Diligence is one of the main characters of Might and Magic: The Dreamwright and Might and Magic: The Shadowsmith. She is the daughter of King Herstad of The Wheel and Amonwelle, the Protector of the North.
In the Dreamwright
At her birth, Amonwelle named her daughter Madawyn, while her father called her Diligence. The parents decided that the girl would grow up in The Wheel, and then travel to her mother's side at her twenty-first birthday.
The people of The Wheel lived their lives in a "ceaseless, ordered migration", traveling counter-clockwise from place to place every few months. As such, Diligence got to experience all parts of her homeland. She was a compassionate girl, often sneaking away to feed table scraps to the alters in their pens. She also had an unruly nature, and a penchant for making stink bombs, which led to a rivalry with a hallboy named Sumpas, who was always eager to tell her father what she was up to.
When she was nine, the scholar Pomponderant became the girl's tutor. Pomponderant was a member of the Green Moth Society, and very wise. Diligence became infected with his endless hunger for information and knowledge, and grew very fond of the old man.
Some months before her seventeenth birthday, the rulers of The Wheel began to worry about the increasing rate of natural disasters plaguing the land. They sent a messenger to Amonwelle, asking for an audience with the Dreamwright. She asked for some "tokens of friendship" before she allowed such a meeting: fourteen yeofolk, seven alters, nine new buds from a tine tree, and Manscythe, the sword of El. She finished her message with a request that Diligence come visit her. Herstad told his daughter that this was not unexpected, since her mother was "a mercurial creature, constructed of equal parts caprice and impatience", and was probably eager to see her daughter again.
Herstad set up a caravan to deliver his daughter safely to the Unseen Wall. The caravan consisted of Breitling, the marchmaster; Welleck, his wagoneer; Nury, a hubwoman who represented the eight kings of The Wheel; two yeofolk handlers, one of which was Grapple; Alacrity, a young scrivener; an alterman; a cook; and twelve soldiers, which included Huben, Tarler, Shevoss, Varve, Dopple, Cobby, Brevny, and Ottshent. In addition, Pomponderant promised to accompany the caravan until the interests of his Society took him elsewhere.
On their twelfth night after leaving The Wheel, Diligence woke up to discover that Huben and Tarler had been killed, the blood frozen to ice in their veins. Shortly afterwards, something that looked like a golden star fell into a nearby forest. Deciding that the two events were likely related, the group followed the path of the star to a nearby lake. They split up, and Diligence accompanied Shevoss and Varve when they found a wet, shivering mountain boy on the shore, near an unconscious man in a strange blue garment.
The boy introduced himself as Hitch, and told them that the star they'd been following was actually an egg, and that the man had just hatched from it. He then told them had he'd jumped into the lake and rescued the hatchling from drowning in an attempt to "follow the green moth" - a phrase used by the Society when they take a chance and hope to discover something new. Intrigued by the strange man's clothing, and by the boy's use of the phrase, Pomponderant decided that both of them would accompany their caravan until he'd unpacked their mysteries. The boy shared a wagon with the cook and Alacrity, while the man was placed in the soldiers' wagon.
Hitch and Diligence became good friends, and she told him about the caravan and their goal. The two aided Pomponderant while he tried to puzzle out the origin of the unconscious hatchling and his garment. One night, Pomponderant left the caravan in secret. Later that morning, the hatchling woke up, but his mind seemed to be gone - he didn't speak, nor did he react when others spoke to him. He would copy Hitch's movements, but other than that, the only thing he did was lie on the roof in the sunlight. Since Pomponderant was gone, Diligence declared that Hitch was her new advisor, and that he would sit in the caravan's meetings, despite the open contempt that Breitling and Nury showed for him.
One evening, Hitch was walking past the sleeping yeofolk when he spotted a dark shadow crawling among them. When he got closer, the small creature, which turned out to be an astilfe, stung him and ran away. Hitch may have been killed by the creature's poison if not for the aid of Welleck, and he was left bed-ridden for days. Diligence volunteered to nurse her friend back to health.
Astilfe poison caused pregnancy in yeofolk, and the others told him that if Hitch hadn't intervened, their entire herd might have been unfit to travel. Luckily, only one of the creatures had been stung, and the group decided to head for Old Hopshog, the nearest safe impery on their route.
While the yeofolk handlers sold the pregnant yeofolk and bought a few new ones, Diligence explored the strange fortress. She found a hidden passage in one of the walls, with a tunnel leading underground. Deep in the tunnels, she found an ancient room with an electronic plaque on the wall, and barely had time to hide before a strange creature entered the room.
