Raistlin Majere is a Hero of the Lance.
Raistlin is either an archetypal antihero or tragic hero. He is a Wizard of High Sorcery, bearing the Red Robes of Neutrality, marking him as a worshiper of the Red Moon, Lunitari. In the five years in which the future Heroes of the Lance go their separate ways, Raistlin, after taking the test in the Tower of Wayreth, has changed. He has acquired golden skin, which offers him strong protection against magical attack, and is cursed by Par-Salian, the head of the Mages Conclave on Krynn, with hourglass eyes, which cause him to see Time as it affects all things. His body is wrecked and he becomes even more sickly and physically weak than before. In Raistlin’s vision, all things wither and die before him; though longer lived races, such as Elves, are said to only appear to age slightly, while the Irda do not age to him at all. Physically far weaker than his twin brother Caramon, a strong and skilled warrior and swordsman, Raistlin makes up for this deficiency with his skills in the magic, the height of which never ceases to shock his companions throughout the first quest, as more and more of his great power become apparent.
A torn individual, Raistlin exhibits a strong superiority complex (as far as his power in magic and his intelligence were concerned), and knows nothing of true loyalty (Despite his lack of loyalty, Raistlin usually keep his promises and pays his debts). He only follows Tanis Half-Elven, the unofficial leader of the companions, because he feels that doing so will ultimately benefit him. He is also condescending, extremely resents his lack of physical strength and often relies on his twin brother for support. This generates feelings of resentment and jealousy more than feelings of affection and gratitude. To be exact, Raistlin harbors a secret hate for his twin’s physical power, and for the attention and comradeship it seems to earn him, which Raistlin’s own appearance and secretive nature denies him. Also of note, in The Soulforge, Raistlin develops a short-lived affection for a local town girl. He, already envious of his brothers popularity, stumbles upon his brother having sexual relations with the woman to whom his affections had been directed.
These factors ultimately culminate in Raistlin’s turn to evil, donning the Black Robes of evil wizards (those who worshipped the Black Moon, Nuitari), and, through a deadly deal he made in his youth with an ancient and legendary Archmage of terrible power, Fistandantilus, eventually rises to become the most powerful mortal in Krynn, who will one day seek to become a god himself.
However, the Archmage Raistlin does bear a soft spot for others who are treated poorly because of weaknesses that are not their fault, such as gully dwarves. He identifies with such people, and is thus quick to help them as he is quick to help himself. There are also rare instances when Raistlin feels genuine regret that he cannot return to the times of his childhood, when he was capable of feeling love. This is somewhat of a regular occurrence throughout the saga, and to a large degree adds to his relative depth. It could be said that Raistlin's magic is a compensation for the things that he feels he can never have. He nurses his magic, because it gives him a sense of satisfaction, a sense of self-worth, that he the frail, weak, ridiculed, detested brother has something to which he and he alone can claim superiority. To maintain this sense of self-satisfaction however, he must attain greater and greater levels of mastery in his art in order to feel at peace with himself.
Raistlin Majere and his twin brother Caramon were born in the town of Solace, Abanasinia, to a woodcutter named Gilon Majere and his wife, Rosamun (who, because she possessed the magic but was forced to suppress it by her upbringing, had a habit of slipping into uncontrollable trances). They were preceded by an older half-sister, Kitiara uth Matar, the product of Rosamun’s first marriage to a purported ex-Solamnic Knight, Gregor uth Matar. Raistlin was born sickly and on the verge of death. In fact, the midwife felt that the baby Raistlin should be allowed to die as an act of mercy. Only due to Kitiara’s stubborn refusal to let him die (and subsequent treatment and care), did he finally overcome the infantile ailment and live.
Possibly as a result of this early illness, Raistlin was always a sickly child, but possessed a fierce intellect, in stark contrast to his slow-thinking but physically strong twin. In fact, according to the common lore of the world of Krynn (supported by statements made by the god, Paladine, in the closing chapters of Dragons of Spring Dawning), identical twins were considered to be one person split in two. For this reason, Raistlin believed he had been given the mind, and Caramon the body.
