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.

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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 II, Chapter 9: Suspicions grow. The Sla-Mori.

Hello Dragonscouts! When we last met, our heroes were about to storm the fort at Pax Tharkas, risking certain death for a bunch of elves who don’t care, and possibly inviting traitors into the mix. Just another day in Krynn, am I right? Well, let’s see if they can manage not to get their asses handed to them in this chapter.

So the group is on the path heading toward Pax Tharkas, when Gilthanas, Tanis’s full-elven brah but not-brah, suddenly goes creeping into the bushes. Eben, who the group picked up in the last chapter, and who may or may not be incredibly suspicious, asks Tanis how much he knows about this Gilthanas person, if that is is real name. Eben doesn’t seem super interested in the answer, given that he steamrolls right over Tanis’s answer that yes, he knows Gilthanas quite well in fact, considering the two of them were raised as siblings and that Tanis finger-banged his sister quite a bit. Instead, Eben tells Tanis hints that a bunch of elves approached his human fighting troop, asking for help in raiding a Dragon Highlord’s fortress. Gilthanas disappeared in the night, and a bunch of draconians (ugh) attacked, leaving only Eben to escape their clutches. Seems mighty suspicious to me, but Tanis is Not Having It.

makes sense

I think we should trust the guy who’s deliberately leading us into certain death and who just told me our lives are meaningless to him.

Gilthanas gets back, and the group discusses their plan. They’re intending to sneak into the fortress using the secret path, or Sla-Mori, that’ll lead them past the enemy troops. Caramon and Sturm are dissatisfied with this, and seem to favor an outright attack on the front gate, but they are rightly dismissed as idiots who have no idea what they are talking about. Meanwhile, Sturm tells Tanis that he hasn’t been able to figure out who’s been following them, because he or she is quite woods-crafty. Way to double down on that uselessness, Sturm.

The group reaches a giant cliff, and Gilthanas magics the rocks open, revealing the entrance to the Sla-Mori, also known as the burial chamber of Kith-Kanan, also known as I DON’T CARE JUST DO SOMETHING ALREADY.

Flint and Raistlin engage in some nasty snapping at each other, before Raistlin pronounces that he senses “great evil” in the passage. Not to be outdone, Fizban says he also senses “great goodness,” because “[t]he elves are not truly forgotten within.” Um. Great. Those same elves that are risking the lives of a few people they don’t care about so that they can run away from the evil draconian (ugh) army instead of fighting it? Those elves? Those are the “great goodness?”

sure jan

The others are not too keen about going into the tunnel themselves, but Tanis (rightly, I’ll admit) tells them that going in the front gate would be idiotic and suicidal. He and Sturm also agree to leave the cliff face open a crack, so as to lure and trap whatever it is that’s following them.

The group decides to make camp for the night, and we shift to Tika’s POV. She’s still new to the ways of heroes, and is surprised to find out that nobody takes off their armor to go to sleep. She also notices that both Caramon and Eben are eyeing her up. She seems to be okay with this, as they’re both major hotties, but she does seem to be conflicted in her thinking about Caramon. On the one hand, thinking about their post-mortal danger groping in the last chapter makes her “shiver with delightful fear,” which is understandable. But then her last thought on going to sleep is to be thankful that she isn’t alone with him, which… ooh.

lav7

 

Let’s unpack this a little. So Tika’s being portrayed as, A of all, pretty sexually desirable what with her pretty looks and developed secondary sexual characteristics (aka, big titties). But B of all, she is also portrayed as being very sexually innocent and unsure of herself. So it’s understandable that she might be feeling conflicted about wanting to engage in sexual interaction with someone, even though it’s also exciting to her. That’s all okay. What is giving me the squicks is how Caramon is acting towards her, dig? He’s super into her, yeah, but by giving credulity to the apparently false rumors that Tika’s a big slut, he’s not giving her a whole lot of credit. And I say this, not to say that being a slut is a bad thing (it isn’t), but that Caramon should be getting his information about Tika from… Tika. And this is something he is very much not doing. He is fine talking swordfighting with her, and ordering food from her, but he is just not communicating when it comes to intimacy. This is NOT COOL. Caramon, at the very least you need a talking-to.

Fortunately for Tika, myself, and the rest of the audience, Goldmoon decides to give Caramon a talking-to. I hope her gentle womanly wisdom is going to alleviate my fears!

womanly wisdom

Pictured: womanly wisdom.

