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Literature / The Legend of Huma

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He saw a charging stallion, armored in purest platinum and snorting fire as it raced the winds. He saw the rider then, a knight bold and ready, the great lance poised to strike. The knight was also clad in platinum, and the crest on his helmet was that of a majestic dragon. On his chest he wore a breastplate with the symbol of the Triumvirate: the Crown, the Sword and the Rose.

Within the visor that covered the face was light, brilliant and life-giving and Huma knew that here was Paladine.

The great charger suddenly leaped into the air, and massive wings sprouted from its sides. Its head elongated, and its neck twisted and grew, but it lost none of its majesty or beauty. From a platinum-clad steed it became a platinum dragon, and together knight and companion drove the darkness before them with the aid of the lance- the Dragonlance. It shone with a life, a purpose of its own, and the darkness fell before it. Born of the world and the heavens, it was the true power, the true good.

The Legend of Huma, written by Richard A. Knaak and published in 1988, was the first Dragonlance novel which did not involve any of the original companions. It was the first installment of the 'Heroes' trilogy, single standalone books focusing on famous individual heroes from the history of Krynn. It tells the story of Huma, the man who won the Third Dragon War and saved the world with the aid of Paladine and the other gods of light, the first and greatest wielder of the titular Dragonlance.

By the time Legend starts, things are not going well for the Knights of Solamnia or their allies. Takhisis' hordes have overrun most of the world, Solamnia's last strongholds are under siege and there are rumors that the Dark Queen is about to manifest herself in the flesh. It's up to Huma, his friends Kaz the minotaur (who has defected from the Dragonarmies), the mysterious magic-user Magius who is Huma's childhood friend, and Huma's mysterious lover Gwyneth to save Krynn from total destruction.

It's notable that this book, along with Dragons: The Lost Histories and The Kagonesti is quite possibly the only source of information you can use to read the history of the Third Dragon War. Even the Dragonlance Lexicon Wiki barely mentions it.

Now has a Graphic Novel published in 2006 by Brian Augustyn and Sean Jordan. Sadly, it only covers the events of the novel up to the arrival at Magius' tower. The second 'Heroes' trilogy featured a loose follow-up called Kaz the Minotaur, focusing on the adventures of Huma's friend Kaz after the end of the war.

