I always remember liking Kitiria's character, and this is for the
most part no different. However, I am starting to see why the stories of
these books were left out of the main Chronicles.
rating might not indicate it, I think this book was better than the
one. Maybe I'm just not quite as interested in the dwarves, and more
interested in humans, which this book defers to more. Of course, Kitiria
is a fun character to watch in action. She doesn't take any backlash
from anybody, and takes her own initiative on what's important to her.
But she has a soft side, too. She likes her creature comforts, and I
think she fights in the war to satisfy her own lusts for free pampering than
Of course, it turns out that Tanis is far more
important to her than anything, and her obsession over him nearly costs
her everything. The only part about Kitiria that I really didn't like
was her teenage-girl stereotype mooning over Tanis. She couldn't think
straight, and didn't even listen to sense from her dragon, Skie.
Kitiria gets frustrated very early on by Emperor Ariakis, and his
cautious way of handling the war in Solamnia. So when he hatches a plan
that is supposed to make the Solamnic leaders insane, and tells her to
execute it, she does it her own way. The first part is to tell Derek
Crownguard about the Dragon Orb, and in this, she is careless enough to
give him her full name, and though she worries about it, that doesn't cost her anything
in the end.
But the Dragon Orb is in the deep south, in an antarctic environment. In
her arrogance, she doesn't even think about the cold she is about to
enter, and it nearly costs her her life. The story of Feal-Thas, the
dark-elf wizard dragon highlord who is in possession of the Orb, is
tragic, but he turned inward to selfishness instead of the harder road
of forgiveness. It costs him here. But he heals Kitiria, because she
comes on orders from his master, Ariakis, and thus the Dark Queen, the
goddess of evil.
However, he has enough pride and arrogance of
his own that he will not give up the Orb willingly. So Kitiria vows to
fight the guardian he has placed around it (to protect himself from the
Orb, not to prevent it from being stolen), and she actually defeats it.
Of course, she couldn't die, and the Orb had to end up in the hands of
the Knights, so the outcome was inevitable. The battle was rather
anti-climactic, and something we've seen time and again. The guardian
takes her innermost uncertainties and sets them against herself. I can't
see the guardian being much of a match against Feal-Thas, either.
Although she kills it, the draconian guards have to heal her from her
Derek, along with his friend Brian and an old
friend who serves his opponent in the Knights' Council, Aran, travel
from Solamnia to Tarsis, an ancient city, in order to search for
information about the Dragon Orb. I think theirs was the best part of
the story. Derek was so easy to loathe, being the most arrogant and
up-tight character I've encountered in a long time. Brian was the
easy-going Knight who wonders how he could make himself better, and
always offers excuses for Derek, as well as trying to mediate between
the two other Knights. Aran is always looking for a drink, and has
obviously seen too much of the world. He can easily call Derek an idiot
as he's known the man for a very long time, but is sworn to follow him
regardless. His sarcastic remarks were always really funny.
get to Tarsis around the same time as Tanis and the other heroes of
the lance get there. The Knights make their way to the Library, where
Lilith the librarian manages to stand up to him. He can't get what he
wants because she doesn't know how to find it, though she knows from her
god of neutrality that the information does exist there. In trade, she
asks that the Knights find Tasslehoff, and Derek nearly blanches about
finding a kender and bringing him to a library. Meanwhile, she and Brian
fall in love.
As it happens, Tanis
and the others are captured because the head of the city is under the
influence of the draconians, and it is an easy matter for the Knights to
rescue Tasslehoff, Sturm and Flint. Tasslehoff of course has the magical
glasses that he found near the end of the
last book, and he can read all
sorts of languages, finding enough information about the Dragon Orb to
convince Derek that it is real. As always, Tas was a highlight of the
book, being so funny and living life in the most innocent (and guilty)
Kitiria arrives at Tarsis,
following Tanis, just as the red dragons are attacking, initiated by
Fewmaster Toade, whom Kit had recommended for promotion to dragon
highlord. I'm sure now she's regretting it. But she regrets even more
when Tanis escapes on griffon-back and she sends her blue dragons after
them -they end up empty handed, and even Skie abandons her after her
lack of judgment in going after Tanis. She travels back to Nerakis
using another dragon, summoned to a trial by Ariakis and the other
highlords. Ariakis thinks that Kitiria teamed up with Tanis and the
others to kill another dragon highlord (Verminaard from the previous
book), because he finds out she's been hiding her relationship with them
from her past. Of course they find her guilty, and sentence her to
With help from Ariakis' witch, and unknown to the
Emperor, she escapes, causing a huge uproar in the Dark Queen's temple
in the process. Of course, when she was imprisoned, Kitiria tried to
make a deal with the Dark Queen to get her out of her cell -she would
travel to convince Lord Soth, the Death Knight, to join their cause in
the war. Once she escapes thanks to the witch, the Dark Queen enforces that
deal, even though the witch had been spying on her and had taken it upon
herself to let Kitiria go free. Takhisis even brings Skie back to her.
The battle to win over Lord Soth isn't very long, and felt almost
like an appendix to the main story. It, too, was quick, and quite easily
solved, though Kitiria was very nearly dead by the time he surrendered
to her. I think she demonstrated enough talent and ingenuity, quick
thinking and common sense, not to mention determination and bravery,
that he accepted her as worthy.
The battle to win the Dragon Orb
was more satisfying. When the knights, Sturm, Tasslehoff, Flint, Laurana
and her brother, and Elistan arrive in the ice-bound lands, they meet
the people who dwell there, who thankfully help them keep warm, as they
were as unprepared for the cold as Kitiria was. But Elistan brings with
them the knowledge of the true gods, and that is enough to convince the
people to go to war with Feal-Thas, despite his walrus-men and wolves.
Derek plans to abandon them in the fighting in order to recover the Orb
-of them all, he is the least interested in knowing or believing in the
return of the gods; he believes they never existed in the first
place. The attack goes according to plan, as Tasslehoff uses his glasses to see Feal-Thas through his
wolf disguise, and the dark elf is killed. In the
meantime, though, both Brian and Aran are killed. The ice-people use the
power of the gods to melt Icereach Castle, and destroy any influence it
may have in the future.
And so Derek returns to Solamnia with
the Orb, which causes dissension among the elves (who also wanted it),
and among the Knights themselves. Tasslehoff (who feels proud throughout
the book at being needed and wanted, for a change), goes to be reunited
with Tanis and the others, and Kitiria will presumably return to Ariakis
even stronger than before, with Lord Soth at her side.