DOAT Book II, Chapter 4: Rescued! Fizban’s magic.

Greetings dragonscouts! When last we met our noble band, they were being toted along in a bunch of fucking cages about to be sold to the slave mines, and had picked up a wizard who appears to be exhibiting symptoms of dementia. This is something the book expects us to find amusing.

hokay.

hokay.

Our chapter opens with everyone’s favorite sociopath, Tasslehoff, being VERY PUT OUT by the fact that he has been locked up. This is because kenders (being sociopaths) apparently don’t take well to being imprisoned due to their freewheeling natures. Tasslehoff, as is to be expected, takes this out on his fellow prisoners until even Goldmoon just about slaps him, and Tanis sends him to the back of the cart to think about what he’s done.

Spoiler alert: Tasslehoff does not think about what he has done, but instead turns his attention to the gully dwarf servant of the head hobgoblin. Our heroic gully dwarf now even gets a name – Sestun – and a back story! Apparently he hails from Pax Tharkas, which as you may recall from past chapters, is under the control of Lord Verminaard, and the destination of the slave caravan.

At this point I would have expected Tasslehoff to start torturing poor Sestun, but apparently Setsun’s treatment at the hands of the hobgoblins and draconians (ugh) is so terrible, that even our racist heroes start to feel sorry for him, and chat with him. Unfortunately he is not able to give them much information about the state of Pax Tharkas, as he is unable to relay information in a coherent way. Or count.

of fucking course

of fucking course

Meanwhile, Caramon and Sturm are debating the best means of fighting dragons. This is apparently a difficult task, due to the fact that the only known fighter of dragons was the warrior Huma, subject of the Oh Noetry at the beginning of the book, and hero of the Knights of Solemnia. Apparently only the Knights take Huma seriously, so accurate reports of Huma are in short supply. However, Caramon does remember one thing about him: he forged the mighty Dragonlance!

mind blown

THEY SAID THE TITLE OF THE BOOKS YOU GUYS THEY SAID IT

Anyway Fizban pipes up to say that Huma and the Dragonlance are both real, which surprises our noble heroes. However, when Fizban is asked to describe the thing, he can only remember that it was some kind of a lance that was good for fighting dragons.

Shade

Something about Fizban has gotten Raistlin rankled, though he’s not saying what it is. This drives Tasslehoff into more infuriating levels of boredom, so he sets about telling Sestun fabulous kender stories. Ahhh, there’s that torture I was expecting.

Anyway, while he’s storifying, Tasslehoff notices that Gilthanas, Tanis’s elf bro, is not asleep like the rest of his pals. Then Tas starts hearing a lot of strange bird calls. Fizban wakes to mutter that the elves are here, just in time for the ELF ATTAAAAACK

elf attack

pictured.

Elf arrows appear out of nowhere, just killing the fuck out of draconians (ugh) and hobgoblins! Unfortunately there aren’t enough elves to attack the caravan directly, so it’s time for our brave heroes to make their escape! This is made easier by the hobgoblins helpfully running away, but what to do with all those draconians (ugh)? Sestun, with the typical heroism and bravery shown by gully dwarves Krynn-wide, tries to break the lock, but is axe is old and busted. All seems lost for our mighty companions, as the draconians (ugh) clearly intend to butcher them in their cage rather than allow them to be rescued by the elves. Just then, Fizban decides it’s time for some poppin’ hot magic.

poppin hot magic

Proving that this is indeed a dungeons and dragons campaign, Fizban casts fireball inside the cage, setting the entire thing on fire. Fortunately for them all, the fire also superheated the cage lock, which allows Sestun, HERO OF THE HOUR, to break the thing and set our heroes free!

so rugged. so powerful.

so rugged. so powerful.

They set off to grab their stuff from the supply wagon, all except for Gilthanas who goes all “I’M NOT YOUR BRAH, BRAH” to Tanis before noping right on out of there. Tanis and the rest of our heroes have no choice but to follow suit, while Caramon and Sturm defend them against a group of even bigger, badder draconians (ugh) which, like, expel poisonous gas once they’ve been stabbed.

Just then Gilthanas, apparently having changed his mind about being Tanis’s brah, comes to their rescue with a bunch of elf warriors, and they all escape into the woods.

The elves waste zero time telling the human refugees that were rescued from the caravan that they’re not welcome to stay in the woods. I mean, decent that they offer food and supplies, but it comes with a swift “don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.” Goldmoon calls this out – rightly, I think, these people are pretty terrified – but Porthios, leader of the elves, stands firm, and the humans leave. When Goldmoon tries to argue about this, Porthios slams the human race in general for causing the long-ago Cataclysm and driving the gods out of Krynn.

notallhumans

As for our heroes, well, since Porthios, Gilthanas and Tanis are brahs, the elves agree to take the group to Qualinost – although it’s not so much an invitation as a command. Looks like our heroes are prisoners again.

The chapter ends here, and it was pretty satisfying, I have to say. Nothing like a good old fashioned prison break followed by some good old fashioned elf racism to fuel the fantasy-trope fire. And hey, hear that Mr. Frodo? We’re going to see the elves! Pretty cool. Until next time, dragonscouts!

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DOAT Book II, Chapter 3: The slave caravan. A strange old magician.

Greetings dragonscouts! When last we joined our fierce band of adventurers, they had just compounded all of their terrible, terrible decisions and got arrested by a bunch of draconians (ugh) in Solace. From the chapter titles, looks like we’re in for some exciting adventures in slavery! Let’s read!

We begin with our heroes trapped in literal cages with bars and everything, set in the middle of a clearing that we’re invited to imagine had been cleared by the finest of fiery dragon breath. As day dawns, they find that they are not alone, but are part of the last slave caravan to leave Solace for Pax Tharkas. And… what is Pax Tharkas? Honestly it’s been so long since I’ve read the start of this freaking book that I can’t remember whether we’ve been told what the heck that is yet.

confused but sexy

I’m so glad that stock photography exists to illustrate how I feel in a vaguely sexual way.

A control-F search later (God bless the Kindle-on-browser option, just bless it) reveals that the motherfucking dragon back in Xak Tsaroth was going to head there to meet with Lord Verminaard who I think is the leader of this whole freaking army that I was asking about a few chapters back. Well finally we’re going to find out who’s in charge, at least!

Anycrap, we focus on Tanis, who has a severe case of The Sads now that he’s, y’know, enslaved. We then cut to our hobgoblin captor, whose thoughts are focused on Tika’s titties. You couldn’t go five minutes without sexually objectifying Tika, could you, book?

nope

Tanis gets talking to the stranger from the last chapter, who as it turns out, is his elf friend Gilthanas. Gilthanas breaks the news that this Lord Verminaard has decided to exterminate the elves on Krynn. So we’re adding genocide to the mix – funnnn. Githanas sort of obliquely accuses Tanis of knowing about it and growing his beard to hide his half elven nature, which does nothing to help Tanis’s mood. Then, just to lighten things up, the hobgoblins throw the blacksmith into the cage, minus his forgin’ arm. Just… just blood freaking everywhere, you guys. It’s so gross.

Still not above this.

Still not above this.

Fortuntaely Goldmoon remembers that she’s actually good for something, and approaches with her staff. Gilthanas acts like a real bastard to her demanding that she let him die in peace “without any of your barbarian rituals!”

pocahontis

Goldmoon ignores the jerk-ass elf and puts him in his place by HEALING THE SHIT OUT OF THE SMITH. WOOOOOOOO! RELIGION!

FUCKING HELL YEAH!

