Welcome back to the Dragonlance Reread!
Draconians behind them, the Dark Queen ahead. The party presses on with their final march into darkness, the enigmatic ‘Everman’ a part of their company. This week, they visit a forgotten ruin called Godshome… and you know that’s not going to be uneventful.
“Godshome” and “Everman’s Story.”
After much wandering through mountains, everyone is exasperated by both Fizban and Tas, both of whom think they know what they’re doing. It gets dark and rainy and everyone is generally annoyed and miserable.
Tanis is losing his cool, sinking quickly into depression, and obsessing over Laurana. He is willing to give up far more than Berem for her, but he knows that Laurana would not allow her life to be spared if it means the world would be devastated by the Dark Queen. He is convinced that everything is doomed.
Tika isn’t too happy either. Caramon isn’t paying enough attention to her and she’d like to move on to some wealthy nobleman or the other, but she can’t. Flint, meanwhile is flagging, but everyone (especially Tanis) is too caught up in their own turmoil to notice the old dwarf is fading fast.
At some point, during a particularly annoying encounter with a dead end, they all realise that Berem has vanished. Tanis is the most distraught, but Flint offers to track him down. In doing so, they find a small trail off the beaten path, one that leads to a very narrow tunnel through some a rock cliff.
Flint goes through and Fizban is certain that this is the path to Godshome. They all struggle through the tiny opening and are horrified to see that Godshome is a place of desolation, not of life. It is a barren, empty, rock bowl, surrounded by boulders.
They are distracted from their disappointment by Tas calling out that Berem is doing something to Flint; the old dwarf is laying ashen and still.
Tanis flies into a blind rage, assuming that Berem has harmed his friend, and in a frenzy, he stabs Berem. Tika and Caramon try to restrain Tanis, but it is Fizban who manages to calm him down.
Tanis turns to Flint. The dwarf tells Tanis that his heart has given way and that Berem was only helping him rest. He tells the companions to take care of each other and, in his dying breath, appears to recognize Fizban in some strange way. Flint asks Fizban to come with him for the beginning of the journey he is about to take. Farewells complete, Flint dies.
Fizban lifts his body and walks to the circle of stones at the centre of Godshome. Tanis and Tas follow but are somehow unable to keep up. There’s a pool of glassy black rock at the centre of the stones, reflecting the sky. Tanis can see the three moons and the missing constellations of the Queen and the Valiant Warrior. Fizban steps into the pool, Flint in his arms, and vanishes. Tas then notices that the constellation of the Valiant Warrior has returned in the sky of the black pool…
Meanwhile, Berem lies bleeding but, as before—he just won’t stay dead. He recovers from what should’ve been a mortal wound and finally agrees to tell everyone his story, begging them to help him when the time comes.
He repeats the story we already know: the one about his sister, and their discovery of the ruins, and the broken, beautiful column encrusted with jewels. Turns out that the column was a door or a portal that shut out the Dark Queen.
Berem inadvertently opened it and let a five-headed dragon out. His sister helped him escape, but he’s spent the long years since then unable to die and unable to forget.
He knows that he is somehow vital to the Queen, but he is tired of being the one who constantly feels like he is trying to shut a door someone else is forcing open. He does not know how to shut the portal he opened, but he is drawn to Neraka as well as terribly afraid of what may happen. He begs the companions to help him and they mutter some vague agreements. (Caramon rolls his eyes.)
Berem says he’s found the way to Neraka and they head out of Godshome.
En route, they huddle in a cave, talk of Flint and grieve. Tas sits alone later that night, and sings a Kender mourning song.
‘Tanis felt as if he were trying to catch a wisp of smoke soaring heavenward.’
More intriguing clues about Fizban here. Although, er,… mystery solved!
Monster(s) of the Week
The Dark Queen as a five-headed dragon! Sadly, only second-hand. Maybe we’ll see her ourselves later?
Well this is all very sad, isn’t it?
While not as sudden and as shocking as Sturm’s death—because we’ve known for a while that Flint really, seriously isn’t well—it’s still really sad to lose the grumpy old dwarf.
I almost feel as if we lost him to old age, though of course it was as a result of the trauma during the last dragon flight/fight. But still, I can’t help but feel a younger dwarf would have survived and that Flint was just reaching the end of his journey regardless. A real hero though, and a loyal friend until the end. Even in his last moments he was tracking Berem down for Tanis. Such a sweetie. Sniff.
On a lighter note, I love that Caramon rolls his eyes at Berem’s request for help and Tanis’ vague agreement to help Berem. So rarely does Caramon show anything resembling sarcasm, that I admit, I LOL-d at this. And now that we all know Berem’s story, are the companions any better off being armed with this new information?
Well…, yes. We now know that perhaps Berem can shut the door again, and stop the Queen from completely taking over. How? I haven’t a clue, but then neither does anyone else. Could Fizban help, in his odd, confused way? Possibly, since it’s now pretty evident that he’s Important.
You know who else may be able to figure stuff out? Raistlin, that’s who.
Seriously. 15 minutes of Raistlin’s time, and we’d get this all sorted out. Geez.
Flint’s death is very sad, although, like Mahvesh, it didn’t have quite the impact on me that Sturm did. For one, it has been telegraphed for quite some time—his recurring chest pains since the start of the book. For another, the Wise Old Man archetype passing away is something media/literature has taught us pretty well. And, I suppose, for a third—Flint’s just not the character that Sturm was. Sturm had a brief—but powerful—arc, complete with personal development and his own individual conflict and resolution and such. Flint was Flint: the ‘rock’ of the party, the grumpy, elderly sidekick that—at most—took part as a comedy duo with Tas. He’s certainly likeable, but he never had the evolution as a character (like Sturm, or Laurana, or even Caramon) that makes him a ‘primary’ protagonist.
But, hey—Flint’s death solves two ‘mysteries’ for us. It prompts Berem to share the story we already know, which tidies things up. Having that story already told to us makes it a bit of a damp reveal, but at least it is out. McGuffins gonna Guff. (Guff, Guff, Guff, Guff.)
The other mystery is Fizban. Well, gosh. That’s a bit more significant, isn’t it? We’ve certainly had him foreshadowed as something spectacular: dragons bowing to him, etc. Plus the cute prophesy from Winter Night involving ‘only gods can touch the Whitestone’. Is his bonkers faux-senility a result of some immortal weakness? Or, Boris Johnson-like, is he just playing the fool? I think we need a larger discussion at the end, involving Fizban’s, um, tactical strengths, and how his approach may differ from that of the other active deities in the book. But at least we now know who he is—and, conveniently, he’s been ushered off-screen.
Mahvesh loves dystopian fiction & appropriately lives in Karachi, Pakistan. She writes about stories & interviews writers the Tor.com podcast Midnight in Karachi when not wasting much too much time on Twitter.