DOAT Book One, Chapter 16: A bitter choice. The greatest gift.

When we last left our heroes, they’d just been attacked by a MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON who burns one of them before valiantly flying down the well. Riverwind has pretty much melted, and Tanis is, as usual, being utterly useless. Sturm is spouting some rhymy-wimey nonsense prior to chopping off Riverwind’s head, when Goldmoon shows up out of nowhere and tells the group to bring Riverwind over to her. Pretty sure you’re not supposed to move a traumatically injured person, Goldmoon, but eh, it’s your boyfriend I guess.

It's a good choice, Goldmoon.

It’s a good choice, Goldmoon.

Raistlin tells them all to do what Goldmoon says, and Tanis is inexplicably outraged by Raistlin’s lack of emotion at their predicament. Like… seriously Tanis? Raistlin has known this dude for all of like, four days maybe, and Riverwind’s been a dick to everyone except you for that entire time. Maybe chill out on the wizard judging for just a sec.

ice king haters

Tanis goes over to try to, I dunno, talk some sense into Goldmoon about how her boyfriend’s dying horribly (because that’s apparently not evident?), and that not even the staff can save him (have you even tried the staff yet? I mean maybe give it a shot once before you dismiss it?). Goldmoon is having none of this, and tells Tanis to bring Riverwind into the nearby temple.

We then  are transported back to Goldmoon’s perspective during the dragon attack. Apparently she hadn’t noticed all the earthquaking and dragoning around, but had instead been drawn to the temple by a gentle voice – her mother’s voice, no less! Her dead mother’s voice, which turns this from sweet to a little bit creepy. She tells Goldmoon that she will “find what she seeks” within the temple. Goldmoon sees that the rest of her friends are about to get attacked, and for some reason this causes her to get pissy about being thirty years old with no babies.

baby crazy

But then she thinks of Riverwind and it gives her the strength to go on so she abandons the group and goes into the temple just as the dragon burst out of the well.

Wow.

Inside the temple, Goldmoon finds a marble statue of Mishakal, the goddess of healing, who is wearing “a strange amulet.” She also has her hands out as though she’s supposed to be holding something, so Goldmoon puts the blue crystal staff into the statue’s hands. Once she does, the statue starts monologuing about how the old gods had never actually turned their backs away from Krynn, and it’s Goldmoon who has to bring the truth of the old gods to the rest of the population and defeat the Queen of Darkness and to do that she has to find the “disks of Mishakal” and OH MY GOD IT’S SO BORING WHY ARE GODS SO BORING?

syndrome-monologueing

Anyway the disks are guarded by some dragon at the bottom of Xak Tsaroth, so good luck finding them, Goldmoon!

We go back to the present as Tanis goes into the temple and is hit by nostalgia for his long ago childhood with full-blooded elves before the evils of half-elf racism came between them, I’m assuming. His reverie is interrupted by the rest of the group carrying the melty, dying Riverwind in on a stretcher. Way to be helpful there, Tanis.

Raist uncovers Riverwind’s half-dead body, and Goldmoon healing-staffs him. Apparently putting the staff into the statue’s hands has supercharged it, because once she casts her spell, everyone feels way better for some reason. And – oh HEY, Riverwind gets right up just as though he hadn’t just been melted in dragonfire. Hooray!

Again, not above using this joke.

Again, not above using this joke.

The group eats dinner in the temple as Goldmoon tells them all about the statue’s monologue. Tasslehoff, to his credit, is just as bored with this as I was, and he goes wandering off to find his friend Flint a new helmet, because helmets are all over healing temples, I guess. Helmets that are of dwarven manufacture and just happen to fit Flint perfectly. What are the chances of that riiight? Meanwhile, Riverwind is celebrating his escape from the dripping maw of death by refusing to speak to anyone.

The rest of the group are debating the message that Goldmoon received, because escape from a clear brush with melty, burninated death is apparently not sufficient for them to believe that they should start evangelizing the old gods. They all agree to sleep on it, but Tanis insists that, even though the temple is under the protection of this goddess, someone should take the watch. Sturm does, but almost immediately falls asleep and starts dreaming about his mom.

it was a boner dream, wasn't it?

it was a boner dream, wasn’t it?

And here the chapter ends.

I don’t even know what’s up with this one you guys, you’re just tearing us away from the hardcore dragon action for some weird god monologue? And that whole “you were saved by miraculous power but STILL REFUSE TO BELIEEEEEEEEEEEVE” trope is wearing just a little bit thin.

Pretty good Raistlin shade throwing, though he’s done better.

Here’s hoping for some more of the full cast as opposed to all-Goldmoon-all-the-time in the next chapter.

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DOAT Book One, Chapter 15: Escape. The well. Death on black wings.

When we’d last left our heroic band, they’d just escaped the draconian (ugh) camp via dragon cosplay and homoeroticism. Hoo…ray? Welp, if the chapter titles are any indication, they’re not in for any kind of easy route to Zach Braff, so let’s dive in.

They start out with Riverwind leading the group through the swamp, and Tanis feeling completely incompetent. I mean… what else is new there, Tanis? But he doesn’t have to feel jealous of Riverwind’s immense swamp navigation skills for long, because Riverwind soon gets stuck knee-deep in the mire. Womp womp!

you tried

The entire group realizes that they’re going to have to wade through the murk to go any further, so they do, hiking up the skirts of their wizardly robes, and hefting the shorties over their shoulders so they don’t, yknow, drown.

Get it together, dwarves.

Get it together, dwarves.

Even Sturm gets in on the action, carrying Raistlin through the swamp, which… idk Sturm, weren’t you just wishing that Raistlin had been poisoned? Why don’t you just leave him to drown in the swamp? Not only are you saving the guy you hate, but you’re also possibly going to make Caramon jealous, and that’s more than your mustaches are worth.

Anyway, after that completely pointless slog through the swamp, our band of heroes collapses on the further bank… only to have Raistlin warn them that a storm is on the way, and they have to reach Zach Braff Xak Tsaroth before the moon sets. These two pieces of knowledge don’t seem all that connected to one another, but Raist’s been proven right about pretty much every dire prophecy he’s spouted so far, so it’s high time everyone actually listened to him for once. This they do, and continue on their journey.

Fortunately, they don’t go more than a few steps before they find a whole bunch of stone ruins which, it turns out, are the ruins of Xak Tsaroth!

finally!

finally!

But they’re not the first ones to make it to is great floral printed city – they notice the claw tracks of a whole mess of draconians (ugh) leading into the ruins.

Riverwind and Tanis are keenly aware of the danger ahead, so they take this moment to declare their manly love for each other and clutch at each other’s hands.

appropriate.

appropriate.

The group steps into the ruin, and finds first a well, then a temple which somehow escaped the giant fucking earthquake that had once laid waste to the city. Before they can explore the temple, a wild draconian (ugh) appears! But before our heroes can give chase, the draconian (ugh) escapes by flying down the well.

Everyone realizes that OH SHIT that thing’s gonna warn everyone, so Raist steps right on up to cast a spell LIKE A B- oh wait, he’s so weak he can’t cast anything. Way to crap out on us, Raist, I thought you were the one who was supposed to be self righteously correct all the time and save everyone’s asses even though they’re completely ungrateful.