Kitiara, who was driven by a desire to find a use for her brothers, was annoyed by Raistlin for this same reason. She knew Caramon would make a great warrior, but she didn’t know what to do about his brother. The answer came when a powerful archmagus of the White Robes named Antimodes stopped for a night in Solace. Kitiara, after much effort, persuaded the archmage to talk to Raistlin, who subsequently impressed him with intellect and wisdom beyond what he felt should be possessed by a child of six. He was also frightened by the desire to control others that Raistlin possessed. However, after this meeting, Antimodes personally saw to Raistlin’s enrollment in a school for magic, even paying for his first semester’s tuition.
As years passed, Raistlin learned the basics of the arcane tongue from his schoolmaster, and was taunted and isolated by his schoolmates who called him “the Sly One”. However, Raistlin, rather than being upset by this lack of acceptance, enjoyed the fact they feared him enough to try to destroy him. Soon enough the time came for Raistlin to take the first test of magic. After writing the words “I, Magus” upon the lamb’s skin, and a desperate prayer to the gods of magic, (he was also visited by the 3 gods of magic who made him swear to worship them) the words lit up with such ferocity that the lamb’s skin was utterly consumed.
It would be several more years before Raistlin finally learned to cast his first spell. The twins were sixteen. His father, Gilon, was mortally injured in a terrible logging accident, and was brought back to Solace just in time to say a few last words to his sons. His mother, Rosamun, struck dumb by the sudden loss of her husband, fell into one of her trances, sinking so deep that she never re-emerged. She died of starvation three days later. At her funeral, Raistlin showed great disregard for the inclement weather that oversaw it, and fell into a deep fever. He only survived due to the unexpected return of Kitiara, who fought death over her brother once more, and, like before, defeated it. It was after Raistlin’s recovery, when Caramon was overcome by terrible dreams, that Raistlin finally learned what it took to use the magic, and cast a sleeping spell over his brother.
Raistlin and his brother eventually fell into a friendship with other citizens of Solace who would one day become their fellow Heroes of the Lance. This friendship and, in the cast of the dwarf Flint Fireforge and Tanis Half-Elven, mentorship filled the gap that the sudden loss of their parents had created. Raistlin’s skills continued to grow even as he developed a love for herbalism and played an instrumental role in saving Solace from a plague.
While the twins were in their early twenties, they accompanied Flint Fireforge, Tanis Half-Elven, and the kender, Tasslehoff Burrfoot, to Haven for a market fair. It was there that Raistlin first encountered the cult of the false god Belzor, and the Renegade Wizard Judith who was using magic to bamboozle the townspeople into believing in him. By reciprocating her magic at a town meeting, Raistlin proved that she was a charlatan, destroying her cult and at the same time invoking the wrath of the townspeople, coming dangerously close to being burned at the stake. However, the spell Raistlin had cast was illegal for him, as an un-Tested mage, to cast, by the law of the Conclave of Wizards.
Rather than discipline him, less than one year later the Conclave decided to summon Raistlin to the Tower of High Sorcery at Waywreth Forest to take the Test. This in itself was astonishing, for no one so young had ever taken, much less passed, the grueling test, which touted death as the price of failure. Raistlin and his brother left Solace, being unable by Conclave law to tell anyone where they were going, and made their way to the Tower.
It was there, during the Test, that Raistlin’s health was shattered beyond saving, when he encountered the immortal lich, Fistandantilus, who offered him a contract: His life force in exchange for the power to pass the Test. Raistlin accepted this power, and during the final confrontation with a Dark Elf who played a prominent role in the Test, his own powerful will manifested powerful magical armor that turned his skin gold and allowed him to survive a direct hit by a fireball with almost no injury. Then, according to Soulforge he reneged on his bargain with Fistandantilus, who was incapable of piercing the magical armor to retrieve it.
In the final moments of the Test came Raistlin’s greatest challenge. An illusion of his brother approached him, and began to use magic. Raistlin’s anger and jealousy at the loss of his only advantage over his twin boiled over, and he burned the illusion to ashes with his magic. Afterwards, that was the only part of the Test Raistlin was allowed to remember, his encounter with Fistandantilus was erased from his mind. That memory, which Caramon had witnessed, forever tainted their relationship by showing Caramon what his brother was willing to do.
