Legends of Wrimonia, Part Three: The Knights of NaNoWriMo

On Mia’s way out of the All-Ages Coffee House she ran into a group of people she hand’t encountered before, and what a motley group they were. They all wore helmets and carried coconuts, and most of them were grooming animals of all sorts, from horses to unicorns to dragons. One of them was even polishing a motorcycle. Mia wondered whether Wrimonia carried an insurance policy against dragons. What if the dragon burned everything in the place? Would Wrimonia cover the damage, or would the Wrimonia in charge of the dragon be responsible? Did the Wrimo with the motorcycle yield to walking Wrimos? Guess they didn’t need to use WrimoRails…

One of the Wrimos, who was riding a beautifully groomed horse, carried a shield that said KNIGHTS OF NANOWRIMO. Another juggled a couple of coconuts. Mia could make out the humming of a Coldplay song… but which one? Mia couldn’t figure it out. She never was a big Coldplay fan after Viva La Vida.

“Welcome!” the Wrimo (Knight?) carrying the shield said, her horse galloping toward Mia. “Would you like to become a Knight of NaNoWriMo?”

Mia looked at this Wrimo’s nametag. Lady Pendragon. Lady Pendragon? A knight? Surely she and her cohorts would know all about quests! With a name like that…

“What does it mean to become a Knight?” Mia asked. “I have a novel to write in November. I’m not sure I can commit to being a Knight too.” Mia paused. “And actually, wouldn’t I be a Knightress because I’m a girl?”

“Being a Knight of NaNoWriMo transcends gender,” Lady Pendragon explained as she dismounted her horse. “Anyone can be a Knight of NaNoWriMo. All you need to be able to do is take on the challenge of writing a novel in November, choosing a mount, and CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE.”

Everyone in the circle of Knights yelled that last part.

“Okay, so if I join I’d be a Knight,” Mia said. “Then what? Do I gallop around with you all the time and chaaaaaaaaaaarge? When would we get our novels written? Would all fifty thousand words consist of chaaaaaaaaaaaaarge? Once upon a chaaaaaaaaaaaarge there was a chaaaaaaaaaaaarge who chaaaaaaaaaaarge.”

“Of course not.” Another Knight, this one wearing a top hat, chimed into the conversation at this point as she jumped off her mount. “Hi. I’m rosiedoodle. I see you’ve found the Knights.”

“I guess I have. But I don’t get the point.”

“Sit down. Let us tell you a story.” Lady Pendragon began. “Once upon a time, I believe in 2009–”

“That was my first year!” Mia interrupted.

“Cool!” Lady Pendragon said. “We were quite small back then, but we banded together because we needed a final push and a group of motivated and encouraging Wrimos to get each other across the finish line of fifty thousand words. And with our silly mounts, coconuts, and ability to chaaaaaaaaaarge, a lot of us made it across the finish line. Now we get back together every year, and regardless of word count goal, we keep chaaaaaaaaaaaarging from the very beginning, from our daily word count to the monthly ones.”

“Then why didn’t I see you during my first year?” Mia asked. “I could have used you then. I was terribly behind.”

“We were really small back then,” Lady Pendragon replied. “I can’t remember what year it was now, but we were featured on the Wrimonia Procrastination Station as a featured discussion. We’ve only grown since then.”

“So you’re Knights,” Mia said. “Do you go on quests and stuff too?”

“Only to reach word count goals,” rosiedoodle said. “But individual Knights are available for questing. Quests are fun! Ever been on the Post All The Posts quest?”

“Not really.”

“You should try it sometime,” Lady Pendragon cut in. “I don’t recommend it as a November quest, though. Cuts way too much into noveling time. Well, unless you’re sushimustwrite.” Lady Pendragon petted her horse.

“Didn’t she just leave this thread?” rosiedoodle asked. She looked around.

“Speaking of quests, you might be able to help me with mine,” Mia cut in. When Lady Pendragon and rosiedoodle looked confused, Mia added, “You’re Knights! You can do anything! Right?”

“There are some secrets of Wrimonia that have yet to be truly revealed,” Lady Pendragon added. “The Inspiration Station. Noveling Nirvana.”

“But you know about them!” Mia exclaimed. “Surely you know something about them.”

“We know almost as much as you do, Mia,” rosiedoodle said. “You know how some legends are passed down from one generation to the next with little indication of whether that thing is true or not? Same way with these legends. We don’t know how they started. They might be as old as NaNo itself. For all we know Chris Baty started them himself to keep us wondering, and now he’s gone and we’ll never know whether or not they’re true. We can’t go ask him anymore.”

“But wouldn’t a staff member know?” Lady Pendragon interrupted.

“They might not know the entire story,” rosiedoodle replied. “Unless they got the answer from Chris Baty himself.”

