barons who feared not even the men of Spor; and in the Kingdom of Heg our story opens.
Upon a beautiful plain stood the castle of the great Baron Merd--renowned alike in war and peace, and second in importance only to the King of Heg. It was a castle of vast extent, built with thick walls and protected by strong gates. In front of it sloped a pretty stretch of land with the sea glistening far beyond; and back of it, but a short distance away, was the edge of the Forest of Lurla.
One fair summer day the custodian of the castle gates opened a wicket and let down a draw-bridge, when out trooped three pretty girls with baskets dangling on their arms. One of the maids walked in front of her companions, as became the only daughter of the mighty Baron Merd. She was named Seseley, and had yellow hair and red cheeks and big, blue eyes. Behind her, merry and laughing, yet with a distinct deference to the high station of their young lady, walked Berna and Helda--dark brunettes with mischievous eyes and slender
Magicless wizard, fireless dragon, baby-strength giant… Baum must have a thing for impotent leaders.