DOAT Book II, Chapter 14: Matafleur. The magic sword. White feathers.

A’IGHT DRAGONSCOUTS WE’RE ON THE HOME STRETCH MY GUYS.

Only like a chapter and a half or so until we reach the end of Dragons of Autumn Twilight. Will our brave heroes survive their suicidally idiotic plan to free the slaves down the mine? Will Tasslehoff and Fizban ever become less annoying? Will we ever discover the identity of the mysterious traitor that they’ve teased for like ten entire chapters? Let’s find out!

Our chapter begins with our heroes entering the dragon’s lair to save the children, only to find a mysterious absence of children and a fuckton of dragon.

smaug

AIIIEEEEE!!!!

Only here’s the thing, this dragon is old and she’s a girl, so no need to worry your pretty heads about her.

toofless

aiiee?

Her name is Matafleur, but goes by Flamestrike to mere mortals (if dragons are immortal, how is this dragon decrepit? Like what good is immortality if you just fall apart and rot year by year until there’s just like string and tendons holding you together? Guys?).

Anyway, this dragon’s super into taking care of the children, so like, a babysitter dragon I guess. The children are I guess in the room beyond the dragon, so the group starts walking past her without her giving it a second thought. Until, that is, Tanis’s sword starts to buzz like a hive of bees or some shit.

hes got bees

Raistlin jumps in and reveals that the sword is magic and anti-dragon somehow, which I mean is the worst thing you can do for someone as self-important as Tanis, giving him a magic dragon-slaying sword. Anyway, the dragon is not fooled, she realizes that these folk CAN’T be women because women can’t have swords!

ohhh no

fuckin sexist dragons

Anyway, the sword distracts the dragon enough that the rest of the group is able to run in and grab the children anyway. The plan goes well until the children see Tanis threatening their dragon with a sword and decide to revolt.

baby fight club

i guess.

Anyway, this plot contrivance goes nowhere, since Goldmoon is able to calm the children down and get them to run outside to their mothers. Let me guess, this is because she’s a woman? :))))) and naturally able to talk to children? :))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Anyway, this causes the dragon to I guess have a psychotic break and revert back to the past when her actual children, like dragon type children, were killed. This puts Tanis in an incredibly dangerous situation, so of course Sturm steps up ready to fight. But then Raistlin’s all like “STAND BACK FAM I GOT THIS” so Sturm runs and I guess now it’s Tanis and potential traitor 1/3 against a fucking dragon.

Everything looks dire for a good two seconds until Raistlin just blinds the dragon and they run out while she’s confused and trying not to set fire to the children. So much for an epic dragon battle. Anyway, Tanis and Raistlin reach the rest of the escapees when fucking Pyros just bursts out of the castle.

Annnnnd we cut to Tasslehoff and Fizban, who are still falling along with the chain in the machine room. Fizban tries to cast a “pheatherfall” spell, but only gets the “pheather” part out before he’s crunched to the ground. Tasslehoff, meanwhile, falls into a pile of feathers.

womp womp

WOMP WOMP

Meanwhile, Tanis tries to herd the women and children into the mines, despite knowing that his plan has finally been foiled by Verminaard and Pyros. The men of the mines, meanwhile, start running into the courtyard to find their wives and children, meaning that they’re fleeing safety and shelter. It’s all turning into a clusterfuck, and honestly, Tanis only has his poor-ass planning to blame. Suddenly he and Sturm realize that Eben has just run into the mountains and OH NO WE DIDN’T SEE THIS SHIT COMING FROM TEN CHAPTERS AWAY.

Eben, potential traitor 2/3 and ACTUAL FUCKING TRAITOR is running off to find the green gemstone man because, lest we forget, he is important for some reason. We get some deeply unimportant backstory about him, then cut to him encouraging the men to run out into the courtyard. And then the gully dwarves join them because they’re too stupid to understand what an escape plan is.

cher yuk

Anyway, Eben finds the gemstone man, but has a dilemma. He can’t keep him in the mines, because everyone will find them when the dragon strikes and they run for shelter, but he also can’t take him in to Pax Tharkas, because then Verminaard will find them and Pyros doesn’t want that shit. So he decides to take the dude into the woods and lay low until the massacre is over.

Meanwhile, Verminaard is feeling pissy. After some useless back and forth with an inferior, he jumps onto Pyros’s back and they decide it’s time to get slaughterin’.

We cut back to Tanis and Sturm, the latter of whom seems pretty ready to get murdered for someone who’s characterized as a swordsman who never gives up. But then, like, for some reason Eben and the green gem guy run past because Eben didn’t bother to find an alternate route? So now that there’s an enemy weaker than himself to pick on, Sturm whips back into action. But the green gem guy stops his blade arm, and everyone gasps in astonishment to see that… the guy has a green gem embedded in his chest.

reaction-cersei-1

Everyone’s so shocked that they let the green gem guy and Eben run to the gates, where the two are promptly crushed by the falling boulders released by the mechanism that Tasslehoff activated.

pointless

Verminaard and Pyros decide that this is the perfect time to attack the horde of helpless slaves, when suddenly, IT’S ANOTHER FUCKING DRAGON!

drogon

AAAAAIIIIIEIEEEEEE!!!!

Oh, wait, right, it’s that old-ass dragon we met earlier. She’s apparently succumbed to her dementia to the point where she’s decided it’s clobberin’ time. Pyros, trying to defend himself from his attack, forgets that Verminaard is riding him and lets him fall to the ground. The battle devolves into chaos, during which time Laurana decides to STEP THE FUCK UP, kill herself some draconians (ugh) and become the warrior princess she was always meant to be.

xena.gif

AIAIAIAIAIAIAI BITCHAAAAAAAAAAS

And here the chapter ends. A good ending at least! Next time, our final chapter and the epilogue and WE ARE DONE with Dragons of Autumn Twilight!

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DOAT Book II, Chapter 13: Questions. No Answers. Fizban’s Hat.

Welcome back Dragonscouts to another exquisite chapter of Dragonlance in which we ask questions and receive no answers. Who wants to take bets on whether we’re going to figure out who this alleged traitor is in this chapter, eh?

We join our brave companions as both Gilthanas and Eben meet up with the group. Eben has a suspiciously plausible story as to where he’s just disappeared to. Tika seems to believe Eben’s story, especially after he starts kissing on her hand. This makes Caramon ragey, but for some reason, he doesn’t attack, which strikes me as extremely out of character.

Gilthanas, when asked where he’s been, responds with “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD.”

dont tell me

Also, he points out, Raistlin was super tired when we left… SUSPICIOUSLY tired. Actually, he went missing at the same time as Gilthanas and Eben did… so perhaps it is HE who is the traitor!

Faced with this accusation, Raistlin responds with “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD.” Caramon leads his brother back to bed.

thorandloki

you guys are not even trying.

Ugh. So now we have THREE potential traitors, each of them with their supporters, and Tanis is feeling VERY put upon. He realizes that this whole thing might be a trap, using the excuse of a revolt to kill all the slaves AND our noble heroes, thus snuffing out the threat of Goldmoon for good. He considers abandoning it, but then decides not to because… it would be too disappointing to the slaves. Cool, Tanis. Now just go to sleep without doing anything and that’ll… yeah… great plan my dude.

Tanis is not the only one who abandons any attempt at a plan to get some sleep. Tasslehoff wakes up in the morning, having slept through the night instead of cunningly waiting for Pyros to fall asleep so that he can rescue Sestun. Fortunately for him, the dragon likes a good lie-in, and is still asleep when he wakes up.

