03 - The Qualinesti - Paul B Thompson & Tonya R Cater

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03 - The Qualinesti - Paul B Thompson & Tonya R Cater

    Elven Nations Trilogy

     Volume Three

     [Dragonlance logo]



     Paul B. Thompson

     & Tonya R. Carter

     [WotC logo]


     ?2001 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

     All Rights Reserved.

    All characters in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized use

    of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without the express written permission of Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

    Distributed in the United States by Holtzbrinck Publishing. Distributed in Canada by Fenn Ltd.

    Distributed to the hobby, toy, and comic trade in the United States and Canada by regional distributors.

    Distributed worldwide by Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and regional distributors.

    DRAGONLANCE and the Wizards of the Coast logo are registered trademarks owned by Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a

    subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc.

    All Wizards of the Coast characters, character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks owned by

    Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Made in the U.S.A.

The sale of this book without its cover has not been authorized by the

    publisher. If you purchased this book without a

    cover, you should be aware that neither the author nor the publisher

    has received payment for this "stripped book."

Cover art by Brom

    First Printing: November 1991

    Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 90-71493

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN: 1-56076-114-8



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     The Cornerstone

     Ten thousand footsteps rattled in the quiet mountain valley. It was early morning,

    just before sunrise, and mist still clung to the low places between the slopes. Five

    thousand elves, dwarves, and humans were assembling in this remote mountain pass.

    Many were warriors, resplendent in burnished armor and flowing capes, who had battled

    in the long years of the Kinslayer Wars, elf against man, man against dwarf, and elf

    against elf. So protracted had been the time of bloodshed that sons and daughters of

    warriors had grown up to bear arms alongside their parents.

     This was an army of peace, gathered in the Kharolis Mountains. They had come

    from the kingdom of Thorbardin and the realm of Qualinesti to seal a bargain and to erect

    a fortress. Pax Tharkas, it was to be called; the name had already been agreed upon. In

the elven tongue, it meant "Citadel of Peace."

     From the southern end of the pass came the delegation of dwarves, led by their new

    king, Glenforth Sparkstriker. It was he who had led the doughty dwarven

armies against

    the humans of Ergoth, checking their advance in the high mountain passes around

    Thorbardin. The Battle of Raven's Hook had cost Prince Glenforth an eye, but it had also

    put an end to the Emperor of Ergoth's plan to subjugate the dwarves. Now, with his eye

    patch of beaten gold and his magnificent coal-black beard rippling across his mailed

    chest, King Glenforth led his people in an even greater endeavor.

     Behind the king came the most powerful thanes, those of Glenforth's own Clan

    Hylar. Richly dressed in crimson velvet and glittering with all the jewels they could

    possibly wear, the Hylar each bore a ceremonial hammer on his shoulder. Close behind

    the Hylar came the Daewar, for this great occasion wearing midnight blue tunics, yellow

    sashes, and great wide-brimmed hats of brown leather. The Daewar carried gilded rock

chisels, as long as each dwarf was tall.

     The thanes of the other clans, the Klar and the Neidar, less richly dressed but still

    proud, followed in the wake of their more powerful cousins. The Klar carried ceremonial

trowels, and the Neidar picks.

     Where the valley floor began to slope upward, King Glenforth raised a hand. The

    councilors and thanes halted and waited in respectful silence.

     The delegation from Qualinesti approached the dwarves from the north end of the

    valley. Most of the delegation were formerly of Silvanesti, and had the chiseled features

    and light coloring of that ancient elven race. But sharp eyes could see the mingled

    characteristics of the Kagonesti, the elves of the forest, and even the broad features of

    humans. The new elven kingdom of Qualinesti had existed for just eighty years, and so

    far had proven the truth of its founder's dream: that elves and men and dwarves could live

together in harmony, peace, and justice.

     The founder himself led his nobles and notables to meet the Thorbardin thanes. In

    middle age now, as elves reckon time, the Speaker of the Sun was by far the most

    commanding figure in the valley. Age and toil had sent a few streaks of silver through his

    white-blond hair, but the clear, noble features of the House of Silvanos were unaltered by

all the years of strife.

     Kith-Kanan, the Speaker of the Sun, the founder of the nation of Qualinesti, stopped

    his entourage twenty paces or so from the dwarves. Alone, he went forward to meet King

Glenforth of Thorbardin.

     The elf met the dwarf near a large boulder that rose up in the center of the path.

Glenforth extended his thick, powerful arms.

     "Royal brother!" he said heartily. "I rejoice to see you!"

     "And I you, Thane of Thanes!"

     Tall elf and squat dwarf clasped hands about each other's forearms. "This is a great

    day for our nations," Kith-Kanan said, stepping back. "For all of Krynn."

     "There were many times I didn't think I would live to see this day," Glenforth said


     "I, too, have wondered if this new kingdom of ours could have been born without the

    blood and suffering of the war. My late wife used to say that all things are born that

    way?with blood and pain." Kith-Kanan nodded slowly, thinking of days gone by. "But

    we're here now, that's the important thing," he added, smiling.

     "Praise the gods," said the dwarf sincerely.

     Kith-Kanan turned back the folds of his emerald green cape to free his left hand.

    Looking to his waiting entourage, he smiled and lifted his arm, gesturing two figures

    forward. Glenforth squinted his good eye and saw that the two were children, a

golden-haired boy and a brown-haired girl.

     "King Glenforth, may I present my son, Prince Ulvian, and my daughter, Princess

    Verhanna," Kith-Kanan said, pushing the children forward. Ulvian dragged his feet and

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