DOAT Book II, Chapter 13: Questions. No Answers. Fizban’s Hat.

Welcome back Dragonscouts to another exquisite chapter of Dragonlance in which we ask questions and receive no answers. Who wants to take bets on whether we’re going to figure out who this alleged traitor is in this chapter, eh?

We join our brave companions as both Gilthanas and Eben meet up with the group. Eben has a suspiciously plausible story as to where he’s just disappeared to. Tika seems to believe Eben’s story, especially after he starts kissing on her hand. This makes Caramon ragey, but for some reason, he doesn’t attack, which strikes me as extremely out of character.

Gilthanas, when asked where he’s been, responds with “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD.”

dont tell me

Also, he points out, Raistlin was super tired when we left… SUSPICIOUSLY tired. Actually, he went missing at the same time as Gilthanas and Eben did… so perhaps it is HE who is the traitor!

Faced with this accusation, Raistlin responds with “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD.” Caramon leads his brother back to bed.

thorandloki

you guys are not even trying.

Ugh. So now we have THREE potential traitors, each of them with their supporters, and Tanis is feeling VERY put upon. He realizes that this whole thing might be a trap, using the excuse of a revolt to kill all the slaves AND our noble heroes, thus snuffing out the threat of Goldmoon for good. He considers abandoning it, but then decides not to because… it would be too disappointing to the slaves. Cool, Tanis. Now just go to sleep without doing anything and that’ll… yeah… great plan my dude.

Tanis is not the only one who abandons any attempt at a plan to get some sleep. Tasslehoff wakes up in the morning, having slept through the night instead of cunningly waiting for Pyros to fall asleep so that he can rescue Sestun. Fortunately for him, the dragon likes a good lie-in, and is still asleep when he wakes up.

Tas and Fizban embark upon a HILARIOUS series of fuck-ups in an attempt to rescue poor innocent Sestun. They’ve just floated Sestun up to where they’re hiding when Lord Verminaard comes into the dragon’s lair. The dragon and the highlord start discussing their villainous plans when they see Fizban’s hat come floating down to the floor.

reaction-cersei-1

Meanwhile, Tanis wakes up and decides to go through with the plan, even though it means both certain death for all of them, and playing right into the traitor’s plan. Tanis is hinging his hopes upon there not actually being a traitor, which we, the audience, know is completely untrue. Oh the dramatic irony!

Tanis has a dramatic farewell with Laurana, who is still determined to prove that she isn’t useless. She reminds him, correctly, that even if her combat training was “ceremonial” it was still goddamn combat training, which makes her marginally more useful than Tika (poor Tika).

The plan is in motion! Everyone is disguised as women (except for their facial hair for some reason), and goes to wake the children and lead them outside. But, unexpectedly, there’s a guard at the door where there never was one before! (This place seems pretty shoddily guarded tbh.) The guards say that they’ve been ordered to search the women before they can go into the children’s room and are really freaking creepy about it. But one of them makes the mistake of calling Sturm ugly and Sturm, realizing the destructive nature of the patriarchy and the male gaze, begins the attack.

fuck the patriarchy

Our heroes make short work of those sexist draconians (ugh) and run into the children’s room where they’re soon to encounter a motherfucking dragon.

Back to Tasslehoff and Fizban, who have just gotten caught trying to rescue Sestun from Lord Verminaard and Pyros’s clutches. Pyros in particular is concerned, because he now knows that they caught him talking about the mysterious green gemstone man, a secret for which he’s willing to kill. OH NO!

Fortunately for them both, Fizban turns out to be good for something. He grabs Setsun, casts a darkness spell, and tells Tasslehoff to run. He’s even able to protect them from the dragon’s firey breath! Astonishing! Could it be that The Old Man is Not What He Seems?

The three make their way back to the mechanism room, while Pyros starts breaking through the goddamn wall. The only way down is by crawling down the mechanism’s chain, so that’s just what Fizban, Tasslehoff and Sestun start to do. Unfortunately for them, the dragon bursts through and attacks. Finding that his breath can’t touch the three due to Fizban’s spell, Pyros does the next best thing and attacks the chain instead, melting the links and causing them to fall to their certain doom.

womp womp

WOMP WOMP

However, unbeknownst to Pyros, he’s just set a giant cogwheel in the mechanical room a-turning, to what purpose… we’ll have to find out in a later chapter!