Tas and Fizban embark upon a HILARIOUS series of fuck-ups in an attempt to rescue poor innocent Sestun. They’ve just floated Sestun up to where they’re hiding when Lord Verminaard comes into the dragon’s lair. The dragon and the highlord start discussing their villainous plans when they see Fizban’s hat come floating down to the floor.

reaction-cersei-1

Meanwhile, Tanis wakes up and decides to go through with the plan, even though it means both certain death for all of them, and playing right into the traitor’s plan. Tanis is hinging his hopes upon there not actually being a traitor, which we, the audience, know is completely untrue. Oh the dramatic irony!

Tanis has a dramatic farewell with Laurana, who is still determined to prove that she isn’t useless. She reminds him, correctly, that even if her combat training was “ceremonial” it was still goddamn combat training, which makes her marginally more useful than Tika (poor Tika).

The plan is in motion! Everyone is disguised as women (except for their facial hair for some reason), and goes to wake the children and lead them outside. But, unexpectedly, there’s a guard at the door where there never was one before! (This place seems pretty shoddily guarded tbh.) The guards say that they’ve been ordered to search the women before they can go into the children’s room and are really freaking creepy about it. But one of them makes the mistake of calling Sturm ugly and Sturm, realizing the destructive nature of the patriarchy and the male gaze, begins the attack.

fuck the patriarchy

Our heroes make short work of those sexist draconians (ugh) and run into the children’s room where they’re soon to encounter a motherfucking dragon.

Back to Tasslehoff and Fizban, who have just gotten caught trying to rescue Sestun from Lord Verminaard and Pyros’s clutches. Pyros in particular is concerned, because he now knows that they caught him talking about the mysterious green gemstone man, a secret for which he’s willing to kill. OH NO!

Fortunately for them both, Fizban turns out to be good for something. He grabs Setsun, casts a darkness spell, and tells Tasslehoff to run. He’s even able to protect them from the dragon’s firey breath! Astonishing! Could it be that The Old Man is Not What He Seems?

The three make their way back to the mechanism room, while Pyros starts breaking through the goddamn wall. The only way down is by crawling down the mechanism’s chain, so that’s just what Fizban, Tasslehoff and Sestun start to do. Unfortunately for them, the dragon bursts through and attacks. Finding that his breath can’t touch the three due to Fizban’s spell, Pyros does the next best thing and attacks the chain instead, melting the links and causing them to fall to their certain doom.

womp womp

WOMP WOMP

However, unbeknownst to Pyros, he’s just set a giant cogwheel in the mechanical room a-turning, to what purpose… we’ll have to find out in a later chapter!

Welp that certainly…barely advanced the story. But good news Dragonscouts – there’s only two more chapters and an epilogue to go, meaning we are almost done with Dragons of Autumn Twilight!

Asshole count: whoever knows who this goddamn traitor is but isn’t telling me.

 

DOAT Book II, Chapter 12: The parable of the gem. Traitor revealed. Tas’s dilemma.

Greetings Dragonscouts! When last we met, our bold heroes were about to be betrayed by a traitorous traitor, Tasslehoff and Fizban were off being useless, and we found out that dragons can transform into humans for some reason. If the title chapters are as spoilery as ever (and I’m sure they are), we’re gonna find out who that traitor is, at least! Let’s dive in.

We start out with Caramon, in drag, getting sexually harassed by Eben.

brule shock

Apparently they are “doing comedy” for the woman captives down the mine. The women, held apart from the society of their children for so long, are so deprived of amusement that they find this hilarious for some reason. Tanis, in another rare moment of good judgment, has located the natural leader of the women, Maritta. In a move of astonishing stupidity on Maritta’s part, she has agreed to Tanis’s plan to potentially endanger their children who, lest we have forgotten the last chapter are: 1) being held in an undisclosed location; and 2) being guarded by a fucking dragon. So maybe Tanis was being an idiot all along!

makes sense

Maritta tells Tanis that the Highseekers are also being held prisoner, but are being treated better than the rest (aka, they are not being forced into slave labor), and thus will cause some problems during the planned revolt.

Maritta also reveals that she is not an idiot by telling Tanis that his plan is contingent on their children coming to no harm during the process. Tanis reminds here that there is a fucking dragon guarding them, and Maritta laughs.

brule shock

Apparently the dragon is old and feeble, and the children love her. Not only this, but the dragon thinks the children are her children. And anyway, she sleeps late, so they can just sneak the kids past her before breakfast. THAT WAS LUCK, TANIS. THAT WAS LUCK. DON’T YOU DARE THINK THIS WAS AT ALL DUE TO YOUR DUBIOUS INTELLECT.

Anyway, the women set to work on the plan by sewing some clothes to disguise the men as women. However, Sturm starts to make trouble when they insist that he shave off his mustaches in order to pass. Which, Jesus Christ Sturm, we’re talking about rescuing literally hundreds of people, including children, from a life of slave labor. You could  maybe sacrifice a few hair follicles, which may I remind you, FUCKING GROW BACK for such a worthy cause, right?

…no. Tanis just has him cover his face with a scarf.

cher yuk

Then Riverwind starts to make a fuss, saying that his tribe punishes cowardly warriors by making them dress up as women, so he won’t do it.

ron swanson 2

The solution to this is wrap him in a cloak and have him lean on a stick like an old woman which… how is this any different than having him dress up as a woman? IDK at least he buys it which is good enough for now.

Meanwhile, Tanis is preparing his genius disguise by wrapping his face in a scarf instead of shaving

malcolm transpo

and Laurana calls him out on it, proving once again that she is better for this group than Tanis. Further, when Tanis tries to apologize for snapping at her, she insists that he was right, but that she’s going to prove her worth somehow. This apparently makes Tanis’s “soul [stand] breathless,” which I assume means it gives him a half chub.

Finally, when everyone’s about ready to go, Raistlin makes trouble by saying that he’s too tired to go along with him. I have to hope that he said this before making the women go through the trouble of sewing him a costume. They decide to leave him there, which after all, was not too hard.

The draconian (ugh) guards come in, apparently after having enjoyed happy hour, and completely buy that all these dudes with obvious facial hair are, in fact, women. So the idiotic plan is now in motion. Let’s hope nobody fucks up, my dudes!

Meantime, Tasslehoff and Fizban are finding extremely convenient secret doors and trying to make their way around the fort. Fizban engages in some artistic appreciation, and shows Tasslehoff a battle scene in which good gold and silver dragons battle the evil red and black ones. Then Fizban spells Tasselhoff to forget this information, and they go traipsing off to find the dragon’s lair, which seems like an incredibly terrible plan.

pointless

Our heroes in drag are in shock as their plan begins to go surprisingly well, up to the point where they find the menfolk in the mine. However, the men are skeptical of Goldmoon’s claims that a goddess gave her some metal discs so they should risk their lives for reasons. The Highseeker, as predicted, starts the trouble, and it seems like the men are going to start a days-long argument. And even worse, they hurt Goldmoon’s feelings!

63_sad-crying-full-house-michelle-tanner

this is my new favorite gif btw

They come across a super old and dying dude, one of the Highseekers who actually spoke up against Lord Verminaard and his minions. He apparently has whatever the fantasy equivalent of cancer is, which makes him saintly and philosophical, as cancer tends to do. He asks Goldmoon that if she’s really the emissary of the old gods, why the hell did they wait so long to come back to Krynn?

