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Dragonlance: The Canticle of the Dragon

October 15, 2010

Dragonlance Chronicles Vol. I, Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

‘The Canticle of the Dragon’

The introductory poem by Michael Williams, and one of the many great, defining, pieces he would contribute to the Dragonlance novels over the years. I thought it worth posting here for anyone who hasn’t [yet] had the privilege of reading it when opening those first few pages of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, or for seasoned fans who certainly wouldn’t mind the repeated viewing. I’m revisiting the series again and have really been enjoying the trip down memory lane — it’s definitely something special.

So it begins…

Hear the sage as his song descends
like heaven’s rain or tears,
and washes the years, the dust of many stories
from the High Tale of the Dragonlance.
For in ages deep, past memory and word,
in the first blush of the world
when the three moons rose from the lap of the forest,
dragons, terrible and great,
made war on this world of Krynn.

Yet out of the darkness of dragons,
out of our cries for 1ight
in the blank face of the black moon soaring,
a banked light flared in Solamnia,
a knight of truth and of power,
who called down the gods themselves
and forged the mighty Dragonlance, piercing the soul
of dragonkind, driving the shade of their wings
from the brightening shores of Krynn.

Thus Huma, Knight of Solamnia, Lightbringer, First Lancer,
followed his light to the foot of the Khalkist Mountains,
to the stone feet of the gods,
to the crouched silence of their temple.
He called down the Lancemakers, he took on
their unspeakable power to crush the unspeakable evil,
to thrust the coiling darkness
back down the tunnel of the dragon’s throat.

Paladine, the Great God of Good, shone at the side of Huma,
strengthening the lance of his strong right arm,
and Huma, ablaze in a thousand moons,
banished the Queen of Darkness,
banished the swarm of her shrieking hosts
back to the senseless kingdom of death, where their curses
swooped upon nothing and nothing
deep below the brightening land.

Thus ended in thunder the Age of Dreams
and began the Age of Might,
when Istar, kingdom of light and truth, arose in the east,
where minarets of white and gold
spired to the sun and to the sun’s glory,
announcing the passing of evil,
and Istar, who mothered and cradled the long summers of good,
shone like a meteor
in the white skies of the just.

Yet in the fullness of sunlight
the Kingpriest of Istar saw shadows;
At night he saw the trees as things with daggers, the streams
blackened and thickened under the silent moon.
He searched books for the path of Huma,
for scrolls, signs, and spells
so that he, too, might summon the gods, might find
their aid in his holy aims,
might purge the world of sin.

Then came the time of dark and death
as the gods turned from the world.
A mountain of fire crashed like a comet through Istar,
the city split like a skull in the flames,
mountains burst from once-fertile valleys,
seas poured into the graves of mountains,
the deserts sighed on abandoned floors of the seas,
the highways of Krynn erupted
and became the paths of the dead.

Thus began the Age of Despair.
The roads were tangled.
The winds and the sandstorms dwelt in the husks of cities,
The plains and mountains became our home.
As the old gods lost their power,
we called to the blank sky
into the cold, dividing gray to the ears of new gods.
The sky is calm, silent, unmoving.
We have yet to hear their answer.


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