In the early 1200’s CE, Genghis (Jenghis) Khan called his generals to a conference at his camps in central Mongolia. To any of those who failed to attend he promised, “The same fate as a stone dropped into the water. You will simply disappear.”
Over the next 75 or so years, the Great Khan and his successors made the same offer to the most powerful civilizations that existed at the time. Using the finest cavalry army the world had ever seen, they made good on their promise, and according to census numbers taken by the aforementioned civilizations, after the Mongol storm died down something like 50 million people simply weren’t there anymore.
Fear was a weapon wielded by these men as adeptly as they wielded their bows. They threatened their enemies with the thing all humans fear.
As I’m sure you can tell I’ve been doing a little light reading. But this isn’t as off topic as it seems. These dusty history books bring up universal themes. They make you think, which I know most people hate, but if you stick with it, can become useful.
Why do I write? Why do I take the time to put these thoughts that very few people will ever see and even fewer will enjoy on paper? I think it has a lot to do with the same reason many central Asian cities opened their gates wide when they saw the hordes approaching. I fear oblivion too. And though no monstrous armies threaten my survival, no one lives forever.
Sometimes, words do.
These words won’t, but some do.
What scares you? Does fear play a part in your writing? Have you faced any horse archers recently? I’d be interested to hear about any of these things.