The Head of the Conclave, Archmagus Par’Salian, then cursed Raistlin with hourglass eyes, said by Par-Salian to be the eyes of the sorceress Raelana, that "he will view time's passage in all he looks upon. Youth withers before those eyes, beauty fades, mountains crumble to dust", essentially that all Raistlin sees crumbles and dies as he looks at it, making it impossible for him to ignore the inherent mortality in all living things, including himself. Although this was intended to teach Raistlin patience and to make him question himself, to force him to look inward, it would seem only to place Raistlin even further into Fistandantilus' ambition at becoming a god as events progressed, since he was more acutely aware of the nature of mortality. However, in sympathy for Raistlin's destroyed health Par'Salian bestowed upon the young wizard a powerful magical artifact, the Staff of Magius, which had been without a holder since the days of Huma at the end of the Age of Dreams, and recipe for a kind of herbal tea that would temporarily soothe Raistlin's now-chronic, racking cough.
Not long after Raistlin left the Tower of High Sorcery, he and his brother found themselves in poor straits, financially. It was also at this time that they heard of a new army gathering, information given to them by the White wizard Antimodes, a close friend of Par-Salian. It was during this period that Raistlin and Caramon would encounter two new friends: a brown-robed mage (brown robes given to those who never take the test) named Horkin, and a half-kender named Scrounger.
At this same time, Kitiara had traveled to Sanction, meeting Ariakas, the man who was currently favored by Takhisis. Ariakas did not yet trust Kitiara, and he gave her a mission to lure Immolatus, a red dragon, to his command. The dragon, embittered by the loss of his treasure, had declined orders to join forces with Ariakas. Kitiara's guile and quick-thinking led to her triumphant return to Ariakas with dragon in tow.
It was when Raistlin first encountered Immolatus that a new ability of Raistlin's cursed eyes was revealed. Upon encountering a dragon garbed in mortal guise, he could see partially through its transformation. Instead of seeing a human as most beings would, Raistlin saw two blurred images, one with a human face, and one a dragon.
Immolatus mistakenly thought that Raistlin was a descendant of Magius, for he possessed the Staff of Magius. After Raistlin was intimidated by the disguised red dragon, he escaped the tent and returned to his own army's camp.
It was Immolatus' mission to locate, for Takhisis, the eggs of the gold and silver dragons that lay in the mountains nearby where the city was besieged. Raistlin and Caramon, taking their wounded to a temple that had once belonged to Paladine, Leader of the gods of Light, found themselves exploring it, along with Scrounger. It was there that the twins ran into Immolatus again. As of the end of Brothers in Arms, Raistlin and Caramon remain with the army.
War of the LanceEdit
It was not long after Raistlin passed his Test that Ansalon was engulfed in the conflict that would be known as the War of the Lance.
During this time, Raistlin helped to fight the darkness threatening to consume all of Krynn. He and his companions played a critical role, and would collectively become known as the Heroes of the Lance. Raistlin's magic powers increased at a dramatic rate as the war progressed. He gained control of a potent artifact known as the Dragon Orb of Silvanesti which he took from the dying elven King Lorac Caladon.
While caught in Lorac's Dragon Orb induced dream he made his first appearance with black robes. To that point he had not yet converted to the side of evil. However his presence in the dream donning black served as foreshadowing. A common device in the early parts of the Chronicles series is Raistlin's hearing of an unknown voice in his mind. During this dream Raistlin hears this mysterious voice telling him that in order to save his life and the life of his comrades he must be willing to accept the black robes. Later while dying in the Library of Palanthas he pledges his loyalty to the God of Evil Magic, Nuitari and accepts the black robes.
Fistandantilus was able to petition the Dark Queen for a mysterious item known as the Key of Knowledge, which Raistlin was able to use to unlock a number of ancient tomes and gain vast power in the process. His ambition, however, was such that he betrayed the Dark Queen, ultimately bringing the War of the Lance to an end and leaving him as the most powerful force on Krynn.
He then took up residence in the Tower of High Sorcery of Palanthas, fulfilling an ancient prophecy that had foreseen his appearance as the Master of Past and Present. He spent two years inside the Tower, learning its secrets, studying spells and experimenting.
