I am finding myself drawn to stories of fantasy. Usually my reading consists of historic non-fiction. Books read only for research not really for entertainment. Without a new book to read, my husband introduced me to RA Salvatore. The first novel I opened was the Spearwielder and could not put it down. I found myself anticipating an early bed time to continue the adventure. Once that book was finished I read at least three more in the interium of a new RA Salvatore adventure. Introduced to the dark Elf, Drizzt Do' Urden, I am on a new adventure. At the beginning of the new books Drizzt pens his thoughts, as many of us do as we ourselves add to our blogs. I wish to share with you one of the most poignant works I have ever read. I hope you will indulge me and read it as well.
I pray that the world never runs out of dragons. I say that in all sincerity, though I have played a part in the death of one great wyrm. For the dragon is the quintessential enemy, the greatest foe, the unconquerable epitome of devastation. The dragon, above all other creatures, even the demons and the devils, evokes images of dark grandeur, of the greatest beast curled asleep on the greatest treasure hoard. They are the ultimate test of the hero and the ultimate fright of the child. They are older than the elves and more akin to the earth than the dwarves. The great dragons are the preternatural beast, the basic element of the beast, the darkest part of our imagination.
The wizards can not tell you of their origin, though they believe that a great wizard, a god of wizards, must have played some role in the first spawning of the beast. The elves, with their long fables explaining the creation of every aspect of the world, have many ancient tales concerning the origin of the dragons, but they admit, privatelyl, that they really have no idea of how the dragons came to be.
My own belief is more simple, and yet, more complicated by far. I believe that dragons appeared in the world immediately after the spawning of the first reasoning race. I do not credit any god of wizards with their creation, but rather, the most basic imagination, wrought of unseen fears, of those first reasoning mortals.
We make the dragons as we make the gods, because we need them, because, somewhere deep in our hearts, we recognize that a world without them is a world not worth living in.
There are many people in the land who want an answer, a definitive answer, for everything in life, and even for everything after life. They study and they test, and because those few find the answers for some simple questions, they assume that there are answers to be had for every question. What was the world like before there were people? Was there nothing but darkness before the sun and the stars? Was there anything at all? What were we, each of us, before we were born? And what, most importantly of all, shall we be after we die?
Out of compassion, I hope that those questions never find that which we seek.
One self-proclaimed prophet came through Ten-Towers denying the possibility of an afterlife, claiming that those people who had died and were raised by priests, had in fact, never died, and that their claims of experiences beyond the grave were an elaborate trick played on them by their own hearts. a ruse to ease the path to nothingness. For that is all there was, he said, an emptiness, a nothingness.
Never in my life have I ever heard one begging so desperately for someone to prove him wrong.
For what are we left with if their remains no mystery? What hope might we find if we know all of the answers?
What is it within us, then, that so desperately wants to deny magic and unravel mystery? Fear, I presume, based on the many uncertainties of life and the greatest uncertainty of death. Put those fears aside, I say, and live free of them, for if we just step back and watch the truth of the world, we will find that there is indeed magic all about us, unexplainable by numbers and formulas. What is the passion evoked by the stirring speech of the commander before the desperate battle, if not magic? What is the peace that an infant might know in its mother's arms, if not magic? What is love, if not magic?
No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.
And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
The Icewind Trilogy