Goldmoon thinks about this, then says that it’s basically like if you drop a jewel in the forest and are afraid to go back to get it, she guesses. This apparently makes complete sense to the man and he is INSTANTLY CONVERTED from his previously strongly held beliefs. Good job, Goldmoon!

But then, Tanis gives the group some disturbing news – BOTH Eben and Gilthanas are nowhere to be found. Womp womp! Guess we’ll have to wait for the traitor to be revealed for at least a couple more pages.

We’re taken back to dragon Pyros’s POV, in a tiny (for a dragon) chamber, where bad boss Sestun is being offered as the dragon’s dinner. Pyros is so gully dwarf racist that he won’t even eat Sestun, which I would be mad at if it didn’t mean that Sestun would live to see another day. Hooray for Sestun!

whoo whoo

The traitor then enters the room to rat on our bold companions. When the individual throws back their hood to reveal their face, there’s a barely audible gasp as Tasslehoff, hiding somewhere near the ceiling, recognizes who they are. The audience, on the other hand, is left in the dark, in a gambit that is getting increasingly irritating.

Pyros is as unimpressed by the plan to free the saves as I am, and moves to more important things, namely that the unnamed prisoner brought to Lord Verminaard during the last chapter is HIM whom they’ve been searching for all this time. Given that there has been literally no foreshadowing about this apparently insanely important individual, the import of this statement is kind of lost on me. Anyway, Pyros thinks that the guy is fine where he is for now, considering the coming attack on Qualenesti. Once that’s over with, Pyros will take the man to the Dark Queen. Great plan, Pyros! What could possibly go wrong?

Anyway, Pyros tells the traitor that he has to keep this dude safe until he can get back from deep fat frying the elves. The traitor agrees, and fucks right out.

Tasslehoff starts crying with the realization of who has betrayed them, but still won’t say who it was, which is getting REALLY ANNOYING. But then he says that even though they can’t warn Tanis, given that they have no idea where he is, they’re going to do the next best thing and rescue Seston.

My god, this is enough to get me to start liking Tasslehoff again.

And here ends the chapter, and I’m sorry to say that our chapter titles are goddamn liars.

Asshole count: If not the chapter titles, then for sure any dude whose masculinity is so fragile that he can’t shave his facial hair or dress in drag in order to rescue hundreds of people, including children, from a lifetime of slave labor.

DOAT Book II, Chapter 11: Lost. The plan. Betrayed!

Well it’s time for another chapter of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, and it looks like the betrayal that I’ve been predicting for, oh, the last MILLION OR SO CHAPTERS is finally going to come to fruition. Let’s get started!

We begin with… aw freaking Tasslehoff. I thought he was lost and never to be found again! Don’t tease me like this, book. Anycrap, his narrative starts back when we meet our dark

lav7

elf. When everything goes back, someone grabs him, hoists him onto one of the chains, and tells him to climb. He does, as everybody else escapes thanks to Raistlin AND NO FREAKING ONE ELSE.

Tasslehoff and the person, who he realizes is Fizban, climb the chain until Tassheloff feels comfortable to make a pun about the chain LINKing to the mechanism, and honestly, I want to punch him about 75% more than I once did.

They decide to follow the chain over the mechanism and into a tunnel, so Fizban conjures a puffball of light to guide the way. The puffball, of course, turns out to be HILARIOUSLY disobedient and afraid of the dark.

kanye laugh

As they crawl across the chain, over a yawning chasm, Tasslehoff begins to fantasize about what it would be like if he fell and splattered on the ground. ME FUCKING TOO, TASSLEHOFF. Fortunately for them and not us, they make it to the tunnel, belatedly realizing that they have left their staffs behind.

Meantime, the rest of our brave warriors are defying my expectations by being upset that Tasslehoff and Fizban have gone missing. Tanis, in a freak instance of doing something that I actually agree with, tells everyone that they absolutely cannot go back to fetch them. Good on you, Tanis. Raistlin also takes the news of the two missing companions by shrugging then falling asleep, confirming his status as the best character in this book.

Anyway, Tanis and Sturm sit down with Gilthanas in an attempt to figure out where the fuck they are, which turns out to be in the lowest cellar of Pax Tharkas. Nearby is the prison where the women are being kept, and also nearby is A FUCKING DRAGON – a red one, named Ember. The children are being held separately, on the first floor, and are guarded by yet another dragon. This is clever of the captors, the book explains, because the women would never leave without their children and the men would never leave without their wives/children, thus meaning that the women would have absolutely no problem leaving the men. Good move, ladies.

scarjo misandry

pictured: the women escaping Pax Tharkas without those pesky men.

Also, there’s a bunch of gully dwarves working the mines alongside the men, but this is evidently an afterthought.

MIA

Eben joins the group to say that Gilthanas knows a VERY SUSPICIOUS amount about Pax Tharkas. When Tanis asks what the point would be in betraying them all at this stage, Goldmoon replies that the betrayer wants to get her, and the disks, to Lord Verminaard. Somehow this helps Tanis stop the bickering, and Gilthanas goes on to reveal EVEN MORE stuff about Pax Tharkas that there’s no reason he should know.

Apparently, every day, 10 to 12 women are allowed to bring food to the men, and then to visit their children. Gilthanas’s plan was always to have his dudes disguised as women to relay their plan of freeing the female hostages in order to alert the men that they’d be free to incite a revolt. However, according to Gilthanas, they hadn’t worked out how to free the children, because they can’t figure out what the deal is with the dragon guarding them. Oh well! No big deal, right?

nazi shrug

Despite this glaring issue, everyone agrees that this plan is A Good Plan, and they decide to strike in the morning, because Lord Verminaard and Ember will be off joining the invasion on Qualinesti.

We turn back to Tasslehoff and Fizban in the mechanism room as they try to figure out an exit plan. Just then, in an astonishing coincidence, Fizban points out that just below them is a crack in the wall that leads to Lord Verminaard’s private chambers. Even more coincidentally, they find themselves spying on both Lord Verminaard and his dragon, Ember! Willickers!

We then go into one of our confounding dragon POVs. We learn that Ember, secretly named Pyros (so original you guys) has been sent to Lord Verminaard ostensibly as a gift, but really to spy on Lord Verminaard on behalf of the Queen of Darkness (who might be a goddess I guess???). But he also has another, even secreter mission, to find a guy named Everman… or maybe Green Gemstone Man… or maybe Beren? Guys this is getting needlessly complex.

jerri 2

Anyway, Ember is in Lord Verminaard’s room, like, knocking shit over with his tail and stuff, when Lord Verminaard complains. So Ember like, transforms himself into a human which is something I guess dragons can do, but they don’t seem to like it too much. He’s apparently here to see some new prisoners brought in by Fewmaster Toede, in an effort to soothe Lord Verminaard’s wrath from letting Goldmoon escape his clutches. One of those prisoners is none other than bad bitch gully dwarf Sestun! I’m so glad he’s not dead! And then there’s another mysterious unidentified guy who is apparently deaf and mute, and who I’m sure will not be in any way important.

Lord Verminaard makes short shrift of these prisoners, telling Setsun to “feed the dragon” (nothing ominous there), and the unidentified unimportant man to go work in the mines. Ember seems to think this is a pretty idiotic idea, but doesn’t say anything. Lord Verminaard confirms that he and Ember are to join the attack on Qualinesti first thing in the morning, then leaves Ember to pace the room in evident consternation.

