The more I work on my novel, The Golden Gryphon, the more I realize the need for an Introduction. I've waffled on this for quite a while, but am finally committed to it.
I wrote a new version today:
Long ago, when the mountains were taller and the seas younger, a reclusive race of people lived between the Dagger Mountains and the Cobalt Sea. The Hanorja were smaller than humans, less magical than elves, and not at all like dwarves. For one thing, their menfolk had no beards, and for another, they loathed being underground. The common people possessed a common sort of magic, useful for lighting fires and preserving food through the long winters. Those descended from their kings were taller in height and gifted by Heaven with stronger magic in order to defend and rule their kingdom, which they called Belhanor.
The men and women (or rather, the hamen and hawen) of Belhanor were an industrious people who lived by a strict code of honor. They believed that everything they made should be beautiful as well as useful. It is impossible to say how many artifacts in museums around the world today are actually of Hanorjan make, nor which mountain range upon which continent is “the Daggers” and which body of water,“The Cobalt Sea.” The few scholars who acknowledge their existence believe that the Hanorja either died out or merged with humanity long ago. Very little of their history remains, and what does has only been recently discovered.
This book you now hold in your hands is one of their stories. It was unearthed from the archives of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., wrapped in brown paper and string, addressed in firm, Victorian handwriting to “Curator of Rare Books.” There was no postmark, and it had never been opened or read.