DragonLance Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapters 20, 21 & 22

Chapter 20

The Highbulp’s map.

A spellbook of Fistandantilus

As we continue the adventure at Xak Tsaroth we discover that Caramon does not trust the Gully Dwarves at all. But as Tanis points out they really don’t have a choice.

We learn a bit about Raistlin’s enthusiasm is due to the rumors that a spellbook of the nightly Fistandantilus to be kept there. He assumes the dragon will have it. This is a point of contention with Sturm, but they go along anyway.

They plot a way to fight the dragon, the party is going to split up, Raistlin will distract the dragon (could that be a suicide mission?) but then the rest of the companions will be able to raid the dragon’s lair for the Disks of Mishakal and the spellbook without fear of being killed.

Is it a suicide mission for all of them? Or can they get through this intact? They are, after all, about to invade a Dragon’s lair! Is that really the smartest thing to do?

Chapter 21

The sacrifice.

The twice dead city.

As normal Tanis has a plan. As they all get in position he suffers from a moment of self doubt. Has he planned it properly? Is he about to get all of his friends killed?

They crept into the lair assuming the dragon had gone off the deal with Raistlin only to find out the dragon was prepared for them and had Raistlin as it’s prisoner.

The dragon appears to believe the Blue Crystal Staff was stolen from it, and orders Goldmoon forward to return it!

Sturm spots the disks there in the lair amongst a giant treasure!

Goldmoon goes forward, and strikes the dragon with the staff! The staff explodes with a giant blue flash mortally wounding the dragon and making Goldmoon disappear, probably turned to ash!

The result of this explosion caused the entire underground lair to start to fall apart. The ceiling began to collapse in on the companions and it began to flood! They grabbed what they could, the disks and themselves and ran!

Chapter 22

Bupu’s gift. An ominous sight.

They all had to run out of the ruined city as it was being consumed again and filled with water. It was difficult, but they made it out alive and back to the surface.

Riverwind on the verge of ending his own life enters the temple and discovers Goldmoon! Her staff was gone but she had become a true cleric! Capable of healing through prayer and didn’t need the staff any longer.

As they evacuated the area they could hear the horns of the Draconian army on the move! Now where would they go? Off to Solace for supplies and information of course.

Of course they were exhausted and needed to rest for the night. Raistlin most of all. The mage woke before dawn to find Bupu crying, and in a very tender moment especially for the mage he tries to comfort her. Something you would never have thought from him.

He urges her to go back to her people, but before she departs she decides to give him a gift, a spellbook she had grabbed from inside the dragon’s lair. The very spellbook he had sought!

These chapters mark the end of the first of two books inside this novel. To me, this is the best setup for an epic adventure I have ever come across in the fantasy genre. It ranks up there with Tolkien in scale. Certainly it will not get the same critical acclaim or attention as Tolkien, but is that right? I think it should.

Weis and Hickman are an amazing writing team. Everything of theirs I have ever come across I have been sucked into and enjoy thoroughly. They really make me strive in my own writing to be better. Their pacing is just amazing. They make you feel what each character feels.

DragonLance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapters 12 & 13

Chapter 12

Winged Sleep. Smoke in the east.

Dark memories.

The Forestmaster took care of their travel problems with flying horses (aka Pegasus), or Pegasi for the plural version. Never thought about the plural version did you?

How else do you get someplace in a hurry? Now, because no one here has ever flown before, and the Pegasi don’t want anyone to get hurt the companions are put into a magic induced sleep for the length of the journey.

Once they landed and Tanis awoke the lead Pegasus informed him they had to stop before the final destination due to a great evil that had been awakened on Krynn, something he hadn’t felt since before the Cataclysm. So apparently he’s been around a very long time. Is he alive or dead? We don’t know.

The landed a half day journey from Goldmoon and Riverwind’s village, but close enough they could see great smoke clouds coming from their homeland. They rush to the village to find that it has been decimated in the worst battle anyone could recall. Fires burned so hot that even the stone had melted.

The only living being they could find was a dog.

The emotion of this chapter jumps off the page. The authors are so gifted at making you feel what the characters feel I say, if you are enchanted by the storyline you must experience for yourself. It is amazing.

They leave the city and continue on their path to Xak Tsaroth.

Chapter 13 

Chill down. Vince bridges.

Dark water.

The trip so far may have just been a little too easy. By all accounts they should still be able to make their destination by the deadline.

More emotion of the situation starts to leap off the page. Goldmoon has been told all along that this blue crystal staff is a gift from the Gods (maybe). But it is a gift, a staff of healing! Half of Krynn appears to be searching for this thing, so how can it not be an amazing gift.