It isn’t long before a draconian (ugh) enters the room to give a clandestine report to Ember. Apparently their traitor (WHO COULD IT BE????) has brought Goldmoon into Pax Tharkas. Ember is apparently not too impressed by this, but orders the draconian (ugh) to bring the traitor to him tonight, without telling Lord Verminaard. And here the chapter ends.

I’m actually really impressed with this chapter in that Tanis is actually making some good decisions.

Asshole count: I wasn’t really sure, but I guess it’s going to have to be Gilthanas again, for deciding that the child captives, and by extension the woman captives, are expendable so long as there’s a revolt against the army holding Pax Tharkas. Pretty cold shit, bruh.

 

 

DOAT Book II, Chapter 10: The Royal Guard. The Chain Room.

Greetings Dragonscouts! Time to get back to our noble band of heroes as they attempt to infiltrate Pax Tharkas in order to lead a slave revolt against an army that has motherfucking dragons.

They’ve just been turned aside by a giant slug, obtained a potentially enchanted blade, and discovered that Laurana’s followed them all the way from Qualinost. And now they’re forced down the tunnel that Raistlin called “evil.” I’m sure that it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out, right?

star trek nod

Laurana, for her part, is scared, but refuses to run back to Tanis, and it occurs to her that she’s serious about wanting to make Tanis proud of her. Oh, so just now you decide it’s serious, Laurana? Following this group of seasoned fighters into certain death was a frivolous whim? Good lord.

Shade

They come to the end of the tunnel where they find a hole that apparently radiates evil. I’m not sure what the physics of this might be. Is evil a plasma, perhaps?

Gilthanas, Raistlin and Tanis decide to enter the hole of evil, and find themselves… in another room. Apparently, they’re the crypts of the Royal Guard, who are pledged to continue their duties even in death. Raistin helpfully informed Tanis that unlike the friendly zombies of Darken Wood, these guys will straight-up kill everyone’s ass for disturbing the king’s rest. Willickers! How are they going to get out of this one? Maybe with a balls to the wall fight to the death?

terrible battle

maybe we’re unclear as to what “fight to the death” entails.

…annnnd nope. Goldmoon comes into the room, shows off her medallion, and the ghosts melt away. So much for thrilling ghost fights.

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They come to a false door, but just as they despair of going further, Raistlin whips out a spell from the Book of Fistandantilus, and the entire wall opens up. Not bad, Raist! But the spells sure do take it out of him, or so we’re to understand.

This leads them to the famous Chain Room of Pax Tharkas, which is so famous that we’re only hearing about it just now. Apparently if the chain is released, it drops massive blocks of granite behind the gates of the fortress, preventing anyone from opening them. This seems like a short-sighted strategy to me – what happens if the fort-dwellers drop the chain, then win the battle? Now that they can’t open their own front doors, it’s going to be a little hard to go out for groceries during peacetime.

Poorly planned fortress logistics aside, the group starts searching the chain room and find a new secret door in some of the stones. Raistlin immediately warns them against opening it, saying that he senses enormous power behind it. I’m sure that since Raistlin has been right about basically everything that has happened so far, the group will listen to what he’s saying, right?

nope

Gilthanas opens the goddamn door, because of course he does, and reveals… treasure!

scrooge

Oh man! Gold bricks everywhere! Rich stuff! The treasure of Kith-Kanan! What could possibly go wrong now?

cher yuk

This question is immediately answered by the spirit of a dark elf attacking them. So, what is a dark elf exactly? We haven’t heard about dark elves in this book yet, and in fact, we’re explicitly taught that elves always “wore the white robes of good.” Is it another breed of elf? Have the rejected the ways of the white robed and gone rogue? Not finding the answers to these burning questions in our book, I turned to Wikipedia to see if I could figure this out.

Aha, so a “dark elf,” or “drow” in Dungeons and Dragons tradition is defined as “a generally evil, dark-skinned subrace of elves.”

lav7

Ooh. Guys. Guys. You guys. Guys.

To the book’s credit, it doesn’t describe this particular elf as being dark-skinned, but only “coldly beautiful” and “distorted.” Evidently she was sentenced beyond death to guard the king’s treasure, and she starts doing it quite effectively. Raistlin has just enough time for a quick “I TOLD YOU SO” before telling everyone to run.

The ghost of the dark elf evidently attacks by screaming and flailing at our heroes, and we’re left to wonder: 1. how this is in any way effective; and 2. why ghost elves need to catch their breath to scream. Before these questions are answered, Raistlin swings into action. He faces down the dark elf by… summoning his inner strength, I guess, although there’s a bit that I’m sure won’t end up being significant at all about him calling out the spell in a strong, clear voice that is not his own. Anyway, he seals the treasury door, trapping the dark elf and saving everyone. Again. But he collapses, forcing his brother to carry him around. Romantically, I mean.

true romance

haven’t deployed this one in a while.

The group makes its weary way through another passage, and finds themselves in the cellar of Pax Tharkas – meaning they’ve made their way inside the fortress. Huzzah! There is, of course, the minor matter of Tasslehoff and Fizban going missing, but eh, I am sure nobody will really miss them. Onward to glory!
Asshole count: In this one, it’s got to be Gilthanas. He’s been with our heroes long enough to get with the program that when Raistlin gives you a dire warning about something, you stay the eff away from that thing. Honestly.

DOAT Book II, Chapter 9: Suspicions grow. The Sla-Mori.

Hello Dragonscouts! When we last met, our heroes were about to storm the fort at Pax Tharkas, risking certain death for a bunch of elves who don’t care, and possibly inviting traitors into the mix. Just another day in Krynn, am I right? Well, let’s see if they can manage not to get their asses handed to them in this chapter.

So the group is on the path heading toward Pax Tharkas, when Gilthanas, Tanis’s full-elven brah but not-brah, suddenly goes creeping into the bushes. Eben, who the group picked up in the last chapter, and who may or may not be incredibly suspicious, asks Tanis how much he knows about this Gilthanas person, if that is is real name. Eben doesn’t seem super interested in the answer, given that he steamrolls right over Tanis’s answer that yes, he knows Gilthanas quite well in fact, considering the two of them were raised as siblings and that Tanis finger-banged his sister quite a bit. Instead, Eben tells Tanis hints that a bunch of elves approached his human fighting troop, asking for help in raiding a Dragon Highlord’s fortress. Gilthanas disappeared in the night, and a bunch of draconians (ugh) attacked, leaving only Eben to escape their clutches. Seems mighty suspicious to me, but Tanis is Not Having It.

makes sense

I think we should trust the guy who’s deliberately leading us into certain death and who just told me our lives are meaningless to him.

Gilthanas gets back, and the group discusses their plan. They’re intending to sneak into the fortress using the secret path, or Sla-Mori, that’ll lead them past the enemy troops. Caramon and Sturm are dissatisfied with this, and seem to favor an outright attack on the front gate, but they are rightly dismissed as idiots who have no idea what they are talking about. Meanwhile, Sturm tells Tanis that he hasn’t been able to figure out who’s been following them, because he or she is quite woods-crafty. Way to double down on that uselessness, Sturm.

The group reaches a giant cliff, and Gilthanas magics the rocks open, revealing the entrance to the Sla-Mori, also known as the burial chamber of Kith-Kanan, also known as I DON’T CARE JUST DO SOMETHING ALREADY.