The creature was large, wide-bodied and ponderous, moving with a slow, swaying, creaking gait that suggested that "its lower limbs were articulated in a radically different fashion from those of a human being". It was completely covered by a loose, purple-black cape. The size made Diligence think of yeofolk, but it had an unmistakeable aura of intelligence. It started pressing buttons on the plaque, and a wide doorway opened into one of the breeding pits. It snatched up one of the yeofolk imps, and carried the squirming, squeaking thing into the lower tunnels.
Rout of Red Harra
When the deal was complete, the caravan continued on their way. They had to pass through a basin near the Aulmad, but received conflicting reports from the scouts - some had seen a great battle in the basin, while others saw no signs of any conflict. Deciding to go ahead, the members of the caravan were shocked when two armies suddenly appeared out of nowhere, battling against each other. Diligence and Hitch were separated from the caravan and encountered Pomponderant on a nearby hill. He told them that the whole thing was an illusion - a recording of the Rout of Red Harra, an important battle that took place 1800 years before.
He also informed them that he'd left the caravan because he had received a message from his colleague Derbelderhed about an important excavation he was conducting in the lower Aulmad. He told them he might meet them at the Unseen Wall, before vanishing - like the battle, he'd been an illusion.
Later that day, the caravan was coming closer to the ramble house known as Paddifraw's Repose, where they would rest and purchase supplies. That evening, Hitch and Diligence were sitting on the porch of the cook's car, watching the soft lights coming from the way station. In a flirting gesture, Hitch put his arm around her shoulder, but she removed it and left, telling him she'd see him in the morning.
At the ramble house, Diligence was forced to accompany the important members of the caravan as they sat down with Master Paddifraw. She spotted Hitch speaking to Semmalyne, a young woman who was one of Paddifraw's granddaughters. He winked at the girl in a way that Diligence found "unnecessarily intimate", and when the two wandered off into the lower tunnels, Diligence felt jealous and followed them. She became lost, but eventually found the two sitting on a bench, and Hitch was giving Semmalyne some delicate lace undergarments he had been keeping in his pack. Overcome by jealousy, Diligence left without them noticing she was there. She was rude to Hitch for the rest of the day, and refused to loan him the money that the mountain boy needed to enter the ramble house the next day. Hitch never understood what was upsetting her.
When Diligence returned to the caravan the next day, she learned that the guards had found the chopped-up body of a boy in the cook's wagon. They assumed that someone had managed to sneak into the caravan while most of them were in the ramble house, and that the victim was Hitch, since he'd been the only one too poor to afford entrance. Pale and trembling, Diligence returned to her wagon, where she remained until Hitch knocked on her door and explained that since Alacrity hadn't wanted to return to the ramble house, Hitch had borrowed his entrance badge. Alacrity was the one who had been murdered. Hitch then gave Diligence an ancient bronze disk - he'd sold the underwear to Semmalyne in exchange for a gift he could give Diligence.
The caravan buried Alacrity on a hill near the ramble house, and continued on their way.
Shortly after they entered the Blasted Lands, the group was attacked by the evil soldiers of Dubiel the Shadowsmith. While the guards battled the enemy soldiers, Hitch and Diligence fled in one of the caravan's wagons, but fell into a wormhole. The wormhole began digesting the wagon as it fell through the tunnel, but luckily, it lasted long enough for Hitch and Diligence to emerge relatively unscathed on the other side. They were soon followed by the hatchling, who had also fallen into the wormhole, but his strange suit had completely protected him from harm.
Realizing that they were now in the Madescent, they decided to head north and try to reach the Unseen Wall on their own. Hitch used his ability to control dowchits to scout ahead, and they were soon contacted by Pomponderant, appearing as an illusion before them. After this, he appeared before them every night, telling them what route to take to reach Penbarb's Balm of Golden Rest, another ramble house. They met up with Welleck, and boarded a ship heading for the small, nameless village outside the Unseen Wall. Here, they were reunited with the other survivors - Breitling, Nury, Grapple, Cobby, and Shevoss. The group was then picked up by horseless and driverless carriages and taken to the Unseen Wall, though Grapple chose to stay behind and look after the remaining alters.
The Unseen Wall
They passed through the Unseen Wall and entered the great crystal palace of the Dreamwright, which showed signs of recent damage. They were greeted by Pomponderant, who told them that Niirphar, the Dreamwright, had been killed in the same attack that damaged the palace. He gave them a short introduction to the history of the Green Moth Society, before showing them the Dreamwright machine; a great structure that allowed the user to see almost any location on the planet. The Dreamwright, rather than being some immortal oracle, was actually just the operator of the machine. It had once been able to open portals to anywhere on the planet, as well as to other realms, but those parts had been deactivated.
