Quest the First...
Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time II criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.
Book 1: Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (April 1, 2003)
(I had to leave the photo of the book cover large so you could see the great artwork by Matt Stawicki)
Amazon's description: Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with rumors of war. They speak of tales of strange monsters, creatures of myth, creatures of legend. They do not speak of their secrets. Not then. Not until a chance encounter with a beautiful, sorrowful woman, who bears a magical crystal staff, draws the companions deeper into the shadows, forever changing their lives and shaping the fate of the world.
No one expects them to be heroes.
It's been waaaaaay toooooo looooong since I read this series!! I feel like I'm supposed to stand on the sofa and yell: They're Baaaaaaack !!
What a group of characters this group of books offers!! The book opens at the Inn of the Last Home in Solace where these wonderful characters meet up after 5 years of separation..
There's Tika, tending bar, a firey young redhead who grew up around the companions..
Tanis half-elf, in conflict with his own being. The elves see him as half human, and the humans see him as half elf.
Flint Fireforge, the old dwarf who is beginning to feel his age.
Tasslehoff Burrfoot, the kender. Knowing no fear and loyal friend.
the twins: Caramon and Raistlin. Caramon, big and brave brother of Raistlin, small and weak of body but becoming a very strong mage.
and Sturm of the Solamnic Knights. Wearing his fathers suit of armor, sullen and withdrawn, but a friend to the end.
Add in the strangers who quickly become part of the group of leading characters, Goldmoon and Riverwind and you have the companions for the first book from Dragonlance!
They aren't long at the Inn of the Last Home when trouble starts and the companions grab Goldmoon and Riverwind and escape, going to hide at Tika's home. When they are discovered they head out to help Goldmoon find out about the blue crystal staff Riverwind had brought to her.
With the help of new friends along the way the companions get to Xak Tsaroth where they are attacked by a black dragon who is guarding a very big secret concerning Goldmoons staff. Here they also find lizard-like men called draconians. (they be some of the bad guys)
Tanis fell silent. The dragon. It call came down to the dragon. The creature loomed large in everyone's thoughts. And how feeble the small group seemed against a monster who had sprung full grown fromKrynn's darkest legends. Why us? Tanis though bitterly. Was there ever a more unlikely group of heroes... bickering, grumbling, arguing... half of us not trusting the other half. "We were Chosen" That thought brought little comfort. Tanis remembered Raistlin's words: "Who chose us... and why!" The half-elf was beginning to wonder.
While searching for the disks of the healing gods they come across gully dwarfs, below ground, that are being used as slaves. After Raistlin enchants them, one named Bupu helps them find the dragons lair.
Upon returning to Solace, they find the town has been burned down by dragons and draconians and hobgoblins have taken over what little wasn't burned. The companions are captured and on their way to be given to Verminaard (isn't that a great evil name?! Vermin... aard.. gotta love it haha) for his army, when elves save them.
The cruelest form of torture one can inflict on a kender is to lock him up. Of course, it is also widely believed that the cruelest form of torture one can inflict on any other species is to lock them up with a kender. After three days of Tasslehoff's incessant chatter, pranks and practical jokes, the companions would have willingly traded the kender for a peaceful hour of being stretched on the rack... at least that's what Flint said.
On their own (sorta) they go to where Verminaard and his army are waiting to try to free human slaves and give time to the Elves to leave their homeland that Verminaard plans to burn down. They meet with a cleric named Elistan, who Goldmoon saves from death, and upon their escape Elistan the cleric, more or less leads the freed prisoners, and marries Goldmoon and Riverwind...
So ends book one ...
It's been much, much, much too long since I reread these books!! They are filled with memorable characters that you can't get enough of! Weis and Hickman make use of all of them, so that no one character is left behind.
This book is filled with adventure, good and evil (naturally) a new land, Krynn, and loyal friends. It's a win- win situation for a great read!