Such was his power then that two years later, the historian Astinus described Raistlin's entry into the Tower as this: "Two years ago, he entered the Tower of High Sorcery. He entered in the dead of night in darkness, the only moon in the sky was the moon that sheds no light. He walked through the Shoikan Grove - a stand of accursed oak trees that no mortal, not even those of the Kender race, dare approach. He made his way to the gates upon which hung still the body of the evil mage who, with his dying breath, cast the curse upon the Tower and leapt from the upper windows, impaling himself upon its gates - a fearsome watchman. But when he came there, the watchman bowed before him, the gates opened at his touch, then they shut behind him. And they have not opened again these past two years. He has not left, and if any had been admitted, none have seen them."
Attempt at GodhoodEdit
Although the Conclave had previously believed that Raistlin harboured plans to conquer the world, they later learned through Raistlin's apprentice (and Conclave spy), Dalamar, that Raistlin's ambition stretched much further than this.
Raistlin studied Fistandantilus' voluminous works on crossing the threshold between god and man, and decided to embark on an attempt to usurp Takhisis, the Queen of Darkness. Much of Fistandantilus' research had been lost in the ravages that Krynn had endured during and after the Cataclysm, and so Raistlin travelled backwards through time to just before the Cataclysm, during the reign of the Kingpriest .
Once there, he confronted Fistandantilus and the two fought for supremacy. The events of the battle between the two powerful Black Robes are confusing since they are seen from the eyes of both mages and it is uncertain if Raistlin was the victor, stealing the archmage's identity, memories, and life force, as well as the vast knowledge that Fistandantilus had accumulated over the course of his one-thousand year lifespan.
In a desperate attempt to stop him, the Conclave sent Raistlin's twin brother, Caramon, back in time along with the cleric Crysania. The kender, Tasslehoff Burrfoot, who, thanks to a magic ring he "found" while roaming the Tower of High Sorcery of Wayreth that turned him into a mouse, was able to escape Par-Salian's detection as the great mage cast the difficult time-travel spell, wandered back in time with Caramon and Crysania. Par-Salian was horrified when he realized he had sent a kender back in time, as kender, gnomes and Dwarves, all three of which were not originally created by the Gods, have the ability to change time, whereas humans, elves, dragons, and Ogres do not. The Conclave, however, unintentionally helped Raistlin, as he would require Crysania and her clerical abilities to succeed in his plans, and planned on using Caramon as his bodyguard. After the Death Knight, Lord Soth, had attempted to kill Crysania (and failed, as Paladine gathered her soul to him) Raistlin had anticipated that the Conclave's only option would be to send her back through time to the only cleric powerful enough to bring her soul back, the Kingpriest of Istar, and was thus able to use her. Only a true cleric of Paladine, the embodiment of good, working together with a mage of the Black Robes, who would have to commit many evil acts to obtain the knowledge and power needed, could open the great portal to the Abyss where Takhisis had been imprisoned. The mages of old who had accidentally created the portal had hoped to forever prevent her from entering the world by putting this restriction on it, which required there to be a white robe, and a black robe alongside each other in order to enter the portal.
Escaping the Cataclysm, Raistlin travelled forward in time, along with Caramon and Crysania, where he, in the guise of Fistandantilus, initiated the Dwarfgate Wars, in an attempt to reach the magical fortress of Zhaman, where the Portal lay. Tasslehoff Burrfoot, however, had been tricked by Raistlin into thinking he could stop the Cataclysm in the Temple of the Gods in Istar. He ended up in the Abyss (alive) where he met a gnome named Gnimsh, who was able to fix the time traveling device given to Caramon by Par-Salian.
Caring nothing for the war itself or those around him, Raistlin relentlessly pursued his objective. He saw everyone merely as pawns to be used in the greater game he played with the Dark Queen. Everyone, including his brother, could be sacrificed if it furthered his gain. Unlike Fistandantilus, (who had perished in the original timeline during his attempt to open the portal when the gnome, Gnimsh, activated a time-traveling device that actually worked), Raistlin was able to overcome the devastating magical fluctuations that were caused when Caramon activated the time travel device whilst the great portal was being opened because of the presence of Tasslehoff Burrfoot, who had managed to escape the Abyss and travel to where Caramon was.
