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Literature / Kingpriest Trilogy

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The Fall of Istar

Prequel to the main Dragonlance novel series, focusing on the titular Knight Templar who brought about The End of the World as We Know It 350 years (approx.) before Dragons of Autumn Twilight.

In the mighty Empire of Istar, the Kingpriest has had a vision of his own death, and a high priestess goes on a quest to find his successor, guided by a prophecy. She finds Brother Beldyn, a wise-beyond-his-years young monk with incredible supernatural healing powers and believes that he must be the Lightbringer. Other events are afoot, however, including a plague that leaves the Empire on the brink of civil war, a young bandit named Cathan, whose destiny is bound with Beldyn's, and the mysterious sorcerer Fistandantilus, who has a centuries-spanning Evil Plan of his own nearing fruition.

Needless to say, this won't end well...

The books are:

  • Chosen of the Gods
  • Divine Hammer
  • Sacred Fire

This trilogy contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Andras is a weirdly pathetic figure at the end, as is Beldinas.
  • Big Bad: Fistandantilus.
  • Blank White Eyes: Cathan has these after his resurrection. Most people find them very creepy- only Beldinas and wizards are able to meet his gaze for long.
  • The Caligula: Beldinas, by the end, is completely insane. Somewhat subverted in that he still has the charisma to make everyone think he's still a Messianic Archetype.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": In Sacred Fire a band of warriors are attacked by a many-legged monster that burrows under the desert sands. They note its resemblance to a legendary demon known as the "caterpilyo".
  • invokedCharacter Alignment:
  • TheChessmaster: Fistandantilus. He orchestrates Beldyn's rise to power, fall of wizards, and changes his plans to make new pawns for his ascension to godhood after his initial ones fall.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The different clerial orders wear:
    • White- Paladine
    • Blue- Mishakal
    • Gold- Kiri-Jolith
    • Green- Branchala
    • Purple- Habakkuk
  • Corrupt Church: To an extent, but things get to their worst when the guy who isn't traditionally corrupt takes the throne...
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Paladine. Complete with a "Holy Triangle" of himself, Mishakal and Kiri-Jolith.
  • Dating Catwoman: Cathan and the sorceress Leciane in Divine Hammer (though which of them is "Catwoman" depends on who you ask).
  • Dead Guy Junior: Wentha's son Tancred, named for her and Cathan's older brother, who died during the plague.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Fistandantilus. Cathan also has his moments.
  • Death Is Cheap: Averted. Only Beldyn (and possibly Cathan) can bring people back to life; after Cathan is resurrected he is regarded witih awe and trepidation as "the Twice-Born".
  • Did You Just Flip Off Draco Paladin?
  • Downer Ending: Hoo boy (though it pretty much had to be considering how Chronicles opens). Beldinas has been prevented from ascending to godhood and wrecking the balance, but the world is in ruins and almost all the main characters are dead, to say nothing of untold millions of others we don't get to know by name. Oh, and Fistandantilus gets away too, but he's not quite a Karma Houdini because we know exactly what his villainy will get him in the end- a grisly death at the hand of the one Bastard in Krynnish history more Magnificent than he is.
  • The Dreaded: Fistandantilus again.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In Chosen of the Gods, a few scenes feature a rather stuffy young squire named Loren Soth, who goes on to become one of the most iconic villains in the whole Dragonlance metaseries, the death knight Lord Soth.
  • The Empire: Istar is a relatively benevolent example, but things get worse after The Messiah, of all people, takes the throne...
  • Evil Chancellor: Quarath and ultimately Fistandantilus too.
  • Evil Prince: Kurnos isn't technically a prince, but as priest next-in-line of the succession, he might as well be.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Fistandantilus, Andras.
  • The Faceless: Fistandantilus.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Kurnos, the usurper of the Kingpriest station, who gets helped by Fistandantilus and is killed by him after he outlives his usefulness.
  • Fantastic Racism: Wizards in particular get a lot of it, as do certain intelligent nonhumans.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Istar itself resembles Rome a great deal, while the Draavinish are distinctly Arabic.
  • Fictionary: The Church Language, which in some respects resembles Latin.
  • Final Solution: Beldinas's desire to purge the world of evil includes committing genocide on entire species he dubs evil.
