Christopher sits facing a boy wearing a black velvet vest over a white tunic and matching trousers, golden hair falling in curling waves to his shoulders. The boy’s eyes are currently dark blue.
Christopher: (looking down at his own black vest) We’re dressed very similar.
Rhodry: (eyes shifting from blue to golden) That’s because I was originally meant to be the one who met Danyel on the other side of the Door in The Hand and the Eye of the Tower. I knew the twins long before you did, met them back in the Keep. I was the one with the intimate connection to them. Only you, Damian, and your Tarot-inspired, ambient fantasy world was combined with the twins’, while I was hurled into The World of Omphalos, which got dropped into a hole and forgotten. (He raises a golden eyebrow at Christopher.) You got to keep the outfit I was wearing in the scene where I met Danyel.
Christopher: (flushes) Be fair. The story wasn’t The Hand and the Eye of the Tower when you were in it. It was Stealing Myself From Shadows or Stealing Himself From Shadows. It was my story, only I was evicted from it.
Rhodry: And restored to it. Not only was Stealing Myself From Shadows resurrected as a novel in its own right, I was evicted from the novel I was in, only to be replaced by you. That novel became The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, transformed into the second book in the series; Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest. A series in which you and Damian had major parts, along with Leiwell, the twins, and Dyvian while I was dropped into a hole. There’s nothing fair about this!
Christopher: Err, you were given a place in The World of Omphalos. Your part was resurrected, along with a story the scribbler was working on long ago, Trouble at Caerac Keep. Some of the raw concepts of that story became the framework of The Keep; an interactive story/roleplaying game you played a major part in.
Rhodry: You’re trying to distract me by getting me to talk about my origins. (He looks a little mollified, though.) Fine, I’ll let myself be distracted. I was created for a specific fantasy roleplaying campaign long before The Keep, although different versions of me were used in other roleplaying games.
Christopher: Your family played a major part as villains in that roleplaying campaign, didn’t they?
Rhodry: Yes. This carried over to The Keep, although the nature of my family’s villainy changed. It became more morally ambiguous, more fluid, connected to vampires and dragons rather than blood magic.
Christopher: You still have a connection with vampires and dragons in Trouble at Caerac Keep, don’t you?
Rhodry: (opens his vest, exposing a couple of a couple of puncture wounds on his pale throat) Kyra, are you there?
A tiny golden reptilian head pops out of the vest to fix a bareful, slitted eye upon Christopher.
Kyra: Finally. It’s good to get out of the hole.
Christopher: Now you’re actually Kyra Nevalyn, the main character in another of our scribbler’s works in progress, A Suitor’s Challenge, right? Your story took place in The World of Omphalos, centuries before Trouble at Caerac Keep. In your story, you were a human-shaped girl, only a little older than Rhodry, who looked a lot like him. How did you end up a dragon?
Rhodry: I’ve been wondering the same thing.
Kyra: No comment. I’m not answering any questions until the scribbler returns to my story and answers my own! (She dives back down under Rhodry’s vest.)
Rhodry: She’s a little shy. Either that or she doesn’t know the answers herself.
Christopher: How did you end up with her?
Rhodry: I found this tiny dragon-shaped version of Kyra during a freebie story our scribbler wrote and posted at the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron (inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com) in response to one of P.T. Wyant’s Wednesday Words prompts (ptwyant.com). Not that I mind. When I was first created, I had a ferret companion named Freckie. This feels like returning to my origins.
Kyra: (muffled from inside Rhodry’s vest) I am *not* a ferret!
Rhodry: I was also descended from dragons, my powers sometimes taking on a draconic form in The Keep. This feels like an homage to that backstory as well.
Christopher: You’ve got a lot of backstory, don’t you? It must be confusing keeping track of it all.
Rhodry: Yes, which is why I try not to blame our scribbler for taking her time with my story. She’s trying to write a version of me that’s consistent with Trouble at Caerac Keep, the tale she’s telling right now. (He smiles, his eyes shifting from golden back to blue.) It’s so much easier to blame you, since you keep distracting her with Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest.
Christopher: Err, why don’t you come back next week? You can tell me more about Trouble at Caerac Keep, the story you’re in now?
Rhodry: (continuing to smile) I’d like that.