Letters derived from our reading

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Letters derived from our reading

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12wonderY
Nov 2, 2010, 10:28 am

My grandson is 8, and I thought I'd write him a letter as if I was really inside one of the adventures.

Here's the first draft:

Young master Isaac,

I hear from your elders that you’ve more than enough got the hang of this ABC code. Good! From now on, that’s one of the ways we’ll stay in touch. What say you to this plan?
With my travels, I don’t set eyes on you often enough to satisfy.
Let me tell you of my latest adventures.
I’ve been traveling with a witch named Jenny Waynest and her husband Lord John Aversin.
Lord John is the ruler in the Winterlands. The rest of the kingdom seems to have forgotten them. The king’s soldiers who used to patrol that far north had been called south three generations ago and never returned. The weather and the IceRiders equally threaten his people. Besides fighting bandits and sorting out people’s squabbles as the only representative of the law; in his spare time, he’s a scholar and a scientist. The man is just brimful of the oddest and strangest bits of knowledge and lore. I’ve not often met with a mind like his, sopping up every scrap and drop of information in his reach. You’d love to spend time poking in his library/workroom. Books and scrolls lay everywhere, and then a layer of tools and machine parts are scattered on the worktables, and odd bits of the natural world are stuffed every which way on shelves and in corners. The oddest thing hangs from the chimney piece. It’s the tail-knob of a dragon. It looks for all the world like a bashed up iron pinecone the size of a basketball.
I’ll tell you some other time how I chanced to be in the Winterlands. Suffice it to say I was warmly welcomed by Lord John that winter for the new stories I could tell around the fire.
Shortly after I had settled in to the rather dull winter routine, Lord John was unexpectedly summoned to the capital city of Bel - summoned because a dragon had moved into the gnome’s mountain nearby, and was laying waste to the area just south of Bel. It was only the second dragon to wander into human lands in recent history. Lord John had been able to defeat the other one after it had killed small children. He went south reluctantly, because he really is the best protector of his people, but was persuaded by duty to his king and the promise of troops to help him in the future.
I decided to accompany Lord John, the witch Jenny, and the messenger to Bel. It was two weeks ride. We got to know each other rather well in that time.
It became evident to me that witch Jenny tries to be reconciled to her small magical powers. Witches are supposed to be solitary people, not just because others fear them, but because their magical powers need isolation and constant discipline. With Lord John and their two sons, she has rather more distractions than most in the discipline. But to see the two of them together is to bask in joy and contentment. She would set protections around the camp each night that should have been adequate, if not for young Gareth’s naïveté. Despite repeated warnings, he would wander off, and several times got us into some ugly situations. The wonder of it is that he managed to get north to Lord John in one piece. (Well, almost one piece – Lady Jenny dragged him in bleeding from an encounter with a bandit on the road.)
Gareth came looking for the Dragonsbane quoting ballads that made it all sound clean and heroic and easy. When John and Jenny described how they had actually killed the 30 foot dragon, Gareth looked ill. Instead of a quick and glorious battle using sword and spear, they described a harrowing drawn out procedure that started with hamstringing the wings, and shooting poisoned harpoons; and was finished with hacking with an axe. More butchery than battle in the end. You could see his illusions dashing against ugly reality. They both described the strange beauty of the creature, and their sorrow that it had to be destroyed. But there is no reasoning with a dragon. Their intelligence is too foreign.

The important thing that I learned about Lord John on the road is to never let him do the cooking! Burnt bannocks every single time!

(in Bel)
What a mess! No one seems to be in charge of the emergency.
We’ve cooled our heels here for several weeks waiting for an audience with the king. We expected urgent plans to be afoot to deal with the dragon. Tensions from all directions. Many of the gnomes have evacuated to Bel, and most humans seem to resent their presence. Lots of fights and bullying of the females as they go about town looking for supplies. And food is getting harder to find and more expensive. The fields can’t be worked for fear of the dragon.
The king is an imposing grand-like man, but strangely vacant looking at times. He has ignored our presence and his son, Prince Gareth (Gareth hadn’t admitted his rank to us) for weeks! There is a beautiful young woman at court who is the king’s constant companion. She seems very devoted to him, and the talk was that she wanted to marry him, but we caught her more than once being too friendly with other young men. Gareth finally admitted that she scared him. She has witch’s powers and does not hesitate to use them for her own benefit.
Lord John finally tired of waiting for direction from the king, and set out to the dragon’s lair. You know the glorious picture of a knight with sword battling a dragon. Wrong! Lord John is the most practical man I’ve ever met. He knows the dangers and the tricks that help to even his chances.
(to be finished)

Can you guess what novel it's from?