My name's Ruri, and I live here in Grannus' Circle. In that wagon over there, in fact, the green and yellow one.
Why are you called Waldings?
We are called Waldings because we are descended from the great hero Waldo. He fought and defeated an evil and powerful demon, whose name I prefer not to mention. Since that time, all of Waldo's descendants have been chased by the demon (though he can spend little time in physical form) and must travel constantly to escape him.
My name is Walding. Are we related?
We might be. Back where we come from the answer would almost certainly be yes, but since we came into this cyberworld, we have found many Waldings who are not part of our clan. If you'd like to meet a few of them, I think I can tell you where to find them.
So you Waldings must see a lot of the world.
Most of us haven't seen all that much of this world yet. We come from a world we call Conaria, and our travels have brought us across into this strange cyberworld.
Why is this place called Grannus' Circle?
Because Grannus lives here. That's his wagon over there, the big one with the wind-chimes. Grannus is our king. You might have seen him on your way in. He was heading for Gamers' Row, carrying a little boy on his back and eating a cinnamon bun.
The fat guy?!
That was your king?!
We Waldings are actually very proud of the fact that our king is fat. After many generations on the run, we have finally been able to get enough to eat, and, of course, our king must have the best of everything.
In the world we come from -- did I mention it is called Conaria? -- people live in family groups, which I'm calling clans, though of course we have our own word for them. Most clans live in one place. In fact, the Waldings are the only travelling clan I know of. Each clan has a king and an Honour. The Honour's job is to make sure that the clan deals honourably with outsiders, and that outsiders deal honourably with the clan. Some clans have a Battle-Leader as well, who leads them into battle, like you'd expect.
And what is the job of the king? To sample all the food in the camp?
In the case of the Waldings, that's part of what he does. He seems to enjoy that part! But his main job is to know and remember every Walding who dies in his lifetime, to make sure they get to the Meadows. Grannus knows every Walding by name, and he knows all the history of the Waldings. He can sing his line all the way back to the first Grannus.
The "first Grannus?"
The king is always called "Grannus." Our current king was called Max when I first met him.
And I suppose he also has to run the camp.
No, that's Stewart's job. I should explain that there's a "Stewart" at every Walding camp. Waldings travelling together usually take a vote on who will be Stewart, and the job tends to fall to the person who wasn't around for the vote. Though our Stewart here at Esmerel doesn't seem to mind the job too much; he and Grannus have been friends for a long time.
So doesn't anybody here use his real name?
Well, I do, and in fact most Waldings do. Apart from Grannus, Stewart, and our Honour, who is always called Questor, we generally use our own names.
So if Grannus is the fat man with the kid on his back, which one is Questor?
Questor doesn't live in Esmerel.
What do you mean "live in Esmerel?" None of you was here two days ago; this was just an empty field!
And we may be gone in a few more days, but we'll set up outside some other town. Perhaps I should have said that Questor doesn't travel with Esmerel. "Esmerel" is just the name of the Walding camp where Grannus is. Waldings consider it lucky to be born in Esmerel, so we always have a lot of families here.
If you have a king and an Honour, do you have a Battle-Leader as well?
Most people in Conaria would find that a funny idea. They would claim that Waldings would rather run than fight. But since I'm the only one in the Circle who wears a sword, I guess I'm the Battle-Leader if we ever need one. Outside the Circle, of course, we have some great fighters. Have you seen the giant over by Becky's wagon? Shall we go over and see if any of you can beat him at wrestling?
If you have any more questions about the Waldings, feel free to write to me.