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It's been over ten years since we gathered in my little apartment for a game session. Dragonlance was known only to a handful of us then, an infant full of promise not yet realized. We were playing the first adventure of what would eventually prove to be a wonderful experience for millions-but on that night, as I recall, we mostly didn't know what we were doing. I was running the game from my own hastily assembled design notes.

Both my wife and Margaret were there among a host of others who were struggling to find their characters from the thin shadowy outlines we had given them. Who were these Heroes of the Lance? What were they really like? We were just settling in to the game when I turned to my good friend Terry Phillips and asked what his character was doing. Terry spoke… and the world of Krynn was forever changed. His rasping voice, his sarcasm and bitterness all masking an arrogance and power that never needed to be stated suddenly were real.

Everyone in the room was both transfixed and terrified. To this day Margaret swears that Terry wore the black robes to the party that night. Terry Phillips happened to choose Raistlin for his character and in that fated choice gave birth to one of Dragonlance's most enduring characters.

Terry even wrote an Adventure Gamebook on Raistlin's tests which bore the same title as the book you hold in your hands. Krynn-not to mention Margaret and myself- owe no small debt of gratitude to Terry for bringing us Raistlin.

Other characters in Dragonlance may belong to various creators, but Margaret, from the very outset, made it clear to all concerned that Raistlin was hers and hers alone. We never begrudged her the dark mage-she seemed to be the only one who could comfort his character and soothe his troubled mind. The truth is that Raistlin frightened the rest of us into distance. Only Margaret knew how to bridge that abyssal gulf. Now you hold the story of Raistlin as told by Margaret-the one person who knows him best of all.

The journey may not always be comfortable but it will be a worthy one. Margaret has always been a master storyteller. Here, now, is the story that she has longed to tell. I'm often asked, "Who's your favorite character? We love our children for themselves, a love individual as each child. It is true, however, that a writer comes to know and like some characters better than others. Some I know better than I know my own friends and family! The innermost recesses we hide from the world are clearly visible to our Creator.

Playing God with my characters, I see their weaknesses, their strengths, their inner doubts and turmoil, and their dark and secret parts. Raistlin Majere was such a character. When I first met Raistlin, he was a name on a Character Sheet.

I knew his "stats," developed for the Dragonlance role-playing game. I knew he was a third-level mage in his early twenties. I knew he was slight in build, wore red robes, and that he was known among his friends as "The Sly One. But he was just one of a number of characters-Tanis, Sturm, Flint, Tasslehoff-until I read the passage that said Raistlin had "golden skin and hourglass eyes.

This intrigued me. I had to know the reason Raistlin had golden skin and hourglass eyes. In trying to solve this mystery, I was led to an understanding of the true nature of Raistlin's character.

That he would be jealous of his good-looking, stronger twin brother was a natural feeling to which every person who has ever grown up with a sibling could relate. That he was not generally trusted or well liked by his peers was obvious.

If his friends called him "The Sly One," what would his enemies term him? Naturally he would be the target of bullies, which would lead his brother to protect him. It seemed to me that Raistlin would grow dependent on his brother for such protection, but that he would, at the same time, resent Caramon for it. Thus Raistlin would constantly struggle against a love as smothering as it was nurturing. The fact that Raistlin was of slight build and physically weaker than his brother seemed to indicate a sickly youth, which might also be indicative of an introspective nature, particularly if he was forced to spend time cooped up in a sickbed.

Such a childhood would have contributed to his feeling of alienation from his peers but would later give him empathy for others in like circumstances. That Raistlin would turn to the study of magic was again obvious. Of course, it would be his elder half-sister, the restless and ambitious Kitiara, who would lead his thoughts in that direction. In a rough and dangerous world her younger brother lacked physical strength to wield a weapon. He needed some way to defend himself.

Magic was the answer, especially since he already showed some talent in that area. Raistlin soon came to realize that magic was also the means by which he could gain power and ascendancy over others. All very intriguing, but it didn't explain the golden skin and hourglass eyes.

Certainly he wasn't born with them. His twin brother and his elder half-sister were perfectly normal-looking humans. Perhaps his study of magic had caused this transformation. He must have had to take a test to prove his abilities to the wizards who lived in the Towers of High Sorcery. What sort of magical test would they give young wizards? A difficult test, probably extremely difficult.

Otherwise anyone with a bit of talent could declare himself a wizard. What if the Test required that a mage stake his or her very life on the outcome? And what if something happened during the Test that caused Raistlin's skin to acquire a golden tinge and to give him eyes that would see the ravages of time upon all living things?