Welp that certainly…barely advanced the story. But good news Dragonscouts – there’s only two more chapters and an epilogue to go, meaning we are almost done with Dragons of Autumn Twilight!

Asshole count: whoever knows who this goddamn traitor is but isn’t telling me.

 

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.

DOAT Book II, Chapter 6: Tanis and Laurana

Ohhh goody. We’re embarking on a chapter literally named after my two least favorite characters in the entire trilogy. Welp, it’s time to suck it up and try to find ways that Tanis and Laurana are not so bad after all, because what’s a 20-years-later recap without a little introspection, am I right you guys? Let’s dive in.

When last we joined our heroes, Laurana was leading them to somewhere with beds, and please god, food. My latest wish gets answered right away as they get to walk through an orchard and pick what they want and get delivered bread. Okay, maybe I don’t find fruit picking all that charming, but I can think of better ways to treat your guests then to tell them to harvest their own dinner. At least the bread came pre-made. Oh, and they’re invited to “relax on soft moss beds” instead of, you know, actual beds. Aren’t there bugs in those? Jesus christ, elves, you are never going to be Martha-level hostesses if you keep pulling this weak-ass hosting shit.

martha is pissed

Tanis refuses the food. WHAT THE FUCK TANIS.

ron swanson hulking

Laurana, however, tries to be a better hostess than her accommodations suggest, and starts making the small talk. She even compliments Tika’s hair! Ladies supporting ladies, what could be better?

Tanis throws down an apple (I thought he refused the food? And is he so mad about ladies complimenting each other?) and wanders into the trees. Both Laurana and Tasslehoff follow him, Laurana because she is thirsty for that half-elven D, and Tasslehoff because he is a sociopath.

So Laurana basically jumps Tanis and claims they’re engaged, which Tanis quickly shuts down. Guess their getting engaged as youngsters did NOT go over well with Laurana’s family, causing Tanis to leave Qualinost and set out on his journey of self-discovery. We can see how well that worked out.

Laurana insists, despite Tanis’s protests, that he came back because he’s in lurrrve with her and wants to maaaaaaaaarry her and oh yeah I can see why I found this annoying back in the day. Tanis tells her that actually, he’s in love with Kitiara (who we STILL haven’t met yet, ugh) and can’t marry Laurana because his heart is divided. Oh WOE FOR TANIS. He has too many ladies, what shall he do?

Shade

Anyway, he gives Laurana’s ring back, and she screams and throws it at him in rage. Coooool. I guess when the authors distinguished Goldmoon from “foolish, hysterical women,” this is what they were thinking of?

ohhh no

Tasslehoff, meanwhile, is watching the entire time, and steals the ring. Just… fucking wow.

Anyway, Tanis wakes up later… on the moss beds I guess? to Gilthanas sitting over him, thanking him for breaking Laurana’s heart and proving that he was right about Tanis being a half-human fuckboy this whole time (which to be fair, he is). He then tells Tanis to wake the others for the feast and… here the chapter ends. Wow! Short and pointless!

I feel a little vindicated about being annoyed by Laurana in this book, although now it’s tinged with the frustration of how poorly the authors write female characters. It’s doubly frustrating because one of the authors is a freaking woman. I know, product of its time and adhering to fantasy tropes and all, but the only women we’ve really met in the book so far are: the serene nurturing healer, the jealous town slut- but-not-really-a-slut, and the beautiful spoiled brat who’s convinced everyone luuuurves her because she’s just so pretty. Someone give me a lady with a fully developed character AND A GODDAMN SWORD.

Asshole count: TANIS AND LAURANA

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 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 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 8: Search for truth. Unexpected answers.

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

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

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

Logic

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

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

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

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

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

loki facepalm

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

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

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

The most dangerous game.

The most dangerous game.

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

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

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

Oh shit, I did something right!

I did something right!

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

like a boss

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

No, I'm not above using this joke.

No, I’m not above using this joke.

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

Like this, if King Arthur were a kender?

Like this, if King Arthur were a kender?

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

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

HISSSSSSSSSSSSSS WOMEN ARE WEAKER THAN MEN IT'S JUST BIOLOGY

HISSSSSSSSSSSSSS WOMEN ARE WEAKER THAN MEN IT’S JUST BIOLOGY

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

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

DOAT Book One, Chapter 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.