FUCKING HELL YEAH!

Of course, as the caravan goes on its way we still have time for some good old-fashioned gully dwarf racism. Apparently the hobgoblins have a gully dwarf minion, and he behaves pretty much how you’d expect him to be portrayed… running elks into things and eating rotting meats that were lying “in the mud and filth.” Filth is fantasy code word for shit. Just say it’s shit, book. Just say it.

We even have an emoji for it. Say "shit."

We even have an emoji for it. Say “shit.”

Goldmoon remains weirdly optimistic, claiming that the Disks of Mishkal will be able to help them once she finds “the leader of the people,” whoever that might be.

VIL

Fantasy communism would be an interesting choice, at least.

Next, there’s a little bit of backstory about how Tika’s father, an illusionist, inspired Raistlin to take up magic. Tika has to take care of Raistlin because he’s coughing up his lungs, and this is getting Caramon to forget how much of a filthy whore she is and smile at her. True romance, guys!

kanye laugh

Sturm, and especially Tanis, are still moping around the cage worthlessly. Tanis does some backstorying of his own, and we learn that he and Gilthanas were not just bros, but brothers, raised by the ruler of the Qualinesti elves. Apparently Tanis’s mother was the ruler’s sister-in-law and Tanis was the result of her getting raped by a human. Jesus.

And on top of that, Tanis was starting to get interested in Gilthanas’s sister Laurana which is a little… incesty. Like, it’s one of those plot twists where the pseudo-incesty couple finds out that they’re not actually related, so it’s only technically not actual incest? But guys. You grew up together. That’s still super weird, and fortunately Laurana’s dad and Gilthanas thought so too. Gilthanas, in fact, was kind of a dick to him about it, as apparently is his wont. So Tanis took off in his usual angsty, morose fashion. And hey, now that they are both captured slaves, they can be angsty and morose together! Family fun.

All of this brooding is interrupted by the caravan coming upon an old man in a white robe and pointy hat yelling at a tree. This, unsurprisingly, is not appreciated by the draconians (ugh) so they throw him into the cage with the rest of our warrior band. His name is apparently Fizban, and he is here to entertain us with hilarious non-sequiturs and vague anachronisms.

Zany!

Zany!

Just then, Raistlin starts taking a turn for the worse. Apparently it’s just coughing, but fictional coughing, the kind where a single cough is the precursor for, like, everything cancer. But fortunately Fizban turns out to be a wizard (did the pointy hat give him away?) and heals him with some kind of spell that no one else can recognize. Freaky!

And here the chapter ends. Welp, that was a good deal of backstory, especially for Tanis. For some reason I don’t like him any better now that I know his moodiness is caused by unrequited incest feelings. Ugh, Tanis. You are the grossest.

DOAT Book II, Chapter 2: The stranger. Captured!

Hokay, maybe now it’s time to get into the actual storyline of book II of Dragons of Autumn Twilight following that intensely important cleaning-and-crying interlude. Our fearless heroes are still somewhere outside Solace watching the flames of its destruction tint the sky, Tika and Otik are serving up Harvey Wallbangers to hordes of hard-drinkin’ draconians (ugh) and hobgoblins, and life for the folk of Krynn seems generally fucked on account of the motherfucking dragons just whipping out flames whenever anyone says something disagreeable. Apparently the jerk-ass High Theocrat who welcomed his lizard overlords into the city is now toiling in the slave mines, where they mine… well, I’m not sure what, exactly, but I’m sure it’s unpleasant, what with the whole slavery aspect and all.

So my question now, as we go into this chapter, is who the heck is coordinating all these fucking lizard men and dragons into an army? This seems like a pretty extraordinary effort which is not something that draconians (ugh) seem to excel at? And the dragons aren’t in charge, right, because they’re taking orders from the draconians (ugh)! I mean, I’m sure this is just a question we haven’t had answered yet in the scope of the narrative, but man, when we do get an answer, it had better be a good one.

i'm waiting.

i’m waiting.

Anyway, we come back to Tika who has dried her womanish tears and is now serving up beer to randos at the Inn of the Last Home. But who should come strolling into the bar but our noble heroes! Which…. why? Last time you were here, if you don’t remember (I certainly do and it’s taken me longer to read this damn book than it has taken y’all to get from Solace to Zach Braff in story-time), you were attacked by theocrats, chased down the garbage chute, and hounded out of town by fucking hobgoblins. What makes you think that this is any kind of safe space for you to go now that the draconians (ugh) and hobgoblins have taken over the town?

shrug-house

Welp, idiocy aside, here our heroes are. Tika does a super big “WELCOME STRANGERS WINK WINK” like she’s the merchant in Resident Evil 4. Caramon is briefly confused by this, because apparently subterfuge is not his strong suit (putting it mildly). This doesn’t stop Tika from giving him an entire skillet of spicy fried potatoes, giving him a smooch and begging him to take her with him. Wow, Tika, I mean, I get it, your city is occupied by fearsome dragon men, but these guys are not the most reliable dudes, especially considering they destroyed your house and stole all of your stuff last time they were here. Remember that, Tika?

Tanis tells Tika to calm down. THANKS TANIS we wouldn’t want any FOOLISH HYSTERICAL WOMEN to blow your cover AM I RIGHT?

cher yuk

my face when tanis does literally anything

Anyway, Tika fills them in on the dragon attack, the rounding up and enslavement of anyone who’s not a skilled laborer into the slave mines. This makes Tika’s desperation a little more understandable, I guess. I mean, if it comes to either running away with a band of assholes or being enslaved, the assholes sound like the obvious choice. That is, until we remember the callous disregard with which our valiant heroes treated the last group of enslaved people they encountered, aka the gully dwarves… remember THEM? I DO. Remember how they barely treated the dwarves as people and then abandoned them to the rapidly collapsing city, pausing only to dump a pot of them into a freaking abyss? You might want to take your chances in the slave mines, Tika!

Anyway, Tika’s just starting to tell the group about a captive party of elves – something that gets Tanis’s attention – before she has to leave to sling a few more jagerbombs into the draconians’ (ugh) faces. Caramon experiences a strange tightening in his pants as he watches her go, but he can’t seem to figure out what those are, until he remembers the “stories he’d heard about Tika” and reminds himself that she’s apparently a big old slut. This makes him both sad and angry, and has the same effect on me.

ohhh no

Just when I thought this situation could not become more disgusting, one of the draconians grabs Tika and sexually harasses her by indicating that draconians (ugh) and humans are anatomically compatible.

marilyn-monroe-yuck-

Tanis stops Caramon and Sturm from intervening, because Tika can “take care of herself.” And she sure does – by “flouncing” off. Oh boy folks, we have the ladytimes trifecta right here: cleaning, crying and flouncing.

basic bitches

To distract everyone from the pervasive sexism, Flint starts talking smack about Raistlin while trying to figure out next steps. Tanis suggests they go to Qualinesti, which if memory serves, is where the elves hang out. This gets one of the strangers at the inn riled up for some reason, though no one but Tasslehoff witnesses this. The stranger approaches, but one of those draconian (ugh) dicks trips him on the way to our heroes’ table. Surprise, it’s a fucking elf!

legolas-and-the-oliphant-o

did he skateboard in down a fucking mammoth because otherwise how else will we know he’s an elf?

The draconians immediately jump him, and while our heroes are too far off to help out, Tika steps the fuck up and slams one of the draconians (ugh) on the head with her frying pan.

