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Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman

Dragons of Autumn Twilight

CANTICLE OF THE DRAGON

Hear the sage as his song descends like heaven's rain or tears, and washes the years, the dust of the 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 light 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 paths 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.
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