It's my lunch hour.

It’s my lunch hour.

Tanis’s response to this obvious and imminent danger is to propose that they all take a break. Jesus Christ, Tanis, I don’t know what you’re doing anymore.

This terrible idea is interrupted, however, by an earthquake that crumbles the well, nearly taking Tas with it.stop_dont_come_back_willy_wonka

Goldmoon is lost in the fray, and Riverwind starts searching for her, despite the fact that something utterly cray is about to erupt from the ground. The able bodied half of the group drags the other half away as they see the ancient terror bursting from the – HOLY SHIT IT’S A DRAGON

A REAL ONE THIS TIME

A REAL ONE THIS TIME

Not only is it a dragon, but it is a motherfucking talking dragon who can do motherfucking magic. And that’s exactly what she does, blinding the group so she can attack unimpeded.

Now suddenly the narrative switches to the dragon’s POV which is… unexpected to say the least. We haven’t had a POV outside of our core group of heroes so the fact that we’re now thrust into the mindset of a freaking dragon is just a little bit jarring.

Anyway, we find out that the dragon’s working under the behest of Lord Verminaard (OH CHRIST), and she’s lost the blue crystal staff that this lord so desperately wants. To which I say, GIRL, YOU’RE A MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON WHY ARE YOU TAKING ORDERS?

dont tell me

Anyway, we get back to Tanis’s POV riiiilll quick. He cowers in terror as the dragon readies its attack, cringes in sudden pain and then.. the dragon flies back into the well.

Well that was sure anticlimactic! Thank goodness everyone’s all righ- ohhhh actually Riverwind is burned so badly his skin has fucking melted from his bones. Bummer. Tanis springs into action by helpfully vomiting. Thanks, Tanis!

Alas, it seems that there is nothing anyone can do for poor Riverwind. Tanis urges Sturm to put an end to Riverwind’s suffering, so Sturm immediately… begins to recite some oh noetry instead of euthanizing Riverwind with his sword. Again, super helpful.

I mean, it’s not as though the group has a motherfucking healing staff or anything right? Fortunately even though Tanis and Sturm have forgotten this convenient fact, Goldmoon has not. She appears, demanding that they take Riverwind over to her… and the chapter ends.

Well I’m really happy to have finally seen a dragon in Dragonlance, though it was pretty weird to be thrust into her POV without any warning. The well logistics are a little odd too, but ehhh anything goes in Xak Tsaroth, I guess.

Asshole count: Tanis and Sturm for sure. When someone’s dying in intense pain and beyond all hope of recovery, the proper response is NOT 1) vomiting; or 2) rhyming badly. Jeez.

Homoeroticism count: Tanis and Riverwind for sure! Too bad their love has come to a tragic and burninated end.

or has it???

DOAT Book One, Chapter 14: Prisoners of the Draconians

You guys words cannot express the utter loathing I feel in my soul every time the term “draconians” is mentioned in this book. This chapter is going to be a long slog. Oh well, let’s dive in.

When we last left our mighty band of heroes, they’d been knocked out by magic and have fallen into the hands of those dastardly draconians (ugh). Well it could be worse, at least this chapter title isn’t a complete spoiler for its events. Let’s dive into the murky swamps of ADVENTURE.

We begin the chapter with the revelation that Tasslehoff has somehow escaped the clutches of the draconians (ugh), and so has Flint, mostly because Tasslehoff clocked him on the head WHILE UNDERWATER because KENDERS ARE SOCIOPATHS.

Sighh, still, I guess wasted, half drowned and unconscious is better than in the knobbly claws of those draconians (ugh), so points for you, Tas. I still don’t trust you.

In an interesting development, however, the draconians (ugh) are unable to pick up Goldmoon’s blue crystal staff – it zaps them every time. After some deliberation, the leader of the draconians (ugh) comes up with the idea of wrapping the thing in a blanket and carrying it that way. By the way, the authors refer to this plan as “ingenious.”

Shade

Flint wakes and appears to be miraculously sober, attributable (I guess) to that smack on the head by his “friend” Tas. The two resolve to go rescue their friends, despite the fact that Flint has lost both his helmet and his axe, which he (rightly) sees as a major liability.

The two follow their captive friends into the draconian (ugh) camp, where they find the draconians (ugh) celebrating and HOLY SHIT THERE’S A DRAGON.

okay a little more threatening than that one.

okay a little more threatening than that one.

Flint is naturally freaking out because dragons don’t actually exist (OR DO THEY), but Tasslehoff is a bit more skeptical. He darts right into camp and starts calling for Tanis. Surprisingly this works, and Tanis wakes up JUST THEN. Tanis’s first instinct is to reach out and touch Sturm.

henry and glenn

finally.

Sturm, who has apparently been awake for some time now, gives Tanis the news that they’ve been captured, Tas and Flint are missing, and Raistlin is injured. Apparently not trusting that evil magic would lay the uber-wizard low, they also hit him with a poisoned dart. I mean… honestly guys, probably a good call, even if it seems a little excessive.

Goldmoon is trying to tend to Raist as best she can, but regrets losing her healing staff… forgetting I guess, that the last time Raistlin tried to touch it it zapped him so she’d just hurt him more?

Anyway they, like Flint, are pretty freaked out by the sight of the dragon looming over the camp, so even though Caramon could likely snap their bamboo cage, they elect not to try an escape.

Tanis tries to talk to a draconian (ugh), who refuses to help Raistlin. Raistlin, in fact, has started to get worse. This upsets Caramon for some reason

this reason.

this reason.

and he busts through the cage, dragon or no. His friends are the ones who have to subdue him before he brings the entire draconian (ugh) camp on their heads.

At this point, the dragon starts to talk, which seems to surprise everyone in the camp, especially the draconians (ugh). Our heroes overhear a military draconian (ugh) and a robed draconian (ugh ugh) discuss the fact that the dragon never speaks until the head draconian (ugh) priest is there. I WONDER IF THERE ARE SHENANIGANS AFOOT.

Despite this weird inconsistency, the draconians (ugh) do as the dragon says, and bring Caramon to see it. The dragon tells the draconians (ugh) to let Caramon have his weapon back, which, shockingly, they do. Meanwhile, Flint appears near the cage where the others are, and whispers for them to get out of there, revealing the SHOCKING news that it’s Tasslehoff voicing the dragon.

mind blown

Flint explains that anyone can control the dragon by pulling some levers and speaking into a tube, and also that the dragon is made of wicker which… how did anyone not notice this?

pictured: not an actual person.

pictured: not an actual person.

Anyway, Flint explains that Tasslehoff has a plan, but to make sure Goldmoon gets out of the way real quick because LADIES AMIRITE.

ohhh no

Meanwhile, Caramon is gearing up to fight pretty much the entire draconian (ugh) camp. Just as he’s about to start, the others race up, explain the plan, and have Caramon grab the group’s staves. Tasslehoff somehow makes the dragon fly (what? how? why?) and the group rushes to the woods.

Goldmoon takes this opportunity to touch Raist with her staff, which surprisingly does not zap him. A little inconsistent there, inanimate object. Anyway, what does happen is a gigantic fire. God damn it, blue crystal staff!