Okay, so Goldmoon takes Caramon aside and tells him she’s going to talk to him like an older sister. First off, she drops the bomb on him that… Tika’s a virgin. Okay Goldmoon, I would have gone with “so, if you want to make out with a lady, you might want to tell her that you’re into her first and see where it goes from there,” but okay Goldmoon. Your point is that Tika is inexperienced so she might not 100% know what she’s doing. That’s legit. Now are you going to tell Caramon to talk to her?

…No, she’s not. She tells Caramon that Tika wants Caramon’s approval, but that he shouldn’t use that as a way to get sex. Okay. Also legit, Goldmoon, that is a good thing to say but I think you are skirting the part where CARAMON SHOULD TALK TO TIKA ABOUT WHAT THEY WOULD BOTH LIKE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER.

Incidentally, Goldmoon also tells Caramon that she and Riverwind haven’t done the deed yet, because it’s their tradition to wait til marriage. Y’know, though, now I think on it, Goldmoon and Riverwind have not exactly demonstrated great communication skills as a couple, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that she isn’t emphasizing that particular important ingredient to a healthy relationship.

Meanwhile, in the non-sex-obsessed part of the camp, Tanis is trying to get Gilthanas to explain why he’d abandoned the humans and elves during the draconian attack. Gilthanas just says he was trying to get the druids to help them out (druids again! Will we ever see the druids?), came back to discover the battle already raging, then got hit on the head. Tanis is not too keen on this explanation, which is probably wise of him.

In the morning, our brave companions come to a fork in the passage. Riverwind detects the tracks of humans (?) and animals. The animal tracks stop where the paths cross, and the human (?) tracks go right, not left. This is ominous supposedly, but honestly I’m just kind of confused. You’re bad at describing tracks, Riverwind. Raistlin comes up and says that the evil comes from the right. That’s a nice, clear explanation, and everyone is the better for hearing it. The group goes left, and they find themselves in a gigantic hall in which they find… A SKELETON!

Sans_normal

sup

Apparently it’s the remains of Kith-Kanan, “greatest of the elven kings.” Gilthanas and Tanis go to their knees and solemnly pray, while Tasslehoff declares that he has no intention of stealing the elf-king’s sword, meaning the thing’s as good as stolen. He and Raistlin go up to examine the remains further, and Raistlin discovers that the sword is enchanted, and tells Tasslehoff to definitely not touch it ever. I’m going to go ahead and guess that Tasslehoff will not follow this particular instruction.

The group examine the chamber further, and Gilthanas and Raistlin discover a helpful map carved into one of the doors. All seems to be going splendidly, when Tasslehoff hears a scraping sound coming from behind the map door. Before they can shut them, the doors slam open revealing HOLY SHIT IT’S A… giant… slug? Kind of disappointing, until the authors let us know that it can shoot projectile paralyzing saliva at its prey. That’s pretty cool, you guys. Go on.

jurassic-park-spitting-dino

Our heroes are fighting the slug when a voice yells Tanis’s name. Surprise, it’s the person who was following them… Laurana!

This surprises Tanis so much, he gets a slug-loogie on his sword, causing the sword, then his arm, to start dissolving. Thanks, Laurana.

Fortunately Goldmoon remembers that she has a healing staff this time, and heals Tanis up while everyone else keeps fighting the battle slug.Tanis is trying to protect both Goldmoon and Laurana with just a bow, but the thing charges them, causing him to dive toward the elf-king’s throne. So in the end, it’s Tanis who steals Kith-Kanan’s sword, and uses it to de-slug the hall.

The group is forced back the way they came, while Tanis and Gilthanas ask Laurana what the fuck she thinks she is doing. She insists on going with them, and reminds them both that all elven women are trained as warriors. And that raises the question – if all elven women are trained as warriors, why can’t they form an army to fight the draconians (ugh) instead of relying on this increasingly idiotic sneak attack? Tanis explains that it is because it’s not “serious training.” Fuck you too, Tanis.

Raistlin cuts through the bickering, saying that Laurana’s going to have to come with them, because she could be captured if she tries going home from here. As usual, he is right, and now we’ve got Laurana along for the ride, hoorayyyy. Tanis takes a minute to let her know that she’s on her own, she’s a spoiled brat, and she’d better not get them all killed. Nice, Tanis.

So, the group is forced to the evil path of the fork in the road. We end our chapter with Tanis revealing to Raistlin just how he got the enchanted sword. Apparently, it was bequeathed upon him by none other than Kith-Kanan himself. So an elf-king had to raise himself from the dead just to save our heroes from Tanis’s incompetence. Sure you guys want him to be your leader?
Asshole count: Gotta be Caramon this chapter. His rapeyness is continuing to make me super uncomfortable. Tika, you in danger, girl.