Let me ask you all a question…well maybe make that a few questions.
What is the nature of reality? What do we mean by real?
If Real is what we can see, hear, taste, smell and touch then real is sensory information supplied to our brain and interpreted. So that being the case, who is to say that we all experience the same reality? After all, I don’t think the same things you do do I? Most of the things we know as real we are taught, “Now Johnny pay attention...this is called a table, and what you are sitting on is a chair...” Our names for things are therefore more by rote convention. We think for example of one colour as red or another as green, because we have been told that they are...but suppose what you were told was green I was taught was blue? What of people who are colour blind, or even people born blind who have no concept of colour at all what do they think? Everything we call real I would say is therefore subjective, it entirely depends on where you were standing at the time.
We count ourselves as civilised and developed, particularly in the west, yet we rely more and more on technology. Mankind is on the cusp of developing true artificial intelligence, which means we will have machines to do our thinking for us. But ask yourself what would happen if all that technology came face to face with something it couldn’t deal with…say something from a far more ancient time, something considered a myth.
So now consider those myths, legends we have passed down through the generations. Are they merely convention too? If we believe “there is no smoke without fire” then those legends must have started somewhere, must have had some basis in reality. Where was it? Who was the first person, for example, to look at a big lizard and call it a dragon? When and where did we get our first ideas for dragons, or witches or any of the other varied monsters that fill our nightmares? Who decided the old woman at the end of the road, with the black hat and broomstick was a witch? Maybe she was just a lonely old woman who liked to keep her house clean, while she told herself jokes that caused her to cackle and just happened to keep a pet black cat.
Frankenstein’s monster it’s true was born on a drug fuelled night Mary Shelley spent with the poet Byron and his friends, telling stories trying to scare each other. Dracula meanwhile was a story created by Bram Stoker (though some may cite historical figures to be the original Dracula.)
But just suppose, just for one moment, that these weren’t just stories created out of drugged fantasy and a need to scare oneself…Just for one moment suppose that all those creatures actually existed! I’m not talking recent history here obviously, when did you last see a momentary shadow block out the sun and think a dragon had passed overhead? But suppose somewhere back in the mists of time, suppose we actually used to live alongside dragons, orcs, goblins, elves and all the others. Imagine that the stories Stoker and Shelley created weren’t stories at all, but cultural memories buried deep in their sub-conscious mind that came to the surface when summoned.
Now think about magic, not magic in the sense of some TV illusionist or children’s party magician pulling rabbits out of a trick top hat like we’ve all seen. I myself can do the “that is your card” trick from a pack of 51 simply by using mathematics! But think instead about real magic that mystical energy that can be moulded and formed to do anything you want. The stuff of fantasy titans like Tolkien, where an old man in robes waving a worn staff can command storms or hurl boulders as big as houses. Just imagine if magic far from being fantasy was actually part of our history… part of our REALITY! Part of a history lost, or just plain forgotten.
Now imagine what it might be like for someone, “an average Joe”, just like you or me living in our modern technological world alongside computers and mobile phones and all the accompanying techno-baggage we accumulate. An average guy who by chance, pure accident, manages to re-awake that ancient ability to summon and use real magic. How would the world react, how would he react to the ability to fulfil his dreams at the wave of a hand?
…And then let us suppose that in awakening this long forgotten ability he managed to wake up all of those creatures. Suppose that the magic and the monsters of our fantasies haven’t disappeared at all, that they have only slept, blended into our society, gone into hiding, merely waiting for the chance to re-emerge.
How would you or I react to a tug on our jeans only to look down and see a hobbit? He’s called Frodo Baggins and he wants to ask directions, see if he’s on the right road to Mordor. Or standing at a crossing you see an elf, he’s looking for a decent library or music store so he can restring his lyre. Or walking out of the supermarket you cross paths with a grouchy dwarf who’s nursing a hangover while looking for a good metal working shop so he can get his chain mail armour adjusted or sharpen his axe!
With all our technology, would we be able to come to terms with, to defend ourselves sufficiently from, the ravages of a monster/creature based in that world? A monster like say, a four hundred foot long flying lizard, larger than a seven forty seven airliner with a hide more resilient to damage than a tank and breath that can melt steel?
...And what if dragons had actually really been given a bad press? Suppose they were really not all as dark and evil as they were painted. Suppose some dragons were even capable of being considered good, benevolent to humans. Could the world exist as we know it? Perhaps we would adapt to that new reality or would we more likely fear what we couldn’t understand and in fearing it seek to destroy it?
I hope the following tale may offer you a good read, and if it supplies answers to some, or indeed any, of those questions…so much the better, if not well just enjoy the story anyway.