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If you want to cheat, you can also read my afterword ("Author's notes") before you start reading.
Image © 2008 by Alexander Klemm. Used by permission of the artist. The image shows the court jester of the elector Ernst of Saxony, with Hartenfels castle (Torgau, Germany) in the background; due to the jester’s carelessness, bears were released and broke many things.
Jester is a "medieval" fantasy set in a post-diaspora world, in which humans have fled to a new continent after destroying their original homeland in a magical catastrophe. Now, some two centuries later, they have successfully re-established their civilization and spread through their new lands, despite conflicts among kingdoms and between humans and the land's original inhabitants. The protagonist, Morley, is a human dwarf (that is, the achondroplastic kind, not the Tolkein kind) who has survived an abusive childhood and is now serving as a court jester. When he is offered the chance to become "normal", he accepts—but there will be a high price, and one he becomes increasingly unwilling to pay. Chronologically, the story follows that in Chords, but you don't need to have read Chords to understand or appreciate Jester.
Chapter 1: A walk in the woods
Chapter 2: Another twist of the dagger
Chapter 3: Orgrim
Chapter 4: A bargain fulfilled
Chapter 5: Walking for the first time
Chapter 6: A session in the library
Chapter 7: Transitions
Chapter 8: Further literary endeavors
Chapter 9: Into the Southwood
Chapter 10: Messages and departures
Chapter 11: Message to the Goblins
Chapter 12: Volonor
Chapter 13: Ankur
Chapter 14: Home is where they take you in
Chapter 15: The cat came back
Chapter 16: Redemption
Chapter 17: Endings and beginnings
If you liked the characters or setting and want to use them in your own fiction, please do; the dialog between authors enhances the value of fiction. However, please add a suitably amended version of the following statement at the start of your story:
"The characters and setting in this story originated in [story name and URL/link], by Geoff Hart. Although Geoff encouraged adaptation of his original work, he has not reviewed my story, and the original story remains copyrighted in his name."
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