Oh no, wait, it’s the giant wicker dragon crashing into the draconians’ (ugh) bonfire and bursting into flame.

dramatic reenactment

dramatic reenactment

Flint freaks because Tasslehoff is in there, and runs into the draconian (ugh) camp. Caramon tries to stop him but just then, Raistlin wakes up, completely cured, and murmurs Caramon’s name.

christ this is reaching Moffat levels here.

christ this is reaching Moffat levels of teasing here.

The draconians (ugh) have now lost all interest in chasing their former prisoners, so frantic they are that their dragon has apparently committed seppuku, and also because they are on fire. There’s some commentary in the book about the soldier dragons being smaller and more panic stricken, while the wizard dragons are larger and more intelligent, but Jesus Christ, I’m so exhausted I can’t even deal with draconian (ugh) racism on top of everything else.

Sturm and Flint manage to find Tasslehoff, who saved himself from the firey flames by lodging himself in the dragon’s wicker head. They can’t get him out, and the neck’s about to catch fire, so Sturm has no choice but to guess at where the kender’s head is, and chop the dragon head away from the neck. With Riverwind’s help, they grab the head with Tas still inside, and run.

Back in the forest, Raistlin’s giving Caramon the cold shoulder (after all that romantic murmuring!), and Tanis rushes back, followed by Sturm, Flint, Riverwind, and the head. This causes Raistlin to crack up for some reason, and the occasion is treated as quite momentous by the authors. Not sure why, other than the fact that Raist’s laugh is apparently uber creepy.

Caramon tears open the dragon’s head with his bare hands. Tas is unharmed, and more worried about his hair than anything else.

he'd just moussed.

he’d just moussed.

And Raistlin is still, inexplicably, creepy-laughing as the band gathers itself to travel deeper into the forest.

Thus we end chapter fourteen. Not a bad one, despite the overwhelming number of draconians (ugh). We had some death defying stunts, some sexual tension, some close brushes with death, but most importantly we had ‘splosions!

Asshole prize: I was going to give it to Tas for being basically crazy in this chapter, but at the last minute, a dark horse came up – it’s Sturm, who, upon learning that Raistlin had been saved by Goldmoon’s staff, says “a pity.” Ummm wow, dude. Raistlin may be annoying, but I don’t think he’s done much of anything to warrant a “too bad he’s not fucking poisoned” response from you… at least for now. Go groom your mustaches or something.

Homoeroticism prize: I don’t even have to say it.

kiss kiss

 

DOAT Book One, Chapter 13: Chill Dawn. Vine Bridges. Dark Water.

Hellooooo dragonscouts! Your khaleesi is back from crazy work/holiday schedule and ready to go on some epic dragon themed adventures! I bet this chapter has us crossing some vine bridges over some dark water, what do you say? Bring the excitement!

Our chapter begins with Tanis waking from a horrible nightmare. He tries to take over the watch from Riverwind, who can’t sleep due to his entire tribe of people and way of life being destroyed utterly the day before, something lame like that.

Actually it seems like no one in our heroes’ camp can get any sleep. Tanis finds Flint engaging in his favorite hobby, whittling. They exchange some exposition about how they are on some road that will maybe get them through the mountains and possibly lead them to Zach Braff Xak Tsaroth. However, they’re running short on time, considering the Forestmaster had given them two days to reach the mysterious ruin, and now there’s only one day left. Sooo… thanks for that, pegasi.

you tried

haha no you didn’t.

 

An examination of Tasslehoff’s pre-cataclysm (and thus incredibly out of date) shows that they might just reach Xak Tsaroth this afternoon, if the land isn’t too bad. Nobody seems surprised or elated by this, they just… kind of sit around and eat breakfast. Well, at least Raistlin makes an effort to lighten the mood by needling Goldmoon about the deaths of her entire tribe. Way to be a dick, Raist!

I'M JUST MISUNDERSTOOD

I’M JUST MISUNDERSTOOD

Surprisingly, no one offers to pound Raistlin for that. Instead, Riverwind just walks off to be broody and Tanis starts giving Goldmoon a sensual backrub which… why… would you even… do… that? I really don’t think you’ve established the kind of relationship that allows unsolicited backrubs but… Goldmoon seems not to mind, so why the fuck not, I guess.

Riverwind comes back to let Goldmoon know that, by the way, he saw footprints leading from the destroyed village, meaning that some of their people might still be alive, and by the way, that means she’s the Chief now. He rains on this immediately by stating that it’s possible the draconians (ugh) followed the folks into the mountains, but hey, the thought was there. He and Goldmoon start fighting about their relationship immediately, which is I guess reasonable, seeing as how Goldmoon is under a lot of stress, and Riverwind is not being all too helpful. She is, by the way, back to telling about her father’s former condition, saying that all he did was “drool[] and mumble.” And this is the guy who was supposed to be coherent enough to order Riverwind to be put to death?

jlaw okay

Anyway, after that exciting bit of rehashed character development, the adventurers continue down the road where they come across a giant swamp. You know, one of those swamps that are right next to the desert plains. As in all desert-adjacent swamps, there is quicksand deathmirk, and surprise, Flint falls into it. You know, one of those funny dwarven pratfalls that lead to death.

dignity!

dignity!

Fortunately their resident Thor cosplay enthusiast Caramon is able to drag Flint out of the deathmirk, just in time for them to be goosed by a gigantic snake. Swampy fun!

After the typical we’ll never make it through/there’s no other way argument by Tanis and Raistlin, Riverwind reveals that actually, he does know the way through the swamp, because he’s been there before. Surprise! Everyone suddenly figures out that Riverwind’s half-remembered adventure during which he obtained the staff was Xak Tsaroth all along. SURPRISE YOU GUYS!

Shade

 

Riverwind leads the group through the swamp until the path leads straight into a mass of dark water. Everyone is in despair over the fact that they will have to stop, until Riverwind points out the vine bridge spanning the dark water.

malcolm transpo

 

Thanks to the vine bridges and Riverwind remembering the safe path through the swamp… somehow… even though he can barely remember anything else about his trip… I guess… the group makes it safely to the other side of the dark water. Hoorayyyyy. Oh except Goldmoon and Riverwind aren’t speaking anymore so maybe she’s finally decided to dump his peasant ass after all.

It's a good choice, Goldmoon.

It’s a good choice, Goldmoon.

Tanis is worried about Flint, who got soaked in the deathmirk, so he asks Tasslehoff to help him out by warming him up. Tasslehoff responds by skipping away to give Flint a flask of brandy, which… not exactly a scientifically proven method of hypothermia prevention. I mean, I expect this from Tasslehoff, who is a sociopath, but I expected a little better from you Tan… oh, no I actually didn’t.

The group travels on, and Tasslehoff decides that the best way to deal with this is to get Flint wasted.

ohh yeah this will end well.

ohh yeah this will end well.

But oh shit, as they’re crossing a fallen tree, a group of draconians (ugh) leaps out at them! They try to fight them off, Tas a bit more successfully than Flint, who again takes a plunge into the dark water. Successful-ish as he is at hitting stuff, Tasslehoff isn’t able to stop one of the draconians before it starts to cast a spell. Tas decides to leap into the water rather than get magicked, which is actually a pretty solid decision.

