The Concerns of the Mighty
There comes a time when every student and many a passing merchant,
farmer, and king, too, demands the same answer of me:
Why, O meddler and, mighty mage, do ye not set the crooked
straight? Why not strike directly against the evils that threaten
Faerun? Why do not all mighty folk of good heart not simply
make everything right?
I've heard that, cry so many times. Now hearken, once and for
all, to my answers as to why the great and powerful don't fix Toril
entire every day.
First, it is not at all certain that those of us with the power or
the inclination can even accomplish a tenth of the deed asked of
us. The forces arrayed against us are dark and strong indeed. I
might surprise Manshoon or old Szass Tam and burn him from
the face of Toril—or he might do the same to me. It's a rash and
short-lived hero who presses for battle when victory is not assured.
Second, the wise amongst us know that even gods can't foresee
all the consequences of their actions—and all of us have seen far
too many instances of good things turning out to cause something
very bad, or unwanted. We've learned that meddling often does far
more harm than good.
Third: Few folk can agree on what is right, what should be done,
and what the best end result would be. When ye consider a mighty
stroke; be assured that every move is apt to be countered by someone
who doesn't like the intended result, is determined to stop it,
and is quite prepared to lay waste to you, your kingdom, and anything
else necessary to confound you.
Point the fourth: Big changes can seldom be effected by small
actions. How much work does it take just to build one house?
Rearrange one room? How many simple little actions, then, will it
take to destroy one kingdom and raise another—with name, ruler,
and societal order of your choice—in its place?
Finally: D'ye think we "mighty ones" are blind? Do we not watch
each other, and guess af what each is doing, and reach out and do
some little thing that hampers the aims of another great and
mighty? We'll never be free of this problem,, and that's a good thing.
I would cower at the thought of living in any Faerun where all the
mighty and powerful folk agreed perfectly on everything. That's the
way of slavery and shackles and armed tyranny... and if ye'd like
to win a bet, wager that ye'll be near the bottom of any such order.
Right. Any more silly questions?
—Elminster of Shadowdale