The Edgecliff Girls


Mopsy Q. Mayflower – A strange little girl with no past, no memory, and an oddly-colored eye. Nobody knows who her parents were, or where she came from. She’ll tell you, if you ask – just give her a minute to make something up. Yeah, I know, she kind of creeps me out, too.


Elsbeth Whorley-Wyndham – Her parents have everything: mansions, limousines – and a 25-year prison sentence for fraud. When the (unimprisoned) remnants of her family refuse to take her in, Elsbeth is sent to live at Edgecliff Abbey. Not to worry – vengeance is a dish best served cold, and Elsbeth is a patient girl. She will one day become a princess – or someone’s getting hurt.


Gretchen Bright-Eyes – When German naturalists Hans and Ute Hellaugen’s helicopter crashed in a remote valley in the Rocky Mountains, they needn’t have worried about their surviving infant daughter Gretchen – wolves make excellent foster parents. Gretchen is adapting nicely to civilization, now. Still chases the mailman, but she’s stopped drinking out of the toilet, leastways.


Kiku Kiragami – A Japanese exchange student born to a strictly traditional family, Kiku has been sent to live in America. And although she has sworn to her uncle to always uphold the code of the Samurai, behind her stern demeanor and wooden sword lies a sweet little girl who wants what any little girl wants: to pilot a fearsome giant robot with shoulder-mounted laser cannon.


Nephrikamun Taharqo – Nephri is a Nubian princess – literally – and living proof that a University that puts its display of Egyptian mummies too close to a cloning lab full of hyperactive graduate students hasn’t really thought things through. Although she remembers her past existence a bit too vividly for modern science to explain, Nephri is enjoying the life of an ordinary modern girl – so pharaoh, so good, as she’d say – but I’ll warn you that her habit of sleeping perfectly still on a stone slab takes a little getting used to.


The Edgecliff Abbey Staff


Mother Merry Chaos – Described by some as a rhinoceros that’s been taught to stand upright and recite Scripture, Mother Merry has, against all sane advice, re-opened the orphanage at Edgecliff Abbey. You see, Mother Merry doesn’t know the meaning of the word “defeat.” She doesn’t know the meaning of the word “pertinacious” either, and has no idea when the laundry gets picked up. Life is, for her, basically, a blur, and she’s even beginning to suspect she may be a fictional character in a book written by a strange bearded man and his bizarre little daughter.


Sister Dominique LeCroix – Mother Merry’s long-suffering secretary, kindly young Sister Dominique is dedicated to her tasks of minding the children, fishing important papers out of wherever Mother Merry may throw them, publishing a Mr. Gongrafen-to-English dictionary, and convincing anyone who’ll listen that her name is not “Dominic.”


Mr. Gongrafen – Groundskeeper, sexton, and all-round handy-man of Edgecliff Abbey, Gunnar Gongrafen describes his job as “spadling snodge, swopping loomies, and keeping the sproggen from scootlinaboot  th furboatin’ spots o’ th’Abbey, yet.” (No, I don’t know what that means, neither.) And although he may look like some mad-scientist’s failed early-effort monster-project, beneath his scarred exterior beats the heart of – well, some dug-up organ donor, I’d bet.


Nicole Scully and Dana Bosch – High-school youth volunteers who work with the children at the orphanage. Nicole is bright, pious, studious, cheerful, and energetic, while Dana is, mm, not.


Mrs. Arkham – Child Services administrator to the newly-reopened orphanage. Has an interest in seeing Edgecliff Abbey fail, and will do anything to make that happen. Put it this way: if you were God and saw Emperor Nero, Vlad the Impaler, and Mrs. Arkham walking together, and you only had two lightning bolts and had to choose whom to zap – zap Arkham twice.


Friends (and Enemies), Romans, Countrymen


Mr. Tiberius Crow – There are wealthy industrialists who are great philanthropists and use their great resources to better their fellow men and women – and then there’s Mr. Crow. Edgecliff Abbey sits upon land that Mr. Crow wants for his corporation, and Mr. Crow is used to getting what he wants. (Give this guy a white cat and a giant laser and he’d be a James Bond villain.)


Mrs. Bolls – If education is the fire that tempers young minds, then a teacher like Mrs. Bolls is the hammer that keeps pounding them down. ‘Nuff said.


Miss KillpennyIn spite of having a slight handicap, Ellen Killpenny is a phys-ed teacher par excellence. At 22 she became the first American woman to scale Mount Kilimanjaro in a wheelchair. Upon witnessing this feat (and her ride back down) the native guides gave her the name “Similla” – which means, in Swahili, “Everybody get out of the way!” She is also single, likes cats and foreign films, and is interested in friendship, dating, and a potentially serious relationship. (She asked me to include that in case any attractive young men were reading this.)


Principal Roman Castlewick – Well, technically the only “Roman” in the bunch, but a forward-thinking School Administrator nonetheless. “The office of Principal demands respect,” quoth he, “and respect must be earned. It cannot be forced out of a child, nor bought nor sold, nor traded for seal-pelts and scrimshaw, nor quarried like granite, nor rendered out of a child by boiling.” Hmm.


Justy, Dean, Chaz, and Ulrich – Although not scholarly nor athletic, these four school-mates of our girls have elevated dodgeball to a combination of sport, martial art, and John Woo film.


People of the Storybook


King Dobregan Ruler of Fairyland, a kingdom under siege by an evil sorcerer. Seriously reconsidering the whole monarchy thing in favor of free elections with strict term limitations.


Prince JarmindA prince (really). Can’t understand why everyone mispronounces his name.


Lukasz – An ogre. Well, not really, just this really big, strong, ugly guy (don’t tell him I said that).


NamthoobThe aforementioned Evil Sorcerer, who is convinced he could conquer all of Fairyland, if only he had a cooler name.


The Range Riders! – In their own words: “We ride! Our heroic feats of derring-do bring us from the Eastern Shore to the Northern Wastes, to the Western Forests, down to the Southern Desert, and back to the Eastern Sh—Great Thunder! We’re just riding in a big circle, aren’t we…?”


Tangerine – A giant fire-breathing dragon. (OK, if you want to know how a giant fire-breathing dragon got the name “Tangerine” – you’ll just have to read the book.)