The rest of the group, hearing the attack, comes running. Raistlin immediately realizes that this is a mistake, but it’s too late – it seems that everyone gets clocked by the draconian magic. And on that cliffhanger, the chapter ends.

This was at least better than the last chapter by a pretty long shot, which I know isn’t saying much, but it at least has me interested in what happens next. The conflict between Goldmoon and Riverwind is pretty manufactured, though, you know the writers just want to give them some kind of tearful make up scene in the next couple of chapters or something.

Raistlin certainly wins the asshole prize in this one for, you know, joking about the possible massacre of Goldmoon’s tribe, but for sheer what-the-fuckery, Tanis and Riverwind are neck and neck. Between giving your bro’s girlfriend a “sorry your people got slaughtered” backrub and “remember all that shit I said I forgot well I REMEMBER NOW hahahaaa” I just don’t even know what either of you are doing. Maybe after Goldmoon officially dumps you, Riverwind, you and Tanis can get together and be stoic and mirthless as, like, a couple.

As for Tasslehoff, he doesn’t even register on this scale anymore because he’s a sociopath.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 12: Winged Sleep. Smoke in the east. Dark memories.

Tanis announces to the group that they’re going to visit Zach Braff Xak Tsaroth because they need to get whatever incredible gift is waiting for them there before the draconians (ugh) do. Everyone else more or less agrees, pretty much for lack of anything better to do.

Raistlin is, as always, the lone practical voice, asking how the fuck they are actually going to get there, considering Xak Tsaroth is ridic far away. The Forestmaster is all like “I’m sooo glad you asked me that” as it gives her an excuse to summon her flock of pegasi.

basically.

basically.

So this is the second intelligent species of creature that allow our intrepid heroes to… ride on their backs. The pegasi, at least, don’t seem as excited about this as the centaurs did, much to the disappointment of Dragonlance/Brony fanfic authors (I assume). Goldmoon is the first in the saddle, Riverwind joins her, and both of them start singing some weird bullshit that adds nothing whatsoever to the story. Oh well, at least they don’t write out the lyrics; I’m just glad to be spared any more oh noetry.

Everyone is borne aloft on the wings of the pegasi, and then they’re magicked to sleep all over each other which, like, is not even trying to be coy at this point.

where eagles dare!

where eagles dare!

Tanis wakes up in the middle of a meadow, and realizes that the pegasi have taken them only part of the way to Xak Tsaroth. When he asks why, the lone remaining pegasi says “yeahhh sorry about that, but there’s, like, something evil ahead and we’re going home.” It flies off, leaving our slumbering heroes with no further means of transport. So, thanks you dicks.

Tanis tries to relax and watch the sunrise for a while, but suddenly sees some nasty looking pollution on the horizon. He wakes up Riverwind, who quickly realizes that, oh shit, they just happen to be near his village, and oh shit, the smoke is coming from that direction. He wakes Goldmoon and the two freak out, even though this is the village of people who, you know, just tried to stone them to death. I mean, I get these are your family and friends, but the fact that they just tried to kill you might place a little bit of a damper on your grief, I’d imagine. Or maybe I’m just a dick, idk.

Goldmoon and Riverwind lead the way to the village, and then we get a quick cut to that evening, with Tanis remembering the horrors that he had seen there. Which… I  guess is a stylistic choice, but it sort of violates the show-don’t-tell recommendation, and also makes for some pretty awkward past perfect tense for a while. Anyway, there are basically no survivors, half the buildings are melted for some reason, and everything’s just super bleak and destroyed. Leave it to Raistlin of course to be all ‘uh, guys, we were supposed to be going to see Zach Braff?”

eh, take your time, I'll still be here.

eh, take your time, I’ll still be here.

And… then the chapter ends. Well that was really short. You could totally have padded that out with some actual real-time reaction writing to the devastation at the village, authors, and had some emotional impact, jeez.

Homoeroticism count: ALL OF THEM. Except Goldmoon and Riverwind, who remain staunchly and disappointingly hetero.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 11: The Forestmaster. A peaceful interlude.

Welp Dragonscouts, I have to say that these spoilery chapter headings were the worst idea, because I can already tell this chapter is going to be boring as shit. Ugh. Well I’ve made the commitment to get through this thing, so let’s dig in.

So, when we left our fearless band of warriors, they had run through the gauntlent of zombies and centaurs, and are now facing a… horrifying disembodied voice. Tanis and Caramon react immediately to this – Tanis by yelling, and Caramon by “bluffing” that he won’t harm the voice. So… okay Caramon, first of all, it’s a disembodied voice. Second of all, your first instinct is to “bluff” that you won’t hurt it? You have like, at least some serious anger management and/or violence issues dude.

NO I DO NOT

NO I DOOON’T

Okay Caramon, okay.

The Forestmaster assures the group that no, they won’t hurt her because she’s taken all their weapons. And then she reveals herself to be… a unicorn!

I'M ALIIIIIIIVE

I’M ALIIIIIIIVE

Despite the fact that this group is comprised entirely of assholes, the Forestmaster lets them chill in the forest for the night. Oh, thanks so much, Forestmaster, I would love to stay in your forest that is TEEMING WITH FUCKING MISOGYNY ZOMBIES.

HISSSSSS LET ME TELL YOU HOW WHITE MEN ARE OPPRESSED SSSSSSSS

HISSSSSS LET ME TELL YOU HOW WHITE MEN ARE OPPRESSSSSSSSSED

Caramon is super into this because the Forestmaster mentions the possibility of food, so obviously we now know where is priorities lie – food and twincest. He proves this by “eas[ing] his brother to the ground.”

You know that I will use every excuse to put up this image.

You know that I will use every excuse to post this image.

The centaurs prove to be domestic servants, and bring out a bunch of tablecloths, glowy insects in lanterns. and apparently objectionable chairs. Still the chairs turn out to be magic or whatever.

IDK this is basically the only chair that counts as magic in my opinion.

IDK this is basically the only chair that counts as magic in my opinion.

They all sit, and the centaurs lay out a magical feast. Caramon gets ridiculously excited about the meat until he realizes the deer is probably one of the Forestmaster’s subjects. Somehow, the Forestmaster seems really cool with everyone eating her people – er, animals – except that she stares creepily at Sturm while she says that it’s cool for folks to die fulfilling their destinies. Tanis manages to convince himself that this is all in his imagination, because he is an idiot.

The Forestmaster tells everyone to chill out about death and have a nice meal, which they do, apparently enjoying each others’ company for pretty much the first time in the book. Sturm talks to Tasslehoff without strangling him, and keeps him from stealing everything that isn’t nailed down. Caramon hoovers all the food in sight and plays with his bones, which, gross. Raistlin picks at everything and doesn’t talk, Goldmoon acts like a princess, basically, and Riverwind is awkward as hell.

One thing I like about this chapter is how it is subverting everyone else’s stupid ass prejudice about how Goldmoon is this barbarian who has no social skills applicable to the outside world. As it turns out, she is the only one who knows how to behave at a fucking dinner table with any kind of poise. Even so, girl, Riverwind is not doing you any favors. I hate to say it, but maybe daddy was right, and you need to kick him to the curb for someone who knows how to interact with people?

