At the Gates of Darkness

At the Gates of Darkness by Raymond E. Feist

Book: At the Gates of Darkness by Raymond E. Feist Read Free Book Online
Authors: Raymond E. Feist
around, we need to find a place to hide until we can get some idea of what to do next. You were the one who told me some of those fliers can see in the dark.”
    “Thanks for reminding me,” the Demon Master whispered in return. “Not many, and none of them like to fly in fog. Too easy to run into something unyielding.”
    They reached a small switchback and continued up the hillside. As they got to higher ground the fog thinned and a few minutes later they broke clear of it. The sky on the other side of the cliff they climbed was aglow, and they crouched instinctively against any sentries.
    Looking back the way they came, the trail vanished a few yards below them into a low-lying bank of heavy mist. Both brothers had lived on the coast enough to recognize the heavy marine air that would roll in at sundown, only to burn off by midmorning. Natural barriers like this cliff face could hold it in place if it wasn’t thick and even when it was, it wouldn’t extend very far inland.
    Reaching the top of the bluff they saw no sign of any other living thing, but both moved with a hard-won, exhausted caution. Neither had much left for a fight or a dash. Besides, where would they flee? Back down the trail in the fog to a beach they knew nothing about?
    The bluff swept away on either hand as they came to a cut at the top of the trail and found themselves on tableland. Even without fog, there was little light as the sliver of moon provided only faint illumination.
    Scrub and a few scrawny trees dominated the landscape, giving them a tangle of shadows and patterns of dark grey and black, and their only sense of those shapes was provided by the distant glow in the sky beyond.
    “Demons?” asked Laromendis quietly.
    “No closer,” answered his brother.
    “I suggest we just sit and wait for dawn.”
    Gulamendis squatted on the ground, then slowly put his legs out. After a moment he said, “No,” and rose quietly.
    “No, what?” asked his brother, on the verge of sitting.
    “You rest. I’ll stay awake.”
    “Why?” said his brother, though obviously he didn’t care to argue much.
    “You spent the last three days spinning illusions while I just pointed a wand now and again. We both know I have no control over demons as long as the demon captains or lords are present, and even if I could command one, there are dozens running around.
    “No, you need rest more than I do, and if we need talent tomorrow, it will be your conjurations, so you need tobe rested. If we can find a place to hole up tomorrow, then I’ll sleep.”
    “You have no idea how long until dawn. The sun could have set an hour ago.”
    “I have no idea how long night is on this world, either, but it doesn’t matter. Sleep and I’ll keep watch.”
    Not wishing to argue any more, Laromendis put his head down on his arm. It wasn’t the first time he had been forced to sleep on the ground, but right now he welcomed the hard soil beneath him as if it were a soft feather mattress.
    Gulamendis was as exhausted as his brother, despite his claims otherwise, but struggled to stay alert. The sense he had of nearby demons made it far easier, and while he knew he flirted with the edges of exhaustion, he still managed to stay alert.
    Hours dragged by and the Demon Master shivered while his clothing dried on his body. He wondered how his brother had fallen into slumber so quickly, then laughed silently at the thought; had he the opportunity, he also would have been fast asleep on the ground.
    He studied the sky. He knew little of the sky on any world, really, as it wasn’t an area of interest, and the idea that he might recognize a constellation or other astral sign and discern their location wasn’t more than an idle thought.
    He moved and hummed absently, to keep awake while his brother slept. He wondered at the strange course of events that had brought him here, and in a strange way made him closer to Laromendis than they had ever been.
    As children they shared

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