Sunday, January 25, 2009

Introduction

This morning I quickly typed out an Introduction to "The Golden Gryphon." What do you guys think???

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Introduction

The history you are about to read relates to a race of people called the Hanorja, who lived in an indeterminate region of the world, at an indeterminate time. In fact, until this manuscript landed on the desk of a junior editor at Bracefort & Smith in New York City in 1871, their existence was completely unknown. Even after that, it remained unknown to all but the junior editor, who put it aside and promptly forgot it.

The book resurfaced in 2003, when the basement of the old publisher’s building was being renovated for a cyber cafe. Hundrededs of old, unpublished manuscripts were discovered rotting on the shelves. The owner of the building had no use for them, so the workmen did what all modern people do when they find something unusual and of unknown value: they sold them on EBay. Which is how I happened to purchase The Legend of the Golden Gryphon as a birthday present for myself, for the grand sum of seventeen dollars and forty cents.

It was a present that would consume all of my free time for the next six years. Written in a spidery, Victorian hand and damaged in places by mold and damp, it took two years for me to decipher the text and enter it it into Microsoft Word. Then I began contacting scholars to find out more about the Hanorja. I started with the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, then the Smithsonian, and even had the temerity to send a letter to the British Museum. The gentleman at the British Museum who responded to my letter, a Dr. Raymond Fothergood, was exceptionally kind and took the pursuit of the Hanorja upon himself as his pet project. Being semi-retired at the time, he observed that there was “nothing like a challenging puzzle to keep the mind sharp.”

The result of Dr. Fothergood’s considerable efforts was absolutely nil. There is no record anywhere of any race calling themselves Hanorja, although one theory is that they were associated with Hanover, Germany. However, the syllables of the Hanorjan language imply a Latin and Celtic association, not Germanic. As well, there are references to distinctly American flora in the text, such as aspens, which cause me to believe that they actually migrated from Europe to the New World prior to Columbus, and lived somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Dr. Fothergood thinks this is the result of translation of the original text by an American. We will probably never know.

What we do know is that they were a gentle people, possessed of some magical ability inferior to that of elves, mainly that of nurturing and protecting. This ability itself may explain why nothing is known about them; they may have suceeded in hiding themselves completely from other races. They were about four feet in height, and the men (or hamen) were beardless. The exceptions to this were the Kings, who were tall enough to ride horses and grew venerable beards in their old age. They seemed to have had fair skin, upon which freckles were considered a mark of beauty, and eyes of varying shades of blue and green. They loved poetry and music, and decorated their homes inside and out with colorful painting similar to the gesso-style decoration still seen in many parts of Europe.

There do not appear to be any living descendents of them now. They were either wiped out, or assimilated by men, long ago. Any dwellings or artifacts which may have remained behind would naturally have been attributed to men. Perhaps those artifacts are even now scattered in the museums of the world, patiently awaiting discovery.

In the meantime, we can get to know them best through the little book which you now hold in your hands.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting twist . . . I really like where this is going. It created a completely different approach going into the story and prepared me (while intrigu. I would definitely hold on to this idea and finesse it, Christine.

quick note - a little typo in the second paragraph. "Hundrededs"

Also, I meant to tell you earlier that I love your title, "The Golden Gryphon."

-Sunny (Writing Moms)

Anonymous said...

. . . sorry, momentarily distracted by my 4 yr. old . . .
Finishing previous comment - " . . . while intriguing me at the same time . . ."

Blessings!

Sunny

Michelle Gregory said...

love it, love it, love it. what a great way to introduce it.

Rob said...

That's a neat twist, I like that a lot, especially the Hanover part!

Only thing is you mention elves as if they exist too. Maybe instead "what elves are like in our stories. Of course, everyone knows elves don't exist." -just an idea.

Rob