I'm just saying.

I’m just saying.

When the meal is finished, Raistlin asks the Forestmaster what the fuck are those lizard men, basically killing the mood. Thanks a lot, jerk who wants to know what the fuck is going on in his town. The forestmaster tells him that the beings are called… wait for it… “draconians.”

oh my god of course they are.

oh my god of course they are.

Apparently some of the Forestmaster’s zombie minions killed a bunch of them, which is cool. But before they did, they found out that the draconians (ugh) are: 1) not “of this world” (ugh ugh) and 2) comprise all those armies in the north that Tanis spotted while on top of the mountain.

Everybody starts yelling at each other about where they ought to go next, but fortunately the Forestmaster shuts that shit down by saying that SHE will tell them all where they need to go.

Raistlin is naturally suspicious, because who the fuck is this random ass unicorn to tell him what to do?

dont tell me

The Forestmaster has an answer though! Some dude, apparently large and shiny, told her that some folks were going to come into the forest, that the zombies would be cool with them, and that she’d have to tell him that they have to “fly” over the mountains and to some place called Xak Tsaroth in two days.

Dick

how do you even pronounce that shit? like “Zach Braff?”

Flint is like “wtf is this bs, you can’t get over the mountains in two days,” which seems a legit argument. Not only would they have to go back through the draconians, but they’d also have to go through the plains, where Goldmoon and Riverwind are basically under a death sentence. And then there’s the issue of whether they’re actually going to follow the advice – Sturm wants to go back to his homeland in the north because, you know, armies of fucking lizard men are there, and Riverwind still wants to cut his losses and head out to Zach Braff Xak Tseroth with Goldmoon by themselves.

Raistlin gives Riverwind a dire prophecy of death if they go off alone, which prompts Tanis to drag him off and give him a stern talking to. Sturm warns Caramon that there’s a “dark side” to his brother

uhh no fucking kidding.

uhh no fucking kidding.

which Caramon doesn’t even bother to deny. So… foreshadowing I guess.

Instead of bitching him out for threatening the pair of Plainsmen with death. Tanis asks Raistlin about what he knows about Xak Tsaroth. Raistlin replies that there used to be a temple to the ancient gods there, before being destroyed in the Cataclysm, before going off on a tangent about how he’s better and smarter than any of them, which is actually pretty awkward, bro.

Okay honey, okay.

Suuure, honey.

Once he’s done bitching, Raistlin tells Tanis that the draconians (ugh) are trying to conquer all of Ansalon (this is the first time the name is mentioned, and I only found out by searching my Kindle that it’s the continent they’re all on), and that the group will find whatever it is they need to defeat them in Xak Tsaroth. His advice is that they get there as fast as they can and get the whatever-it-is before the draconians (ugh) do.

Tanis asks Raistlin if he thinks that they’ve all been chosen for this task, and Raistlin agrees that yes, they were… but the question is, by whom?

dun dun dunnnnnnn……

So, despite the chapter title, this chapter was at least mildly interesting what with the interplay between the characters as they actually get along, and the threat of dire prophecies. Here’s hoping for some excitement in Zach Braff Xak Tsaroth.

get ready for thrills, motherfuckers.

get ready for thrills, motherfuckers.

Asshole count: Likely Raistlin again for bitching everyone out, though Caramon gets a shoutout for being a complete pig at the dinner table.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 10: Darken Wood. The Dead Walk. Raistlin’s Magic.

Our chapter begins with our heroes walking boldly into the zombie packed forest where they are horrified to see… absolutely no zombies. In fact, there are actually Disney-fied amounts of happy birds twittering in the trees and little animals scampering in the dappled sun. Tanis is, naturally, rather incredulous about Raistlin’s dire warnings, but fortunately, we Dragonscouts have our spoiler-y chapter headers to tell us that there is going to be some zombie shit going down soon. Can’t wait!

In fact, the entire group, except for Raistlin, decides their fear is silly, and start to relax.

loki facepalm

They walk on until the sun begins to set, and it gets to be time to make camp. This seems like a good thing as both Raistlin and Sturm – who has been healed by the staff but only barely – are pretty clearly hurting. They come across a comfortable looking glade, and blow off Raistlin’s additional dire warnings about not to leave the path. He sits down in the middle of the trail himself, and foretells more doom for the group, particularly if they try to kill any animals for food. Okay, you may end up being right, Raist, but you’re also being kind of a one-note killjoy, ya know?

Everyone settles in for the evening, but the woods suddenly seem more menacing. Tanis notices that his elf eyes, which I guess are some kind of infared vision that senses living warmth, aren’t working any more. He decides to take first watch with Sturm, and just as everyone starts to settle in, they find themselves surrounded by zombies.

shocker.

shocker.

And not just zombies, but a fully armed and armored zombie army. Welp, Raistlin, I hope you enjoy being right for the minute you have left to live.

Raistlin explains to Tanis that these are spectral minions who failed at performing some promised pledge, and are doomed in death until Isildur’s heir comes to free them from their bonda- oh wait, that was another zombie army that happens to be completely identical to this one.

IT'S A COINCIDENSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

IT’S A COINCIDENSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

By the way Raist, how do you know all this shit about them? Did you spend the last five years majoring in zombie studies? Well whatever. Raistlin tells Tanis that he’ll perform a communication spell to allow the group to find out what these zombies are after. He casts the spell, and the King of the Zombies steps forward to communicate. Tanis is duly impressed by Raistlin’s awesome zombie-taming power, although Caramon seems kind of upset.

The King of the Zombies uses Raistlin’s body to ask the rest of the group what the shit they are doing in his forest. Everybody is tongue tied except for Tasslehoff who, being an utter sociopath, runs up and immediately asks the zombies what crap they pulled to get them stuck here. The King rather indulgently explains that they had vowed to protect the land, but that when some crazy earthquakes occurred (referencing, pretty obviously, the Cataclysm discussed in earlier chapters), they ran away instead of fighting, and now must remain here until “evil is driven back and balance restored again.” So my only question is, why is everyone, including whatever higher power sentenced these knights to an eternity of servitude after death, not recognizing that knights cannot fight against fucking earthquakes????

This gif is going to be deployed a lot, isn't it?

This gif is going to be deployed a lot, isn’t it?

The King of the Zombies now demands to know why the group has entered the wood, and the imperturbable Tasslehoff launches straight into the story. Like, the entire thing, every single event we just read. Okay, well all the events up to the crystal staff, which causes the King to react rather strongly. He stalks straight to Goldmoon, who, to her credit, doesn’t even flinch, but goes straight up to the undead dude. The King of the Zombies suddenly draws his sword and!!! does nothing with it at all except hold it in the air. The sword and the staff both start to glow and Goldmoon is all like “OMG SAMESIES!”

The King now reaches toward Raist, and Caramon, having had enough of this zombie nonsense, tries to stab the King with his sword. This does not go well, as when the stabbing occurs, it’s Caramon who gets his ass (or rather arm) injured, and is reduced to a sobbing heap on the ground. Way to be a complete whuss, Caramon, you can’t even kill one zombie?

