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Twig (character)

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Arborinus Verginix
The Edge Chronicles character
First appearanceBeyond the Deepwoods
Information
Nickname(s)Twig
SpeciesFourthling
GenderMale
OccupationSky Pirate Captain, Sub-Professor of Light
TitleCaptain
FamilyQuintinius Verginix (father), Maris Pallitax (mother), Rook Barkwater (grandson)
Spouse(s)Sinew Verginix (neé Tatum)
ChildrenKeris Barkwater (neé Verginix)

Twig (also known as Arborinus Verginix) is a fictional character from Paul Stewart's The Edge Chronicles.

Usually referred to as Twig or, later, Captain Twig, Twig is the main character of three Edge Chronicles books (books 1, 2 and 3, which make up the Twig Trilogy).

History[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Twig was born during a storm in which the ship in which his parents were traveling was damaged. After the captain of the ship, Multinius Gobtrax refused to accept the child aboard, Twig's parents, Maris Pallitax and Quintinius Verginix, had to abandon him in a woodtroll village.[1]

Teenage years[edit | edit source]

After being raised by a kindly, woodtroll couple, Tuntum and Spelda Snatchwood, for 13 years, he was sent to his Cousin Snetterbark's house in order to escape recruitment by sky pirates. However, Twig left the path, got lost, and, after traveling across the Deepwoods, meeting creatures both kind and hostile, met his father Cloud Wolf, when his ship crash-landed. When Cloud Wolf realized who Twig was, he left, leaving him sleeping, unable to face the situation, being too emotionally tormented by the realization. Twig then wandered into the Edgelands, where he encountered the Gloamglozer, who attempted to have him into walk off the Edge itself, but he was rescued by the Caterbird, who brought him back to his father, who signed Twig on as a crew member of his sky ship.

With the Treasury severely depleted and Vilnix Pompolnius, the Most High Academe bringing Sanctaphrax closer to destruction, the city was in need of new Stormphrax, and Cloud Wolf agreed to go Stormchasing with the Professor of Light. Although Cloud Wolf had left Twig behind, Slyvo Spleethe, after finding out of the relationship between Twig and Cloud Wolf brought Twig aboard as part of his mutiny. Cloud Wolf defeated Spleethe, but the crew had to abandon Cloud Wolf after being engulfed by a Great Storm. Twig and the crew landed in the Twilight Woods, but failed to retrieve the Stormphrax. After the Professor of Light explained that Twig was Cloud Wolf's son, the crew elected him captain. Twig led them out of the Twilight Woods and hired a guide, Screed Toe-Taker, to help them across the Mire, but Screed tried to kill them, but Twig defeated him. He found out that Screed was a former Knight Academic who did not succeed on his Stormchasing voyage, and was driven insane by his desperation not to let Sanctaphrax down. He would murdered the people he guided, cut off their toes, and take Stormphrax particles from under their toenails. Over the years, Screed had collected enough Stormphrax to use to stabilize the floating city. Twig and Maugin, Twig's Stone Pilot, restored Screed's sky ship, the Windcutter, and delivered the Stormphrax to the treasury. In honor of this achievement, the Professor of Darkness made him an honorary Knight Academic. He then found a new crew of sky pirates, funded by Mother Horsefeather, who believed that Twig would give her with the secret of creating safe phraxdust. After giving her the secret, he distributed the information all over Undertown, ending her monopoly. After this, he learned from the Caterbird that his father, Cloud Wolf, was in Open Sky, and set off in his new sky ship, the Edgedancer, with the Caterbird towing him.

After traveling in Open Sky and facing deadly weather, the Caterbird led Twig to his father, who was inside the Mother Storm. Cloud Wolf warned Twig that the Mother Storm was returning to the Edge, and that Sanctaphrax was blocking her path. If the Mother Storm spent all of her energy destroying Sanctaphrax, she could not reach Riverrise to restore the Edgewater River, and the Edge would spiral into darkness. After giving this information, Cloud Wolf vanished, absorbed by the Mother Storm, after which there was an explosion which destroyed the Edgedancer, sent him and his crew to the different parts of the Edge, and stole everyone's memories, except Maugin, since she was protected by her Stone Pilot suit. The parts of the Edgedancer fell all over the Edge, causing destruction in Sanctaphrax and in Undertown, killing three leaguesmen; Ulbus Pentephraxis, Simenon Xintax, and Farquhar Armwright. After being found in the Stone Gardens by the Professor of Darkness, he was taken to Sanctaphrax, where he met a junior "sub-acolyte", Cowlquape Pentephraxis. Twig, accompanied by Cowlquape, set off to find his lost crew members, talking him from the sewers of Undertown to Riverrise itself. After having found her, Twig was reminded by Maugin of Cloud Wolf's message. Twig and Cowlquape Sky-Fired back to Undertown where they attempted to sever the Anchor Chain. The Professor of Darkness tried to stop them by pushing Twig off the platform, bestowing the rank of Most High Academe upon Cowlquape but in vain. The Anchor Chain was cut, the Professor clung on to it, and Sanctaphrax floated into Open Sky. A new Sanctaphrax Rock started growing in the Stone Gardens, and everyone tried to anchor it down, to build a new city. Twig decided to find the rest of the crew at Riverrise, aboard the Skyraider as captain.

