My Adventures as Brother Rat by Lin Yao, Queen Dowager, Land of Five Dragons is an epic tale from Ancient China’s Warring States period of a young girl, Lin Yao, who desires above all to become a Healer, but must become the warrior, Brother Rat, to save her country—she wins the battle but loses the war and moves to the far away Land of Five Dragons where she becomes Queen, but is never far from her alter ego, Brother Rat.
When she is eleven, Lin Yao has a dream vision of the beautiful woman warrior, Jiang-Li, from the neighboring state of Yueh, who informs her they will fight to the death at a later date.Lin Yao must now give up her dream of becoming a Healer to become a warrior. She is trained in part by the legendary General Sun Wu (Sun Tzu), who adopts her and makes her a minor Princess.
When Yueh invades Wu, Brother Rat meets and kills Jiang-Li in battle; however, Yueh wins the war. Brother Rat leaves to go to the Land of Five Dragons. There, as Lin Yao, she marries the Prince; however, his mother hates her, and tries to have her killed.When Yueh invades The Land of Five Dragons, the King is away and Brother Rat must again fight; this time truce is declared with no loss of life, other than that of her mother-in-law who tries treachery and treason with Yueh.
As everyone knows, a north wind bears no good, and when an army from the North invades, King Tai is killed, Lin Yao ‘retires’ in mourning; Brother Rat becomes co-regent until the Prince is old enough to become King.It is during this time that she writes My Adventures as Brother Rat.
From Chapter 2
Symmetry of Life
I stood in a strange place. I stood on flat paving stones the color of old, dried blood – a brownish purple. I could see only a few feet in any direction due to the silver fog that walled me in a dome of quiet. There was light; songs of birds and crickets should have filled the air. There should have been the laughter of children and the calls of boatmen on the canals. I heard only silence and my heart as it pounded blood through my ears.
Perhaps I am dead? With that thought I turned around again, and called, “Elder Brother? Mama? Papa? Am I dead? Can you hear me?” My voice went no further than the fog that enveloped me. I looked down and found I wore black pants and a black tunic, and my feet were bare. Whose clothes are these? They aren’t mine!
Panic began to rise from my stomach. Memories of the bandits swirled about me, seen but not seen in the silvery fog. Bitter as gall, I fought down my panic. “Hello?” I called again, “Anyone? Where am I?”