Flint and Raistlin engage in some nasty snapping at each other, before Raistlin pronounces that he senses “great evil” in the passage. Not to be outdone, Fizban says he also senses “great goodness,” because “[t]he elves are not truly forgotten within.” Um. Great. Those same elves that are risking the lives of a few people they don’t care about so that they can run away from the evil draconian (ugh) army instead of fighting it? Those elves? Those are the “great goodness?”

sure jan

The others are not too keen about going into the tunnel themselves, but Tanis (rightly, I’ll admit) tells them that going in the front gate would be idiotic and suicidal. He and Sturm also agree to leave the cliff face open a crack, so as to lure and trap whatever it is that’s following them.

The group decides to make camp for the night, and we shift to Tika’s POV. She’s still new to the ways of heroes, and is surprised to find out that nobody takes off their armor to go to sleep. She also notices that both Caramon and Eben are eyeing her up. She seems to be okay with this, as they’re both major hotties, but she does seem to be conflicted in her thinking about Caramon. On the one hand, thinking about their post-mortal danger groping in the last chapter makes her “shiver with delightful fear,” which is understandable. But then her last thought on going to sleep is to be thankful that she isn’t alone with him, which… ooh.

lav7

 

Let’s unpack this a little. So Tika’s being portrayed as, A of all, pretty sexually desirable what with her pretty looks and developed secondary sexual characteristics (aka, big titties). But B of all, she is also portrayed as being very sexually innocent and unsure of herself. So it’s understandable that she might be feeling conflicted about wanting to engage in sexual interaction with someone, even though it’s also exciting to her. That’s all okay. What is giving me the squicks is how Caramon is acting towards her, dig? He’s super into her, yeah, but by giving credulity to the apparently false rumors that Tika’s a big slut, he’s not giving her a whole lot of credit. And I say this, not to say that being a slut is a bad thing (it isn’t), but that Caramon should be getting his information about Tika from… Tika. And this is something he is very much not doing. He is fine talking swordfighting with her, and ordering food from her, but he is just not communicating when it comes to intimacy. This is NOT COOL. Caramon, at the very least you need a talking-to.

Fortunately for Tika, myself, and the rest of the audience, Goldmoon decides to give Caramon a talking-to. I hope her gentle womanly wisdom is going to alleviate my fears!

womanly wisdom

Pictured: womanly wisdom.

Okay, so Goldmoon takes Caramon aside and tells him she’s going to talk to him like an older sister. First off, she drops the bomb on him that… Tika’s a virgin. Okay Goldmoon, I would have gone with “so, if you want to make out with a lady, you might want to tell her that you’re into her first and see where it goes from there,” but okay Goldmoon. Your point is that Tika is inexperienced so she might not 100% know what she’s doing. That’s legit. Now are you going to tell Caramon to talk to her?

…No, she’s not. She tells Caramon that Tika wants Caramon’s approval, but that he shouldn’t use that as a way to get sex. Okay. Also legit, Goldmoon, that is a good thing to say but I think you are skirting the part where CARAMON SHOULD TALK TO TIKA ABOUT WHAT THEY WOULD BOTH LIKE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER.

Incidentally, Goldmoon also tells Caramon that she and Riverwind haven’t done the deed yet, because it’s their tradition to wait til marriage. Y’know, though, now I think on it, Goldmoon and Riverwind have not exactly demonstrated great communication skills as a couple, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that she isn’t emphasizing that particular important ingredient to a healthy relationship.

Meanwhile, in the non-sex-obsessed part of the camp, Tanis is trying to get Gilthanas to explain why he’d abandoned the humans and elves during the draconian attack. Gilthanas just says he was trying to get the druids to help them out (druids again! Will we ever see the druids?), came back to discover the battle already raging, then got hit on the head. Tanis is not too keen on this explanation, which is probably wise of him.

In the morning, our brave companions come to a fork in the passage. Riverwind detects the tracks of humans (?) and animals. The animal tracks stop where the paths cross, and the human (?) tracks go right, not left. This is ominous supposedly, but honestly I’m just kind of confused. You’re bad at describing tracks, Riverwind. Raistlin comes up and says that the evil comes from the right. That’s a nice, clear explanation, and everyone is the better for hearing it. The group goes left, and they find themselves in a gigantic hall in which they find… A SKELETON!

Sans_normal

sup

Apparently it’s the remains of Kith-Kanan, “greatest of the elven kings.” Gilthanas and Tanis go to their knees and solemnly pray, while Tasslehoff declares that he has no intention of stealing the elf-king’s sword, meaning the thing’s as good as stolen. He and Raistlin go up to examine the remains further, and Raistlin discovers that the sword is enchanted, and tells Tasslehoff to definitely not touch it ever. I’m going to go ahead and guess that Tasslehoff will not follow this particular instruction.

The group examine the chamber further, and Gilthanas and Raistlin discover a helpful map carved into one of the doors. All seems to be going splendidly, when Tasslehoff hears a scraping sound coming from behind the map door. Before they can shut them, the doors slam open revealing HOLY SHIT IT’S A… giant… slug? Kind of disappointing, until the authors let us know that it can shoot projectile paralyzing saliva at its prey. That’s pretty cool, you guys. Go on.

jurassic-park-spitting-dino

Our heroes are fighting the slug when a voice yells Tanis’s name. Surprise, it’s the person who was following them… Laurana!

This surprises Tanis so much, he gets a slug-loogie on his sword, causing the sword, then his arm, to start dissolving. Thanks, Laurana.

Fortunately Goldmoon remembers that she has a healing staff this time, and heals Tanis up while everyone else keeps fighting the battle slug.Tanis is trying to protect both Goldmoon and Laurana with just a bow, but the thing charges them, causing him to dive toward the elf-king’s throne. So in the end, it’s Tanis who steals Kith-Kanan’s sword, and uses it to de-slug the hall.

The group is forced back the way they came, while Tanis and Gilthanas ask Laurana what the fuck she thinks she is doing. She insists on going with them, and reminds them both that all elven women are trained as warriors. And that raises the question – if all elven women are trained as warriors, why can’t they form an army to fight the draconians (ugh) instead of relying on this increasingly idiotic sneak attack? Tanis explains that it is because it’s not “serious training.” Fuck you too, Tanis.

Raistlin cuts through the bickering, saying that Laurana’s going to have to come with them, because she could be captured if she tries going home from here. As usual, he is right, and now we’ve got Laurana along for the ride, hoorayyyy. Tanis takes a minute to let her know that she’s on her own, she’s a spoiled brat, and she’d better not get them all killed. Nice, Tanis.

So, the group is forced to the evil path of the fork in the road. We end our chapter with Tanis revealing to Raistlin just how he got the enchanted sword. Apparently, it was bequeathed upon him by none other than Kith-Kanan himself. So an elf-king had to raise himself from the dead just to save our heroes from Tanis’s incompetence. Sure you guys want him to be your leader?
Asshole count: Gotta be Caramon this chapter. His rapeyness is continuing to make me super uncomfortable. Tika, you in danger, girl.

DOAT Book II, Chapter 8: Doubts. Ambush! A new friend.

Greetings Dragonscouts! When last we met, our noble band of heroes were about to take a plunge into Certain Death to save a bunch of elves who don’t care about them, and Laurana was taking Tanis into Grappling School. Sexy danger! What is in store for our brave companions in this chapter? Y’know besides doubts, ambush, and a new friend.

Our heroes wake up to a totally-not-metaphorical storm stretching its stormy fingers towards Qualinesti. First thing Caramon says to Gilthanas, when he comes in with supplies, is that Tika needs armor, a shield, and a sword. FUCK YES, CARAMON. I can almost forgive your slut shaming for this! Gear up, Tika, you’re gon’ be a fighter! Caramon offers to help her put on her armor, but Goldmoon intervenes, because someone needs to tamp down that mighty boner somehow.