Pomponderant then introduced them to Amonwelle, and Diligence stood face to face with her mother for the first time in their life. Amonwelle told them about the fight against Dubiel, and showed them a vision that the Dreamwright had recorded. A ship from beyond the stars had landed in Dubiel's swamps, and his minions had made contact with a being in a red and black armor. They assumed that this was where Dubiel had gotten the weapons he needed to attack as aggressively as he did.
Amonwelle then invited Hitch and Diligence to a private dinner. She explained that Niirphar, as well as most of the other Dreamwrights, had been her children. Diligence asked if she was to become the new Dreamwright, but Amonwelle replied that she'd only asked for her to come to the palace to keep her safe. She actually wanted Hitch to become the Dreamwright - he had the natural gifts that were required, and she explained to him that he had only left his native lands because of the dream she had placed in his head.
While contemplating this offer, Hitch took a closer look at the Dreamwright machine, and discovered that a node was missing. He realized that it matched a small button he'd been given by a hooded figure at Paddifraw's Repose, and replaced it. Immediately, portals began opening randomly in the room, and he was attacked by Nury. The hubwoman had actually been under Dubiel's control ever since the night Huben and Tarler were murdered, and she was the one that killed Alacrity, believing him to be Hitch. Amonwelle arrived in time to defeat Nury, but Hitch and the hatchling had fallen through a magic portal. Realizing that the boy could be anywhere on the planet, Diligence decided to stay with her mother until her scientists found him.
In the Shadowsmith
Pomponderant and Derbelderhed began to look for Hitch using the Dreamwright machine, while the members of Diligence's caravan planned their return trip. The guard Cobby was the only person other than Diligence that chose to remain in the palace. Breitling, who had been in a relationship with Nury, wanted to bring her corpse back to The Wheel and give her a proper burial, but Amonwelle refused. He then asked to see her one last time, but as he stood alone with the body, it suddenly rose up and strangled him. Amonwelle's soldiers rushed in to rescue him, and managed to defeat the undead woman, but it was too late.
Examining the bodies, Pomponderant discovered a metal flower growing in Nury's skull, and a metal seed that had been placed in Breitling's head. He realized that this was what Dubiel used to control his victims, even after death.
Eventually, the two scholars discovered that Hitch had ended up in the Aulmad. Assuming that he'd try to make his way towards the palace, Amonwelle decided that some of her guards and scientists would accompany the group to protect them from Dubiel's attacks, and that the caravan would make a slight detour to rescue Hitch. They also wanted to recover the walking stick he carried, which they had realized was the legendary Staff of Blue Light.
When she heard that Hitch had been found, Diligence wanted to travel with them, but her mother told her it was too dangerous. Instead, one of the alters would be disguised to look as her, in order to draw away any enemies that might attempt to hurt Amonwelle by attacking her daughter. With Cobby's help, Diligence switched places with the alter, hoping that she could trick her traveling companions.
Down the river
The bluff seemed to work, and Diligence boarded the ship that would take them down to the Madescent. While traveling down the river Gaughan, the caravan spotted a sinking boat being attacked by a waterfoul. The guards drove the creature away, then rescued the young woman who was the only person on the boat. She thanked them, and told them that her name was Eil do Mer.
Diligence was tired of acting and being treated like an unthinking animal, and one day, when they were alone on the deck, she revealed the truth to Eil do Mer. The two young women became good friends, and would chat on the deck every morning while everyone else was asleep. Diligence was overjoyed to be herself again, and to have someone she could talk to, especially a woman roughly her own age. But in the end, Diligence grew tired of the way she was treated and revealed the truth to Grapple. Grapple just shrugged, telling her that not only had Amonwelle told them what Diligence would do, she'd known it long before Diligence had even decided to do it.
She then handed the girl a letter from her mother, where Amonwelle told her that since the Unseen Wall was no longer unbreachable, she would likely be safer in The Wheel. This was the best way of getting her home without Dubiel's minions interfering - hopefully, they'd think she was just an alter. She was also given a pair of ear pieces from Pomponderant, which would allow her to talk to her tutor from any place in the world.
The group went ashore in Landerlank, and hired some wagons to transport them to the Aulmad. They soon learned that instead of heading north towards the palace, Hitch had actually gone south, so there was no need to enter the Aulmad. They therefore set course for The Wheel, but were soon ambushed by Dubiel's soldiers, led by Lord Grott. They were captured, and Grott saw right through their attemps to pretend that Diligence was an alter. When they were being led away, Diligence tried to use her ear pieces to contact Pomponderant, but Eil do Mer accidentally bumped into her from behind, and Diligence lost the ear pieces.