The King now grabs Raistlin, who does not fall to the ground shrieking in pain, but willingly follows the zombies into the woods. The others decide to follow, except for Caramon, who is a crying mess and has to be convinced by Tanis.

The group goes through what sounds like a huge battle until they find themselves in a large glade where Raistlin stands by himself. He collapses, and Caramon races to “reach his brother and gather him tenderly in his arms.”

so hot.

so hot.

The rest of the zombies vanish, and instead there stands before the group an army of alive dudes all pointing their spears. So, not really much of an improvement I guess. But oh shit, not only are these dudes alive dudes, they are centaurs!

but are they, like, homoerotic centaurs?

but are they, like, homoerotic centaurs?

Also it seems as though Flint is allergic to centaurs as well as horses, continuing in his dwarven allergies to any mode of transportation but sprinting. And yes, centaurs count as a mode of transportation, because they immediately offer our band of fearless heroes transport to anywhere they might want to go. Which seems a little undignified, but if you guys want to be pack mules, centaurs, be my guest.

The group gratefully accepts the offered transport, and the centaurs take them to the mysterious Forestmaster. In the meantime, the centaur upon whom Tanis is riding tells him to “relax” and “put thy hands on me rump.” Finally I think this book is getting where I want it to go.

That would be homoerotic centaur wrestling. The ancient Greeks wanted it too - no need to be ashamed.

That would be homoerotic centaur wrestling. The ancient Greeks wanted it too – no need to be ashamed.

The centaurs take the group to the center of Darken Wood and leave them there without even one awkwardly mannish kiss. But suddenly a voice comes from the forest to tell Goldmoon that her staff is a weapon against evil… annnd the chapter ends on that cliffhanger.

Unlike the last chapter, this one felt relatively short, and although there wasn’t much action per se, it was interesting what with all the zombies and centaurs and all.

Asshole count: Raistlin wins the prize here what with all his moaning and whining about how everyone is doomed when actually the zombies were pretty friendly – not to mention the centaurs. Still, I’ll give him a pass because his spells evidently saved everyone, and I’m guessing this won’t be the first time. Caramon wins for “least effective fighting technique” for his attempts to kill zombies by crying at them.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 9: Flight! The white stag.

Ooh, Dragonscouts, an actual exclamation point in our title! How exciting. When we last left our intrepid heroes, they were fleeing a hoard of lizard men into the forest, Flint leading the way in a classic Dwarven sprint.

gimli running

Tanis decides, with no evidence other than his… elven perception, I guess… that the lizard men must have blocked all the exits from he forest except the one leading to the Darken Wood. He proposes heading to Prayer’s Eye Peak to get a good look around, but after Raistlin collapses, decides they should rest first. Sturm is looking pretty beat down too, but is talking all this with suicidal amounts of stoicism.

Just a lil mustache grooming and I'll be fine.

Just a lil mustache grooming and I’ll be fine.

Tanis and Riverwind have a quiet chat, in which Riverwind reveals that the lizard men were participants in his Lovecraftian fever dream. Both he and Goldmoon are worried that the lizard men have attacked their village, but assure themselves that the warriors of their tribe will make short work of them. Riverwind’s nastiness finally cracks, too, as he thanks Tanis and the rest of the group for all of their help. So touching you guys! Friendship is magic.

The group grows nearer to Prayer’s Eye Peak, so named because it looks like praying hands. So wouldn’t it be Prayer’s Hand Peak? Fantasy world, you make no sense.

The group continues toward the mountain. Sturm insists on taking the rear guard even though he feels like he’s going to pass out, which now starts going beyond suicidal stoicism to homicidal stoicism. Seriously Sturm, what do you think is going to happen if those lizard men start sneaking up on everyone, and you can’t even see as far as putting one foot in front of the other?

It's this. This is what will happen.

It’s this. This is what will happen.

Sturm starts remembering back to when he was a child, hearing stories of the knight Huma. Evidently when Sturm was a child, his father and mother were basically Knights of Solemnia lifers, and I guess spoke of nothing else, ever. No wonder Sturm’s personality is basically “mustache.” Dad packed his wife and kid off in order to save lil Sturm from discrimination, as the Knights were pretty much universally loathed for a reason I’m still not quite clear on. They wound up in Solace where Sturm became besties with Caramon, but Sturm’s mom was too good to make friends and died alone.

The fate of haughty bitches and Oedipal sons everywhere.

The fate of haughty bitches and Oedipal sons everywhere.

So Sturm became part of a quasi-family consisting of Tanis and Flint (the mom and dad of the fam, I’m assuming), Caramon, Raistlin, Kitiara and Tasslehoff, going around and having adventures, as one does. But with growing tales of evil in the land, the group had split five years ago and gone their separate ways. Sturm went north to seek news of his long lost dad.

Here the book gets SUPER SLUDGY with oldschool style exposition about the Knights of Solemnia. Seriously, it is SO BORING with tons of Capital Letter Words of Great Import which I have No Patience With, so I will sum up in a bullet list, yeah?

  • Huma was a Knight of Solemnia and Big Damn Hero who drove out the darkness and evil and whatever a long-ass time ago.
  • The earth went BOOM and there were no more gods, boo.
  • Knights, as it turns out, can’t battle fucking earthquakes and volcanoes. So everyone hates them.

makes sense

So Sturm stumbles forward, remembering his vow to restore the knight’s honor, and feeling dissatisfied that all he has to fight are lizard men instead of dragons. Sturm. Dude. The lizard men almost killed you. How the hell are you going to be standing up against a dragon? So we’ll add “suicidal stupidity” along with “homicidal stoicism” and “mustache” into your list of personality traits.

Sturm suddenly sees a huge and very magnificent white stag that no one else can see, but this has something to do with Huma, so he insists that everyone follow it. They decide he must have a head wound, which just enrages Sturm. He starts screaming at Caramon about what an idiot he is, which really doesn’t sound very fair.

Tanis decides that Sturm is making sense, as he has been with someone who had seen the stag and followed it. He starts twisting his ring around his finger and thinking of some crying elfmaiden WHO I AM SURE WILL HAVE NO BEARING ON THIS STORY IN ANY FUTURE TIME.

Anyway, Tanis is in favor of following the stag up the western side of the mountain. Caramon insists that there aren’t any trails on that side, because no one ever goes there. But if no one ever goes there how would you know?? I am beginning to think Caramon deserves the abuse he’s been getting from Raistlin and Sturm so far.

Goldmoon throws her vote in with Tanis, and the group follows the stag to the south, where they find… a trail!

surprise.

Not only is there a trial, but it’s a trail that’s ridic old, and with no tracks on it to indicate that any humans have been on it like… ever.

The group races up the path until mid-day when they decide to stop for a break. Sturm engages in some strategic mustache grooming while Tanis and Riverwind go scouting ahead. Tanis muses on how he is beginning to feel comfortable with Riverwind because unlike his friends, who are concerned about Kitiara’s apparently ditching Tanis and Tanis obviously being upset about it, Riverwind doesn’t talk, and doesn’t know anything about Tanis’s romantic history. So Tanis, your dream bromance is someone who… doesn’t know you, won’t talk to you, and doesn’t care if you’re upset? Hooookay then.

