Solo Dolora - Solhaven

If you really want to know about it, the first thing you'll probably want to hear is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and all that kind of sodding dross, but I really don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. A memoir of a miserable childhood is about the most bloody awful kind of story I can think of. As far as I'm concerned, if you're steamed at your folks, you either do them in or you do us all a favor and shut your hole about it, but you don't take off pissing and moaning about how they never loved you.

Then again, it's hardly the same when there's money involved, is it?

My father Sol Dolora was a soldier in the Turamzzyrian imperial army from the time he was a boy on up to the time he quit to become a woodcutter. I say from the time he was a boy because he claims he was fourteen when he joined up, but I wouldn't put it past him to have left the womb fully grown. He was a common but decorated man-at-arms well into his twenties, when he became disgusted at the Empire's increasing dependence on its fighting force of trained mages, the Imperial Drakes, to win battles for them. To my father, relying on magic in battle was comparative to fighting by pulling hair and scratching faces. No doubt he felt emasculated seeing the glory go to a corps of nightgown-wearing sissies who almost certainly had more than a drop of conveniently ignored Elven blood quivering in their flaccid veins.

He was released from the army around 5040 and settled in the forests north of Tamzyrr to become a woodcutter, as his own dear old dad had been. The first thing he did when he got there was knock up some local slattern. I know he was married before he even sold his first cord of lumber. He told me that much. He didn't tell me the female's father held a dirk to his neck, but he never would have said a thing like that to anyone. Her name was Thilia. Not anything old Sol told me either -- no one ever said her name in the house -- but the shriveled crone with her forty cats a league up the trail had nothing against telling me. This was before she broke her neck falling down the cellar steps and the cats ate out her leathery dugs.

Sol got seven sons in ten years by his woman, and the last one finally did her in. Ankor, Gunnauth, Spanning, Ulspeth, Bluen, Fraxis, Huran and Sol the second, the last being your humble narrator. I don't promise I have the order straight, but my brothers areall equally filthy smears of pus and the only way to identify them in any certainty is to put them in order of least to greatest number of broken bones, Ankor being the oldest and first. I hold the record at over thirty-five trips to the old crone for mending, and also the distinction of being the only Dolora child to have his skull split completely open. (Considering I was a spot unconscious to make a fuss the time, I'm still surprised Ankor didn't deem the event a complete success and leave me to rot.)

Being the one target small enough for everyone in the family to enjoy without the untidy danger of being hurt back, I had a simply smashing childhood. I wouldn't want to give the impression that my tender youth was nothing but fisticuffs. That would be false of me. My family showed its love in words as well. My father was particularly fond of asserting I was a female, and my brothers latched on like starving dogs on a lost infant's arm. My name became Sola. Except for visits to the crone, I wasn't allowed out of sight of our cabin, the reasoning being it would shame my father too much for anyone else to know I existed, and so had either to wear the dresses brought home for me, or nothing. Anyone with eyes and a brain knows the deficiencies of the weaker sex, but my brothers had to "prove" it daily by subjecting my malnourished frame to increasingly enthused tests. In fact it was my nerve in purloining and wearing a pair of Gunnauth's trousers that inspired Ankor to re-teach me that I couldn't be other than female, as my head wasn't anywhere near strong enough to survive the impact of a melon sized rock from a height of ten feet. Gunnauth burnt the pants after he got them back.

Surprising everyone, my father not only allowed me to leave home around twenty years of age, he told me to. He told me to very well shove off and join the army if I thought I wasn't a simpering craven, and if they didn't laugh in my face he'd have Huran wear the dress for the next month. So I left, thank you.

You mustn't think me bitter.

I hiked to Tamzyrr, taking posession of some proper clothes on the way. Enlisting in the army was the furthest thing from my mind. Nevertheless, I matriculated at the Thaumatis Imperial Academy, a prime primping ground for warmage candidates. Ironically, it was my father's name and decorations got me in. I brought no proof of descent save a description of my father's charms, minus his raging bile for the entire concept of magic. Apparently the man is known. I could think of no better way to show him how I felt about him. Scratch; one better way. Schooling myself would serve that too. Alas, I was not long for Thaumatis. They took a shocking dislike to me and at any bloody rate, the Empire frowns upon an interest in sorcery. Sorcery, however, is where the blood and guts are, if you know what I mean. I had already begun to cobble together a knowledge of the craft from what scraps they throw you in academy, and I continued after I left. I am not a common sorcerer. The details of my training make lesser men choke in embarrassed outrage.

Beyond that, my story becomes remarkably dull. Little now remains to do but prepare for the return home. If my life has become singular in purpose, it remains rich in anticipation.