Winslow is a wizard. He's part of an elite clan of wizards and warlocks that are responsible for magicking up all of the monsters that roam the land.
These monsters must be carefully tended to as they are grown. They slither about under children's beds, and peer at them from dark corners and feed on their fear until they are large enough and scary enough to provide heroes with appropriate challenges to prove themselves to their beloved maidens.
It is an ancient and proud tradition passed down from generation to generation, and as the last surviving member of one of the most renowned wizarding families in all the land, Winslow should be one of the most honoured and respected mages at the Academy.
There's just one problem.
Winslow is not very good at his job.
Try as he might, Winslow's monsters are never big or scary. They are not fierce, they are not ferocious and they're certainly not formidable.
Perhaps it is because Winslow does not want his creations to be destroyed by heroic, armoured men on quests. Perhaps it is because, try as he might, Winslow cannot grow a long and discerning beard that has so long been the trademark of the wizards in his clan. Perhaps it is because he muddles the incantations or adds just a little too much whimsy to the potion.
But whatever the reason, all of Winslow's monsters are a little bit cute, almost cuddly, far too colourful ... and usually covered with abnormal amounts of hair. No hero can win the heart of his love after battling one of Winslow’s monsters. In fact, more often than not, the maiden ends up so enchanted by the monster that she can take no more thought of the hero, and he often lives out his life sitting lonely on a pub stool and cursing Winslow’s name, while his sweetheart has delightful adventures with his foe.
This has made poor Winslow a bit of an outcast at the Academy, and in the surrounding villages and townships as well. Rumours of his not-so-monstrous monsters have even reached the king and queen in the distant castle on the hill. Giggles and scorn follow him whenever he ventures out of the Academy, and life inside the Academy, the only home he has ever known, is no better. None of his great and powerful colleagues can understand Winslow’s strange attachment to the monsters he creates, and Winslow spends most of his time in one of the Academy stables - in the company of his monsters, and his pet dragon Fenwick.
The final straw for the Academy came one sunny afternoon when the crown prince himself was out searching for a secluded picnic site with his lady love when they happened upon one of Winslow’s monsters taking a bath in a forest pool. As all proud and stout-hearted princes are inclined to do, the prince drew his sword to protect and impress his fair companion. Horrified that the prince was attacking so sweet and gentle a creature, the brave maiden threw her arms about the monster’s neck and would not be moved. Despite the prince’s most dire warnings, the stubborn monster refused to maul the maiden, and instead nuzzled her shoulder and began to purr. Utterly humiliated (and only slightly heart-broken), the prince returned to the castle alone.
It didn’t take long for news of this latest ‘attack’ to spread across the countryside, and Winslow was unceremoniously removed from the Order, and requested to please take his monsters and just go away.
So it was that very afternoon, that Winslow and his ragtag gaggle of monsters set off on a quest of their own.
With no destination known, they wander out to the borders of the known land in search of a home: A place where they are not in danger being slaughtered by an errand boy training for his next quest, a place where they are free to have their own adventures.