WITNESS ME

WITNESS ME

This, understandably, causes a fracas to break out, as our heroes struggle to prevent the draconians (ugh) and hobgoblins from calling the guards outside. Well, all but one of our heroes struggle, as Raistlin takes one look at the melee and nopes right back to his seat. Kind of a dick move, bro, but a pretty rational take on the situation.

Surprise, the guards get called, and the inn is surrounded. Just then, Tanis and the elf, who is apparently called Gilthanas. This has no bearing on the fact that they’re about to get the shit arrested out of them. One of them tries to grab Raist, who is like “AH NO SON IT IS ON” and magics him to death. When the head hobgoblin threatens to kill Tasslehoff if he does it again, Raist’s response is basically “meh, idgaf.”

last fuck

nope, there goes my last fuck.

Still, the numbers are too great for him to hold out, so in the end, everybody surrenders. Raistlin ensures no one will touch their shit by bullshitting a curse

like a boss

but alas, they are dragged away by their captors, and so ends the chapter.

Well after the cleaning and crying fest of the last chapter, this one was actually a fun ride, albeit a pretty sexist one. It’s nice to add another lady to the mix, especially since she can hold her own in a fight, but does she have to use a frying pan to do it? I mean, really guys? I would just like one lady with a sword, please. Just one. For starters.

Asshole count: You know, I think most people would give this one to Raistlin for standing by in the fight, but he more than made up for it by protecting everyone’s shit, in my opinion. Asshole count goes to Caramon for equal parts objectifying and slut shaming Tika. Poor Tika. You deserve better, girl, especially when that second trilogy comes around, ya dig?

DOAT Book II, Chapter 1: Night of the Dragons

Greetings dragonscouts! I’m happy to report that we are ready to embark upon Book 2 of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, our master course in “a D&D campaign is not a novel.” This means that we are over halfway through book one of this delightful, nostalgia-infested trilogy! I’m so pleased. While my posting schedule has been erratic of late, I hope you’ll stick with me as we continue our journey to lance some goddamn dragons.

Our heroes have just escaped from the earthquake-induced destruction of Xak Tsaroth which they… probably helped cause, to the detriment of the entire enslaved population of gully dwarves who live there. Our heroes give exactly zero fucks about this, but are upset when they look to the horizon to see the hometown of the majority of the group, Solace, is on fucking fire.

spongebob

Not so funny when it’s not gully dwarves is it, you racist fucks?

We open our chapter not with our heroes, but with Tika. Remember Tika? I remember Tika! She’s the waitress who was childhood friends with many of our heroes, before they infiltrated her house, stole all her food, killed a bunch of goblins (getting god knows what kind of bodily fluids on her rugs), broke down her door, knocked over her furniture, and high-tailed it out of there, leaving her to be arrested or worse. So what torments has Tika been through while our heroes have left her to fend for herself?

frying pan

According to the book, cleaning. Thank god Otik is there to console her when she can’t get the table clean enough for her lady-standards.

Cinderella

FUCK YOU, DIRT

Apparently it was the middle of happy hour a week back when Solace came under attack from A MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON during the High Theocrat’s (you may remember him from the severe burnination that occurred in Book I, Chapter 3) speechifying. Apparently he was Quisling-ing out, telling the townsfolk that all he was going to do was let the draconian (ugh) armies through town so they can attack the elves in the south. Don’t worry guys! It’s just like Belgium!

Belgium

Worked out super well for Belgium. Twice!

So apparently the Theocrat is elf- and dwarf-racist, and approves his draconian (ugh) overlords so long as they get rid of all those nasty magical folk AND FOREIGNERS. Let’s not ask him his opinion on gully dwarves, as I’ve had enough gully dwarf racism for one book. Anyway, all this racism is a moot point once a dragon swoops in and sets Solace on fucking fire.

drogon

Take that, racism!

Actually, it isn’t just one, but five motherfucking dragons along with an entire army of draconians (ugh). Tika, like the bad-ass bitch she is, immediately sets up a makeshift hospital in the bar (even if she didn’t mean to) and gets to work.

So now, in the present, there are only a couple buildings left standing, and they’re on the ground because Lord Verminaard ordered the dragons to grab them in their fucking claws and drop them. The inn’s back in business because draconians (ugh) are super into two for one shots at happy hour, I guess. And now Tika’s exhausted her stores of badassery and is cleaning and crying like a lady should.

f...fuck you, dirt...

f…fuck you, dirt…

She’s at least pissed at Otik for serving buttery nipples and sex-on-the-beaches to the draconians (ugh), though she seems to conveniently forget that this is a choice between service and stab wounds or slave labor which kind of makes sense. I bet they are shitty tippers though.

So six draconians (ugh) walk into the bar and… the chapter ends.

Well, that was depressing. We didn’t even get to see our heroes be assholes, which always cheers me up. Then again, pretty much everyone in this story is an asshole, so.

Until next time, please tip your saucy bar wenches, especially at happy hour.

DOAT Book I, Chapter 22: Bupu’s gift. An ominous sight.

Well good evening dragonscouts! Your Khaleesi has been away but has returned to serve you fresh and steaming liveblogging of Dragonlance for your bored-at-work pleasures. Let’s get back to our noble heroes, who when last we met, were fighting their way out of the draconians (ugh) lair, sacrificing gully dwarves along the way like they ARE NOT SENTIENT CREATURES JFC.

Okay. Our heroes are dragging their unconscious and/or injured brethren (Raistlin and Riverwind respectively) out of the lard pot elevator mid-motherfucking-earthquake. No sooner have they gotten Riverwind out of the pot than the entire mechanism breaks off from the ground and crashes into the pits below. The book does not mention, but I feel compelled to add, that the crowd of gully dwarves who were in the lower pot have now certainly had their brains dashed upon the rocks below. Do any of our heroes give one single fuck about this?

no_fucks_given

Riverwind is pretty much ready to curl into a ball and die. Sturm is weirdly into this, but Tanis is not having it, so he starts up a little hair-pulling as foreplay.

you have my attention.

you have my attention.

 This, at least, seems to pull Riverwind out of his suicidal mood, so together the heroes stumble toward the Temple of Mishakal. Zach Braff Xak Taroth, meanwhile, is drowned.

eh. it was for the best.

eh. it was for the best.

Tanis looks around and doesn’t see Riverwind. Everyone else attributes this to, y’know, your basic suicidal tendencies, but Tanis is again NOT HAVING IT. He runs into the interior of the temple where he thinks he hears Riverwind. But when he gets in there, instead of looking for his friend, he starts screaming at the goddess that he doesn’t believe in her. ………………why? If you don’t believe in them, why are you screaming for them to leave you alone, Tanis? I mean, I guess that’s the DRAMATIC IRONY here, but authors, you could at least have your hero use the basics of logic even when he’s pissed. Anyway, Tanis finishes his hissyfit, looks up at the statue and OH SHIT IT’S GOLDMOON.

brule shock

Yup I suppose our Token Lady has traded her staff for the statue’s necklace some…how… but she sure is alive!

So Goldmoon wakes up and declares that she is a “true cleric” and disciple of Mishakal. Apparently this means she can now heal people by touching them on the forehead which is pretty cool as far as god-granted powers go. Goldmoon even declares that she is not a warrior but a healer which… because girl, I guess.

lady sif please

Anyway, Goldmoon says that her task is to find the one person who has the strength and wisdom to unite the people, fight evil, and set the world in balance. Welp… good luck with that, Goldmoon.

