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

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

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

lav7

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

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

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

kanye laugh

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

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

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

scarjo misandry

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

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

MIA

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

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

nazi shrug

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

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

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

jerri 2

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

hokay.

hokay.

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

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

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

of fucking course

of fucking course

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

mind blown

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

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

Shade

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

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

elf attack

pictured.

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

poppin hot magic

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

so rugged. so powerful.

so rugged. so powerful.

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

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

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

notallhumans

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

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

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

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

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

jlaw okay

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

MAYBE.

MAYBE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

a noble savage indeed!

a noble savage indeed!

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

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

biznatch

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

ralph

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

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

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

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

Bupu, motherfuckers.

Bupu, motherfuckers.

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

pictured.

pictured.

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

tina dancing

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

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

like a boss

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

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

theeere we go.

theeere we go.

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

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

idk the asshole kind i guess?

idk the asshole kind i guess?

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

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

THIS IS NOT AT ALL A METAPHOR FOR EJACULATE

THIS IS NOT AT ALL A METAPHOR FOR EJACULATE

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

true romance

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

ohhh no

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

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

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

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

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

I'm assuming.

I’m assuming.

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

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

gimli dignity

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

like a boss

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

reaction-cersei-1

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

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

…it’s a dead rat.

marilyn-monroe-yuck-

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

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

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

I FEEL MUCH BETTER THANK YOU

I FEEL MUCH BETTER THANK YOU

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

mia bad girls

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

Asshole count: ANYONE WHO IS MEAN TO BUPU.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 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 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 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.

 

DOAT Book One, Chapter Six: Night in a Cave. Dissension. Tanis decides.

We rejoin our fearless group of heroes as they huddle together in a boat, as a rainstorm rolls in. Sturm and Cerulean Caramon are at the oars, with Sturm pointedly not speaking to Caramon, probably because he has realized that Caramon is kind of an asshole. Tanis is navigating and manages to find the group a convenient cave that’s large enough to house them all. I have no idea how he did this, but it probably has something to do with being an elf, or some crap like that. Elves are supposed to be able to do pretty much anything, at least according to Lord of the Rings movies, right?

So realistic.

So realistic.

Tasslehoff in particular is pleased with these developments, since in the… I don’t know, four or five? hours since he met Tanis on the road to town, he thought that Tanis was being “moody and indecisive,” which is apparently very different from Tanis’s usually strong-leadery self. To this I say… really? Indecisive? Moody I get, if only because he’s been tuning his friends out to think about how upset he is about not getting to fuck, but indecisive, absolutely not. Let’s take a look back at the last five chapters to see where Tanis has and hasn’t made decisions, shall we?

  • Chapter one: he declares that it’s time to go up to the inn instead of chilling on the road when presented with this decision by Flint.

  • Chapter three: After, admittedly, getting prodded by Tika, who mostly just filled him in on the general tenor of the townsfolk since he left Solace, Tanis decides that the group has to escape through the kitchen, and he’s forced to convince Sturm not to stand his ground in the meantime. Then he decides that they’ll hide at Tika’s for the night, allow the Plainsfolk to rest up at his house, then send the “barbarians”

pocahontis

          to Haven.

  • Chapter four: Lest we all forget, it was Tanis’s decision to WRECK TIKA’S HOUSE in order to allow the group some getaway time. Everyone else went along with it like the destructive assholes they are, but this brilliant plan was Tanis’s from the start. Once Sturm asks where they’re going to go, Tanis does hesitate, but only to consider the options before them. Then he decides that they’re all going north, at least to the crossroads, and possibly further.

  • Chapter five: It’s Tasslehoff’s idea to go by boat rather than Tanis’s, this is true. But when sent to reason with Flint as “the diplomat” of the group, he decides it’s better to let Flint go his own way than to drag him into the boat.

Basically, Tanis has been making almost all the calls during this adventure, with everyone else not only following his lead, but turning to him for guidance – Sturm asking where they’re going, and Tasslehoff running the idea of taking the boat across the lake by Tanis before he goes thieving borrowing. The one time he shows hesitation is when he’s considering his options. If this is indecisive for Tanis, he must have been a real dictator beforehand. Tasslehoff’s thinking that he’s glad for the adventure which indicates to me that kender are kind of sociopathic, which is obviously part of their charm.

The group huddles down in the cave, with special attention being paid to Raistlin, who can’t get his feet wet and has to be carried around by his brother.

This is getting very romantic.

This is getting very romantic.

It’s been hinted that Raistlin is in very poor health what with his not being able to walk very far, and lingering cough of doom, but this is the first indication that it’s serious – he starts coughing up blood, which seems to be kind of a liability for a traveling wizard. Tanis is now struck with a memory of having to save Raist (and I think it is totes adorbs that Caramon calls Raistlin “Raist”) from a mob that was trying to burn him at the stake for exposing a false cleric. Tanis ponders about how people need to believe in something and hate those who expose their false idols, but as for myself, I feel like Raistlin probably exposed the cleric in the most assholeish way possible.

Either way, everyone starts feeling sorry for the guy and ineffectual attempts at making him feel better commence. Caramon first puts his own cloak around Raistlin’s shoulders – ignoring the fact that not only was he rowing in a rainstorm, but he’s the one who got in the water and shoved the boat off in the first place, meaning the thing is probably soaked. So, thanks bro.

