Welcome once more, sirs and madams, to the blog-about.

Before I proceed to give the commentary for the second chapter of our mysterious tale, there are two things I must do. The first is to provide the link to the uploaded text of this chapter, which you will find below. I will suggest once again that you read the tale for yourself before attending to my opinions:

Read Chapter Two

Secondly, I must correct a mistake I made in our previous discussion. If you will recall, at the end of the commentary for the first chapter, I referred to the tale as a “strange and fascinating history.” This was in error, for the word “history” suggests that the chronicle of the rise of King Orofyld XVIII is of a factual nature. Let me be clear—although the author and my associate in the Americas would have me profess otherwise, I do not contend that this text is in any way reliable, or that any of the events presented on these sheafs of parchment actually transpired.

Fiction is a charming and beautiful thing that can be constructed to reflect our reality to us, and the text can act as a mirror by which we can observe ourselves and our world in otherwise impossible ways. However, no matter how verisimilar it may become, it can only ever be similar to reality—it cannot be the same. It cannot supplant the truth. To adopt fiction as truth is quixotism, and it is one of the surest ways to descend into the depths of madness.

I myself am quite sane, and indeed, the more thought I devote to the matter, the more reasonable it seems to suspect that it is actually my associate in the Americas who has penned the story and that he is deceiving me for his own amusement. I have resolved to inquire about this directly in my next correspondence with him, for if this whole affair is merely some ruse he has devised against me, I would prefer to unmask it and avoid any unnecessary expenditure of time and effort.

We shall see what my associate has to say on the matter as soon as I receive word from him. For the moment, however, let us examine the second chapter.

This chapter begins as Bida and his father Balek begin their new lives in another village. A year passes, and Balek decides the time is right to give Bida his independence, and he leaves to live on his own in the capital city. Alone and bored, our hero decides to host a party at his home, but only three people arrive for the festivities: these are Mike the Lame, a strange and talkative vagrant; Hakak, a grizzled wanderer of human and orcish descent; and Aziel Trintior, an noble elf wizard. As the four of them converse merrily, there is a knock at the door, which Bida answers, only to find a letter that has been left on his doorstep. It is a request from Lord Alexander Frelicton, a nobleman, who asks that Bida rescue his children from a hoard of goblins. Excited, Bida shares this information with his guests, who readily agree to assist him, and after making some brief preparations, they set out in search of the goblin den.

Jonathon continues to perplex me with his choice of tone, for his ambiguity continues from the first chapter into this one. He is, in fact, more brazen and long-winded in his mockery of his king in this second chapter. The most glaring example is the explanation of the letter and how it happened that Lord Frelicton had sent it to Bida in the first place, the entirety of which is included in a parenthetical comment by Jonathon that occupies almost two full pages in the text. The explanation is highly detailed and utterly ridiculous, and though I did find myself laughing at the absurdity of the chicken-blooded warrior, I remain completely confused as to why the author decided to include the story in the first place when it so very clearly is eliciting humor at the king's expense.

Indeed, if the purpose were simply to amuse his readers, I could understand the author's reasoning; however, the author himself bookends the lengthy annotation by invoking his duty as a historian to deliver the true details of the tale to the best of his ability, or (and this is interesting), if that cannot be done, “to insert events which could be true, or, at the very least, cannot be outright denied...” (II, p. 8). In this single statement, he is asserting that the tale is factual while also essentially admitting that whole sections of it are embellished or even completely fabricated.

Additionally, his statement that the explanation of the origins of the letter “should be received with the same credibility as everything else in this most thorough and respected history” can be interpreted as either a further insistence upon the truth of the annotation or as an invitation for his readers to question the validity of the entire chronicle (II, p. 9).

In short, I am both baffled and fascinated by Jonathon's narrative style, and though I surmise that it will persist for the remainder of the tale, I cannot say whether or not I look forward to it. For now, let us move on.

The introduction of Aziel, Hakak, and Mike the Lame was done well. Though we have just met these characters, Jonathon's descriptions of them and their interactions with one another evoke a sense of familiarity in me; I feel as if I know a great deal about them without having read much at all. Although they are clearly very different from one another, Jonathon makes a point of accentuating the dynamic of sociable camaraderie between them. All three of them are likable in some way, though perhaps not relatable—personally, I find myself empathizing with Aziel, as I see my own intellect and noble grace reflected in his mannerisms, and I do hope that he remains a constant presence in the story. I also hope that Bida's wistful remembrances of Rafael are intended to foreshadow the holy knight's return to the story, as I suspect they are.

At the very beginning of the chapter, there is a passage that deals with the “generic village,” named thusly by Jonathon because, due to a long-standing tradition among the villagers of refusing to name their village, it does not have a name. I know not what to make of this passage, and so I am dismissing it as nonsense.

Lastly, I should mention the interpolated poems. There are two short pieces, which, we are to believe, were written by Balek, and which Jonathon says he has included out of respect for the man. The verses themselves are rustic and uncultured, and they serve to add nothing to the story, but they do possess a certain amusing charm, and I took pleasure in reading them. It is clear that our author has a profound respect for poets, who, as he says, “are never sufficiently praised for the quality and value of their work” (II, p. 7). As a fellow enthusiast of literature, I can only agree.

And that, at length, is all I have to say regarding the second chapter of our mysterious tale. To be sure, I am enjoying the story of King Orofyld XVIII, even if certain aspects of it are gently driving me up a wall, and I sincerely hope that it is bringing you enjoyment as well, my friends.

Of course, I still fail to understand how my associate in the Americas can declare the truth of the tale. Rest assured, I intend to write him posthaste, and then we will discover whether or not this whole kerfuffle has merely been a dastardly joke. I doubt that his reply will arrive prior to our discussion of the third chapter, but we shall await it patiently and enjoy this strange and amusing story in the meantime.

Until next we meet, sirs and madams, may good health and fortune favor you.

Ever yours, and ever classy,

Good Sir Darcy