Anyway, our noble band of warriors gets the fuck out of Xak Tsaroth before the armies of draconians (ugh) can find them. Their plan is to go to Solace to supply up, which, JESUS CHRIST WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? You left that place as fugitives, remember? With the hobgoblins or whatever they were knocking down doors to find you? WHY WOULD YOU GO BACK THERE?

Logic aside, they strike out. During their overnight camp, Raistlin wakes up and hears muffled cries. Why, it’s Bupu, who has repressed her sadness until it can no longer be contained.

like a boss

Bupu is sad because she wants to stay with Raistlin (don’t we all) but she’ll miss her bros back home. Raistlin tells her she should go back and is basically super sweet to her in that way you’re sweet to someone when you’re all like NO DON’T FOLLOW ME INTO PERIL.

stop_dont_come_back_willy_wonka

i need u bb

Bupu is so grateful for Raistlin’s solicitude that she pulls out a gift. Is it a lizard? A rat? NO IT’S THE MOTHERFUCKING SPELLBOOK OF FISTANDANTILUS! Bupu snaked it from that motherfucking dragon after all!

mind blown

With that awesome and incredibly convenient gift, Bupu leaves, and Raistlin watches her go with a single tear and an inner wish for her best life. Never mind that her city just got fucking destroyed and her friends killed, RAISTLIN IS A GOOD GUY DAMN IT. Of course Flint comes in to dig at him about his “pet gully dwarf,” further hammering in the message that everyone but Raistlin is a gully dwarf racist asshole.

Farewell Bupu! ILU you bad bitch.

Raistlin goes back to stash his new book in his pack when he sees a glow on the horizon. Is it the dawn?

nope

IT’S MOTHERFUCKING SOLACE ON FIRE.

SO MUCH FOR THAT AWESOME PLAN GUYS.

And that’s the end – not just of the chapter but of BOOK ONE. We’re on BOOK TWO guys, and it’s only been… like, jesus, I don’t even want to say. My goal is to start updating regularly again! We have more dragons to… lance, I guess.

ANYWAY, thanks for coming with me on this journey so far, dragonscouts! Onward into Book 2!ga

DOAT Book I, Chapter 21: The sacrifice. The twice-dead city.

Greetings Dragonscouts! When last we saw our fearless adventurers, they were just outside the lair of a fearsome dragon which, despite their best efforts, had not yet been de-dragoned. Will they be roasted or smoked? And what of Raistlin and Bupu? Let’s find out.

Tanis’s first thought is that the band has been betrayed by Raistlin – but he immediately discounts this for… reasons.

jlaw okay

Sturm meanwhile is itching to go in and fight him some dragon. I have to say, this is not one of your better ideas, Sturm. Remember when you fought the dragon men? Who almost killed you? That head injury? Remember that? No? Welp, everyone else seems to think this is a great idea so off to the dragon’s lair they go. Onward to death and glory and whatever. The only one who doesn’t seem to care about this is Tasslehoff, who helpfully reminds Flint that kenders don’t fear death because they are sociopaths. Once in the chamber, they are cheerfully greeted by a motherfucking dragon. Surprise, it got the drop on Raistlin, and is now threatening him with its claws! Oh no! What will you do, Caramon? Cry at it some?

MAYBE.

MAYBE.

The dragon is actually pretty pleased to see everyone, as they’ve brought her what she’s been searching for – namely, the blue crystal staff. She orders Goldmoon to bring her the staff, and to everyone’s surprise, Goldmoon agrees. She pushes Riverwind away then clasps Tanis in “a loving embrace.” kanye wtf

…uhhhh what? Weren’t you full on making out with Riverwind in the last chapter, and now you’re all “step aside son, I’m thirsty for some half-elf!” Anyway, after telling Tanis to make sure that Riverwind doesn’t try to follow her, she starts to walk toward the dragon. Once she gets to Sturm, she stumbles, then when he catches her, she hisses that he has to do what she tells him. Homegirl has a plan!

Sturm joins her on the march to the dragon. We switch to Raistlin’s POV. He’s trapped under the dragon’s claw being a bit of a bitch, thinking that he deserves to live more than anyone else because they’re all idiots. Well… you’re not wrong there, Raist. But then he starts hearing voices which from the description, is apparently normal for him in times of stress. This is kind of troubling, Raistlin!

That's where I saw the leprechaun. He told me to burn things.

That’s where I saw the leprechaun. He told me to burn things.

As Goldmoon approaches the dragon, he muses on the fact that his new eyes make everyone look withering and hideous before realizing that she’s about to sacrifice herself to the dragon to let everyone else live.

a noble savage indeed!

a noble savage indeed!

Raistlin is basically just trapped under the dragon’s claw, rolling his eyes in bafflement at the sheer what-the-fuckery of it all. Aren’t we all, Raist? Anyway, the dragon tells Goldmoon to lay that staff of hers down on the big-ass pile of treasure the dragon’s sitting on. Goldmoon hesitates, apparently to allow Sturm the opportunity to search for the discs amongst all the other gold… things in the pile. Which… how is this a good strategy? They could be buried under a pile of like… dubloons… or grills… or snuffboxes… or whatever other gold stuff dragons collect. And how are you going to pick a ring of gold disks out of a ton of other stuff that is also gold, Sturm? RIDDLE ME THAT.

So Goldmoon’s strategy is apparently to tell the dragon “whacha gonna pay me for this staff, biznatch?” Maybe that was a mistake.

biznatch

Dragon’s basically “maybe I won’t kill all your friends, how about that?” Goldmoon is visibly distressed by this, but Sturm clandestinely interrupts her by telling her he found the disks. Christ, a miracle indeed. Goldmoon is now resolved to sacrifice herself to allow the rest the time to grab the disks and run, and now SHE starts hearing voices jfc.

ralph

Goldmoon raises her voice for one last resounding “BIZNAAAAAAAAAAATCH” and hits the dragon with the staff. For no apparent reason, EVERYTHING CATCHES ON FIRE. The leprechaun was right!

Sturm is pretty upset by the fact tat the only lady in their party is burning to death under a dragon, but that doesn’t stop him from racing straight to the disks and grabbing them. But suddenly a BLOODY HAND reaches out and grabs him! AHHH ARE THERE TREASURE ZOMBIES??? Nope, it’s just Raistin who… somehow has managed to teleport himself from under the dragon’s claw – which, if I neglected to mention it, IS ON FUCKING FIRE – to a completely unrelated part of the treasure pile that just happened to be right by the disks. How… how did you do that, Raist? Logic

Raistlin is NOT DISTRACTED by the dragon that is on fire, or the fact that they just got the treasure they’ve been looking for – he wants that fucking spellbook, and he wants it NOW. And then… for some reason… the room starts to collapse and the dragon’s gone (busted out??? it’s unclear!) and then the entire city starts caving in and HOW DO YOU PHYSICS?

Tanis is baffled as to how they’re going to get out of there, when a small but bad-ass voice pipes up that SHE KNOWS THE WAY. Who could it be?

Bupu, motherfuckers.

Bupu, motherfuckers.

Nothing can stop them now – except Riverwind, who is a little upset about the fact that his girlfriend just burned to death in front of him. Tanis tells everyone to go on without him, presumably so he can spend his last moments in Riverwind’s barbarian embrace.

pictured.

pictured.

