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

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

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

star trek nod

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

Shade

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

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

terrible battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

nope

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

scrooge

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

cher yuk

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

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

lav7

Ooh. Guys. Guys. You guys. Guys.

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

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

true romance

haven’t deployed this one in a while.

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

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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.

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 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 5: Farewell to Flint. Arrows fly. Message in the Stars.

Good evening Dragonscouts! Just for your info, your Khaleesi is going to have a sporadic posting schedule for the foreseeable future. But never fear, she will continue this foray into nostalgic fantasy fiction, and continue to bring your at-least-weekly chapter reblogs.

We last left our intrepid heroes as they trashed a nineteen year old waitress’s house, and escaped into the night without a backward glance like the complete assholes they are. The mere act of trashing a house and then running away from it seems to have taken the strength out of our fearless band of warriors, as Goldmoon’s face is “scarred with weariness,” Riverwind’s “shoulders sagged,” and Raistlin is “shivering, lean[ing] against a tree and wheezing for breath.” Way to be big damn heroes, jerks.

Tasslehoff suggests crossing Crystalmir Lake by boat, and is undeterred by the fact that our bold fellowship is not currently in possession of a boat. Tanis gives Tasslehoff his approval of this plan, but warns him not to tell Flint. I mean… seriously, is Flint allergic to every method of transportation that doesn’t involve walking? He already sneezes at the mere whiff of horse, however that works, and now he’s allergic to… what, water? Just stick to sprinting I guess, lil dawg.

Dwarven water allergies tragically claim three more victims.

Dwarven water allergies tragically claim three more victims.

Anyway, Tasslehoff leads the group on a night excursion to purloin borrow a boat with which to cross the lake. Ceridwen Caramon expresses concern to Tanis that the barbarian

pocahontis

Riverwind doesn’t trust them, which Tanis decides is a pretty legit reaction to this entire excursion. And much as I hate to admit it, Tanis does have a point. The entire group is pretty sketch, what with their can’t-be-in-town-one-full-night-without-attracting-goblin-crackdown-ness, criminally negligent attitude toward personal property, not to mention the fact that Riverwind’s broke ass is supposed to be protecting the goddamn princess of his nation. But he doesn’t do much about this except give the entire group suspicious looks, so I mean, way to not be proactive, Riverwind.

Sturm is the only one who expresses some reserve about their excursion, saying “[f]irst we’re murderers, now we’re about to become thieves.” Caramon scoffs that he doesn’t consider himself to be a murderer, because “goblins don’t count.” So this is a clear expression of Caramon’s species-ism. I mean, “goblins don’t count?” They’re sentient beings, right? With the ability to feel pain and emotions and all that? What on earth about goblins besides the preconceived notion that they are somehow “evil” makes them not count when you’re killing them? Maybe we will discover this later on, but right now it smacks of Tolkien-y “orcs were made by evil dudes so they are automatically evil and nothing can change that even if they are supposedly sentient creatures with free will and junk.” Grosssss.

We get still more character development as Caramon, dickish as he is toward goblins, shows a relatively surprising level of compassion toward his brother, who’s struggling to keep his feet. Raistlin spurns Caramon’s attempts to help him along the path, and although Tanis wonders out loud why Caramon puts up with him, both he and Sturm seem a bit jealous of Caramon having family close to hand – unlike the two of them. Sturm has apparently spent the last five years in an unfruitful search for his father, whereas Tanis, the product of assault, has no family at all. This is all very sad, but it seems that it might be a little better than having an unrepentant jerkass as a little brother.

This relationship will in no way cause me any regret, right lil bro?

This relationship will in no way cause me any regret, right lil bro?

Sudden lights in the distance show that Tanis and his group of property destroying dickwads are being chased, likely for the destruction they wreaked on Tika’s treehouse. Tanis finally clues Flint into the fact that they’ll be crossing the lake by boat, and we’re treated to the knowledge that Flint is not allergic to water, but rather has a mortal fear of boats after nearly being drowned by Caramon one time. So… not really doing much in the way of redeeming yourselves, guys. Riverwind seems to think so too, as he apparently attempts to convince Goldmoon to split up and take their chances in the forest. Goldmoon, however, is having none of this, and orders her lovahhhh into the boat. He seems none too pleased with this, but bro, that’s what you get for dating princesses.

PRINCESSES DO WHAT THEY WANT

PRINCESSES DO WHAT THEY WANT

As it turns out, Riverwind is dwarf and elf and kender racist, a trait all of the “Plainsmen” (except Goldmoon who is apparently preternaturally enlightened) share. Soooo primitive, am I right guys? Good thing Plainsmen are in no way based on an actually existing race of humans or that would be suuuuper awkward.

Tasslehoff arrives with the boat, and Flint straight up refuses to get in. Tanis, in a rare moment of not being an asshole, doesn’t allow Caramon to knock Flint on the head and drag him into the boat, but shakes the guy’s hand and lets him go. This doesn’t last long, however, as Flint reappears, chased by a regiment of goblins. He dashes to the boat and gets hauled in, while Sturm rows them out into the lake. This is problematic, however, as the moons (there are two, one silver and one red) cause the boat to show up against the water, making the group an easy target. We’d better do what we always do in impossible situations, which is let Raistlin handle everything. He casts a spell and all the goblins on the shore topple over, fast asleep.

like a boss

 

So the group is safe for the time being, and Goldmoon and Riverwind engage in some post mortal danger groping. But they are interrupted when both Goldmoon and Raistlin notice that two constellations – the Queen of Darkness and the Valiant Warrior – have vanished from the sky. This, Raistlin claims, is a portent of war, death and destruction, but Caramon scoffs in disbelief. And so I have to assume that this prediction will in no way come to pass, because that would just be foolishness.

I have to mark this chapter as just okay. While the chase through the forest is a little thrilling, we’re going over emotional ground (Tanis and Sturm have no family, Caramon and Raistlin have a toxic, co-dependent relationship, Riverwind hates everyone) that we’ve already covered in prior chapters, so it all feels like a bit of a rehash. I hope we’ll venture into new territory in subsequent chapters.

Asshole count: CARAMON wins the prize in the assholeness contest that is this chapter. So far we learn that though he’s nice to Raistlin (who clearly doesn’t deserve it despite being competent as fuck), he’s goblin-racist, and he nearly drowned one of his best friends and nevertheless has no compassion towards said friend’s subsequent crippling fear of water and water-based transportation. Riverwind comes in second based on his racism, but he seems to not have been involved in any drowning incidents, so he gets a pass from me on this one. Tanis, surprisingly, is being a pretty reasonable dude and shows himself to be a not too bad planner in dangerous situations. However I have little doubt that he’ll show his true dickish colors quickly.