Goldmoon then attempts to help by giving him some wine (which, may I add, is stolen from Tika) that Raistlin can’t drink, then offers to heal him with her staff. Apparently over the course of two chapters, she has forgotten that last time Raistlin attempted to touch the thing, it shocked him so badly that his brother nearly beat her up. Raistlin, you are surrounded by idiots. Of course, Raistlin’s response to these ministrations is not to point out any of these obvious facts, but to make dramatic pronouncements about how his body is a permanent sacrifice for his magic. So… yeah, I think you are bringing this on yourself there, Raist.

Sturm walks into the cave, dragging Flint along with him, and acting generally pissy, I assume because his moustaches are frizzy from the humidity. He starts getting into a spat with Riverwind over some bullshit about his word being his honor and protecting ladies and other such nonsense, and before long, the two have glove-slapped their way into a duel.

glove-slap-o

The two square off into what promises to be an epic cave battle. Their oiled muscles are clad in tiny bikini armor undies and glistening in the firelight, their lips trembling in lustful hate. And as their limbs meet in a sweaty, musky embrace of rage and desire, their grimacing faces only centimeters from each other – oh wait, none of that happens. Riverwind apologizes to Sturm and then collapses. Tease.

rasslin

There had better be some homoerotic wrestling in this book, is all I’m saying.

Well, everyone starts to fall asleep, leaving Tanis and Tasslehoff to try to plan their route. Well, Tanis does, while Tasslehoff sorts through his bag of stolen mysteriously acquired trinkets. Among them, Tanis recognizes a gold ivy-leaf ring, which he recognizes as his, “given Tanis long ago by someone he kept on the borders of his mind.” So I’m sure now that he has his ring back, we will never hear more about it, or this unnamed person ever again, right?

Oh, and Tasslehoff insists that Tanis must have dropped the ring on the floor of the inn, and it sure was a good thing he picked it up, proving once again that he’s a goddamn sociopath. I’m meant to love this, and oh, I do. They confer over Tasslehoff’s maps, and are concerned that there are no ways to Haven apart from the obvious main roads. Well, Tanis is concerned. Tasslehoff thinks this all will be great fun, and falls fast asleep.

The group spends the night in the cave as a ferocious storm rages outside, which is in no way any kind of foreshadowing of conflict to come. And the wind is bitter, and comes from the north, which are surely only atmospheric coincidences, meaning nothing.

In the morning, the group cooks up a little of the meager supplies they were able to steal from Tika, which turn out to be not a whole lot. Tasslehoff remarks that Tika must eat her meals out, which, what a fucking relief, am I right? Poor Tika. At least she has some spicy potatoes to console her, which reminds me, I’m’a try to do a recipe post one of these days. Spicy potatoes for everyone!

When the time comes to figure out what to do, everybody stares at Tanis, apparently because he is so indecisive am I right? Their first plan is to go to Haven, but if that doesn’t work, Tanis proposes to go to the elven lands, known as Qualinesti. Only problem is, nobody has any idea how to get there… except Raistlin of course. And… how do you know about that, Raistlin? You know, since you are pretty clearly not an elf, and Tanis is?

Ohhhh I have my ways.

Ohhhh I have my ways.

Well, apparently the paths to the wood are suitably Raistlin-y, as they are filled with hoards of the living dead.

MEN HUNT, WOMEN DO LAUNDRY HISSSSSSSSS

MEN HUNT, WOMEN DO LAUNDRY HISSSSSSSSS

Ugh, misogyny zombies, apparently. I want to go to the forest with the misandry zombies. Both Sturm and Caramon seem to agree with me, because they freak right the fuck out about going into the Darken Wood, which was probably what Raistlin intended in the first place. Ass.

Tanis shuts this shit down immediately, which I have to admit is a good idea. Sturm even has a moment of quiet contemplation about how he’ll follow Tanis to the ends of the earth because of his, I don’t know, natural leadership or some crap. Sure is a change from the indecisive and moody dude from the past few chapters, am I right guys?

Anyway, Tanis decides to ask Goldmoon what she wants to do, and although Riverwind grumbles, she decides to go with the rest of the group and take the staff to Haven, instead of leaving the group to take the staff to… also Haven. Some decision Goldmoon, who do you think you are, Tanis or something?

With much grumbling from Flint and much passive aggressive stonewalling from Riverwind, the group makes their way out of the cave and along their journey.

So, this chapter was more satisfying than the last one in terms of character development. Although we don’t exactly get into new territory with our characters, we do get a little deeper into what’s making them tick, so it doesn’t feel so much like we’re rehashing old territory. As for action, all we get is huddling in caves, which isn’t nearly as satisfying as battling hobgoblins. Even our promised fight scene between Riverwind and Sturm fizzles out. But I’m sure we’ll have more epic battles on our journey, so never fear, Dragonscouts!

Asshole count: So many in this chapter you guys, but I think this time it’s Tasslehoff who wins the prize, what with his being an utter sociopath. However, Raistlin, Riverwind and Sturm all have their moments of nastiness this time around, and I’m going to give Riverwind a close second, for both being a jerk to the guys who are pretty much saving his ass at every turn, and then fainting and denying me my erotic wrestling scene.

Homoeroticism count: Again, loads of this in this chapter! We have our twincestuous pair, Caramon and Raistlin, our homoerotic wrestling pair, Sturm and Riverwind, and our homo-fantasizing pair, Sturm and Tanis. This chapter, I will have to go with Caramon and Raistlin, as the two have actual physical contact over the course of the chapter. But I’m holding out for future wrestling. Don’t disappoint me, Sturm!

Don't worry, Khaleesi!

Don’t worry, Khaleesi!