The Time Between-Prologue

A hard coming we had of it, and I was very, very young. The trouble with tragic circumstances is that they teach you more than you are ready to learn, so that when you come through them, or think you have come through them, you feel yourself to know more than you actually do. It is a cruel paradox. The old ones were right to say that we suffer into truth, but what they did not say is that we do not become aware of the meaning of that truth until long after our sufferings have ended, or have appeared to end. Until such a time occurs, our wisdom is in our patient silence.

I am a mage of Roke Island, my use-name is Teller. When I was twenty-two years old, I received my cloak and staff from the Archmage Ged, and was sent to the western reaches of the Archipelago to a small, out-of-the-way island, the name of which no longer matters. I was sent there to an isolate post with one mandate: to watch the dragons that dwell in the western seas. It came as a shock to my comrades that I should receive the marks of the wizard; my tutelage was anything but ordinary, and the moment of my commencement was marked by scrutiny as to who I was and what I would become. I suppose the masters knew, even then, what I could not utter even to myself, but more of that anon.

In my isolation, I have often wondered about my commission. I have pondered why it was that I was chosen to dwell in such a harried place as this, to converse with the winged powers of the sky and sea. My only clue has been in the cryptic words of farewell my masters gave to me as my boat sailed from the ancient isle of my training. The Archmage touched me on the shoulder, saying "It will be a hard life, my son. Dragons can lie in the True Speech. We can speak truth in an untrue tongue. Your task will be to learn which to trust. Always remember, think deeply, intentionally, and virtuously. Careless speech is not the prerogative of mages." Then he leaned in close to me so to be out of the hearing of the others and said, "my son, there is more to magic than we have taught you, but take care in the utterance of innovation. Take care that you do not lose your way in the land of dragons."

Many years have passed since my embarkation. I am alone on my island, though this has not always been the case. I have been called to other lands, and have seen enough. I am old, yes, I am old. I walk along the beach of my isolate isle with a lifetime of thoughts to keep my company. I have written my thoughts in the sand by the sea, finding names to the innumerable thoughts and memories. The sea is gracious, and does me the service of removing my clumsy efforts. After time enough of repetition after repetition, I look now at the parchment to write the only memoir I shall ever pen. Time has afforded me the names to use.

Because I do not dare to think that these words shall be of interest to the children of tomorrow, I will write them in the words of today, and I shall tell nothing but the truth. Dear reader, if by some chance this has come beneath your eyes, then take care. In reading the words of another's life, there is always the temptation to use them in order to tell our own story. My story is told, and yours is in the telling. These words have passed, let them be unless they be the best to tell your own. In any case, dear reader, take care.

I, Teller, leave these words as a testament to the Dragons, in whose lands did I find my life.