Book II: Garkhen
“What is good? That is a question which much wiser and more intelligent beings than me have debated since before the Creation, and none of them has created a definition which has not been called into question on some point or another. For me to claim to have the wisdom to propose a definitive definition when all of these have ultimately failed would be folly in addition to an act of incredible hubris.
“But that is not truly what you wish to ask me, is it? Your question is truly, what is good to me, is it not? This I can attempt to answer.
“Good… is an acknowledgement that one’s own self is of neither greater nor less importance than those about oneself. It is recognizing the potential of all intelligent beings to be greater, and striving to help them realize that potential. It is to bring hope and comfort to the hopeless and needy, to protect the defenseless. It is to do justice to the unrepentant and show mercy to those who will change.
“Good is light. It brings sight, it makes our view of the world clearer. It warms all about it. Its touch brings healing and hope when we are in despair and pain. It nurtures growth, just as sunlight brings growth to great forests.
“Evil, on the other hand, is darkness. It is… a lack. It does not have hope, nor comfort, nor healing, nor growth, save the parasitic growth of some foul fungus on a decaying corpse. And not only does it lack these things, it seeks to take them from others, not to fill its own emptiness, but so that all about it is in despair like itself.
“Evil seeks to tear apart, to say that each being is an island, and one which can only be larger by making all others smaller—such that oneself never truly grows, only the comparison between oneself and those about it makes it seem so. It is ultimately self-destructive, for when one injures those around oneself, one also harms oneself. It is parasitic, and like all parasites, if not kept in check, it would in time destroy its host and so destroy itself.
“But life is rarely as simple as this. Few beings, few choices are purely good or solely evil. The distinction between light and dark is usually blurred, just as it is in a dimly lit cavern. If one cannot see the sources of light, it is often unclear where it is brighter and where it is darker.
“So it often is in life. Light and darkness, good and evil, are often mixed, and it is the work of a lifetime to determine how to seek the brighter and shun the darker. But it is not enough merely to do this. We must not only seek the light, we must light the darkness. This is the work for which I often long, but so often cannot do. For so often, I must oppose those who would snuff the candles of this world… by snuffing the flames of their life.
“On my travels, it has always amazed me how some intelligent beings are such blazing beacons of good, while others have souls so black that their mere presence drains hope and will from those about them. It is, to me, the true wonder of life that we all have such incredible potential to tend towards such disparate destinies. And it is the work of my life to guide the world a little closer to the destiny of light.
“My only hope is that, when I reach the end of my life, however that may be, I may look back on my time here from the next world… and see a few more candles burning a bit brighter because of my brief sojourn here.”
Here’s the beginning of Book II! In case you don’t recall, Elque is including a quote from the book’s subject at the beginning of each book, so that’s what this is.