Yesterday, on Twitter, there was talk about prologues and prefaces. I thought I’d post the preface for the still-being-revised ”Teddy and the Hordesmen’s Master” (due out end of July, 2012) for your comments:
It was like buses. The long years from 2005 to 2008 were quiet; not a hint of action. Then, one outstanding day, a million things seemed to happen at once. Some things seemed to burst from nowhere, they just exploded and left us stunned; other things that had seemed stable and true, were changed completely, in a blink; then there were those things that ended, forever. Sad things that have left a hole in us, and yet somehow gave us hope.
Since that single onslaught of a day, Teddy, Gundy, Joanne and I have been working hard to record what actually happened, and why. You’re holding the results of our labour in your hand. However, if you haven’t read “Teddy and the Darkgate” you won’t know what happened to Teddy in the late summer of 2005, before this book. You won’t know that, quite by mistake, he found himself on a mission to The Darkgate in Llandegley. But then again you also won’t know what The Darkgate is, or who The Yorebear is, nor any of Teddy’s joys and hardships on the journey he took. You might want to get “Teddy and the Darkgate” out of the library first. Or better yet, buy it. Come to think of it, buying it would be very nice.
Still, to be fair, I’d better re-cap for you:
Teddy wasn’t happy at home. The new baby, Bertie, was messy and noisy and monopolised the attention Teddy was so used to enjoying. So Teddy eventually left home and travelled across Wales towards England, to meet up with a Lady Teddy who’d once flirted with him outside his house. He loved her.
On the way, he met various creatures: bizarre, threatening crocodiles under a Welsh bridge; a dog who talked about belonging, and a flock of sheep who were members of ‘The Flock’ that kept them free and safe, founded by a ram called Ramgar. The Flock was headed by a ewe called Maaroon and her legal assistant Maalaw. They took Teddy to see Ramgar, who might help guide Teddy to Lady Teddy. They succeeded in finding Ramgar, and he helped Teddy, but he could also see that not only was Teddy’s journey doomed, but that Teddy was affecting all those he met in an unusually deep way.
After leaving Ramgar, Teddy became more and more “Tired” (with a capital-T) meaning he was in danger of falling Asleep and was unlikely to Wake up again. Live toys need to give or receive love to stay Awake. In the end, Teddy fell Asleep when he was punched off a bridge by the troll who lived underneath its arches.
To his amazement he found himself Awake and was nursed back to health by a group of dolls and their servants. They attempted to force him to say with them because Teddy needed to be loved to stay Awake, and they needed to let love flow through them to someone and could not love their ‘Mother’.
Teddy managed to continue his journey and passed through the land of the Mocassins — crazy slipper-like creatures ruled by several masters, the chief of whom was a bitter ex-servant of The Dolls called the Servant Master. He attempted to use Teddy to secure and increase his power in the region, but failed when Teddy accidentally caused a civil war and killed two of the masters (a blacksheep and a fox) by inadvertently getting them to fight each other. Ramgar’s assessment of Teddy was proving to be prescient.
Teddy escaped and finally found Lady Teddy, who casually rejected him. Despondent, he was discovered by a group of Dwarves who helped him take stock and assess his options, and he decided to return to his home in Aberystwyth, via The Dolls.
As Teddy travelled, an attempt was made to kill him with a crossbow bolt, and it became clear there were strange lies being spread about him, exaggerating what Teddy had done, which initially alienated him from his friends. He reached The Dolls, whose rather stiff owner, Mother, had in the meantime bought a fluffy Live toy dog called Rufus, who’s relationship with Agnes, the lead Doll, caused Teddy some jealousy. It was agreed that Teddy would continue his journey back to his old family and try to discover the source of the lies and odd events were happening.
On the way, he was suddenly knocked unconscious (another assassination attempt), when he awoke he found he was missing memories for at least several hours, and was now roped to a horse, Naystraw, who was returning home to his farm. On Naystraw’s saddle was a note saying Teddy had been to “The Darkgate”. When they arrived at Naystraw’s farm they narrowly averted a third attempt on Teddy’s life and uncovered the would-be assassin: a deformed goblin, called “Pale” due to the odd colour of his skin. Teddy, the farm’s dog, Wrooph, and Pale travelled in a cart pulled by Naystraw to find out what was happening at The Darkgate.
Almost as soon as they arrived, they were attacked by The Yorebear and his horde of deformed helpers, killing Pale and forcing Teddy and Wrooph to abandon their mission. But not before Teddy fell against The Darkgate, a rough cone of strange stones lying in a field, and felt a rush of power enter him. The Yorebear immediately fell asleep; there was no explanation, he just collapsed.
Teddy returned home to his family and was welcomed back. Soon after his arrival, Bertie’s teddy, Gundy, started to Wake up. Teddy helped her as she Woke and before long they were in love and partnered.
Although I said it was ‘quiet’ between 2005 and 2008, it wasn’t of course. Joanne and I were looking after baby Bertie, who grew to became three-year old Bertie, and his baby brother Oli was born in May of 2008 — so things certainly were not ‘quiet’ in the rare ‘quiet cocktails in a warm garden at sunset’ sense of the word. Rather, I meant there was no sign of The Yorebear, nor of the trouble he’d stirred up that had affected Teddy’s friends The Dolls, The Dwarves and Ramgar.
Then, in the summer of 2008 we got a note, warning us that The Yorebear was awake again. We didn’t know what to do, so we thought about it a lot, and paced up and down discussing it among ourselves … and did nothing. Until one day: the day described in this book.
Anyway, the things we’ve written here will hopefully explain some of the odd events that happened in Wales and West England back in 2008 and 2009. Most people think it was ‘one of those things’ that happens every now on the border between two countries, but it wasn’t, which is why we’ve written down what really happened.
Many of the questions left dangling in Teddy’s first book will be answered here, and some new questions will be raised. This book is also an account of what happened to Gundy, now that she’s Alive and part of Teddy’s life, and how we managed to do some incredible things while looking after two small children, which is a pretty amazing in itself.
Oh, Teddy says thank you to all of you who bought and read, and shared and commented, on the last book. He says he hopes you enjoy this one just as much.