Thus the Test in the Tower of High Sorcery came into existence. It was during that Test that Raistlin had the fateful meeting with the lich, Fistandantilus. I became so fascinated with Raistlin that I wrote a short story about his journey to the Tower to take the Test.

I also came to know a lot about Caramon on that trip. I saw Caramon's great inner goodness that to his friends would seem a weakness but that in the end would be the rock on which he would build a successful and happy life. I'm still learning about Raistlin. With every book I write about him and his twin and their adventures in the world, I discover something new.

Raistlin is, and continues to be, a favorite of all the many different characters it has been my privilege and my joy to know. The alloys produced by early iron workers. Under this treatment, the ore was reduced to the sponge of metallic iron filled with a slag composed of metallic impurities and charcoal ash. This sponge of iron was removed from the furnace while still incandescent and beaten with heavy sledges to drive out the slag and to weld and consolidate the iron.

Occasionally this technique of ironmaking produced, by accident, a true steel. Few mages did, in those days, the days before the great and terrible War of the Lance spilled out of its caldron like boiling oil and scalded the countryside. In those days, just fifteen or so years before the war, the fire beneath the pot had been lit, the Dark Queen and her minions had struck the sparks that would start the blaze. The oil was cool, black, and sluggish in the caldron.

But at the bottom, the oil was beginning to simmer. Most people on Ansalon would never see the caldron, much less the bubbling oil inside, until it was poured on their heads, along with dragonfire and the countless other horrors of war.

At this time of relative peace, the majority of people living on Ansalon never looked up, never looked from side to side to see what was going on in the world around them. Instead, they gazed at their own feet, plodding through the dusty day, and if they ever lifted their heads, it was usually to see if it was likely to rain and spoil their picnic. A few felt the heat of the newly kindled fire. A few had been watching closely the turgid black liquid in the caldron.

Now they could see that it was starting to simmer. These few were uneasy. These few began to make plans. The wizard's name was Antimodes. He was human, of good middle-class merchant stock, hailing from Port Balifor. The youngest of three, he had been raised in the family business, which was tailoring. To this day, he still displayed with pride the scars of the pinpricks on the middle finger of his right hand. His early experience left him with a canny business sense and a taste for, and knowledge of, fine clothing, one reason he rarely wore his white robes.

Some mages were afraid to wear their robes, which were a symbol of their calling, because that calling was not well loved in Ansalon. Antimodes was not afraid. He did not wear his white robes because white showed the dirt. He detested arriving at his destination mud-splattered, the stains of the road upon him. He traveled alone, which in those uneasy days meant that he was either a fool, a kender, or an extremely powerful person.

Antimodes was not a fool, nor was he a kender. He traveled alone because he preferred his own company and that of his donkey, Jenny, to that of almost all others of his acquaintance.

Hired bodyguards were generally loutish and dull, not to mention expensive.


The Soulforge (Dragonlance: Raistlin & Caramon Majere)

A mage's soul is forged in the crucible of magic. Raistlin Majere is six years old when he is introduced to the archmage who enrolls him in a school for the study of magic. There the gifted and talented but tormented boy comes to see magic as his salvation. Mages in the magical Tower of High Sorcery watch him in secret, for they see shadows darkening over Raistlin even as the same shadows lengthen over all Ansalon. Finally, Raistlin draws near his goal of becoming a wizard.


The Soulforge

The Soulforge is a fantasy novel written by Margaret Weis and set in the Dragonlance campaign setting. The novel was first published in January , and covers the early life of the character Raistlin Majere. The story begins from Raistlin's childhood, and follows his progress through magic school. Many things occur that foreshadow the great power that he would one day attain, and offer an explanation as to why he is often vindictive and power hungry. The account of the test conflicts somewhat with a story that appeared in one of the books of the Dragonlance Legends trilogy, but gives a much more detailed account of how Raistlin came by his golden skin and hourglass eyes, and also how he bested the ancient archmage, Fistandantilus, from the time before the fall of Istar.


Soulforge, The

A mage's soul is forged in the crucible of magic. Raistlin Majere is six years old when he is introduced to the archmage who enrolls him in a school for the study of magic. There the gifted and talented but tormented boy comes to see magic as his salvation. Mages in the magical Tower of High Sorcery watch him in secret, for they see shadows darkening over Raistlin even as the same shadows lengthen over all Ansalon.

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