The elves also give them some dried fruit to eat along the way, which disappoints Caramon still further.

Ron-Swanson-Re-Think-That-Move-Son-Parks-and-Recreation

They head out of Qualinesti at dawn, with Tanis noting that Laurana didn’t even show up to say good bye. Maybe because you are kind of a jerk, Tanis?

shrug-house

Deprived of the chance to mansplain how to put on armor, Caramon decides to mansplain swordsmanship to Tika as they go. However, the authors are quick to note that Caramon is distracted by the view of Tika’s legs and undies, which raises the question – why are men always the swordsmen, when they can be distracted so easily? Men are just over-emotional, and should stay in the kitchen. Leave the fighting to the women, kay?

Caramon’s so obsessed with peeping at Tika that he forgets he’s supposed to be helping his brother. It gets so bad that Gilthanas, who cares nothing for humans, asks where Raistlin is before anyone else does. Fortunately for everyone, Raistlin was just doing some non-creepy lurking in some bushes. NBD!

dont be suspicious

When they stop for lunch, Fizban helpfully informs Tanis that something is following their noble band. Gilthanas immediately dismisses this, for he has not yet gotten the memo that The Old Man is Not What He Seems. Sturm, however, decides to take things seriously, and takes the rear guard.

rear guard. GET IT?

rear guard. GET IT?

They come to a clearing full of corpses, as one does in high fantasy novels. There is one non-corpsified human, but our heroes are concerned, as he (OR SHE) might be on the enemy side, serving Lord Verminaard. Upon further investigation, they determine that the human is: 1. a dude; 2. alive; 3. able to speak; and 4. a friend of Gilthanas’s, named Eben. (I didn’t realize Gilthanas had human pals? but okay?)

Unfortunately, just as our heroes discover this important information, a dozen draconians (ugh) attack. Raistlin has to stop Fizban from charmingly(?) burning them all to death, instead of fighting, which is not a great use of his time. Tika, as it turns out, is not yet very good at swordfighting (this is what comes from having a man teach you how to fight, Tika). Caramon tells her to run to the trees with Goldmoon and Fizban “like a good girl.”

ohhh no

Tika rightly tells him to go eat a dick, and immediately kills the fuck out of two draconians (ugh) by bashing them with her shield. This rekindles Caramon’s boner, and the two of them engage in some post-mortal danger groping that quickly gets out of hand. Tika, who has never made out with anyone before, starts to panic, while Caramon, slave to said boner, starts to carry her into the woods. Fortunately for both of them, Raistlin puts an end to that nonsense with the power of his boner-killing glare.

he waved his de-sexing stick most un-sexily

he waved his de-sexing stick most un-sexily

The battle won, the group listens to Eben’s tale of being beset by hobgoblins, and abandoned by his companions as dead. Gilthanas is pretty suspicious of this story, but agrees to add him to the group for his swordsmanship. Just then, Fizban hilariously(?) casts an offensive cobweb spell, and I think we are supposed to be delighted or something.

basic bitches

The heroic band reaches Pax Tharkas by sunset, and Flint reveals that the massive towers of the fortress were built by dwarves and elves, back when they were friends. TBH I think it’s probably a good thing that the dwarves dumped the elves, considering what dicks they’ve been, but I guess they were pretty good at architecture.

These days, Pax Tharkas is populated by draconians (ugh) and hobgoblins, whom our brave heroes watch as they march to attack Qualinesti. The plan, apparently, is to sneak inside, free the prisoners, spark the revolt, and force Lord Verminaard to call the army back to deal with it, allowing the Qualinost elves safe passage.

Tanis and Gilthanis confer, revealing that they still don’t quite trust this Eben. Gilthanas goes on to insist that he himself is not a traitor, and is willing to sacrifice his life to kill Lord Verminaard. Oh, and by the way, the lives of Tanis and the rest of his crew are meaningless. Cool, thanks Gilthanas! This is really inspiring me to put all of my trust in your idiotic plans!

malcolm transpo

The chapter ends as Sturm, who has been absent for most of the chapter, catches up with Tanis and confirms that they are being followed. WHO COULD IT BE? (I bet you can guess; I sure have.)

Asshole count: Caramon is in the running for this one, given his condescension, peeping at, and grappling with poor Tika. But this is a little mitigated by the fact that he insisted on Tika being armed in the first place, proving that when he isn’t distracted by his boner, he can be a decent fellow, at least I hope. The whole grabbing Tika to take her into the trees is getting a little bit rapey for me, and all I can do is hope that once Tika got her breath back to say “no,” he would, y’know, listen to her and stop. Since Raistlin intervened, Caramon’s rapeyness is still theoretical, so I’ll refrain from judgment until we have more information.

Therefore, the prize goes to Gilthanas, who not only let Eben, who might be untrustworthy, into the group’s Secret Plan without much thought, but also revealed that he doesn’t care about his own freaking semi-brother and his friends as long as they’re a means to his ends. Elves, man. I’m sure this Eben fellow will in no way cause you to regret the immense trust you have placed in him for no good reason.

DOAT Book II, Chapter 7: Farewell. The companions’ decision.

Greetings Dragonscouts! Welcome to the chapter where we FINALLY GET SOME FREAKING FOOD. These elves, man, I don’t care if their houses are made of quartz, they are stingy bastards. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the rest of our band of noble heroes after the sexually aggressive awkwardness of the last chapter.

We start off with Goldmoon… not eating, because the elven feast reminds her of her mother’s funeral.

ron-swanson 1

Still, Riverwind has taken a break from being an emo fuckass and is actually being supportive, so that’s something.

Laurana is… not eating, she’s staring at Tanis.

ron swanson 2

Tanis is… eating but not tasting anything. Flint is… not eating because he doesn’t like elven food. (WHAT DO ELVES EAT?)

Raistlin is… not eating much, but then he never does.

Tika is… not eating because she feels frumpy in front of the elven women.

ohhh no

Caramon is… eating, thank god, but not satisfied. He at least gives us a description of what elves eat: fruits and vegetables cooked in delicate sauces, served with bread, cheese and wine. That actually sounds kind of good, but I get the feeling that Caramon is a meat-and-also-more-meat kind of guy.

bacon and eggs

So this is a very frustrating feast for pretty much everyone, and also they are being pretty rude guests with all this not eating the food that has been finally served to them. Well, at least the elves deserve it.

And hey, Flint? You don’t like elven food which means you don’t like… fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese or wine. WHAT DO YOU LIVE ON. HOW DO YOU LIVE FLINT. I AM PRETTY SURE WE HAVE SEEN YOU EATING AT LEAST THREE OF THOSE THINGS ALREADY.

bacon and eggs 2

bacon and eggs 3

Apparently only Tasslehoff and Fizban are enjoying the dinner party, and Tasslehoff spends most of the time stealing shit because he is a – you know what? Forget it. Everyone else is being such a dick that I’m not even mad. You do you, Tas.

So then Gilthanas is up and – oh my god, he’s going to indulge in some oh-noetry. He sings in elvish while Tanis translates for Sturm. It is, predictably, about sunsets and fireflies. I don’t have the strength to transcribe it. Just imagine choppy free verse that expresses the elves’ infinite sadness or whatever.

cher yuk

Finally this gruesome feast is over, and it’s time for the meeting of the High Council. Oh boy, that sounds fun. But my sarcasm is proved wrong, because as it turns out, the council is held while standing on a giant map! Both Tasslehoff and I are unreasonably excited about this.

