Plot summary on Dragonlance: Dragons of the Autumn Twilight
The story takes place in the world of Krynn, a world of men, monsters and magic. In a time known as the Cataclysm many hundred years ago Krynn was abandoned by its ancient gods. Since then it has become a dangerous place where no one can trust each other, preachers of false gods roam, dreadful tyrants have risen to rule and rumors of a war are brewing.
The protagonists of this book are a band of adventurers who reunite after being seperated for five years. A gruff dwarf named Flint (he is comically allergic to horses), a half-elf Tanis (because of his heritage he cannot get acceptance in both human and elven society), a cunning and deceptive halfling Tas, twins Caramon and Raistlin (Caramon is a great fighter and he loves his brother, while Raistlin is a very powerful mage and cares only about his art) and also the brave knight Sturm.
The characters meet in a tavern in the city of Solace. They find out that Raistlin has changed a lot since they last met him; his looks have changed from that of a youthful twenty-year-old to a wretched sick old man with a yellowish skin and tiny hourglasses where his pupils should have been. With these eyes he sees only destruction and decay wherever he looks. His brother tells that it is because he has gained great power from a powerful order of magi. In the tavern they meet two travelers a man named Riverwind and a woman Goldmoon. The woman carries a mysterious staff which is sought by the local corrupt governor forces. After an incident, which reveals that the staff has healing properties (wonder unseen since the Cataclysm) the band is forced to flee.
Goldmoon tells her story that she is teh daughter of a barbarian chieftan and she is in love with Riverwind. Unfortunately Riverwind is a mere shepherd and such a marriage would mean a disgrace to her clan. Because of that Goldmoon’s father sent her beloved on an impossible quest, Riverwind had to bring something that proved the existence of the ancient gods and he did. He brought the staff but for some reason the staff did nothing, so people accused him for fraud and began to throw rocks at him. Goldmoon interfered and they were both transported by the magic of the staff to Solace where they met with the adventurers.
The band was traveling to the city Haven to find some wise man who would be able to explain the magic of the staff, when a mysterious band of clerics halt them. The clerics turn out to be monstrous creatures, draconians that want to take the staff from Goldmoon. The adventurers beat the monsters but Sturm gets injured. A white stag appears in front of Sturm and he starts to follow it. Confused his comrades follow. The white stag guides the adventurers to a unicorn. The unicorn explains that the adventurers have to get to the city of Xak Tsargoth in two days and he offers his aid in form of winged horses that serve them as mounts (remember Flint’s horse allergy?). The mounts fly the band to Goldmoon’s village (which is a day’s march from Xak Tsargoth) and she finds it burnt down and her kinsmen slayed by the draconians.
The band continues its journey, but unfortunately they all except Tas and Flint get captured by draconians. Held captive in the draconian camp; the adventurers learn that the rumors about brewing war have been true. Flint and Tas help the band escape, they make their way to Xak Tsargoth.
When they come to the ancient ruined city they get attacked by a dragon. Dragons have not been seen since the Cataclysm. This black dragon kills Riverwind. Fortunately it turns out that Goldmoon has been chosen as the cleric of the goddess of healing Mishakal and she manages to revive her beloved.
The adventurers find out that Krynn is under great danger because the Queen of Darkness is rising, the deity diametrically opposite to Mishkal. To aid their cause they have to retrieve an artifact from deep within Xak Tsargoth, an artifact that is guarded by the same black dragon.
After a long journey they manage to fight off dozens of draconians, retrieve the artifact (with some help from friendly underfround gully dwarves that are kept as slaves by the dreadful reptiles) and slay the dragon (classic is it not?).
The band returns to Solace only to find it burned and ruled by the draconians. Talis meets an old elven friend of his Gilthanas. The draconians take the band, Gilthanas and the innkeeper’s daughter Tika captive again. While being captured they meet an odd and forgetful wizard Fisben. He helps them escape by casting a magical ball of fire that destroys the bars of their cell. They all escape to the forests of elves where they are relatively safe.
In the elven city Qualinost Talis meets with his past beloved Laurana, but he is forced to reject her love in the name of her good name, for she is of noble blood, but Talis only a half-blood rogue.
Pax Tharkas are the mines where the human slaves are kept by the cleric of the Queen of Darkness Verminaard. To save Qualinost and many human lives the band goes to make a rebellion at Pax Tharkas and defeat Verminaard.
Goldmoon convinces the slaves to rebel by healing their leader’s fatal wounds thus proving her being chosen by the true gods. With the help from rebelling humans, some luck and great bravery they manage to destroy Verminaard and his dragon Ember. For some reason the wizard Fisben mysteriously vanishes.
The story ends with the wedding of Riverwind and Goldmoon. The battle is won but the war still is going on, the Queen of Darkness is still rising and the band still has a long road ahead. The story continues in the next book of Dragonlance series “The Dragons of Winter night”.