In a little house, beside a fireplace, an old woman is talking to two visitors who ask her to tell them a story. The young man asks for the story of the Balance. The old woman chuckles, and says it's much too late for that. Instead, she tells them a story that she heard a long time ago - "a story that, like all good stories, begins where it ends...in a tower, in a realm that is no more."
The scene changes to a stone room, where a naked man is suspended in a stream of energy. Behind him, set into the wall, two stone dragons are endlessly circling. Suddenly, his eyes snap open and he descends to the floor. As he leaves the chamber a disc with a curious symbol breaks, and one of the dragons begins to consume the other.
Meanwhile, we are taken to another time and place, the futuristic city of Newport. In the quiet neighbourhood of Venice, a girl named April Ryan is fast asleep. Then the room around her is swept away, and she finds herself standing on a cliff in a magnificent landscape. She sighs - it's yet another dream, and she just wants a good night's rest.
Exploring the cliff, she realises that the mountain is shaking beneath her. As she passes a huge nest, the egg in it is shaken free and falls into the roots of the tree growing from the cliff, a tree that looks as if it's dying. April snaps a dry branch off, and gets a shock when the dour Wood Spirit appears from the trunk of the tree. It tells her that it was entrusted to look after the egg, but it has failed the Mother. When the Mother battled 'black Chaos', it split the rock of the mountain and diverted the stream. Without water, the tree is about to die. Using a scale from the large nest and her ill-gotten twig, April rigs up a little funnel to divert water to the tree, which recovers and returns the egg safely to the nest.
Suddenly, April hears a distant call, and something huge and bright flies overhead, landing in the nest. The Mother - a beautiful white dragon - has returned. She speaks gently to April, addressing her as 'daughter', and telling her to be ready for what is to come. She tells April that "it begins here, with you, as it always has. The breach and the mending; the pain and the joy. The end of the old, and the dawn of the new. A different world." Though the Mother will guide and protect her, in the end, April is on her own. April says she's afraid. The Mother says lovingly that "you always were."
April hears another noise and turns, seeing an enormous black ball of energy rise from below the cliff. As April stares at it, a whip of energy knocks her off the cliff. She falls, screaming, into the abyss.
Themes & References Edit
It is uncertain as to what exactly the title refers to, although a good place to begin is with its source in Proverbs 26.13, which appears to refer to the slothful man who looks for fantastic excuses to avoid his duties. While there is no obvious correlation between this and the events of the Prologue, one could see it as indicating Adrian's stepping-down as Guardian before his replacement was ready (even though he was two centuries overdue). Lending credence to its origin as being Biblical is the title of Ragnar's Anarchy Online novel: Prophet Without Honor (Mark 6.4). It may also refer to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (I, iii ll. 19-22), when the conspirators first plot his assassination. Casca utters the lines "Besides (I ha' not since put up my sword) / Against the Capitol I met a lion, / Who glared upon me, and went surly by, / Without annoying me". It probably also has something to do with the widening breach in the Divide, and Fiona's comment in Chapter 2 that she heard wild animal noises in the city.
The White Dragon's call is actually a very slow sample of the famous Wilhelm Scream, which has been used in many films and other media. Appropriately for this scene, it is often used 'when a character is plummeting to a great distance, usually falling off a ledge.' (Thanks to CosmicD for the analysis.)
|Chapters in The Longest Journey|
|Prologue: A Lion is in the Streets | Penumbra | Through the Looking Glass | Friends and Enemies | Monsters | There and Back Again | The Chaos Storm | A Deep Blue Mirror | Reunification | Shadows | Rebirth | Kin | Dreamland | The Longest Journey | Epilogue: Threads|