Well, what do you know... I never thought it would come to this. In fact, I never thought it would be more than just a one-off post. But Marco picked it up, brought it forward and passed it back, and I didn't want to be the one to end it, so what could I do?
Had I known it would take almost two and a half years, and come to more than ninety thousand words, I don't think I would have dared go on. But I did, happily oblivious, and it rolled on, and people seemed to like it (well, there's no accounting for taste, is there?), and suddenly it got rolling. Characters appeared, plots presented themselves, gags and puns - for which I have been told I should apologise - insisted on being inserted. I just went along for the ride.
Anyway, it's finished now. It's been frustrating, and groan-inducing, and on occasion an awful pressure to write something - anything! - to pass the buck on. But most of all it's been fun. Fun to write, fun to read, and fun to see the reactions in others.
I believe, and sincerely hope, that I'm not the only one who've had fun.
Before we started, I'd only ever written fiction for school assignments, and although I'd enjoyed it and been given good reviews, I had serious doubts I could keep up with the style. But it has been the best writing exercise imaginable, and I really have learned many literary instruments, such as for dialogue and characterization, from it.
And all the references have taught me a fair few facts. Researching them, and cracking them, has been very instructive. Probably worth equal time in school lessons, but don't tell anyone I said that.
Most of all I have learned just how enjoyable writing is. Terry Pratchett has said that "writing is the most fun anyone can have by themselves". There's a big chunk of truth in that, but he never prepared us for the amount of fun two people can have together. Co-writing, I mean. These two-plus years have been a fantastic chain of entertainment.
I have learned much. I can't tell if you've learned anything from reading the Tale, but I hope you have, and that we've at least managed to entertain you for a moment.