentively, with
occasional serious nods of the head.
"Of course I'll help you," says Kulaemii at length. She then turns
and looks me in the eye. "And just like me, you will only have to wait
thirty-two years to receive what you want."
"Pardon?" I ask, rather politely all things considered.
"You made me wait thirty-two years to hear you acclaim me,
Dervlinne," Kulaemii says with a strange mix of bitterness and cheer,
"and in fact, I've waited another eight hundred years for you to
acclaim me in front of the other elves."
"But that's..." I begin.
"SO..." she cuts in, too stridently for me to keep speaking over her,
"you go and get on with what you're doing, and I'll be along to help
out in thirty-two years time. Ciao."
She turns to walk away.
Velda looks nervous. "You said that this one could aid us. Thirty-two
years will be leaving it a little on the late side, would you not say?"
"Wait, Kully...!" I call out. Oh no, I cannot believe that I have
done it again...
"Make that, I'll be along in eight hundred and thirty-two years," she
snaps coldly in response to being addressed wrongly.
She runs off and soon disappears among the bizarre buildings of this
"Well that was a scenic way of wasting time," admits Pickle with a
frown. "We can waste no more. We have to start searching at once. Every
hour without an antidote, Knightmare Castle comes closer to

* * *

Kulaemii was in tears because of her sister. This was not a new
occurrence in her life of course. Dervlinne had frequently treated her
badly throughout the long millennia of their lives, and had clearly
taken a delight in tormenting her to the brink of tears. Whenever it
actually got to the point of her crying, Dervlinne had usually taken
pity, or something that very nearly approached it. That was why Kully
had always allowed herself to cry quickly, freely and abundantly during
their childhood.
Now she was no longer a child, and although she was crying, it was
for a different reason. Not pain. It was something else. There was pain
of course, the agony of losing a sister, but that was not the reason
she cried. It was something else, an ache at the pit of her being that
seemed to drain all the energy from her.
She felt it and she didn't like it at all. How powerless it made her
feel, like her sister was once more tormenting her from beyond the
grave. Tormenting with accusations, as if to say, "Why didn't you help
us when we came to you?"
If that was what was happening, then how right Dervlinne was. There
was no saying whether or not the outcome would have been any different
had Kulaemii travelled with them on their quest - the Norman mortal
(Baits, they said his name was) might still have murdered Dervlinne as
they tried to rescue Velda from him - but it was more than possible.
But Kulaemii had refused because she was still feeling bitter over some
petty grievance from their previous meeting in their youth - a
grievance that, Kulaemii now understood, hadn't really been Dervlinne's
Only now, at the moment of loss, did Kulaemii realise the shame...
That was it. That was what she was feeling. Shame. Shame for being
selfish. Shame for holding a grudge over something of secondary
importance. Shame for failing her sister when it had really mattered.
Never mind some meaningless little ceremony when they were barely old
enough to call themselves warriors. At this desperate hour, Dervlinne
had faced a challenge of enormous importance, and although her quest
had succeeded, she hadn't lived to see the fruits of her effort. And
she might have done, had Kulaemii only stood with her, instead of
holding some glorified birthday dinner (which in the end, was all that
the coming of age ceremony ever really was) against her.
She looked up suddenly from the funeral pyre as she saw her brother
walk over to her. He also looked ashen and sad as he saw the body of
their sister crackle and burn among the flames.
"I have to return to Knightmare Castle now, Kulaemii," he said,
slightly stiffly, "I'd like to invite you along but..."
Kulaemii doubted that very much. "But I don't deserve to be invited,"
she finished for him. "There's no need to explain, Pickle. You're
right. Arawn said a few years ago that he might send me to take over
from you one day, and I mean, your Treguard-person will need to replace
Dervlinne soon enough... but I reckon I've got some growing up to do
before I could get involved in all that." It was a moment of rare
insight by Kulaemii, and a very unhappy one too, but then self-analysis
is seldom anything else.
Pickle looked irritated with her as usual. On this occasion though
the cause was probably because he couldn't find anything to get
irritated with her for. A display of maturity is many things, but
worthy of contempt it is not.
"I will return to Anwin Wood." decided Kulaemii, "and let Arawn
decide when I am ready."
"When you've... come of age?"
Kulaemii thought about this. "Yes," she nodded. "I don't think I have
Pickle turned and headed away from the pyre. "I'll remember to look
out for you then, Kulaemii," he called over his shoulder with rather
less enthusiasm than he managed, politely, to convey.
"Kully, Pickle," his sister answered sombrely, refusing to leave the
pyre just yet. "Just Kully. Kulaemii will be my name when I've grown
up." She heaved a tired sigh. "I haven't got there yet."



