The Amazing Adventures of Sara Corel
A novel by Toomey

First Interlude
Kevin Turner

       Okay. The story starts by defiling our vision of the last Elvish Haven and of the Elves themselves. And then it continues with the death (…ain't he been dead before?) of our favourite Wizard. As Sara says herself, this isn't the way stories are supposed to go. It goes on with the senseless slaughter of a proud and once beautiful race.
      And so far, nothing's even presented a challenge to Sara, beyond a certain measure of emotional stress. She just sort of strolls through the whole thing. There don't seem to be any redeeming qualities to her actions, and in fact, we have no evidence that she's not acting as the Unraveller, the destroyer of worlds. At this point, the story seems to have no other intention than discomorting the gentle reader who is accustomed to the cute and clever trials of Sara and friends.
      Halfway through, on the Wizard's Way, this suspicion is confirmed. "We represent th' Poly Top Guild, we wish t' welcome you to Munt's-kin Land."
      Ow… The pain, the pain!
      […continues reading…]
      Oh. I guess I was right about the Unraveller thing. Well then. Time to see what my own dreams bring me.
      Keep storytelling.
      (And I don't believe that any Sara raised among Men can out-dance an Elf.)

      Thanks for the letter. I really appreciate getting feedback from readers that doesn't use the words 'cool' and 'awesome' (or their antimatter counterparts).
      This little 'Interlude' was originally intended to be a short exercise to help me focus on improving certain aspects of my writing chops. I'm rather new to writing fiction, and I came to realize that certain issues needed to be addressed. I also wanted to explore some of the extreme aspects of Sara's character in a setting that would be radically different from the gentle tenor of the uberstory. I also just wanted to have a little fun and perhaps entertain some of my long-suffering readers. And I had to show the other Aurora Universe writers that I could, too, write some high-body-count Armageddonia. So there. Rest assured that I will return to the spirit of Part One as soon as I resume writing (after my impending divorce).
      When writing in the ‘superhero’ genre, the poor author has to pick a spot in the continuum between mortal and god to place the 'powers and abilities' of his characters. To me, there has always been somewhat of an artifice in this selection and the subsequent matching of the characters' nemeses so that the character had to strive to his/her utmost (and a little bit more) in order to just barely overcome some well-matched evildoer in the climactic battle. I wanted to get beyond that in some respect, so I chose the high end of the spectrum to essentially remove physicality as a determinant and give more play to motivational, psychological and ethical considerations. The 'emotional stress' is precisely the issue.
      Therefore, Sara wasn't particularly challenged physically. I had Alex speak the phrase that best sums up her dilemma, "Sometimes even superpowers and good intentions aren't enough." The Elves aloofness, Gundolf's tricksy jest, wizardspeak and impossible mission, Eldron's and Gladariel's gentle capitulations, the Dwarves' noble, doomed, honorable stubbornness, the Little Peoples' desperate slavishness, the receptionist's disrespect, Soloman's smooth prevarications, the Nazghouls' unctious pandering, the General of Soraun's cynical designs, Stryder's bitter despair, Soraun's usurpation of Sara's will and her own complicity in her acceptance of His mastery — all these things are played out against the backdrop of sacrifice and loss accompanying the underlying determination to do her duty.
      Sure, Sara picks up a few heavy objects along the way and shrugs off the occasional nuclear fireball — in the manner of superheroines in every universe — but the important battles involve defending fundamental principles of truth and decency. In some respects, Sara's challenge is to overcome her own tendencies, such as her naive assumption that everyone else is as reasonable as she is. In the real world, I have encountered people who cling to their irrationality as if it were their own personal Ring of Power. There is a great deal of political commentary buried deeply within parts of this story, as well.
      I apologize for the Wizard of Oz travesty. I don't know what came over me. I will be severely punished in another life, I'm sure. (But it was funny, wasn't it…) And if you think that was bad, wait 'till you find out why I titled the story Susan.
      I don't know who/what the 'Unraveller, the destroyer of worlds' is. Not as cute as Sara, I'll bet.
      And — you're probably right about the innate superiority of Elves' dancing, except that they can't fly. I hope to have much more time to devote to storytelling later this fall. If I had known how much fun it was, I'd have started decades ago.

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© Patrick Hill, 2000