It also has a rock song that's remarkably accurate.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Air Jousting: Late in the story, the forces of evil start to recover Dragonlances from fallen good dragons and equip their own dragons and riders with them, leading to this.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Sword of Tears. An elegant sword with an emerald worked into it, it constantly whispers promises of power, happiness and wealth to its user, while slowly corrupting their soul to evil. According to Paladine, it was what corrupted the ogres into a race of cruel tyrants and will be used on the "last day" by the final champion of darkness to lead the charge against the forces of the light when the final apocalyptic battle for Krynn is fought. (It should be noted that this is the only work that has so far mentioned this "Armageddon" doomsday scenario that will end Krynn's history)
  • Bad Boss: Crynus has his huge black dragon, Charr, kill a red dragon and its rider to prevent them from killing Huma before he can.
  • Badass Boast: By Huma during his duel with Takhisis:
    Huma: I am a Knight of Solamnia. I am the hand of Paladine, of Kiri-Jolith, and of Habbakuk on this world. You are on Krynn. You are mine, Queen of Darkness.
  • Badass Normal: For a guy who has no magic and no overt divine powers until he gets the Dragonlance, Huma can throw it down with the best of them. When he gets attacked by five enemy soldiers and several dreadwolves while he's already weak and wounded, he fights back with only his sword until he's surrounded by corpses.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Kaz loves to fight, although he does it with honour.
  • Breath Weapon: According to the Silver Dragon, all dragons "except for the cowardly White" can breathe fire, but it takes a huge toll on dragons that aren't Red or Gold to do so.
  • Broad Strokes: The general consensus among Dragonlance fans is that this novel illustrates a large part of Huma's story, but that it omits too many elements of other accounts (namely the White Stag) to be considered the "official" story.
  • Canis Major: Dreadwolves, enormous undead wolves with their skin flayed off that can talk like humans. Sweet dreams
  • The Chosen One: Played with in that Huma wasn't the first to undergo the tests to become Paladine's champion, but he was the first who truly cared about the people of Krynn enough to win them.
  • Captain Oblivious: You'd think that Huma would have picked up on Gwyneth's secret a little bit earlier, given what appears immediately after her Stealth Hi/Bye routine.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Galan Dracos tortures Magius to death.
  • Continuity Snarl: Rather infamously, there's no mention of the White Stag, which was the central aspect of the legend of Huma's life that was recited in Dragons of Autumn Twilight. The novel has a span of only a few days between the time Huma becomes Paladine's champion and his death, which would make it impossible for any of Krynn's apochryphal legends about Huma to be true (such as his meeting with the Forest Master). It's also difficult to reconcile the timetable with the fact that the Solamnic Knights that were seen in the novel The Kagonesti during the Third Dragon War were familiar with Huma's fame and had been fighting a long campaign alongside him.
  • Cranium Chase: After Huma decapitates the immortal Crynus in a desperate but futile attempt to stop him, Kaz has to race Crynus' headless body to the head, having to jump off his horse and finish the chase on foot when the animal freaks out and refuses to go any closer to Crynus. He and Huma attempt to use the head to lure Crynus onto the Dragonlance, but even without his head, he's too canny for that.
  • Deader than Dead: When Galan Dracos is defeated by Huma, he realizes that Takhisis is going to torture him in the Abyss forever due to him only summoning her avatar at partial strength. He incinerates himself with green flames, which Takhisis tells Huma destroyed not only his body but also his soul so that he could escape A Fate Worse Than Death and also erases most memories of him.
  • Defector from Decadence: Kaz again. The minotaurs are already basically slave soldiers of the ogres and resent their bondage, but when Kaz found his ogre captain standing over the butchered corpses of an old man and his two grandchildren, he couldn't stand the dishonour any more and killed him with a single skull-crushing blow.
  • Defiant to the End: Magius spits on Galan Dracos' robes right before Dracos executes him in front of Huma.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did Huma just impale the Dragonqueen with the Dragonlance?
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Fizban (though not by name), Heart as Gwyneth's unnamed sister and a young Cyan Bloodbane, who is Galan Dracos' experiment in enhancing the intelligence of a dragon with the ability to understand the minds of all mortal races.
  • Escort Mission: Huma, riding the silver dragon to cover his companions Kaz, Magius and Buoron from the air, must escort the caravan carrying the Dragonlances through the woods leading to Vingaard Keep. They save the lances, but Magius is taken prisoner.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Most of the wizards in Takhisis' corner of the ring are renegades such as Galan Dracos who have rejected the Orders of High Sorcery. The Black Robes begin assisting the forces of darkness, but this is just to set up their Villainous Rescue moment. This goes along with Raistlin's claim that most of the Black Robes had realized that Takhisis' darkness would bring their own destruction and assisted in the creation of the Dragon Orbs.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Crynus, Takhisis' chief warlord and Galan Dracos, her most powerful sorcerer, have a strong rivalry. Most of the black robes turn on the rest of Takhisis' forces to save themselves and the world.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The black robes turn on Takhisis because they realize they'll be destroyed too if she succeeds in coming into the world.
  • Exact Words: Takhisis promises that she and her dragon brood will stay off of Krynn as long as the world is whole. Huma probably should have demanded that she be broader than that.
  • The Faceless: Morgion, as his Aspect appears to Huma, is an invisible face in darkness with sinister red eyes beneath a bronze crown. According to Dragons of Summer Flame, he has skin peeling off a pale face like a plague victim.
  • The Final Temptation: During the final confrontation, Takhisis in her aspect as the Temptress offers Huma a place at her side as her consort, since he has proven himself the most resourceful warrior alive, but after a brief hesitation he is able to reject her thanks to his love for Gwyneth. At the end of the battle, as Takhisis is in agony after being pinned by the lance and Huma and Gwyneth are both mortally wounded, Takhisis offers to heal them both if Huma releases her. Gwyneth convinces him to refuse and Huma makes a counteroffer- he'll release Takhisis only if she surrenders. She accepts, and Huma and Gywneth die together as the war is won.
