Here Lie Dragons

Image of Rose Rowe

Rose Rowe

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Long ago, in the age of heroes and warriors, conquests and campaigns, there was Destiny. She sat in the heavens and smiled at mankind. Before Time developed consciousness and before Love had a name, there was Destiny. She reigned supreme, determining the rise and fall of empires, as well as individuals. Before philosophers argued about Ethics and Free Will, there was Destiny. Before explorers and satellites filled in every blank space on every map, there was Destiny. Subject to none, she determined the outcome of wars, who would triumph and who would fail. But that was long ago. Before the night sky hid Earth's inhabitants from her sight like a veil. Before I changed the path of Destiny and thus erased the hand of fate.

Now she is nowhere to be found. She has vanished; her throne is abandoned and her authority forfeit. You humans are forgetting the days when every path was predetermined and every choice was already made for you. You tell stories about three Fates, spinning, measuring and cutting the threads of human lives. You don't remember what she was really like. I do. In truth, no one really knew Destiny. You called her a painter, a weaver, a young maiden, an old crone, but you never saw what she really was. She was an author. She told stories. She painted settings and wove plots, but all she really cared about was her Story.

Every day she drew a new sheaf of paper from the endless pile beside her and began to write. She wrote of Love and what would last. She wrote of battles won and wars lost. As she wrote, the lives of men unfolded. She dipped her silver pen into a well of blue-black ink and added line after line to the Story, plotting the course of her main characters. She was no kin to Justice; she had favorites, and her favorites often changed day to day. Happy endings evolved into tragedies for those who lost her favor. Whatever she decreed, came to be. Thus was the manner in which Destiny ruled the ways of mankind.

When she wasn't writing, she held audiences with her countless varied subjects. I was one of them. A Dream. I came to her thousands of times. Please, I said, write me into the Story. See what happiness I could bring. Just write me into the Story. I am Progress. I am Innovation. See what I can help them achieve. See what heights they could reach. But each time, she shook her head, and promised to consider me another time.

You see, she said, the humans depend on me to chart a course for them. They rely on me to guide them, because they would be lost without direction. Any path outside of mine will lead them into the Unknown, and just as they label unexplored territories on their maps, the Unknown is a place where dragons dwell.

You think they would be strong enough to follow you, but you are only a Dream. There are hundreds of thousands of you. You are not constant, like I am; each day more of you are born from the secret hearts of humans, just as more of you are laid to rest by those same humans. There are more Dreams than there are people on Earth, and like the numerous masses below, you can't all fit into the Story.

And so she doted on Odesyuss and ravaged the life of Antigone. She picked heros and villains from the masses and rendered them immortal. Legends. She joined lovers and divided brothers. She roused Catastrophe to usher in new espisodic sagas. She plotted out the days, weeks, months and years to come for her chosen few. The rest she left to their own devices. Not everyone could be a main character, after all.

But everyone has a Dream. And every Dream wants to be realized. We wanted to be followed. We wanted you to choose. So I pleaded with Destiny one more time. The Dreams all agree, the humans can no longer follow you. You are the past, we are the future. Only we can lead the people into a new era. You must end your reign now, I warned. Or we will end it for you. Destiny became angry. You think I give the humans no choice but to follow my Story? You Dreams are so foolish, she spat. The humans follow me because I have plotted the course for them. They don't trudge gamely on, living with no power over their own lives. I give them a destination, and they choose the path of least resistance. My path.

They have not the fortitude of will, nor the strength of heart to follow you, she told us. You will lead them off the edge of the map, beyond what they know. I have seen them study their precious charts. What isn't known is feared. Here Lie Dragons is the warning they scrawl over unknown lands. If I go, they will sail aimlessly forever rather than follow you into uncharted seas. Then she threw us out, slammed her doors and locked the gates.

We were crushed. Heartbroken. Most of all, we were outraged. Not only would we never be part of Destiny's Story, but she had never intended us to be! All along, she listened to our pleas, never planning on writing any of us into the Story. Did she laugh? Did she mock us as we rambled on, trying to convince her to include us? And what of our Dreamers? What of the hearts and minds who created us? They weren't main characters; they were just people. As long as Destiny ruled, they would forever be consigned to exist as blurred faces, passing moments in her grand and glorious Story. We couldn't let that happen. So we did the only thing left to do.

We stormed the parapets and shattered the gates. We tore through the halls and broke down every door, until we found it. Her room. She had fled at the sound of our rancor, abandoning her papers, ink and pen. So I took them. I carried them out, and held them aloft crying, See! The instruments of Destiny! The tools of fate! Then, to ensure that her reign was ended forever, I destroyed them.

I set fire to the papers, all bound into a book, and threw it over the wall, watching it fall to the Earth. It sunk into the sky, and still burns there, to this day. I upended the well of blue-black ink, letting it bleed, drop by drop, over the heavens. Finally, I shattered her silver pen, and scattered the irreparable pieces down, over the wall. They sunk through the sky, now blue-black with ink, deep, out of veiw. But I think, sometimes, you can still see them glittering on the other side.

So now you know about Destiny. You know she can't finish your story. She can't lead you anymore. Now you know you have a choice. To drift along or forge ahead. To follow your Dream into uncharted territory. Your mind may scream: here lie dragons as you step off the path and venture into the Unknown. But from now on, you decide what happens next.


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Image of Abigail Haworth
Abigail Haworth · ago
Nice use of mythology! Creative.