Querida is a tiny, old, impatient sorceress with greenish skin, a fondness for snakes, lots of experience with the magical history and capacity of her world. When Dark Lord of Derkholm begins, she is doing some serious plotting and planning. As Chancellor of the Wizards University, she is involved in the selection of a wizard to perform the role of Dark Lord in Mr. Chesney's Pilgrim Parties tour -- a job that no one in his right mind wants to have to do.
Although it's not clear exactly what her plan or plans are all about, some of it is clear when she announces to the group of tour leaders who are meeting to hear her decision that instead of naming someone herself, she proposes to ask not just one, but two Oracles.
The group goes with her to the desert location of the two oracles, and there she makes at least part of her plans clear: "What do we do to abolish the Pilgrim Parties and get rid of Mr. Chesney for good?" is the question she asks each of them.
And when the result is that the oracles pinpoint wizard Derk and his teenage son Blade as two people who will somehow help her to do this, everyone is shocked. Derk is temperamentally unsuited, and Blade untested. No one really believes that this can be achieved, least of all Querida.
Women's work, Men's workEdit
As the book proceeds, things clearly devolve into two mostly separate groups, each doing things differently as they work to complete this year's tour: the women (consisting primarily of Querida and Derk's wife Mara, who has taken on the role of the Evil Enchantress) and the men, consisting mostly of Derk and his sons. They are assisted by other young members of his family and household, but they are attacking the problem of the tours as a set of tasks to be gotten through. The women have more complicated ways of working, and they are definitely up to something.
Querida's Trickery FailEdit
For Querida, apart from ridding her world of the blight of Mr. Chesney, there are other things that matter to her. Among these are her cats and her desire for a griffin of her own. Unfortunately, her fancy falls on Callette, one of Derk's smartest children, and one who has never thought of herself as beautiful before. Querida goes about trying to seduce Callette to stay and live with her, but Callette is forewarned and ready for something shady to happen. She refuses to be tempted. Despite Querida's immense power in her world, she is unable to gain something that she's set her heart on.