Derek Crownguard (? AC – 352 AC) was a Knight of the Rose who was born the son of Kerwin Crownguard and an unnamed mother. He had one known brother named Edwin Crownguard, a cousin Charles Crownguard, and an uncle Boniface Crownguard, all of the Crownguard Family. Derek had a wife and one son of six years old, who during the War of the Lance lived with her father.
Derek was vain and power-hungry, with a no nonsense seriousness about him, dour, and brooding. He wasn't afraid to give out his opinion to someone, whether they wanted it or not, and thought that good would triumph over evil. Derek was known to have had brown to dark blonde hair, blue eyes, and the long, traditional, flowing mustaches common of the Knighthood.
Derek grew up in Castle Crownguard. He developed a friendship with Brian Donner, who was the son of his teacher, and Aran Tallbow, the son of a local lord. They had many adventures and eventually became Squires at the same time.
In the early days of 344 AC and 345 AC, Derek was a squire to his uncle Boniface. When Sturm Brightblade returned to Vingaard Keep, Derek made fun of him calling him 'Grandpa Sturm' for his old way of being a Knight. When Lord Wilderness tasked Sturm with seeking him out, Lord Boniface ordered Derek to accompany and sabotage him. Derek journeyed with, and did his uncle's bidding as a squire should, but he also saw how much his uncle hated Sturm. Sturm eventually made it back to the Keep, and Boniface was killed, and for that, Derek never forgave Sturm. Derek was strongly opposed the candidacy of Sturm to become a Knight, stating publicly that he did not have the proper upbringing.
War of the Lance
With the War of the Lance into its third year in 351 AC, Derek was at Castle Crownguard with his brother Edwin. The castle was attacked by the Blue Wing, which resulted in the death of Edwin. Derek was enraged that Lord Gunthar never sent reinforcements to assist in the castle defense, and this started him down the road of insanity. He and his forces had to retreat from the castle deeper into Solamnia.
When the Knights of Solamnia asked for volunteers to find a coveted Dragon Orb to help them win the war. Derek quickly volunteered to journey for this artifact, along with his friends Aran Tallbow and Brian Donner, thinking that this would put him above his rival Gunthar Uth Wistan for the coveted Grand Master title. Together they journey to Tarsis and found the Lost Library there.
While there, they found the old library and began their research, searching for information on items that would be able to help them against the Dragonarmies. Derek also helped in rescuing Sturm, Alhana Starbreeze, Tanis Half-Elven, Gilthanas Kanan, and Flint Fireforge from imprisonment. He picked up again on his old hatred of Sturm and accused him of insubordination, masquerading as a knight, and failure to obey orders when he attempted to order Sturm around.
Following the attack on Tarsis by the Red Dragonarmy, Derek journeyed with Tasslehoff Burrfoot, Elistan, Gilthanas, Laurana Kanan, and Sturm to Ice Reach to gain back the dragon orb that was located there. While in route, they saved a polar bear from seven Minotaurs who were tormenting it. This polar bear hated Derek, and whenever he threatened Laurana, the bear would jump to her defense, almost to the point of attacking him. During this time he met Elistan, he didn't think much about him even though the Cleric healed him of a compound fracture to his ankle suffered when a barrel crushed it. He thought Elistan was a fraud and that Paladine hadn't really returned.
Derek journeyed with the companions to the Icewall Castle (Brackenrock), where Derek helped in the fight against Feal-Thas. He watched as both his Knightly companions were killed by the Dark Elf and he himself was knocked out by the dark elf. Eventually, Laurana killed Feal-Thas, and Derek demanded that they haul Aran and Brian's bodies back with them, which they did.
Battle of the High Clerist's Tower
Derek was given the title of High Commander, and took control of the army from Palanthas. Due to Lord Aurik Archuran being absent during the battle, Derek had complete command of all forces at the High Clerist's Tower. Derek vehemently opposed Sturm being given command of the Crown Knights there.
Derek envisioned a grand charge by the Knights against the stronger Blue Dragonarmy. He orders his troops to march out against the dark forces, but Crown Knight Brightblade refused to do so. This enraged Derek to no end, and he stated that he would see him tried and executed for going against his orders. Derek led his troops out against the Blue Wing, only to see the Draconians and kobolds run before his knightly charge. This was only a ruse though, and Dragon Highlord Kitiara Uth Matar had her forces encircle the Knights and slaughtered them to the last man. Only Derek was known to have survived the battle, and Highmaster Bakaris brought him back to the High Clerist's Tower draped over a horse. Derek was so insane by then that he thought he had won the glorious battle. He had suffered such grisly wounds, that he later died of these injuries.
One source stated that since he was so driven to becoming the head of the Knights of the Crown, he never married nor had any children.
- The Annotated Dragonlance Chronicles, Winter Night, p. 544, 646-647, 759-761, 768, 850, 864, 871-872
- Dragons of the Highlord Skies (PB) p. 44-50, 75-80, 102-103, 201-237, 252, 293-312, 346-359, 413-425, 463, 497-507, 527-556
- DLQ1: Knight's Sword, p. 4
- The Magic of Krynn, 'Finding the Faith', p. 217-220, 242, 244, 247
- The Oath and the Measure, p. 4-5
- War of the Lance (Sourcebook), p. 229, 248