Leeli and the Dragon Song: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
The new issue of Credo Magazine, “The Truth Inside the Lie,” focuses on the relationship between theology and fiction. The following is an excerpt from Andrew Peterson’s “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.” Andrew Peterson is a critically acclaimed recording artist and songwriter, as well as the author of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga. He’s also the founder of The Rabbit Room, an organization that fosters community through story, art, and music. He and his wife, Jamie, have three children, and make their home in Nashville.
Since this issue of Credo Magazine is all about fiction and theology, we’ve included an example of a piece of fiction that can stir the Christian’s imagination. The following is an excerpt from Andrew Peterson’s book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (Waterbrook, 2008).
A long, warm note like the sound of a yawning mountain rose in the air and bounced off the belly of the sky. The deep echo was absorbed by the tall trees of Glipwood Forest and was answered a moment later by a higher sound that felt like a soft rain. Even Janner forgot to worry over the Fangs for a moment. His chest tightened and his eyes stung with tears.
“Quick!” Tink said. “It’s starting!” Tink ran ahead, dangerously close to the cliff. His fear of heights was all but gone.
“Tink!” Janner called. But there was no stopping Tink—the sound of the dragons had changed him somehow. Janner even thought for a moment that he looked different, boldly making his way along the precipice.
Janner and Leeli moved as quickly as they dared till they could make out the dark cluster of people watching the ocean below them. The verge of the cliffs was cluttered with boulders between patches of tall grass, places where one could sit and comfortably watch the sea. The Dark Sea was so far below that it seemed if someone were to tumble over the cliff, they would have time to stop screaming and take a final, breezy nap before crashing into it. Tiny, silent streaks of white on the surface were actually chaotic waves smashing into the jagged rocks below, and the mightiest spray was only faintly visible, like a poof of dust from a pebble dropped in the sand.
Janner and Leeli found Tink sitting on a flat outcropping of rock that depressed in the center. They were still an arrow’s shot away from the crowd, enough to satisfy Janner that they were well hidden.
By the light of the big moon, Tink leaned out over the edge, straining to see something in the dark water below. How could this be, Janner thought, when just this morning Tink had nearly wet himself on the roof of the house?
From where they sat they could see the mighty Fingap Falls far to the north, roaring over the cliffs and pounding into the sea. To the south, the cliffs marched away into the distance, where they eventually curled backward and sloped downward to embrace Shard Harbor, home to Fort Lamendron, the largest Fang outpost in all of Skree. It was there the Black Carriage bore the children taken in the night.
Janner shuddered and tried not to think about Fort Lamendron or the Carriage. It wasn’t hard, because the dragon song was rising in pitch and volume. Hidden in their cleft of rock, Janner forgot about the Fangs. He forgot about their desperate need to find their grandfather and mother. And, like Tink, he forgot the precariousness of the edges of the high cliffs as he leaned out over the empty air and felt his heart ache.
Tink was the first to see them. His breath caught in his throat and he couldn’t speak. He tapped Leeli on the knee with the back of his hand and pointed. She and Janner saw it as well.
In the churning white waters at the base of Fingap Falls, a long, graceful shape burst from the surface. Its skin caught and magnified the light of the moon. The sea dragon was easily twice the height of the tallest tree in Glipwood Forest. Its reddish body glimmered like a living fire. The head was crowned with two curved horns and its fins spread out behind it like wings. Indeed, it looked as if it might actually fly, but the dragon wheeled in the air and crashed into the sea with what must have been a sound like thunder but was inaudible over the constant roar of the waterfall.
At that moment, the dragon song rose into the air on a bright wind and filled the people gathered on the cliffs with a thousand feelings—some peaceful, some exhilarating, all more alive than usual.
**Read the full excerpt from Andrew Peterson’s book in the latest issue of Credo Magazine.