The others wait outside the chambers hardly daring to hope… when Riverwind steps out of the chamber, with Tanis’s limp body in his arms!

tina dancing

Bupu leads the group out of danger like the fearsome beautiful animal she so obviously is. But oh no, the only way they can get out of the underground city is by using the lard pot elevator that was the site of their terrible battle with the draconians (ugh) several chapters hence. The group comes upon several draconians (ugh) fighting their way into one of the pots. Raistlin puts the ones who aren’t magic-resistant to sleep, and Caramon and Sturm prepare to fight the rest. And suddenly in the midst of battle Riverwind pulls himself out of his “my girlfriend burninated herself to save me” induced depression and starts killing fucking draconians with his fucking bare hands while their weapons have no effect on him. Shade

Caramon finally catches the lower pot and holds onto it for the others to climb in. Flint, Sturm and Tasslehoff grab Tanis and then Riverwind (who by now is suffering from an excess of draconian (ugh) battle) and haul them into the pot. They yell for Raistlin to get in, but he (unlike the rest) remembers that motherfucking Bupu needs to get in there too – he grabs her

like a boss

Once the pot begins to rise, Tanis wakes up with a “stir and [a] moan.” Sturm expresses his happiness about this by “grasp[ing]” him, h[o]ld[ing] him close” and speaking in a “husky” voice.

…god, I so regret using up my “Henry and Glenn Forever” pic earlier. Let’s see what we can dig up from the vaults for this one.

theeere we go.

theeere we go.

But Tanis ruins the mood by asking about Riverwind with his first breath. Cockblocked, Sturm!

There’s a bit of a throwaway where they hear the screams of multiple gully dwarves in the other pot, which is going down while propelling the pot with our heroes up. So… guys. You are not even caring right now that tens… nay twenties and thirties… of gully dwarves are basically plummeting to their death into the rapidly collapsing Zach Braff just so you can make your way to safety? WHAT KIND OF HEROES ARE YOU?

idk the asshole kind i guess?

idk the asshole kind i guess?

Even Bupu laughs at them. Christ you all are corrupting Bupu.

But their hubris comes to a hasty ate when the lift mechanism stops working, and a batch of draconians (ugh) threaten to jump into the pot. Oh no! What will our heroes do? Raistlin bravely volunteers his LAST OUNCE OF STRENGTH to cast a spell while Caramon protects him. So touching! So manly! So romantic! Raistlin casts the hand-to-web spell! It’s super effective!

THIS IS NOT AT ALL A METAPHOR FOR EJACULATE

THIS IS NOT AT ALL A METAPHOR FOR EJACULATE

Two draconians (ugh) are felled! The last flees in awe of Raistlin’s mighty web strength! The day is saved! And Raistlin sinks into his brother’s arms, unconscious. You know, erotically.

true romance

And here our chapter ends. Well that was confusing but also exciting. I think the moral of this story is that 1. If there’s a dragon, set it on fire, even if it seems like a bad idea and/or you might die. 2. If your girlfriend dies, you are suddenly impervious to weapons. 3. Fighting is good, but magic is better. 4. Gully dwarves are expendable and not actually people.

ohhh no

I’m a little sad that Goldmoon is gone. Not because she was particularly clever or made, you know, good relationship choices, but she was The Lady of the group for a while, and honestly this sausage fest of a warrior team is getting a little old. Well maybe Bupu can take her place as the baddest warrior bitch of them all.

Homo and heteroeroticism prize: Tanis. Jesus christ, Tanis. Just pick someone and make out with him/her already; you are being such a cock/clit tease and it isn’t cool.

DOAT Book I, Chapter 20: The Highbulp’s Map. A Spellbook of Fistandantilus.

Hello dragonscouts! Your khaleesi has had to take an extended absence from adventuring due to further world-conquering activities. But I have not forgotten our delightful and racist adventures! Let’s get back to them, shall we?

When we last joined our fearless troupe of warriors, they were about to go sneaking into a magical dragon’s lair on the say-so of the king of the gullydwarves, who both craftily and correctly decided to betray them. What will happen to our noble heroes? How much more dwarf based racism can the authors cram into this chapter? These answers are to come!

Our companions are resting in the Waiting Room outside the Highbulp’s chambers, a room that is described as both “filthy” and “vulgar.” Glad to see that racism going strong, authors! Even better, Bupu is depicted as eating something rodent-like, tail and all. Which just means she is vigilant about getting herself the protein she needs to survive without being too picky about its source. Good for you, Bupu, you are the best.

MIA

Riverwind decides to sit apart from the others and stare “moodily at the floor” like a 15 year old in a sulk because he couldn’t get a ride to the Hot Topic. Goldmoon comes up to him and is like “we must talk” and we all know what THAT means – breakup time!

bye bitch

 EXCEPT NO, Goldmoon instead asks for Riverwind to forgive her! WHY, GOLDMOON? This guy has been a complete morose loserface since this entire adventure began! You’re getting it done! He’s holding you back! DUMP HIM GIRL!

sassy gay friend

 Nope, it doesn’t happen. Riverwind and Goldmoon beg each other’s forgiveness, and there’s a lot of hetero groping and stroking. The word “love” is used with great frequency. I grit my teeth with rage. They reminisce about when they fell in love which, surprise, started when Riverwind was a dick to Goldmoon in front of the entire tribe. TWOO WUV.

 Fortunately we’re spared any further exhibition, as a gully dwarf guard interrupts to provide the group with the Highbulp’s map to the dragon’s lair. Thank you, gully dwarf guard! Nobody can convince me that gully dwarves are not the best ever.

 Unfortunately the Highbulp’s map seems to be unreadable. The author’s don’t actually describe why the map is so useless, relying instead on the chapter illustration, shown here:

The Map

 Okay authors, okay. I understand that you are writing a book in English, and need the English-reading audience to understand your words and pictures. But. Just three chapters ago, you specified that the gully dwarves have their own “shapeless language.” If so, WHY ON EARTH WOULD THE HIGHBULP WRITE THE MAP IN (what is known in this book as) THE COMMON TONGUE? Wouldn’t he write it in Gully Dwarvish? Especially if it’s so super secret that the draconians (ugh) who understand Common, would be able to read it if they got a hold of it? UGH BOOK UGH.

 Anyway, the group is stumped at how on earth they’re going to get to the dragon’s lair, until Raistlin helpfully points out that there is ONE BAD BITCH who knows just where the dragon is, and HER NAME IS FUCKING BUPU. She’s apparently been running in there to nab “pretty rocks” on the regular. Even fucking Bilbo couldn’t do that shit more than once without getting caught.

mia bad girls

While everyone starts to plan the trip to the dragon’s lair, Raistlin and Caramon step aside and begin some kind of super secret sneaky plan. Caramon doesn’t like the plan, apparently, but Raistlin uses his powers of seduction to convince him to go along with it. Let’s go through them step by step:

 He speaks “gently”;

Thor plus Loki

 He lays his hand on Caramon’s arm and draws him close;

thorandloki

  1. His touch is “unusually hot,” and “his eyes burn[].”

kiss kiss

Caramon can’t resist the temptation! He agrees to the plan (whatever it may be). We find out that Raistlin’s goal is to get Caramon to bring him a spell book – which he’s known has been in Zach Braff for a while now. Since there’s now a chance it hasn’t been destroyed, Raistlin REALLY wants it. Surprise, the book is the Spellbook of Fistandantilus, which is a ridiculous name, even for a wizard.

Badass Wizard

Caramon isn’t so big on this plan, because he’s worried that Fistandantilus “wore the Black Robes,” which I guess means he was evil or something. Ah, color essentialism at its finest. Raistlin gets super pissed at Caramon for asking about this, snapping “How can any of you understand me!” Jesus, Raistlin, now who didn’t get a ride to the Hot Topic?