  • First-Episode Resurrection: At the end of Chosen of the Gods, Cathan is killed by Kurnos and immediately after revived by Beldinas.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've read Chronicles you know how this ends.
  • God-Emperor: The Kingpriest is as good as this.
  • Godhood Seeker: Both Fistandantilus and Beldinas himself pursue this in Sacred Fire. Neither succeeds, but their actions set up much of the setting's future.
  • Heel Realization / My God, What Have I Done?: The Kingpriest does realize what he has done, and what his actions will lead to, when Paladine himself comes to punish him, and begs him for forgiveness, but is rejected. That leads to...
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Beldinas. He wents from prideful but kind monk who healed people even when losing consciousness from tireness to insane priest-tyrant who demands that gods make him one too.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Leciane's lover Vincil says this literally after he catches an axe just before he teleports the surviving wizards away from the disasterous moot with the Kingpriest in Divine Hammer.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Essentially a whole trilogy about this concept.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: What convinces Ilista that Beldyn is the Lightbringer. Ultimately subverted in that he isn't incorruptible, just corruptible in a different way than usual.
  • Kill It with Fire: The holy texts of the Gods of Light say to purge evil with fire. While probably not what they intended by that, their followers tend to break out the stake and logs whenever they capture evil clerics and black-robed mages alive so that they can be burned alive.
  • Knight in Shining Armor—> Knight in Sour Armor: Cathan in the last two books.
  • Knight Templar: Beldinas and the Divine Hammer descend into this.
  • Meaningful Rename: Beldyn to the more regal Beldinas, after he becomes Kingpriest.
  • The Mole: Tancred in Sacred Fire.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Andras. "I never meant for this to happen. I only wanted revenge..." Also, Beldinas, when Paladine comes to punish him.
  • Necromancy: The cult of Chemosh's MO.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: The entirety of the problem comes from Cathan trying to be a Humble Hero and rejecting the mantle of Kingpriest. Except, he was meant to be the Kingpriest and giving it to Beldinas ruins the world.
  • Obstructive Zealot: Bron in Sacred Fire.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Palado Calib (Blessed Paladine) is a common oath.
  • Our Elves Are Different: No points for guessing at Quarath's disposition. The elves are as snooty and haughty as they always are in Krynn.
  • Prophecy Twist: Everyone thinks Beldinas is the Lightbringer. It's really Cathan all along, and he ends up sacrificing himself to save the only complete copy of the setting's Bible from Beldinas himself.
  • Religion of Evil: Several show up, worshipping dark gods; they're portrayed more like cults of fringe lunatics than anything majorly widespread, however. One can say that Paladine's one descends into that too, and of course the god isn't happy.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Andras.
  • The Scottish Trope: Nobody likes saying Fistandantilus's name - they mostly call him "Dark One" along with a handful of other epithets.
  • Smug Snake: Quarath and Kurnos.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Cathan is the main POV character, but this is really Beldyn/Beldinas's story.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The world survives the trilogy (barely), but the gods' justice on Beldinas smashes it beyond recognition.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Played straight, lampshaded, and deconstructed all at once in Tithian's first appearance.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A massive amount of problems in Krynn result from Cathan trying to promote Beldinas as the cure for all of the realm's ills. In fact, the gods had intended Cathan to be the king of Istar.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Everybody. I mean everybody even Fistandantilus himself.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kurnos and Andras both have these.
  • What If?: The short story "There Is Another Shore You Know, Upon the Other Side" (in the Dragons of Chaos collection) and this scenario cover what would have happened if Beldinas succeeded in his plan. In the former the gods are reduced to human (albeit immortal) forms and tortured eternally and Beldinas wipes out everything (and everyone) he deems evil; in the latter the former traitor turned High Protector of the Faith is Cathan the "Thrice-Born".
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Fistandantilus does this a lot, though it's less about cruelty and more about covering his tracks.