The Harrowed Halls of Duhn Korinth
A Life in the Skies
You look askance at me, my dwarf friend. Why? Because I, a dwarf of Scytha, claim to be a Sky Raider? I admit, the term Sky Raider brings the image of a large, burly male troll to the minds of most Name-givers. But there is more to being a Sky Raider than race or gender, much more. The true Sky Raider is marked by his attitude, a zest for life and for challenge and for adventure.
To be a Sky Raider is to be free—to be completely independent, To act, rather than be acted upon. to follow one’s own desires wherever they may lead, to be responsible to oneself and oneself alone.
It is that freedom we seek when we take to the skies in our ships. It is that freedom we pursue when we wander abroad with the earth far below our feet.
The central tenet of a Sky Raider’s life is individual responsibility. I am responsible for all that befalls me during my life—I and I alone. Certainly, circumstances beyond my control may seem to put restrictions on my freedom; an unforeseen storm might ground my ship, for example. Yet, even in the midst of the storm, I have the freedom to respond as I choose. Do I vainly curse the storm and despair? Or do I embrace the challenge and the danger, and pit my skills against the forces of Nature? It is my choice as to how I respond, and that freedom can never be taken from me.
People outside my Discipline often seem to believe that Sky Raiders are chaos incarnate, walking examples of anarchy. How can anyone trust an individual who puts personal freedom above all else, these people ask. Think it through, my Dwarven friend, please. Individual freedom and personal responsibility do not preclude enlightened self-interest. Quite the opposite, in fact. As I see it, Sky Raiders such as myself are less motivated by broad ideologies and belief systems than members of other Disciplines. We approach all decisions on the basis of individual responsibility.
Many people seem to believe that Sky Raiders possess an almost instinctive rejection of restrictions and guidelines and flout the laws of civilized societies at every turn. Not true! People who break all laws without thinking are as shortsighted as those who blindly follow all laws and restrictions. Sky Raiders typically examine each case on its own merits. If we believe a law or constraint is worthwhile, we will abide by it. If we believe it to be foolish or inappropriate, we will ignore it. In both cases, we take complete and personal responsibility for our decision. If I break a law, I am ready to take responsibility for that action. When I made my decision, I took into account the possible consequences, and I will face those consequences undismayed. That is one of the characteristics of individual responsibility. The central touchstone of my actions is my personal judgment. Do you understand me a little better now?
Why do Sky Raiders raid? A common question. Some claim that Sky Raiders are heartless, soulless raptors who will kill and destroy to take from another. But we do not view ourselves this way. (I, at least, do not view us this way.) As we are responsible for our own fortunes, so too are our foes responsible for theirs. In essence, we believe that others are worthy of possessing something be it land, food, wealth, even life itself, only if they can defend that possession. Our raids grant our foes the opportunity to prove they are worthy. If our foes fight well but fall, we respect them. If they defeat us and drive us off, we respect them. Only if they fail to fight do we fail to respect them. Our foes do us honor when they fight to repel our raids. To simply surrender—to give up without a fight—is to abdicate their own honor and do us a mortal insult in the process!
That is why we do not hate other nations who raid ours. We defend what we have to the death; we kill those who assail us. But we do not hate them, even as we slay them. If we go down to defeat, it is our responsibility. Our failure, our death, weighs on us, not on those who attacked us.