Last month the world lost a great athlete, Kobe Bryant, and we mourned a man who worked so hard to achieve all that he could in basketball. When I listened to Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter and got to know Tau Solarin – my first impression of the protagonist was that he reminded me of Kobe. In a world were one is born to a caste called Lessers and taught from birth that noble men are better than you could ever be, Tau Solarin rose from his station with blood, sweat and tears.
The story began with the premise that noble men are greater than lessers. They are taller, bigger, and gifted by the gods. No matter what a lesser did, he could never become greater than a noble man.
The Mobilizing Force
Tau Solarin was a lesser who lived with his father, a leader in the Ihashi army and a great swordsman. One day, Tau offended a noble man and was challenged to a blood duel. His father took his place to save his son – telling the noble man that Tau has not yet taken the test to be an Ihashi and, therefore, he could not fight in a duel. The noble man had his men kill Tau’s father and had him banished from the only home he knew.
So, Tau vowed to get into the Ihashi then challenge the noble man who killed his father to a blood duel to take his revenge.
His Inspiring Act
One of the Ihashi generals was forming a test scale (platoon), he was looking for half-blooded noble/lesser fighters to train so that they would be better than the common Ihashi. This general took a chance on Tau even though he was a full-blooded lesser. He trained his men hard, but Tau trained harder. He was the first to the practice field and last to leave. Honing his skills until the only limit he faced was that there was not enough hours in the day to practice. And so he found a way to go into the spirit world were hours were only a few seconds in the real world. Battling demons so he could get better.
Everyone told him it could not be done. They could not be better fighters than noblemen. His general, his peers, even the woman he loved all tried to tell him that his hard work was futile. But Tau soldiered on and kept making himself better. Until his persistence inspired others, until he made people believe that everyone was equally blessed by the gods. Their station at birth does not define them.
And though he lost everyone he loved in the end, his queen noticed how great a fighter he was and made him her champion. In this world, the queen doesn’t marry, but her champion fathers her heirs. Tau rose above his station and changed his world.
The only limit a person has is the one he sets himself. If you stop believing that you can reach your goal then you will never reach it. You cannot break a glass ceiling, if you just look at it and never find a way to get up there. If you’ve ever had a seemingly impossible dream and find yourself losing hope, I suggest you read or listen to Rage of Dragons.