Hope it's as good as this map!

Hope it’s as good as this map!

Still, the meeting takes a downward turn when the Speaker announces that elves cannot fight against fucking dragons, so they’re going to head toward Silvanesti, which is an even older elf residence, sort of like Lothlorian to Qualinost’s Rivendell (gee, I bet nobody’s ever made THAT connection before).

But the plan won’t work unless they can stop the army currently at Pax Tharkas, which is where Lord Verminaard hangs. The Speaker explains that the captured men of the surrounding area are slaves, with their wives and children held hostage to ensure good behavior. This seems like a really shortsighted plan, Lord Verminaard. You have over half the population of captives as a sheer drain on resources. Put the women and children to work! Kids love to work.

mugatu

See?

Anyway, the Speaker thinks that if  the women and children are freed by our mighty heroes, the men will revolt, destroy the army and give the elves the time to dash on out of there.

Guys.

Guys. GUYS.

  1. Women can’t revolt???
  2. ELVES CAN’T HELP REVOLT???

Man just fuck y’all elves. Riverwind agrees with my point #2 at least, claiming that the revolting humans won’t survive making an attack like that. The Speaker helpfully explains that all the humans were going to die in the mines anyway, so what’s the big deal? They can, like, live in the mountains and stuff. Humans love mountains, right? Everyone glares at him, so he says that Gilthanas can go along with them too, if they want. Cooooooollllllll.

kanye laugh

So our heroes confer about this incredibly stupid and destructive plan. Tanis is in favor of splitting up so that Goldmoon can go with the elves to protect the Disks, but everyone shuts that down in a hurry. Even Fizban uses his mental powers on Tanis to go along. Tanis is a little weirded out by this, and confers with Raistlin about how This Old Man Is Not What He Seems. Raistlin agrees that the guy has some kind of great power, and it’d be dangerous to stop him.

After the rest go to get some sleep, Caramon and Sturm corner Tanis because they don’t trust Tanis’s not-bruh Gilthanas. His story about living while his entire army was either killed or burninated doesn’t sit right with them, and they think he might hand them over to Lord Verminaard. I mean, he is a dick, but Tanis doesn’t think he’s a traitor – he’s just misguided. Then Tanis abruptly yells that if there’s someone he doesn’t trust in their group, it’s Raistlin and the old man.

well that was just uncalled for.

well that was just uncalled for.

Later that night, Tanis is awoken by someone mysterious standing over his bed. Naturally, he grabs that person, pulls them across him, and puts a knife to their throat. I’m sure you’ll be shocked when I reveal that the mysterious night stalker is Laurana wearing only a “flimsy nightdress.” Tanis immediately gets a mega boner.

divine4

Laurana warns Tanis that her father doesn’t actually expect his lead-the-slaves-into-revolt plan to work, and that he’s basically sending Tanis & Co. into a death trap. Tanis decides it’s now the moment to be all noble, and tell her that even if the plan has just a slim chance, it’ll be worth it, because sometimes you have to risk your life in something you believe in. I don’t quite get your logic on this particular plan, Tanis, but okay.

jlaw okay

The one person who’s moved by this impassioned speech, however, is Laurana, who goes back to her bedchamber with newfound resolve. Does she have something she’s willing to risk her life to get? Would it be Tanis’s yogurt-slinger? I have no doubt we’ll find out soon enough.

Asshole count: This one’s tough. Tanis is in the running for that unsolicited comment about Raistlin, and then Gilthanas is just a dick all round. But I think the award his chapter goes to the Speaker for sending our brave companions – not to mention the entire slave population of Pax Tharkas – into certain death just to let the elves escape. Because fuck humans, am I right?

DOAT Book II, Chapter 6: Tanis and Laurana

Ohhh goody. We’re embarking on a chapter literally named after my two least favorite characters in the entire trilogy. Welp, it’s time to suck it up and try to find ways that Tanis and Laurana are not so bad after all, because what’s a 20-years-later recap without a little introspection, am I right you guys? Let’s dive in.

When last we joined our heroes, Laurana was leading them to somewhere with beds, and please god, food. My latest wish gets answered right away as they get to walk through an orchard and pick what they want and get delivered bread. Okay, maybe I don’t find fruit picking all that charming, but I can think of better ways to treat your guests then to tell them to harvest their own dinner. At least the bread came pre-made. Oh, and they’re invited to “relax on soft moss beds” instead of, you know, actual beds. Aren’t there bugs in those? Jesus christ, elves, you are never going to be Martha-level hostesses if you keep pulling this weak-ass hosting shit.

martha is pissed

Tanis refuses the food. WHAT THE FUCK TANIS.

ron swanson hulking

Laurana, however, tries to be a better hostess than her accommodations suggest, and starts making the small talk. She even compliments Tika’s hair! Ladies supporting ladies, what could be better?

Tanis throws down an apple (I thought he refused the food? And is he so mad about ladies complimenting each other?) and wanders into the trees. Both Laurana and Tasslehoff follow him, Laurana because she is thirsty for that half-elven D, and Tasslehoff because he is a sociopath.

So Laurana basically jumps Tanis and claims they’re engaged, which Tanis quickly shuts down. Guess their getting engaged as youngsters did NOT go over well with Laurana’s family, causing Tanis to leave Qualinost and set out on his journey of self-discovery. We can see how well that worked out.

Laurana insists, despite Tanis’s protests, that he came back because he’s in lurrrve with her and wants to maaaaaaaaarry her and oh yeah I can see why I found this annoying back in the day. Tanis tells her that actually, he’s in love with Kitiara (who we STILL haven’t met yet, ugh) and can’t marry Laurana because his heart is divided. Oh WOE FOR TANIS. He has too many ladies, what shall he do?

Shade

Anyway, he gives Laurana’s ring back, and she screams and throws it at him in rage. Coooool. I guess when the authors distinguished Goldmoon from “foolish, hysterical women,” this is what they were thinking of?

ohhh no

Tasslehoff, meanwhile, is watching the entire time, and steals the ring. Just… fucking wow.

Anyway, Tanis wakes up later… on the moss beds I guess? to Gilthanas sitting over him, thanking him for breaking Laurana’s heart and proving that he was right about Tanis being a half-human fuckboy this whole time (which to be fair, he is). He then tells Tanis to wake the others for the feast and… here the chapter ends. Wow! Short and pointless!

I feel a little vindicated about being annoyed by Laurana in this book, although now it’s tinged with the frustration of how poorly the authors write female characters. It’s doubly frustrating because one of the authors is a freaking woman. I know, product of its time and adhering to fantasy tropes and all, but the only women we’ve really met in the book so far are: the serene nurturing healer, the jealous town slut- but-not-really-a-slut, and the beautiful spoiled brat who’s convinced everyone luuuurves her because she’s just so pretty. Someone give me a lady with a fully developed character AND A GODDAMN SWORD.

Asshole count: TANIS AND LAURANA

DOAT Book II, Chapter 5: The Speaker of the Suns.

Greetings Dragonscouts! When last we joined our ferocious warriors, they’d been saved taken prisoner by a gang of sexy, lissome elves. What could be in store for our bold adventurers in Qualinost, city of elves? Let’s find out!

So we start off with… Elvish Cribs, I guess, a loving description of Qualinost’s architecture. Everything is graceful and nature-embracing because… elves. A’course, the beautiful archways that serve as barriers to the city were “[c]rafted by ancient dwarven metalsmiths,” although I bet if you asked Gilthanas about that today, he’d deny it.