 Once Caramon goes back to the group, Tains is suspicious, thinking that while Caramon would protect them all with his life, he’d betray them too if Raistlin told him to. This is actually pretty smart of you, Tanis. So what are you going to do with that bit of information? Oh, what’s that? Nothing? Jesus Christ, Tanis.

reaction-cersei-1

Anyway, the plan seems to be that Bupu and Raistlin are going to go lure the dragon out of its cave with some kind of magic

magic bitches

 and the rest of them are going to storm the dragon’s treasure hoard for the disks and the book.

 We switch to Raistlin’s POV as he and Bupu start toward the dragon’s lair. Raistlin is worried, because the crowds of Gully Dwarves seem to have disappeared. He’s right to be worried, as they are soon followed by a pair of armor-clad figures.

 We cut back to the larger group that’s following Tanis. They’re making their way through a flooded corridor to a trap door. Flint immediately volunteers to lift it, claiming that if a gully dwarf can, so can he. He spectacularly… fails to lift the door at all. And another reason it is unjustified to be racist toward gully dwarves is revealed, because Bupu only goes to the caves when it’s dry, because she is AWARE OF THE FACT THAT WATER IS HEAVY.

Logic

Caramon gets the door open because he is a bad-ass new god made primarily of oiled muscly flesh.

pictured: bad-ass old god.

pictured: bad-ass old god.

They wait for a count of five hundred to give Raistlin time to deploy his diversion, then descend the ladder into the unknown. After some wet travel, they reach the dragon’s lair… but what’s this, dragonscouts? Waiting for them in the lair is… A MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON.

 And here our chapter ends. CLIFFHANGER!

All and all not a bad chapter, some more redeeming qualities for our gully dwarf friends, and two very sensual makeout scenes for our couples, Goldmoon/Riverwind and Caramon/Raistlin. But if I want to award the prize for best couple, it’s going to have to be Caramon/Raistlin. Congratulations gentlemen, you were canon twincest before it even was a thing (that I, naif that I was in 1994, had heard about, anyway).

DOAT Book One, Chapter 19: The Broken City. Highbulp Phudge I, The Great.

When we last left our dashing band of adventurers, they had just squeezed themselves through a slimy pipe only to land on sacks of flour in what must have been an extremely comical comeuppance to their continued gully dwarf racism. However, it seems we’ll be meeting the Highbulp, the leader of the gully dwarves, so I’m sure we’ll be treated to still more hilarious ways in which he is completely incompetent, justifying our heroes’ scorn. Can’t wait! Let’s dive in.

We start with a brief description of how the current Xak Tsaroth came to be. Three hundred years ago, the motherfucking earthquake known as the Cataclysm occurred, and basically dumped the city into a cavern. Some of the buildings now cling to the sides of the chasm, including the one our heroes find themselves in. Tanis concludes that this building “must have been a bakery” due to the numerous bags of flour lying around. Which… raises the question, just how long does flour last? I mean, it’s organic matter right? It should be rotted, and not pristine and white enough to coat our heroes in a hilarious manner. OH WELL, maybe the earthquake had… like… magical flour-retaining properties or something.

Anyway, they find a river, because that’s sure a thing that would exist on the side of a chasm, and follow it under Bupu’s instructions. Turns out the Highbulp lives several layers below, down the cliffside, and our heroes are forced to climb down a series of vines to get to him. Well, almost all our heroes, because Raistlin casts his “pveathrfall” spell (which, really? You think you can just stick a v in there and take out some vowels and it’ll be impressive? Jesus Christ, Harry Potter uses less obvious spells than you), causing him to float down the crevasse

like a boss

Oh, but turns out Goldmoon is afraid of heights, because women, amirite?

ohhh no

But Riverwind is like “it’s okay babe, your entire tribe is dead, you don’t have anyone to impress but me!” Naturally this does not go well for Riverwind, as Goldmoon is like “what WHAT MOTHERFUCKER” and decides to climb down the fucking vines on her own, using only spite for fuel. DUMP HIM GOLDMOON DUMP HIM.

So, everyone gets safely down one way or another, and Bupu leads them onward. They walk past ruins of what must have been the royal palace of Xak Tsaroth, where they see a bit of movement, and HOLY SHIT IT’S A DRAGON

THIS ONE AGAIN

THIS ONE AGAIN

YUUUP it’s the same dragon who attacked our fierce warriors a couple chapters ago. We switch to her POV again as she receives a report from a draconian (ugh), and she is piiiiiiissed that these brave companions have gotten past the borders of Xak Tsaroth. IDK dragon, I mean it seemed like you had a pretty good chance of killing all of these guys in one swoop when you were attacking them, why didn’t you just finish them off?

okay, okay

okay, okay

Anyway, the dragon is convinced that our brave companions are after the disks of whatthefuckeverithoth. Since they apparently can’t destroy them, the dragon decides to move them to some place called Pax Tharkas, which to my mind does not bring up the names of any celebrities about whom I can make hilarious jokes, so god damn it, Dragon.

Anyway,  the group hears the draconian (ugh) tell the dragon that they’ve brought most of the army to the upper levels, which causes our companions some concern. Even if they get past the dragon and get to the disks, there’s no way they can get out again. Then comes my favorite part of the chapter where Caramon basically calls Tanis a massive pussy and says they should just kill the dragon and have done with it.

I kind of like you, Caramon.

I kind of like you, Caramon.

Raistlin, however, pisses all over Caramon’s parade by reminding him that oh yeah, dragons can use fucking magic. Which, again, why didn’t the dragon use any magic when she was attacking them outside, where she clearly had the advantage? Dragons may have magic, but their brains seem a little underdeveloped.

Bupu, being the smartest of the group, tells them all not to fuck with the dragon, but instead continues to lead them to the Highbulp. And of course the gully dwarf section of town is “cluttered with trash and filth,” with “dirty, ragged children” running around. Oh, and Tanis adds the thought that the gully dwarves are “basically cowards” to boot.

Shade

Oh, and there’s a hilarious bit about Bupu attempting to knock a secret code, but neither she nor any of the gully dwarves can actually count, so they have to let the group in anyway. HA HA HA HA. HA HA. HA.

loki facepalm

Anyway, they make it to the Highbulp, who the omniscient narration declares is “almost intelligent.” It goes on to say that when the draconians (ugh) had entered the gully dwarf-infested city of Xak Tsaroth, the dwarves “had cringed and cowered and whimpered and wailed and prostrated themselves so abjectly that the draconians [ugh] were merciful and simply enslaved them.”

jlaw okay

Now, apparently the Highbulp had made his way to the dragon’s lair where he swiped some treasure, but alas, he hasn’t made it back since, first because it’s heavily guarded, and second because he can’t read his own map with the route back.

malcolm transpo

Then we get a fantastic description of the gully dwarves sense of decor as our heroes are led to speak to the Highbulp. Apparently, they’ve painted over tapestries and white marble statues in garish colors and anatomical detail which horrifies even Caramon as they go through this “gallery of artistic horrors.”