Well, one of Tanis’s thoughts turns out to be right. When he and Riverwind look down from the heights, they see that the forest is crawling with lizard men. Fortunately however, the trail on which they’ve just passed has disappeared, leaving no trace. Spooooky!

Even spookier, Tanis and Riverwind see campfires on the horizon, portending a coming war. When they go back to tell the rest of the group, their friends are incredulous that a war would be starting just for some staff. When Raistlin tries to remind everyone about the missing stars in the sky, they just scoff all the more. Well we all know what happens when someone’s stories are scoffed at in the beginning of the story, right Raist?

Ohhhh yes. Yes I do

Ohhhh yes. Yes I do.

Before everyone can start fighting, the stag reappears and Sturm goes crashing after it. The path leads into the gap between the two praying hands that make up the mountain. By the time they get there, the group is starting to get a little testy. But when Flint makes a crack about wishing the stag were real so that they could eat it, Sturm LOSES HIS SHIT in the worst way. Fortunately Tanis is there to stop him before he takes a swing at poor flint. Jesus Sturm, calm your tits.

The group makes their way through the gap in Prayer’s Eye Peak. Everyone marvels at how nice and warm and beautiful the view is, until Raistlin points out that this is the way to Darken Wood. Sturm scoffs at this, and then decides that he don’t even care, misogyny zombies though there may be.

FEMINISTS ARE MAN HATING LESBIANS HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

ALL FEMINISTS ARE MAN HATING LESBIANS HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Still, after Tanis announces that he’ll follow Sturm but won’t take responsibility for anyone else’s life, the group elects to go forward – even Raistlin, despite portending certain doom in the forest. As he points out to Tanis, where the fuck else is anyone going to go? This pisses Tanis off, mostly because Raistlin is obviously correct.

The group reaches the edge of the forest and everyone is surprised by how not-scary it is, for a place apparently packed to the brim with zombies. Raistlin rains on everyone’s parade by warming them not to eat or drink anything in the forest, despite the fact that their supplies are running out. Good luck convincing anyone of that, Raist. In an effort to make an impression, he starts being super dramatic all over the place, predicting that the forest brings great evil to those who bring evil into it. Sturm cracks that Raistlin is the only one who needs to be worried then, and that makes Caramon go all glove-slappy. Unfortunately homoerotic wrestling is once again stymied by Tanis and Raistlin.

Tanis and Flint, at the back of the group, have a brief conversation in which they manage to pack as much soppiness as possible. Still, Tanis is worried because his dwarf pal is getting old, and isn’t quite so spry as he once was. Which, you know, is not ideal when you’re about to find a bunch of zombies.

Annnd so ends this chapter. It was SO LONG YOU GUYS. I am really hoping for some zombie action to break up the tedium here.

Asshole count: Everyone. Everyone who opens their mouth in this chapter is a complete asshole to everyone else around them. I think Sturm wins the prize for this one, but only barely.

 

 

DOAT Book One, Chapter 8: Search for truth. Unexpected answers.

When we last left our fearless band of heroes, half of them were cowering in a ditch to hide from a bunch of priests based on their sociopathic kender’s (redundant) “eerie feeling.” The other half consists of two large fighters with swords, one of whom has already declared his intention to “take care” of said priests, and two fugitives from pretty much all the authority in the area who have run out into the road in an effort to test the healing powers of their staff.

Goldmoon is in the lead of those running from the bushes, and the book takes pains to tell us that “this was not the act of a foolish, hysterical woman.” Oh, thank goodness you said something, book, because that is what I TOTALLY would have thought.

ohhh noWe go into a little backstory about Goldmoon, and how she’s had to rule her people ever since her father got debilitatingly sick, ten years ago. Buuut… wait a sec. In the very last chapter, we had a story about how Goldmoon’s father was the one to have sent Riverwind out on this impossible quest. And even if that had happened before her father had taken ill – so ill that he couldn’t speak clearly, or move his right arm and leg (so a stroke, I guess), according to Goldmoon’s story, Riverwind had gotten back only two days prior to the current events of the book. He’d presented the staff to Goldmoon’s father – not to her – and her father had declared him a fraud and ordered the tribe to stone him to death. And… how did he do this? Even if we accept that he was able to be propped up, and his speech interpreted, it was Goldmoon who “ruled the tribe in all but name.” As their leader, why couldn’t she just overrule her father, declare that the staff was cool, and order everyone to, I don’t know, not stone her boyfriend?

Logic

Ucchhhh okay, fine, book, I will take your word on this one and move on. This part doesn’t have nearly enough Raistlin in it anyway.

Anyway, Goldmoon offers to help the sick priest, but declares that she is the staff’s rightful owner until she learns definitively otherwise. Tanis, watching this exchange, gets nervous as he notes that the priests keep feinting towards their belts, under which lie strange bulges that can’t be prayer books!

Sooo is that a prayer book in your pocket or just an obvious joke?

Sooo is that a prayer book in your pocket or just an obvious joke?

Neither Sturm nor Caramon apparently share Tanis’s homoerotic musings, as although Sturm stayed in the road to kill the priests, and Caramon ran into the road to protect Goldmoon, they have both let their guard down and are now “completely relaxed.”

loki facepalm

I just assume this is Raistlin’s reaction, and I’m probably not wrong.

The priest gratefully accepts Goldmoon’s help, and invites her to travel to Haven with his group, in order to convince her that the staff really belongs to them. So generous! He leads Goldmoon to the cart, and inside she finds… an ambush!

Not only that, but Tanis – still hiding in the bushes – is jumped upon from above. Fortunately, Flint smacks the attacker with a log, and Tanis is in for another surprise – it isn’t a man, but a lizard man.

The most dangerous game.

The most dangerous game.

Goldmoon and Riverwind, meanwhile, have been attacked by lizard men disguised as priests. Fortunately, unlike Riverwind who is paralyzed in terror, and Caramon and Sturm, who I assume are still relaxing, Goldmoon proves herself to be a pretty badass fighter with her staff.

Sturm apparently snaps out of his stupor and sticks one of the lizard men with his sword. At this, he gets a nasty surprise – the thing turns to stone, leaving Sturm’s sword stuck inside it. Raistlin sees this, and appears in time to warn Caramon against stabbing the dudes. Caramon attempts to fight them by… flexing somehow, and Raistlin puts them to sleep…

LIKE A B – oh, shit, it doesn’t work, because the lizard men are magic resistant! Caramon employs his head-smashing technique (most recently exhibited on goblins) and decimates the lot.

Oh shit, I did something right!

I did something right!

Raistlin, not to be outdone by his own brother, sets the remaining lizard men on fucking fire.

like a boss

Tanis, meanwhile runs up to Sturm who is lying in the road and crying like a little child about his sword, like he’s wounded or something.

No, I'm not above using this joke.

No, I’m not above using this joke.

Tanis leaves Flint and Tasslehoff to guard Sturm while he gets the rest of the group together. But Tasslehoff traipses of to grab Sturm’s sword some…how?

Like this, if King Arthur were a kender?

Like this, if King Arthur were a kender?

There’s some hilarious slapstick high jinks that I’m just too exhausted to recap here – let’s just say that Tasslehoff pounds the lizard man with pretty much no effort because that’s just what kenders do.