A gift that got her entire family, all her friends and her home destroyed. What kind of gift is that?

Along the way they must travel through a swamp, across vine bridges, all to find the most valuable thing in the world. But who else might be in the area looking for this?

Draconians! This time they are magic users and Raistlin can’t solve the problem before they are all encased in magic spider webs!

Will they survive! Can they survive in there? We don’t know! We do know they can’t move, and are now captured by the Draconian lizard-men!

DragonLance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapters 10 & 11

Chapter 10

Darken Wood

The dead walk. Raistlin’s magic.

The traveling companions decide to take the risk and enter Darken Wood despite it meaning almost certain death (according to the mage click here for a reminder of that warning). They follow the trail into the woods for several hours without incident or fear. Then the sun starts to set.

They find a cleaning where they plan to rest and spend the night despite Raistlin’s objections to getting off the trail. His words, if you recall from the previous post  they should disturb, drink, consume nothing while inside Darken Wood. Don’t even cut down a tree. It could be bad.

The first sign of strange things inside the woods is when Tanis realizes his elven vision is no longer working. Normally he can see a red outline of living creatures in the dark, but it is gone, even from his companions.

As they set up camp for the night they notice they have been silently surrounded by an army of dead warriors. Each warrior has an eerie glow and appears with ancient armor and weapons. They were so ominous that terror set in! Should they run! Will the die before they get the first few steps? What do they do from here?

Raistlin gets the group to remain calm. He casts a spell that allows them to communicate with the dead, and learn that because of the blue crystal staff, they have been summoned, but by who or what?

Chapter 11

The Forestmaster

A peaceful interlude.

They had been summoned by the Forestmaster! A unicorn, at least by appearance, that has been on Krynn since the time of Huma, and could communicate in the common tongue.

The Forestmaster informs them that they know of the lizard men, they are called Draconians and claim to be part of the Order of Draco.

Sound a bit like Game of Thrones? Which were supposed to be gone from Krynn (this pre-dates Game of Thrones so George RR Martin borrowed it hahaha).

The Forestmaster informs them that they must be in Cat Tsaroth in 2 days, and if they can be they will receive the greatest gift in the world, but leaves it at that. But the only way to get there is to fly. How do you do that before airplanes? There will be more fantastic creatures in the next chapter!! So much more to come in this book.

DragonLance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapters 8 & 9

Chapter 8 

Search for truth

Unexpected answers

Goldmoon was last seen rushing to the back of the cart pulled by the Clerics to try to help the injured member of their group. In the process she tells the clerics that she did not steal the staff as she was being accused of but that it was gifted to her.

This really sets up a major conflict in the story. People have been looking for the staff, and now two official groups that are under orders to find it and report back have spotted it. People, ok goblins, have been killed over it.

Could this next fight be the one that kicks off the War? Is the staff just a symbol and devoid of any real power?

We quickly find out that the clerics don’t have an injured member they intend to take the staff by force, but they also are not human!

They are humanoid in form, but are some kind of lizard/human hybrid!

Could this be the work of the gods? Is it the doing of the Queen of Darkness? How is it that they are resistant to some forms of magic as Raistlin found out trying to fight them.

We see that Goldmoon wanted to do the right thing and heal someone, and that resulted in a fight the companions might have been able to talk their way out of had she not been ready to jump to the aid of a stranger! So much about her character is revealed in that moment. She is truly a good person or as an alignment probably lawful good (I should go look at that up but by her actions, we can probably say that).

Chapter 9

Flight! The white stag.

The party kills a few of the lizard men, Sturm suffers a head injury but they have to flee the area and get out of sight.

Sturm had a vicious head-wound during the fight with the lizard men, and is partially healed by the staff, but it apparently has some limits. Or Goldmoon has her limits while using it, we aren’t sure.

They flee the area. And we learn more of the legend of Huma who was a great Knight of Solamnia long ago before the Cataclysm.

As they are fleeing the area the delusional head injured Knight believes he sees a giant white stag. This was something that was supposed to happen to Huma to lead him out of danger. Strum is the only one in the group that can see it, yet the group follows him anyway.

There is some discussion about should the follow him or not, including some grumbling from Flint about first goblins, then boats, lizard men, now invisible stags, what could possibly go wrong.

But imagine living in a world with these kinds of wonders. It would be interesting, dangerous but interesting. I love the escape these books offer as a result of these sorts of things.

The stag did lead them away from the lizard men, but it has led them to Darken Wood, where the living are said to walk the surface of Krynn. It has said that of all the living beings that have entered Darken Wood, none have come out, at least alive!