The houses are supposedly pretty rad too, being carved from rose quartz. Which, um… isn’t quartz pretty translucent material? Like, usually not transparent, but definitely not opaque? Why would you make your houses entirely out of translucent material? Are elves all exhibitionists? I mean they’re all pretty tall, slim and attractive so I guess that makes sense. Still, a little weird when you’re going grocery shopping for, like, delicate fruits and crystallized honeys, or whatever it is elves eat, and you get a surprise glimpse of your neighbors in silhouette while they’re trying to rekindle their marriage with an elegantly carved sex toy, is all I’m saying.

But as impractical as elvish architecture appears at first glance, the place does seem like a pretty chill location to rest up and try to forget the horrors of being caged-up almost-slaves, so our heroes are going to take what they can get – even if it’s just a grove of aspen trees. Dudes didn’t even give our noble heroes a house to stay in, or – to Caramon’s dismay – any food. Elves, man.

Ron-Swanson-Re-Think-That-Move-Son-Parks-and-Recreation

Riverwind and Goldmoon engage in some post-mortal-danger groping while Tika watches them… Tika, you’d fit right in in Qualinost, I guess. Flint and Sturm are worried about Tanis, due to his being an elf-reject. Tanis has The Sads, but to his credit, does pull his shit together when Gilthanas joins them and says his dad wants to see them – no time for foods. Jesus, elves, you’re not ranking very high among hosting species. Even the gully dwarves gave our heroes a dead rat.

We have an interlude of Fizban being charmingly(?) dotty, and Raistlin being uncharacteristically kind to him by helping him along the trail. This leads Tanis to wonder about whatever it was Raistlin was frightened of upon seeing the guy, that is, before Fizban these-aren’t-the-droids-you’re-looking-fored him. I am sure this will in no way be an important plot point.

Tanis decides to focus on the present and catches up with his brah-not-brah Gilthanas, who first bitches about the new beard before telling Tanis that the elves are leaving Qualinesti.

Wait.

Wasn’t this city just now called Qualinost?

I paged back on my Kindle and yup – the first references in the chapter are “Qualinost.” I guess the city is Qualinost, and the, like, country is Qualinesti? That’s what I’m going with for now. Anyway, Tanis looks around and is startled to discover that the folk of Qualinost, besides being exhibitionists, are unhappy, which is super new for elves, I guess. Also Fizban starts crying for some unspecified reason. Bummer, you guys.

STRONG MEN ALSO CRY

STRONG MEN ALSO CRY

Anyway, the gang goes up the Tower of the Sun where they’re stopped and given some water and told to refresh themselves. STILL. NO. FOOD. You assholes. Caramon is ready to hulk out, I’m positive.

ron swanson hulking

Finally they’re called in to the audience chamber where now Flint starts crying because it’s so damn beautiful, and of course, built by dwarves. I would think the elves wouldn’t let dwarves build their towers if they were going to be such little shits to them? Elven heads of households are also present, and we get a delightful little description that there are so many women there today because all their menfolk have been killed in the battles. Because women can’t be heads of households if there are men about! Charming. The elves give side-eyes to our mighty heroes, “particularly the dwarf, the kender, and the two barbarians

pocahontis

who seemed grotesque in their outlandish furs.”

gnome vomit

They’re also judging on Raistlin’s red robes (neutral), because all elf wizards wear white robes (good), and think red robes are “just one step removed from black.” So, I admit to not getting D&D references, but isn’t that… actually correct? Not just belief, but there are three colors on the scale, white for good, red for neutral, black for evil? Besides the troubling color essentialism and cattiness of elvish what-not-to-wear-ness of it all, I don’t see why this belief is at all surprising.

Okay, FINALLY we get to the Speaker of the Suns, aka Tanis’s adopted father, who is not looking great by elven standards (he has, like, a single wrinkle. Grosssss.)

As the audience begins, Gilthanas tells his father about his enormous failure of a raid on Pax Tharkas, where he was left for dead and saved by druids. Druids! I forgot there were druids in these books. Do we ever see the druids again? Anyway, Gilthanas goes on to tell about the destruction of Solace, and seeing Lord Verminaard riding a huge-ass red dragon, vowing to destroy the elves, and setting fire to the elf POWs in his custody.

So we get to the part of the story we already know, and Goldmoon steps up after Gilthanas describes how she healed Theros. He seems pretty pissed about it for some reason, especially when she shows off Mishakal’s medallion. He goes to rip the medallion from her throat (SUPER RUDE) but it zaps him with GODLY POWERS.

bgow

The elves start to go on the attack when Fizban finally steps up and tells them to stop this fucking nonsense and calm their tits, for some reason avoiding all of the elven swords pointed at him. I wonder if Fizban could be… MORE THAN HE SEEMS? Suspecting that he may have tipped his hand, Fizban then tips his hat over his eyes and pretends to think he’s gone blind. Raistlin might be fooled, old man, but I AM NOT FOOLED.

Solstaran (the Speaker’s name, apparently) is Fizipnotized into listening to Goldmoon’s recap of The Story So Far. When she’s done, he finally lets them go with a promise of later food. NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

this is my hell

But then he says his daughter, Laurana, will show them to somewhere to rest, and the narrative stops to give the most over-the-top physical description given to a character in these books so far. Laurana, with her honey hair, “woodland brown” skin (please god, don’t let that be author for “tan.” Please let her not be white.), “full, pouting lips” and “large liquid eyes that changed color like leaves in flickering sunshine.” (How the hell does that work?) They even have Raistlin staring, because for once “no hint of decay touched the young elfmaiden.” This always bothered me, to be honest. Hasn’t Raistlin just spent the better part of an afternoon among elves, all of whom age slowly? Why is Laurana the exception, other than she is SUPER DUPER SPESHUL and Tanis has a raging half-elven boner for her?

Oh man, and then we get to poor Tika, who feels “dumpy and half-dressed, freckled and red-headed” next to Laurana. First off, freckled and red-headed are not insults, unless you are British. But then she feels ashamed of her full bosom and low-cut blouse, meaning that even as Tika’s feeling self-conscious, the authors are objectifying her. Nice trick. She takes her frustration out by shoving Tasslehoff, which is the best idea anyone’s had this whole chapter, as far as I’m concerned.

The chapter ends with even more fulsome descriptions of Laurana as she speaks in a voice “like a clear stream rippling among trees,” moves “with childlike grace,” and “lower[s] her eyes in maidenly modesty,” but then sneaks a glance at Tanis, which troubles him for some unknown reason.

cher yuk

Hoo boy. A lot to unpack in that chapter. Elves are jerks, you guys. You have time to give our heroes a snack after they’ve marched all freaking day to get to Qualinost. Then the first thing you do is claim they’re lying and try to steal their necklaces right off of them? You are some entitled little shits, in your quartz houses which I bet THE DWARVES JUST BUILT FOR YOU ANYWAY. And here’s our first glimpse of Laurana, who I remember being incredibly annoyed by in my first read-through of these books. I honestly can’t remember if my dislike was due to my own internalized misogyny, the authors’ misogyny (internalized or otherwise), or if she was just generally an unpleasant character. Well, we’re sure to find out. Isn’t self-realization grand?

By the way, I’m prepared to forgive any and all lush descriptions of Laurana’s beauty if it turns out she’s not white.

Asshole count: EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. ELF.