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.
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?
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.