Later years[edit | edit source]

Twig was unsuccessful in locating Riverrise, although searching for 16 years. When Twig came down with a fever, and left at a slaughterer village he was nursed by Sinew Tatum, and, falling in love, married her. Sinew died after giving birth to their daughter, Keris, one year later. Blaming himself, he left Keris and continued to search for his crew. He lost several members in the storms over the Deepwoods, and eventually arrived in the Free Glades to replace them. However, he learnt from a young Parsimmon of Stone-Sickness and that his friend Cowlquape had been dethroned and presumably murdered, and immediately left knowing that the contamination could spread to his ship. In the end, the last of Twig's crew perished when they were struck by blackwater fever. He was the lone survivor, and found that the untended Skyraider had drifted to Wilderness Lair in the Edgelands. Burying his friends as best he could, Twig finally abandoned the Skyraider and returned to the Deepwoods, eventually beginning a new life among banderbears, who remembered him as a friend of their kind in the distant.[2]

He remained with the banderbears until his 70th year, when a young librarian knight, Rook Barkwater discovered him at the Great Convocation. Twig told Rook his tale, and reflected bitterly that had he found Riverrise, he could have saved Cowlquape from death. Rook, however, shocked Twig with the revelation his old friend was still alive, prisoner in Tower of Night. Twig finally learnt that Vox Verlix, far from being the tyrant of New Sactaphrax, had been ousted by the Guardians of Night, and was now a puppet of the Goblin mercenaries enslaving Undertown. Twig immediately decided to stage a raid on the Tower of Night with Skyraider, and assembled a crew of banderbears with Rook to make the voyage. Despite knowing the raid would mean the certain demise of the Skyraider, Twig launched a full-frontal assault, losing some of the crew as he attacked Midnight's Spike. Cowlquape was rescued, but Twig was mortally wounded by the crossbow bolt of Orbix Xaxis. As the Skyraider finally died, Twig was rescued by the Caterbird, taking him to Riverrise. Twig saw Maugin waiting for him as he approached Riverrise, but Maugin was killed by a poisonous dart shot by Golderayce, a waif who had fallen into obsessive love with the Stone Pilot, and could not bear the idea of Twig taking her from him. Golderayce then imprisoned Twig in the Garden of Life, where he could not die due to the life-giving waters of the spring, and could not escape by a second skyfiring, as Maugin had calculated the angle at which to fire Twig back to Undertown. Without her experience, he would only have succeeded in dying in Open Sky.

Distant future[edit | edit source]

Twig remained in the Garden of Life for the next 50 years, his only crumb of comfort coming when Rook Barkwater, the young librarian knight who had joined him in his attack on the Tower of Night, arrived at Riverrise to learn what had become of the sky pirate captain. Rook had learnt from his great uncle Tem, a member of Captain Twig's first crew, that Twig was his grandfather, and so accepted the offer made by Cancaresse, the ancient mistress of Waif Glen, to journey with her to find Riverrise. Both of the Freegladers were very old, and Cancaresse died just before they reached the waterfall of Riverrise. Rook continued up the stair, full of grief for his lost friend, only to be attacked by Golderayce as he reached the Garden of Life with a blow dart. 'Twig bathed Rook in water from the spring, and Rook survived. Both were now prisoners, as though Golderayce had been wounded fighting Rook and hated the two deeply, Rook was clearly a friend of waif-kind and to kill him would have caused outrage amongst Golderayce's followers.

Finally, just as the Mother Storm was ready to strike, the Caterbird who had watched over Twig finally returned to inform him that a boy would come to bring an end to their suffering, and they would be greeted by the storm. The prophecy soon came true; Nate Quarter arrived in the Garden of Life, and the Caterbird intervened to kill Golderayce. After telling Nate their tales, both Twig and Rook joined with the Mother Storm, reunited at last with Twig's father, and Rook's great-grandfather Quintinius Verginix, known first as Quint, and later Cloud Wolf as a sky pirate. The three appeared one last time at Old Sanctaphrax, where they vanquished the Gloamglozers and brought about peace for the Edge. After telling Nate that their stories were at last over, all three transformed into glisters, to bring new life to the Edge.[3]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Twig, like his father and grandchild, is described as having a kind heart. He often went out of his way to help those who needed it, and risked his life doing what was right. He fought against slavery and freed the helpless from their oppressors. He became known as one of the greatest sky pirates ever, and had a wild, free spirit. Although as a young boy he was nervous and timid, his trials in Stormchaser made him a strong captain and swordsman. His greatest triumph in that quest was learning to fly a skyship, as he was forced to fly the rot-ridden wreck of the Windcutter back to Undertown from the Mire, with only one crew member in the form of Maugin the stone pilot to help.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Stewart, Paul (1998). Beyond the Deepwoods.
  2. Stewart, Paul (2002). The Last of the Sky Pirates.
  3. Stewart, Paul (2009). The Immortals.


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