Ever since I first read one of the ‘Mongoose & Meerkat’ stories, I have been trying to figure out who the Meerkat is. “Mongoose” and “Meerkat” are not their names, but kind of an adventuring identity thing to make them more memorable to employers. The names they give are Kat and Mangos, which is how I will refer to them in the rest of this post.
Everything in this post will come from the first volume of their adventures. There are three planned volumes and we will see if my theory is true. Here is the theory:
Kat is the princess of the fallen kingdom of Alness and is seeking wealth and magical artifacts so that she can take back the throne.
The very first hint comes from a feature of the stories. Before the story begins, there is a statement relating how long after the fall of Alness that the story occurs. At first, you might think this is a clever way to help the reader make sure they read the stories in proper order, but let’s take a look at the very first statement as listed on the very first story, ‘The Battlefield of Keres’.
Two months after the fall of Alness (not that Mangos cares.)
Mangos doesn’t care… but what about Kat? Does she care?
Furthermore, the story opens with Mangos alone in a bar and he meets Kat for the first time. When she is introduced, she clearly has knowledge of the upper class and history, whereas Mangos is shown as a typical street-smart strong adventuring guy. Why is this seemingly well-educated woman hanging out in a scummy bar? She says many things in each story that prove that she is well-educated and I will not mention each one, but in a medieval-esque fantasy world, what women are most likely to have a broad education? Nobility.
The next hint in this story is that Mangos sees that Kat is beautiful, but it is described as follows
It was like turning around and finding your sister all grown up.
What an odd choice of words. This strange woman is beautiful, but was like a sister? Normally, a man like Mangos would see a beautiful woman in the bar and try to hit on her. But if he views her as a sister, he will want to protect her and NOT seduce her.
Then, Mangos tries to ask her some questions about her past and she does not answer them. He is impressed by her knowledge of many things and cannot figure out how she knows so much about so many topics. She clearly is both book-smart AND street-smart. In fact, she can read.
The next story ‘Brandy and Dye’ brings up Kat’s attractiveness again with this quote:
…men always acknowledged her beauty but never showed any desire.
At this point, I assume she has a magic spell cast upon her or a magical artifact that allows men to acknowledge her beauty (and be extra nice to her as men often are to beautiful women) without the downsides (everyone constantly hitting on her). Who could afford that kind of magic and who would need that kind of a magic? A princess on the run? Or before she was on the run, perhaps her father had it cast upon her so that she could maintain her virtue before being married off to another kingdom?
‘The Sword of the Mongoose’ has a subtle hint when the pair come across some refugees on the road. Once Kat realizes that there is an Alnessi refugee among the refugees, she raises her hood. Why does seeing an Alnessi refugee make Kat want to hide her face?
In ‘The Valley of Terzol’, it is explicitly stated where Mangos is from. Why not Kat?
He was used to Kat’s mysterious background. When they first met she looked so haggard he thought her an escaped slave. Later when he discovered she could fight, he revised his opinion to escaped gladiatrix. Still later, as she haggled over supplies, he thought perhaps a merchant’s guard. Now that he had seen her learning on several subjects, he admitted he didn’t know what to think.
In this story, more is made of Kat’s learning than any other so far. She knows her history and can read an old language of an empire that fell 350 years ago. At the end of the story, the pair find a bunch of emeralds and Kat states that she will use part of her share to buy an army. What does she need an army for? She does not explain and Mangos does not ask.
In ‘The Burning Fish’, other than a mention that she can read the old language of the empire mentioned in the previous story (something that is clearly somewhat rare), I did not find much in the way of further proof of my theory.
Finally, ‘Deathwater’ does not feature Mangos or Kat at all! But I believe it is in the same world and it confirms that the rich can afford to have powerful magics cast upon them.
[UPDATE: The author has confirmed that ‘Deathwater’ does NOT take place in the same world. I don’t think my theory suffers at all from this, because the bulk of the proof is in the Mongoose and Meerkat stories.]
For those that have read the stories, is my theory sound? Do you have your own theory or proof that contradicts mine? Let me know!
The Kickstarter for the second volume, which will hopefully include more proof of my theory, is going on for a couple more days. Back it now! These stories are great fun!