Oh, those disgusting gully dwarves! How dare they sully the pure white marble of these statues! Except that… wait, the pure white marble statues of Greek antiquity that these were apparently based on were actually painted in bright colors in the first place. OOPS I GUESS THOSE GREEKS WERE NO BETTER THAN GULLY DWARVES SMH.

kanye laugh

 

CHRIST the levels of gully dwarf racism and inaccurate art history are so ridiculous that I can barely point them out any more. Seriously, a new one pops up every single line of the page! Okay, okay I’m going to keep taking us through the plot, trying to bypass all the rage I’m feeling right now UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

ANYWAY, the Highbup, seeing our brave companions’ weaponry, very sensibly assumes that they are there to slay the dragon – which would be of great advantage to him, as he’d get to reap the benefits of stealing the dragon’s treasure. Very clever of you, Highbulp! The companions say that actually, they just want to sneak into the dragon’s lair, steal some shit, and run out again. The Highbulp – again very sensibly – asks what the fuck proof does he have that they’re not going to steal all the dragon’s shit, leaving the gully dwarves to deal with one pissed off dragon? Tanis assures the Highbulp that allowing them to go to the dragon’s lair will result in the Highbulp getting “all the treasure.” HOW THE FUCK WOULD THAT HAPPEN TANIS??? Again, the Highbulp clearly sees that he is a lying idiot. GOOD ONE, HIGHBULP. He also refuses to lead them to the treasure because WHY THE FUCK WOULD HE RISK HIS ASS TO DO THAT FOR YOU JERKS???

Anyway, it’s revealed that the Highbulp had been eavesdropping on the group as they had waited for audience, and he’s not going to let them mess with his people’s futures. Instead, he’s decided to bargain – not for riches for himself, but for their precious freedom. YOU FUCKING GO, HIGHBULP. Once the companions have left, he sends them his map to the lair, but also sends guards to the dragon to let her know that this group of idiots are on their way to steal some shit… and here the chapter ends.

JESUS FUCK that was a lot of gully dwarf racism. And, I mean, lest anyone say “you’re overreacting, this is just a dumb fantasy novel and they’re dwarves,” let’s reiterate what I find so objectionable here. It’s incredibly lazy writing to use a race as code for any sort of behavioral trait, be it “evilness” or “stupidity” or what. That’s the kind of shit that leads to really insidious racial profiling and racism justification in real life, so it’s really shitty to see novels play into the “all [insert race] are [insert trait].” And even when the actions of the gully dwarves in this chapter subvert these notions, the framing of the chapter still portray the dwarves as stupid and sneaky, and our heroes – who, let’s not forget, are discounting the gully dwarves on the basis of race with every breath – are noble and virtuous. We’re meant to feel contempt for the Highbulp when he betrays our heroes, but actually, he’s making the decision that’s going to benefit, oh I don’t know, THE ENTIRETY OF HIS ENSLAVED PEOPLE. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Asshole count: EVERYONE WHO IS MEAN TO THE GULLY DWARVES INCLUDING THE AUTHORS JESUS FUCK.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 18: Fight at the lift. Bupu’s cure for a cough.

After all that gully dwarf racism in the last chapter, I’m a little hesitant about this one. I mean, Bupu’s cure for a cough is going to end up being something charmingly primitive or hilariously dim-witted and we can all laugh at how awful gully dwarves are, because dwarf racism = comedy I guess. But there’s a fight at the lift to get through, so it’s time to get going.

When we last left our intrepid adventurers, they were about to jump some draconians (ugh) at their makeshift lift made of lard rendering pots so that they can get down into the underground tunnels of Xak Tsaroth. The lift is apparently run on gully dwarf power, as they have to get into the top pots to give the necessary ballast to lift the draconians (ugh) to the top. Not this time though – no sooner do the draconians (ugh) start spouting shit at the gully dwarves than Caramon and Sturm wade in to start fucking their shit right up.

I'm assuming.

I’m assuming.

Still, it’s not a cut-and-dried battle, as the book is quick to point out: “[u]nlike goblins, who attack anything that moves without strategy or thought, draconians [ugh] are intelligent and quick-thinking.” Oh great, so you made some room in your gully dwarf-racist chapters for a little goblin racism. Thanks, book.

Anyway, the two remaining draconians (ugh) release the mechanism on the lift so they can drop down and get reinforcements – oh no, wait, 20 draconians (ugh) are already on their way up in the second pot. Caramon, Sturm, Tasslehoff, Tanis and Flint all jump into the pot after the two going down, increasing the speed of the reinforcements on their way up to slaughter their less combat-experienced companions. Great job. Additionally, Flint’s battle strategy seems to have been landing in the pot head first and getting stepped on by Caramon. Still want to talk about how stupid gully dwarves are, Flint?

gimli dignity

Anyway, the pot battle rages with five of our adventurers against two draconians (ugh) while twenty of them continue to rise to the top to face Goldmoon, Raistlin and Riverwind. Riverwind, very sensibly, decides it’s time to try to stop the lift mechanism to prevent the imminent attack. But while he’s uselessly trying to figure out how to do this, Raist shoves him to one side and jams his staff between the wheel and the floor, halting the pots

like a boss

Meanwhile, in the pots, Caramon decides to cut through the bullshit and just throw one of the draconians (ugh) off the side. But unfortunately the twenty draconians (ugh) in the other pot have decided to try to swing over for an attack. All the swinging around and shifting weight actually make for a very exciting battle, so I’m giving the authors credit where it is due for this one. After much hacking, slashing and dizzy spinning, Tanis gets hit on the head (of course).

reaction-cersei-1

Raistlin, as usual, steps in to save everyone’s shit. He gathers his new friends, the gully dwarves, around and tells them that to keep the “bosses” from hurting him, their BFF, all they have to do is jump on the chain with the draconians’ (ugh) pot. All of them (except his bae Bupu) do so as Raist pulls his staff out of the wheel, and the combined weight sends the reinforcements down into the hole, while bringing Tanis and co. back up. Hooray!

Welp, obviously we’re not going to reach the Highbulp through the well. Fortunately Bupu knows a secret route, so she leads are heroic band down another corridor. As it turns out, Bupu too has some magic in her, as she waves a mysterious object at one wall, and a secret passage appears! Oh man, what magical object does Bupu have under her command???

…it’s a dead rat.

marilyn-monroe-yuck-

As Tasslehoff helpfully explains, the mechanism was actually a hidden floorboard, but HA HA gully dwarves are too stupid to know what floorboard mechanisms are! She thinks she’s people! Tasslehoff laughs about how she probably tripped on it once while carrying the rat, and now thinks the rat is magic, because lest we forget, Tasslehoff is a sociopath.

Anyway Bupu is like “DO YOU WANT TO KNOW THE WAY DOWN OR NOT” and hustles the group into a slimy pipe. I can only consider this Bupu’s revenge on everyone for underestimating her. “I could have taken you through the garden terrace, but OH NO you CRITICIZED MY RAT, it’s the pipe for you motherfuckers!”

Everything is going disgustingly in the pipe until Raist starts coughing again, and Bupu provides him with the chapter’s titular cough cure-all – a lizard corpse on a string, to wear around one’s neck. This he rejects politely, although first she gives him A MOTHERFUCKING EMERALD, his reward for being the only member of our heroes who isn’t a goddamn gully dwarf racist. That sounds like my preferred cure for a cough, tbh.

I FEEL MUCH BETTER THANK YOU

I FEEL MUCH BETTER THANK YOU

The chapter ends as the group turns a corner and ends up sliding down into a room where sacks of flour break their fall, and also coat everyone in white powder. Good work, Bupu! I don’t believe what anyone says about gully dwarves, you are one bad bitch.

mia bad girls

Despite the continued racism, this was a much better chapter, highlighted by the epic lard-pot-in-midair battle royale. And I’m glad to see Bupu get some of her own back too, coating assholes in flour and handing out magical shit and emeralds like it ain’t no thing.

Asshole count: ANYONE WHO IS MEAN TO BUPU.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 17: Paths of the Dead. Raistlin’s new friends.