Lord Grott led his prisoners into the Blasted Lands, towards Dubiel's strongholds. But one night, an army of candlemen sneaked into the camp, slaughtering all the soldiers while they slept. They took the members of the caravan to the hearthstone, where they planned to sacrifice them all to the sky by having lightning strike them, in an effort to restore their damaged homeland. The storm built up, but just as the lightning strikes drew closer and closer, a small candleman boy appeared and drew the lightning into his little wooden strongbox. The boy was accompanied by Hitch and Varve.
Hailing the child as their new tinderboy, the candlemen released the prisoners. Hitch told them that the hatchling, whose real name was Jassad Attqua, had recovered his mind. He'd traveled to the lake to recover his egg, which was actually a starship. But when it was brought up from the lake, he seemingly went insane, threatening to slaughter the candlemen and destroy the Unseen Wall. Hitch and Varve had fled as the ship took off, and they'd followed it north in the car of Nobbon Half-hob, who was one of Dubiel's lieutenants of dubious loyalty. Sadly, Nobbon had fled, and took the Staff of Blue Light with him.
The hatchling returns
The group soon learned that Jassad's golden ship was drawing closer, destroying everything in its path. They could not fight it, and there was nowhere to run. Eil do Mer told them that she had the power to fight him, and used her amulet to summon her own ship, which the group recognized from the Dreamwright's vision. She told the tinderboy to unleash his lightning upon it, and when it crashed into the sand, she went to enter it. Grapple told them that Eil do Mer had been the figure in the armor that made contact with Dubiel's soldiers, and that she was obviously working with the Shadowsmith. Despite this, Diligence trusted her new friend, and let her enter the ship.
When the golden ship came closer, the two ships engaged each other in combat. Eil do Mer's ship was faster and better armed, and the golden ship soon fell to the ground. Jassad was unconscious, and the others began to wonder how they could cure his madness.
That night, Diligence was awakened by the group's alter, who wanted her to enter the golden ship. Here, the group found Grapple and Eil do Mer, standing over the unconscious Jassad. Grapple was holding a knife and one of Dubiel's metal seeds. Both Eil do Mer and Grapple claimed that they had seen the other sneak into the ship, and arrived just in time to stop them from infecting the hatchling. Grapple told Diligence that when they were taken prisoner, Eil do Mer had deliberately knocked the ear pieces from her hand, but Eil do Mer replied that it had actually been Grapple that shoved her forward, causing her to bump into Diligence.
The others were unsure of which of them was lying, but Diligence reminded them what Grapple had said previously, about seeing Eil do Mer in the Dreamwright's vision; when they'd been shown the recording, Grapple was still in the village outside the Unseen Wall - she never saw it.
They realized that Grapple was under Dubiel's control, and the Shadowsmith took full control of her body. Using the Staff of Blue Light, he planned to destroy them all, but the alter charged forward and attacked him with her claws just as he loosened the blast, and they were both killed. Diligence shed a tear for the alter that had died while protecting them all.
Returning to the palace
Eil do Mer told them that Jassad had gone mad due to the AI implanted in his head, which didn't function properly on this planet - either due to Dubiel's machinations, or some other interference. This weakness had also allowed Dubiel to control her ship when she landed in the swamp, and she'd been his prisoner for a year before managing to escape. It was only the tinderboy's lightning that allowed her to regain control now. She then used the golden ship's medical equipment to remove the AI from Jassad's head, and his sanity was restored. The two alien visitors then transported the group back to the crystal palace, where Diligence was reunited with her mother and her tutor.
Hitch became the new Dreamwright, and Diligence was amazed at the transformation he had gone through. One day, he decided to place his walking stick into one of Amonwelle's armories, as he didn't need it anymore. Diligence was down here admiring some of the treasures, which included the sword Manscythe. Hitch tapped his staff on the ground and accidentally opened a portal into another world, and the two heard Pomponderant yelling for help. They decided to charge through the portal and aid him, Hitch wielding the staff and Diligence clutching Manscythe.
Diligence came from a very privileged background, and was always treated with a certain respect and courtesy. Despite this, she was an extremely compassionate person, and cared more about the wellfare of alters than any of her countrymen. This care for the alters was strengthened when she had to pretend to be one, and even more when one of them sacrificed itself to save them.
Diligence experienced less change over the course of the novels than Hitch did. Hitch went from being a destitute, ignorant pack-man to becoming the Dreamwright, making him a knowledgeable oracle and one of the most powerful and respected people in the world. At the same time, Diligence went from being a rich princess living with her father, to a rich princess living with her mother. Though she did have some new experiences and matured as a person, she didn't change as much as he did.