  • From Bad to Worse: The book starts with Takhisis' armies of ogres, minotaurs, goblins and evil humans overrunning most of Solamnia. Then they open up portals to the Abyss where the Legions of Hell pour out. Huma manages to kill most of those by slicing the Dragonlances through the magically-generated dark clouds covering the land and letting in the sunlight, which is deadly to them. Galan Dracos then uses the power Takhisis has given him to summon thousands of Chromatic Dragons from every corner of Krynn. Finally, he summons the Dark Queen herself to the mortal world.
  • God: Huma forces Takhisis to swear by the Highgod that she will leave Krynn and take the chromatic dragons with her.
  • Handicapped Badass: Wyrmfather, who despite being blinded and imprisoned by Kiri-Jolith for five millenia is still nearly more than a match for Huma.
    • When Bennett assembles a company of knights to wield the Dragonlances, he includes three handicapped knights in their number because they're just that badass.
    Men who had lost a leg could still ride and swing a sword. One useless arm still meant that the knight could use his other. A Knight of Solamnia did not quit until he was either triumphant or slain.
  • Humans Are Special: As she lies dying beside him, Gwyneth tells him that the dragons are astounded at how much humans strive to accomplish in their short lives. She also tells him that she first learned to love as a human, and that is how she chooses to die. Earlier, the Metallic dragons had told Huma that they weren't giving up solely because they believed in him.
  • Interspecies Romance: But not the way Huma thinks...
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Kaz shows the Knights that minotaurs are not Always Chaotic Evil, though even good virtuous ones like Kaz are still very aggressive at first. According to Kaz, the minotaurs have a warlike culture but are slaves in everything but name to the ogres who are holding their homelands on Ansalon's eastern coast hostage.
  • Near-Villain Victory:
    • By the time Legend starts, most of the world has fallen to Takhisis' armies and most of the regions that haven't have been devastated by the omnipresent cult of Morgion's plagues. Hylo and northern Ergoth fall during the course of the novel and Solamnia is on its last legs, having already lost major territories such as Eldor, Huma's birthplace, nearly a generation ago. Even most of Ansalon's forests have been burned by Takhisis' scorched-earth tactics. If Huma hadn't found the Dragonlance, the war wouldn't have lasted longer, it would have been over.
    • When Astinus writes in the prologue that he was worried that the Third Dragon War would be the event that ended Krynn's history for good, you know you're dealing with a Near-Villain Victory.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Crynus, who's been given magical enchantments by Dracos to the point of being barely human. He can regenerate from nearly any injury, including decapitation. It takes dragonfire to destroy him in the end.
  • Plague Master: Morgion. Subverted in that, while he's most associated with diseases, he's a god of all types of decay. His portfolio includes rust, aging and madness too.
  • Precursors:
    • Wyrmfather, the first dragon. He's described as long, grey and worm-like, as well as being the largest dragon in Krynn's history. It's unclear how he fits into the history the original five chromatic dragons that inhabited primeval Krynn in "Aurora's Eggs" but he may have served as the early "prototype" upon which Takhisis later improved upon, given his radically different anatomy.
    • The ogres, which are still around and leading Takhisis' armies but only at a fraction of their once-powerful empire's strength.
  • Physical God:
    • Galan Dracos' ultimate plan is to become one of these by hoping that Takhisis will make him a demigod once he unleashes her on Krynn. Ironically, Huma in his humility succeeds where he fails in pride, being transformed into a platinum avatar of Paladine for a brief instant so that he can stab Takhisis' avatar.
    • Wyrmfather, who was only defeated and imprisoned after Kiri-Jolith (yes, that Kiri-Jolith) fought him in a battle that lasted an entire year.
  • Ret-Gone: Wonder why there's no mention of Galan Dracos in the Canticle of the Dragon or any other legend about Huma? Because he wipes himself out of existence, annihilating his soul and erasing almost all memories of him.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: Even in the Time of Myths, the forces of good's clerics and mages won't have anything to do with each other, setting up shop on opposite sides of the Solamnic Knights'camp.
  • Sand Worm: Wyrmfather definitely has this vibe going, although he "swims" through his massive horde of gold rather than sand.
  • Secret Test of Character: 2 out of the 3 of Huma's trials to become Paladin's champion involve this.
  • Shock and Awe: Kaz's bronze dragon, Bolt, is the most proficient lightning caster of his species. And when we say "lightning," we mean that he actually strikes the target with bolts from the sky, though he can also do it with his breath.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Huma, who becomes the subject of many legends, some true and some exaggerated, even while he's alive that bring him a great deal of embarrassment because he feels like he's not worthy of them.
  • Slave Mooks: The Knights of Solomnia assume minotaurs are willingly serving the forces of evil, but Kaz explains that they are actually mostly slaves. They are spread out thinly among the ogres so that there are never enough in one unit to have a chance to rebel.
  • Smug Super: Magius is possibly the second-most powerful mage in the world after Galan Dracos (he's barely even intimidated by the prospect of facing multiple dragons single-handedly) and is completely insufferable about it. Subverted when it's revealed he's an insecure mess who lives in fear of the one thing he cannot face: the knowledge of his own inevitable death.
  • Vestigial Empire: Ergoth, which can only spare a few thousand soldiers in the war. Rumor has it that the court of the Ergothian Emperor is so posh that he doesn't even know that there's a war going on. They do send in The Cavalry, though.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • There's no mention of the White Stag, which played such a prominent role in the Legend of Huma as it was told in Dragons of Autumn Twilight. (Huma does glimpse a brief flash of white in the woods, but he believes that it's a Direwolf. It may have been the stag but he never gets a good look at it.)
    • The Dragon Orbs are never mentioned, though the mages might have been using them to turn back the huge swarm of thousands of dragons at the end.
  • Younger Than They Look: Huma's age is never given, but he apparently has blond hair turning grey long before it should be.
  • Zerg Rush: The knights observe that Takhisis attempts to only send in her goblin armies for an attack if they outnumber the enemy 6-8 times, due to their small size and poor fighting skills.