Oh my god you guys oh my god oh my godddd we’re getting to the gully dwarf chapter you guysssssssssss! I vaguely remember gully dwarves as being liiike… the “special” dwarves? The ones with the hilarious speech impediments and low intelligence levels that are nonetheless somehow charming and full of innate wisdom that the smarter characters so sorely need? Like… this is so ableist. Really embarrassingly so, actually. And the thing is, there’s not one Gully Dwarf who’s like, the special Gully Dwarf who teaches too-smart-for-his-own-good Raistlin about friendship and the simple things in life. The entire race of gully dwarves are written as being sub-intelligent and worthy of scorn.

And this really gets into the whole race-essentialism that I think plagues fantasy, particularly fantasy since Tolkien because so many are still writing under his shadow. Like, there’s no goblins who just want to hang out, raise a family, maybe start up a farm or business venture. Nope, they’re all eeevil and want to destroy shit because why the fuck not. As an entire race, they’re given extremely sketchy motivation, and their race is used as shorthanded coding for whether we’re supposed to like them or not. All jokes about goblin-racism aside, the worlds that are being set up here are so black and white. All goblins are evil. All gully dwarves are idiots. Frankly, it’s lazy, and I’m happy to see in recent years writers starting to peel away from it, because even your fantasy worlds need to be more complex and less, y’know, fucking racist, even if it is toward a magical group instead of a real one.

Okay, serious diatribes about writing aside, I wrote all of this before digging into the chapter, so it’s informed by my memories about reading these things twenty years ago. Let’s start reading and see if my outrage holds up, and pepper my swears with comedic gifs!

When we last left our heroes, they were having a kip in the temple of the goddess who had just healed all of them, including Riverwind, who had basically melted, but who they’re not… too…sure… they want to believe in… just yet.

makes sense

Tanis has apparently slept in, and after waking up, spends some time musing over the nature of life and death instead of being useful in any way. I don’t know why I keep being surprised at Tanis’s utter uselessness, but I don’t know, optimism is part of the human condition I guess. Anyway, Tanis starts thinking about how they have no chance to fight against any dragons who decide to, y’know, fight them instead of running down wells, and starts getting pretty depressed. This is an understandable reaction, but everyone else is actually doing stuff right now – putting on their armor, studying their magics, polishing their swords. So get it together, Tanis.

We get an inventory of the weaponry used by the group which is actually quite interes- NO IT’S SO BORING OH MY GOD. Tasslehoff skips off, eager at the prospect of seeing a real live dragon… which… Tasslehoff did you not see the dragon yesterday? The one who melted your pal? I actually looked back in the book and there’s no description of Tasslehoff seeing or reacting to the dragon attack, but honestly, I think a dragon flying into the sky and setting shit (people) on fire has to be pretty fucking hard to miss.

I'M RIGHT HERE BRO

I’M RIGHT HERE BRO

They start traveling through Xak Tsaroth, where they find a room with a spiral staircase. Raistlin informs the group that these are called “the paths of the dead,” which causes the others to VERY SENSIBLY ask him why the fuck he knows the names of specific staircases in this city that’s supposed to have been lost for… what is it, years? centuries? His answer that he read about it somewheres is also, understandably, a little frustrating. Of course, Sturm takes things too far, suggesting that Raistlin has sold his soul to obtain his ARCANE KNOWLEDGE (which raises the question – if there are no gods, good or evil, left on Krynn, to whom did he sell his soul?).

Caramon rushes to Raistlin’s defense, but is prevented from explaining too much by Raist who’s all like ‘I have to keep my mysterious persona up bro, don’t be explaining my shit!’ Caramon listens, but then says that Raist is totes cool, bro, and may both the brothers die if that’s not the case. Tanis notices Raistlin getting mysteriously pissy about this, but hey, maybe he’s just trying to keep up his mysterious wizard persona (ladies love it).

wizards are so hot

wizards are so hot

Anyway, Sturm apologizes (which is pretty big for a guy who was actively upset that Raistlin hadn’t died a couple of chapters back), and they decide to move on down the “paths of the dead” staircase. Good decision, guys.

jlaw okay

As they move, they start hearing mysterious sounds. They grow louder until, with a rumble, a horde of small figures rushes past a nearby doorway. Flint claims that he smells something familiar and, with a face that grows “red with rage and anger,” reveals what it is – gully dwarves!

Oh my god, Flint. You’re so gully dwarf racist that you can smell them.

cher yuk

Also he threatens to kill all of them based on smell alone, apparently. Oh no, wait, he reveals that gully dwarves held him prisoner for three years, and has therefore sworn to kill all gully dwarves on sight.

kanye laugh

Still pretty racist, Flint.

Tanis posits that the Draconians (ugh) have enslaved the gully dwarves, and that they might therefore be willing to help the group out. Good thinking, Tanis! And I’m being serious about this for once, this is a really good idea!

Tanis then goes on to say “[w]e cannot trust them, of course…. As long as we don’t ask them to do anything that might endanger their own dirty skins, we might be able to buy their aid.”

lav7

The heroic (?) band hides in the shadows ready to jump the gully dwarves, but when Caramon leaps into their path and orders them to halt, they pay him absolutely no mind, but only run past him down the corridor. That seems… a pretty smart strategy, actually. Caramon 0, gully dwarves 1.

The group follows the dwarves into a series of crypts. Raistlin decides that it’s his time to take charge, so he steps forward to the group of dwarves, and starts doing some motherfucking magic, flipping gold coins in the air and making them disappear and shit. The dwarves seem to love this, and they cluster around Raist to watch his impeccable wizardry.

magic bitches
Here the book divagates into an explanation of what gully dwarves actually are… oh boy! They are the “lowest caste” of dwarves, they “live in squalor,” look “ugly” and “wretched” but nonetheless live “a cheerful existence.”

brule shock

I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Fortunately the book seems to have realized this, as it goes back to Raistlin’s fantastic magic show. Once all the gully dwarves are entranced by his sleight of hand, he casts a spell that turns them all into his friends. Too bad you didn’t cast that one on Sturm, like, four days ago, Raist.

Anyway, the spell seems to work, as all the dwarves are now enthralled by Raist, “jabbering away in their shapeless language.”

marilyn-monroe-yuck-

Actually, Sturm just had the same thought I did – that Raist could have cast the same spell on them. Considering your clear disgust and alarm, Sturm, I don’t think you have anything to worry about just now.

Anyway, the dwarves start to make a commotion when Raist ask them where the corridor leads, but one lady dwarf takes charge, grabbing Raistlin by the robes and leading him, and the rest of the band, to the Highbulp of the gully dwarves as the distant sounds of whips crack in the distance. The dwarf, whose name is Bupu, gets extra-spelled I guess, as she is SUPER INTO Raistlin all of the sudden. It’s not clear where their path goes before Tasslehoff gets back from investigating the strange sound they heard earlier – it’s a lift made of lard pots that allow draconians (ugh) and dwarves to move up or down in the underground shafts. But the problem remains – if our band of heroes goes down in the pots, how will they deal with the draconians (ugh) who are coming up? Our heroes decide to go with beating them the fuck up, and here the chapter ends.

Ugh, you guys, I can’t even with all of this weirdness. Developing an entire race of sub-intelligent beings and then going on to describe them as “filthy,” “jabbering,” yet “cheerful” is just a little bit much. It’s basically as embarrassing as I remember it being. Someday there’s gonna be like a Che Guevara of the gully dwarves to lead them all from bondage. At least there is in the book I want to be reading.

Asshole count: whoever came up with this horrible idea.