Firstly and most importantly, I must give a big thank you to the
delectable... well, tolerable Emily Bradshaw (just teasin', Emii!) for
allowing me to use her favourite and most famous creation in one of my
stories. Kully is an enduring and lovingly-nurtured character, and
while I wrote this story I was hoping beyond hope that I hadn't misused
her. I'm still hoping that, in fact, but let's put it this way, if
Emily had any serious objections you wouldn't be reading this now.
Having said that, it must be made clear that this does not
necessarily make What's In A Name? part of continuity with Kully's
other adventures. That's up to Emily to decide, and if she chooses to
ignore what I've written, that's tough luck. We'll just have to accept
that it's a different Kully in my story from the one in hers. Also, we
have to remember that most of Emily's fanfics... well, they don't
exactly contradict mine but they don't mesh that comfortably either, so
we can't claim with any confidence that the rest are part of the same
continuity either.
If you want to see what Kully looks like by the way, Emily personally
performed her in the Knightmare RPG in 2003, and photos of her in the
role can be found somewhere on the Interactive Knightmare site.
(Although I can't remember exactly where... oh just go and rummage
around, I'm sure you'll find them sooner or later. She does look very
cute in the funny ears by the way. Keep wearing them, Emii, they're
While trying to stay within the established guidelines of Kully's
character, whom a number of Knightmare fans have expressed a fondness
for, I also wanted to deepen her a little and explore her darker side
more. Being an elf, after all, she must have one. Making Dervlinne,
from Theatre Of Dreams, her sister and giving them an unfriendly
history together seemed a good vehicle to explore that side of her. It
also gives a stronger explanation for why Kully has such a snidey
relationship with Pickle.
We shouldn't forget that this was also a story designed to broaden
Dervlinne's character - and in fact that was the original priority,
which is why the story is largely told from her point of view. Her
cold, superior manner in Theatre Of Dreams is explained a little more
clearly i.e. she's used to looking down on her sister, and so she's
simply grown to be like that with everyone else, even people who are
supposed to be in authority over her.
The events in the last couple of scenes - the story of the plague
in Knightmare Castle - tie in directly with Sorcerer Scurvy, a story
that is currently still in development. Jen Kollic is co-writing it
with me, and we can predict with real confidence that it will be ready
to read any decade now. (It would be sooner, I admit, if I didn't keep
stopping to write all these other stories, but there you go.)
Other acknowledgments must be made to Knightmare's original novella
writer, Dave Morris. A lot of the details surrounding the elfin people
in What's In A Name? are stol-... er, adapted from another of his
gamebooks, Green Blood, which he co-wrote with Mark Smith in 1993.
Incidentally, although this book is not actually set in the Knightmare
universe, it still comes highly recommended to Knightmare fans if they
can still find copies of it (which seems unlikely), as it is very
similar in content and feel to The Labyrinths Of Fear - and King
Arawn even gets a very brief and misleading mention in it!
Anyway, elements such as Elvenhame, the Westermen, Eldring, and even
the poem, are in fact taken from Green Blood.

- Martin Odoni, January 2004.