My name is Marion. 

I'm the author of several novels, strolling towards middle-age.

I have always loved stories, but it takes a long time for a writer to become good at what they do. One of the things I loved most when I was in my early teens was playing Multi User Dimensions (MUDs). These were online role-playing games before fancy computer graphics came along. They were text-based worlds, where each room had a description, and some of those descriptions would talk to you or attack you.

Other players would log-in from all across the world, and you could invent yourself as anyone you chose to be. I was always a thief. I enjoyed hiding in the shadows, stealing into locked rooms, and walking, unseen, through a crowd. 

I went by the name of Gratia, my middle name in Latin, and my absolute favourite place to play was a MUD called Realms of Aurealis. That's where I met my American friends Gabe, Silver and Andy. Andy went by the name of Reverend and became my main RPing partner. He later taught me the basics of coding MUDs on his own server. 

That really was a game changer for me. I'd always been a Fighting Fantasy fan, especially of anything involving Port Blacksand. But with MUDs, I not only got to walk around a text-based world, I was given the chance to write my own. It was like creating a living book and watching as other people brought it to life.

I honestly reckon text-based games were a major influence on my desire to write. Being able to interact with the page, and to observe both description and dialogue - it was a fast track to story construction. I've listened to enough authors talk about their own RPing backgrounds to know this theory holds weight.

Building character was what these games were all about (well, that and killing fluffy woodland creatures for experience points). Many of my fellow MUDers had written character profiles for the website, some had written a couple of pages. I decided that I wanted to do the same. Reverend had asked me about my character's history, and I felt inspired to tell Gratia's story - up to the point where they first met.

One page turned into three, three into ten, ten into twenty, twenty into fifty... thousand words.

I struggle to remember exactly when this was all written, but it was completed by the time I settled into university aged eighteen. So it was started anywhere between the age of fifteen or sixteen, and completed by seventeen.

I gave it two titles: The Tale of the Gypsy Cilarie or The Tale of the Gypsy Queen.

It was my first novella-length story, resting at around 56,700.

Here on this site I am going to offer it up to the world. The furtive first fumblings of a bookish, geeky, slightly mad teen who loved make-believe. I'll admit that I have given it a bit of a polish, to iron out some of the worst offending typos and lessen the elliptical overload. I made most of the mistakes you'd expect from a young writer. I freely admit that grammar eluded me well into my early twenties. 

Other than that, it is as was.