Anyway, more fighting, then Tanis manages to get everyone rallied into one group. Tanis decides that they have to head south into the woods where the misogyny zombies live.

HISSSSSSSSSSSSSS WOMEN ARE WEAKER THAN MEN IT'S JUST BIOLOGY

HISSSSSSSSSSSSSS WOMEN ARE WEAKER THAN MEN IT’S JUST BIOLOGY

And that’s the end of another chapter. It’s action heavy, and apart from the extremely contradictory storyline we get about Goldmoon’s past, and a little background about how well Caramon and Raistlin are able to fight together (even if they don’t get along), not much character development. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, guys! We can do both!

Idiot count: This one is clearly Sturm and Caramon for apparently letting their guard down pretty much immediately after they were already primed to, you know, kill some fucking priests. As you do.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 7: The story of the staff. Strange clerics. Eerie feelings.

Our group of travelers is now making their way through Solace Vale, the woods outside the town of Solace. These woods are unexpectedly dangerous, as they are apparently populated with tangleshoot vines, which have a… taste for human blood.

baby-audrey-2

Like that ever happens.

When they finally get to the road, it’s quiet. Too quiet. everyone in the group is suddenly nervous about walking along the road, even Cauldron Caramon, who is supposed to be all big and tough and strong. So they decide to send Tasslehoff to scout things out by himself, because when your giant, brawny dudes who may or may not be wearing full plate armor and have swords and shit are scared to walk along the road, the best thing to do is send the tiniest, scrawniest member of your party in front of you.

fucking seriously?

So Tasslehoff wanders off down the road singing… a… well, oh god. Let’s have some lyrics, shall we?

Your one true love’s a sailing ship/That anchors at our pier/We lift her sails, we man her decks,/We scrub the portholes clear

Uhh…

For all the sailors love her/And flock to where she’s moored/Each man hoping that he might/Go down, all hands on board.

Okay, ignoring the hideous meter of this new Oh Noetry it’s… my god, it’s basically a “your girlfriend’s a big ho” joke set to verse. And of course, the character presented as the most childish and innocent member of the group is the one who gets to sing it. I mean, we’ve established that Tasslehoff is a sociopath, but not, like, a sex one. Yet.

Until Rule 34 has its way.

Until Rule 34 has its way.

After Tasslehoff and his sex songs are safely out of earshot, the rest of the group decides to try its luck on the road. To Tanis’s surprise, Raistlin is making his way along the path pretty well, considering he has been coughing blood, and is now engaged in the time honored mistake of walking while reading.

To be fair, this is your Khaleesi's favorite mistake.

To be fair, this is your Khaleesi’s favorite mistake.

Tanis muses that it’s necessary for wizards to re-learn a spell every time they cast it, which I understand is, like, a D&D thing or something? I know very little about D&D, but it makes sense to put some limitations on your wizards’ ability to just go around casting insane spells with no consequences in order to make the game fair.

Unlike in real life where wizards always win.

Unlike in real life where wizards always win.

Tanis hangs with Goldmoon, who for no reason just starts telling him her life story. It’s pretty boring and cliched, really. She and Riverwind were in love, he was an outcast and she was a princess, blah blah. Goldmoon’s father sent him out on an impossible quest to keep him away from her, he came back with the blue crystal staff, the tribe tried to stone them to death, the staff teleported them to Solace. You know, just like all the fairy tales.

And like all fairy tales, PuppyCat told it better.

And like all fairy tales, PuppyCat told it better.

After Goldmoon tells her story, Riverwind finally opens up about his journey to find the staff, but not before being kind of elf-racist towards Tanis. He apparently found a strange, evil city that sounds sort of like a Lovecraftian fever dream. While he was there, dying from injuries, a woman appeared before him, healed him, and gave him the staff.

Tanis is a little incredulous, looking at the staff, as it seems so benign – he sees it as plain and ordinary, with a device carved at the top, and feathers, “such as the barbarians admire,”

pocahontistied around it.

Tanis’s racist musings are interrupted by Tasslehoff running back down the path with a warning. Tanis orders everyone to jump into the bushes. Everyone does – except Sturm, who decides to stand his ground like an asshole. Tasslehoff catches up to them and warns them that a party of clerics is coming down the road. This doesn’t sound incredibly dangerous, although Sturm claims that he can “handle” them. However, Tasshlehoff apparently has a weird feeling about them. Perhaps even… an eerie feeling?

Not that kind of feeling.

Not that kind of feeling.

The fact that even a sociopath like Tasslehoff has misgivings about these clerics convinces even Sturm that it’s time to withdraw, so the whole group hides in some bushes. They watch as the group of clerics come into view, wheeling a handcart behind them.

Tanis proposes that Sturm go up and talk to them, which… really, Tanis? I mean, these are a group of clerics, which are basically priests, and you decide to send out the guy who, with no other knowledge about them save that a kender is feeling a little weird about them, says that he is willing to “handle,” i.e. kill them, to negotiate? This is not a good plan, bro.

Tanis, in his time honored tradition of not listening to me, sends Sturm to wait along the road anyway, filling in the others about his master plan. Raistlin is not a fan of this either, but not for the same reasons as me. He connects the dots between the blue crystal staff randomly showing up near Solace with the strange clerics showing up – it’s a weird coincidence, he posits, and might indicate that the staff is theirs by right. Everyone worries about this except Flint, who bitches about the rain, and Sturm, who waits for the clerics, stroking his mustaches.

you know, Dragonscouts, I went on Google to find a good mustache stroking picture, and unexpectedly found a video of my ex boyfriend stroking his mustache on Fox News. No, every single word of that sentence is absolutely true. So I am just going to post a picture of Freddie Mercury here, drink a bottle of wine, and hope for the best.

Do I make you feel better, Khaleesi?

Does my mustache make you feel better, Khaleesi?

Yes it does, Freddie. And also, wine.

ANYWAY. The clerics come into view, and true to Tasslehoff’s feelings, are pretty damn weird looking. They are all tall and shrouded in cloaks and bandages. They chat a bit with Sturm, who references the rumors of a war to the north, which the clerics deny. They tell him that they’re in search of a blue crystal staff (of course). Evidently, one of their order is very ill and in need of its healing powers. Further (they claim), it was stolen from their sacred order by a barbarian

pocahontis

who they traced to the plains, but who then vanished.

Goldmoon, on hearing this, runs out into the road to help the sick cleric. Everyone else follows, except for Raistlin, Flint, Tasslehoff and Tanis, who is showing an uncharacteristic canniness.

And the chapter ends on this cliffhanger. It’s a bit more exciting than the last chapter, and doesn’t rely so much on telling not showing, so I feel that it’s superior in all ways. Except for racism, which is a real problem in this book, I’m seeing. At the same time, it’s all action and very little character exploration or growth, which makes me wonder if we’re going to see any chapters like chapter 5, where we got both at the same time. Well, here’s hoping we discover the mystery of the clerics in our next chapter, am I right?

Asshole count: Tough to pick a winner for the chapter, but I’m voting for Sturm. It is just weird that his first thought on coming across a bevy of clerics is “hey, I can take them out!” Tasslehoff takes second place for his inappropriate sex songs.