“Listen, I want to get the answer from Chris Baty himself,” Mia said. “I’m trying to find him and no one knows where he is. I asked at Wrimo Hall and Sarah Mackey didn’t know anything. And if the staff don’t know, who would know?”

“You need the help of a NaNo researcher,” Lady Pendragon said.

“But who? Does anyone do real research on NaNo?”

“Yes, believe it or not,” rosiedoodle said.

“How am I supposed to find them?”

“Good luck catching her. She’s all over the place.”

“Okay, let’s say I don’t catch her,” Mia said. “What do I do then? Ask every Wrimo who’s done NaNo for a long time where Chris Baty could be and about these legends?” Being a Knight seemed like it would be better than chasing people around who would know nothing extra about this.

“Fine,” Mia decided. “I’ll be a Knight. People might take me seriously if I tell them I’m a Knight of NaNoWriMo, right?”

“Excellent!” Lady Pendragon replied, clapping her hands. “Now choose your mount and choose it wisely. It’ll be your best friend on your journey through NaNoWriMo.”

“A mount?”

“Yep,” rosiedoodle explained. “A horse or anything else you’d like. Some of us use motorcycles or dragons. I believe Sushi uses a unicorn. She must have worked hard to tame it, but apparently she’s innocent enough.”

A laugh from a distance. “I guess I’ll use a horse,” Mia replied.

“Come on, have some imagination,” someone said. “Anything you can ride. A unicorn, a dragon, a motorcycle, anything!”

“What if I just like horses?” Mia asked. “I did take horseback lessons when I was younger.” That was years and years ago, but she took them for long enough that she would remember how to ride, right?

Lady Pendragon disappeared and returned a minute later with a black horse that had been brushed down so that it shone beautifully.

“It’s a beauty,” Mia said. She walked up to the horse and wrapped her arms around its mane. “I think I’ll call you Beauty.”

She pulled herself on Beauty and pulled the reins. “Giddyap,” she said.

Beauty trotted forward before Mia pulled the reins again. Beauty was a good one.

“How’s the view from up there?” Lady Pendragon asked.

“I could get used to this,” Mia replied. “Consider me Knighted.”

Lady Pendragon grabbed her sword from its sheath and placed it on Mia’s shoulder. “Repeat after me,” Lady Pendragon said. Mia nodded.

“I, Mia Wonnor,” Lady Pendragon said. Mia repeated this. “Do hereby vow.”

“I, Mia Wonner, do hereby vow.”

“To live the noveling life.”

“To live the noveling life.”

“That a Knight of NaNoWriMo should.”

“That a Knight of NaNoWriMo should.”

“I will charge.”

“I will charge.”

“I will remember my coconuts.”

“I will remember my coconuts.”

“And I will remain loyal to NaNoWriMo.”

“And I will remain loyal to NaNoWriMo.”

“In word counts high and low.”

“In word counts high and low.”

Lady Pendragon paused. “I now declare you a Knight of NaNoWriMo, Mia!” She lifted the sword from Mia’s shoulder.

“Now let’s CHAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!” Lady Pendragon said.

“But it’s still October!” Mia said. “We don’t have any words to chaaaaaaaaaaaarge for!”

“We have other things to chaaaaaaaaaarge for!” rosiedoodle said.

“Like what?”

“Your quest, of course! Didn’t you say you had a quest to go on?”

“Yes. But wasn’t that supposed to be an impossible quest?”

Everyone gasped.

“You said the i word,” rosiedoodle said. “That word is banned.”

“I would probably know if that word were banned,” Mia replied. “Wouldn’t someone have already arrested me?” Her mind wandered to the Snatchers. Did anyone get arrested in Wrimonia? How would one get arrested around here, anyway? And would they go to jail? What would a Wrimonia jail be like, anyway? Mia began wondering what jailable offenses would exist in Wrimonia and thought of the terms of service that she did eventually read all the way through. Would violating that put a Wrimo in Wrimonia jail? Were Wrimonia prisoners forced to write under the influence of writer’s block and the inner editor with words falling from the sky and falling on their computer while using Write or Die electric shock mode on their computer.

Oh, and no caffeine or reward food.

Mia looked around and made sure no Wrimo Snatchers were around. She didn’t see anyone.

“Not banned all over Wrimonia,” Lady Pendragon explained. “Just banned from your mind. Nothing is really impossible. You can achieve this quest if, and only if, you truly want it. No matter how difficult it turns out to be, you’ll be able to do it because you, Mia, are a Knight.”

Mia left the Knights with a rejuvenated sense of encouragement. Beauty would be there when she returned.

**

CHAAAAARGE! It’s the Knights of NaNoWriMo! I love the Knights. Seriously.

Share, don’t be a jerk, donate to NaNo if you’re inclined.

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