The result of the powerful collision of magical forces was a spectacular explosion that ended the Dwarfgate War, destroyed Zhaman and catapulted Caramon and Tasslehoff into the future. Raistlin, however, survived and entered the Abyss with Crysania. There he began to face his greatest challenge, a battle with the Dark Queen herself.
Leaving Crysania dying as a result of the injuries that she had incurred by protecting him from the Dark Queen's legions of minions, Raistlin retreated to the portal, hoping to draw the Dark Queen back into the mortal realm, where he reasoned he would be the stronger of the two.
The explosion propelled Tasslehoff and Caramon to a time two years after the original starting point. In this alternate reality, Caramon saw the result of his brothers ambitions. Raistlin subplants the Dark Queen and establishes his hourglass constellation where here her's was. He then continues his war against the other gods, in turn destroying them also, until he is supreme god over all of Krynn. In doing so he strips the world of all life making himself essentially the lone presence in the universe. He envisions creating new life--but being evil he is incapable of creation--only destruction. Now soulless and alone the metaphor of a Snake turning on its self, devouring his own tail is used here to describe Raistlin's fate.
Caramon and Tas go back in time to stop Raistlin. Caramon enters the abyss seeing his brother as he makes his way to what will be his successful confrontation with the Dark Queen. Upon seeing his brother, Raistlin believes initially that Caramon has come to assist him. When he realizes Caramon has come to stop him, Raistlin is prepared to kill his brother to meet his ends. Caramon tells Raistlin what he has seen in the future. Raistlin believes Caramon is lying, placing his hand on Caramon's head, he, through what can best be described as telepathy, sees Caramon's memory. Not wanting this fate, he tells Caramon to take the wounded Crysania and the staff of Magius back through the Portal out of the Abyss. Turning his attention to the Dark Queen he gives up his life to keep the Dark Queen from entering the world through the portal. By remaining in the Abyss, Raistlin allowed his brother the time he needed to return to Krynn, with Crysania, and use the staff of Magius to close the portal, thus preventing the Dark Queen from following.
Caramon suffered grief as a result of his twin's fate, and later, as he was preparing to take his own life, had a vision of Raistlin's spirit being rescued and given peace by Paladine. This version of events was retold throughout Krynn, and Raistlin became a popular hero for his self-sacrifice. According to legend, although Raistlin's doomed attempt for Godhood perhaps indicated the flawed nature of his personality, it was his final sacrifice that in many ways redeemed him. It was told by Dalamar to Tanis Half-Elven that in a way, he had succeeded. Because his name was praised by the people of Krynn, he had truly become a god.
Later, Caramon's son, Palin, is summoned for his Test, winding up at the Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas. Dalamar attempted to bring an illusion of Raistlin there for Palin's Test; however, Raistlin summoned himself there. In his monologue, he states: "I didn't do it for you, mages! I didn't do it for the conclave! I didn't do it for my brother! I had one more debt to pay in my lifetime. Now I have discharged it." This "last debt" was to magic itself.
Raistlin returned again, a year later, during the Chaos War. He was instrumental in the defeat of Chaos, even though the gods had stripped him of his power as the price for his hubris.
Raistlin's spirit also assisted the gods to find Krynn at the conclusion of the War of Souls, after Takhisis who was claiming to be the "One God" stole Krynn and transported it to another part of the galaxy. His soul is still lingering because he refuses to go on unless it is with his brother Caramon. He was able to locate Krynn because he could sense Tasslehoff Burrfoot using the device of time journeying. Then, with his brother Caramon and the Heroes of the Lance, Raistlin finally joined the River of Souls, and disappeared for the final time.
A legend of Raistlin that later sprung up was the story of "Raistlin's Daughter", which tells of Raistlin having a daughter with an Irda. Caramon himself denied the story, though if the story was true, he would have no memory of the event. During the Chaos War, Usha Majere, a human girl reared by the Irda was introduced, and she suspected that she was Raistlin's daughter. However, when Raistlin encountered her, he denied it, stating that Usha was born of two human parents and was certainly no daughter of his. He also asserted that no magic in the world could steal the knowledge of having been loved.