Heart-is-True, by Oren the Otter

Story name: Heart-Is-True
Author: Oren Otter

Date: late May, 706 CR
Location: Metamor Keep

Overview

Oren discovers the identity of "Heart-Is-True" in the Song of the Childlike Warrior.

Summary

Oren is so distracted over his study of the Song of the Childlike Warrior that he almost misses the Writer's Guild meeting. Thanks to Gornul, however, he makes it just in time. There, he describes to his writers about his latest story idea for a Metamorian super-warrior. They have a fun if unproductive meeting, and while Gornul takes a nap, Oren leaves him to go for a walk.

Meanwhile, Jesse Roo's mother has just purchased a new tract of land filled with rocks. Jesse wonders why, until Jesse's mother shows him a magic power that has been a family secret for generations: the power to cast magic missiles. She blows up a large rock and offers Jesse to try. He does, but he misses and hits Oren instead, who gives a loud burp. Jesse is astonished that he is unscathed, and Oren explains that, like all Hipoccians, he is resistant to magic.

Jesse then shares an incident that happened earlier that day: a man in black had offered him 30 gold to tell him Oren's whereabouts. Oren is horrified when Jesse's description of him matches someone from Devil's Strand, an evil village. Jesse says he was sorely tempted by the 10 gold the man left behind, but he instead gave it to his mother who bought the rocky field instead. Oren praises him for having a true heart, and suddenly realizes that Jesse is "Heart-Is-True" from the Song of the Childlike Warrior, and explains it to him.

The man in black hides along the road for Oren to appear, when a large menacing wolf chases him up a tree. Oren passes by, wondering what poor animal Carl the wolf morph has chased up a tree, and heads to the Deaf Mule to meet Gornul and play a game of pool with Copernicus.

Characters

Main characters:

  • Oren: A half-human otter from Hipocc, and a member of the Writer's Guild. Like all Hipoccians, he is resistant to magic. He is an Ecclesian, and normally reads the scriptures carefully, although he is currently distracted by the Song of the Childlike Warrior.
  • Jesse Roo: A kangaroo morph who lives in Metamor Valley as a peasant on his mother's farm. Like his mother, he can throw magic missiles from his hands. He refuses to betray Oren to the man in black.

Supporting:

  • Jesse's mother: A female gender morph. She and her male ancestors have the power to throw magic missiles. She used the 10 gold from Blake to buy a farm filled with rocks.
  • Gornul: A dragonette who speaks in mental pictures. He is a member of the Writer's Guild, dictating the visual images of his stories to a transcriber.

Minor characters:

  • The man in black: An assassin from the Devil's Strand, assigned to kill Oren, constantly foiled by obstacles. He offered 30 gold to Jesse Roo for Oren's whereabouts, leaving 10 gold behind.
  • Achin: A dog morph with thick glasses. He arrived shortly after Oren and changed within days. He is also a member of the Writer's Guild.

Cameo:

  • Matt: A member of the Writer's Guild.
  • Tallis: A member of the Writer's Guild.
  • Habakkuk: A member of the Writer's Guild.
  • Carl: A wolf morph who scares the man in black up a tree.
  • Copernicus: A lizard morph who enjoys pool.

Places

  • Devil's Strand: A town near Hipocc and their natural enemies. According to Oren, they feed children to starving animals.
  • Hipocc: Like Devil's Strand, their symbol consists of one line with three short vertical lines, but these are embedded with white, red, and blue stones. The people there have spent so many years undoing curses, they are naturally resistant to magic, although they are not immune as evidenced by the magic pool.

Story Connections

  • The Song of the Childlike Warrior was first revealed in A Little Diddy; this is the first analysis Oren of it has done since then.
  • This story apparently takes place before or contemporaneously with Casting, as this is Oren's first game against Copernicus.

Points of Interest

  • Oren describes a "super-warrior" who is clearly a spoof of Superman. Matt and Habakkuk describe bat-morph and spider-morph warriors who are spoofs of Batman and Spider-Man.
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