This dog might appear to be a very minor character and I fully admit to forgetting about him time to time when I first wrote Beginning of a Hero. Truthfully, he barely showed up once the first chapter was over. I went back to add him into scenes and try to drive home that fact that Stiletto is very important to Luke. Doing this also allowed me to solidify Luke’s attachment to nature. Many people consider their pets more than a simple animal, so I started having Luke talk to Stiletto and get angry if people called him a pet. It gave both characters a little more depth because I started having Stiletto react to Luke as if he understood what was being said. I’m pretty sure he does and he’s the most frustrated character in book after hearing Luke go on about wanting to be a hero for years. I guess I owe the lovable mutt an apology for putting him through that.
The origin of Stiletto is rather pathetic considering how important he became to Luke. I had just finished creating Luke for the D&D game when I noticed that I had a lot of starting money left over. Luke was a wanderer, so I didn’t think having all those gold coins would be practical for him. So, I did what any sensible gamer would do . . . I bought him a hunting dog. Stiletto would go on to do absolutely nothing for the entire time he was in the game. Eventually, Luke returned home and Stiletto stayed behind. Really it would be a few sessions later when another player would turn to me and ask, “Didn’t you have a dog?” Not my smartest moment and it was made even worse when I included Stiletto in the book and did the same thing to him. A friend finally told me to either cut Stiletto out or actually use him. So, Stiletto became the emotive, attention-seeking dog that you see today. Not the greatest origin story, but after he spent years as nothing more than a name on a character sheet, I think I owe him this post.