commented indignantly. “Why not just dump me in someone’s root cellar?”
Stumbling to his feet, he took a step forward and bumped into something hard and solid. “A rock,” he said gloomily, running his hands over it. “Humpf! Flint dies and
gets a tree!
die and I get a rock. It’s obvious someone’s done something all wrong.
“Hey!—” he cried, groping around in the darkness. “Is anyone—Well, what do you know? I’ve still got my pouches! They let me bring everything with me, even the magical device. At least that was considerate. Still”—Tas’s lips tightened with firm resolve—“someone better do something about this pain. I simply won’t put up with it.”
Investigating with his hands, since he couldn’t see a thing, Tas ran his fingers curiously over the big rock. It seemed to becovered with carved images—runes, maybe? And
struck him as familiar. The shape of the huge rock, too, was odd.
“It isn’t a rock after all! It’s a table, seemingly,” he said, puzzled. “A rock table carved with runes—” Then his memory returned. “I know!” he shouted triumphantly. “It’s that big stone desk in the laboratory where I went to hunt for Raistlin and Caramon and Crysania, and found that they’d all gone and left me behind. I was standing there when the fiery mountain came down on top of me! In fact, that’s the place where I died!”
He felt his neck. Yes, the iron collar was still there—the collar they had put on him when he was sold as a slave. Continuing to grope around in the darkness, Tas tripped over something. Reaching down, he cut himself on a something sharp.
“Caramon’s sword!” he said, feeling the hilt. “I remember. I found it on the floor. And that means,” said Tas with growing outrage, “that they didn’t even
me! They just left my body where it was! I’m in the basement of a ruined Temple.” Brooding, he sucked his bleeding finger. A sudden thought occurred to him. “And I suppose they intend for me to
to wherever it is I’m going in the Afterlife. They don’t even provide transportation! This is really the last straw!”
He raised his voice to a shout. “Look!” he said, shaking his small fist. “I want to talk to whoever’s in charge!”
But there was no sound.
“No light,” Tas grumbled, falling over something else. “Stuck down in the bottom of a ruined temple—dead! Probably at the bottom of the Blood Sea of Istar.… Say,” he said, pausing to think, “maybe I’ll meet some sea elves, like Tanis told me about. But, no, I forgot”—he sighed—“I’m dead, and you can’t, as far as I’m able to understand, meet people after you’re dead. Unless you’re an undead, like Lord Soth.” The kender cheered up considerably. “I wonder how you get that job? I’ll ask. Being a death knight must be
exciting. But, first, I’ve got to find out where I’m supposed to be and why I’m not there!”
Picking himself up again, Tas managed to make his way towhat he figured was probably the front of the room beneath the Temple. He was thinking about the Blood Sea of Istar and wondering why there wasn’t more water about when something else suddenly occurred to him.
“Oh, dear!” he muttered. “The Temple
go into the Blood Sea! It went to Neraka! I was in the Temple, in fact, when I defeated the Queen of Darkness.”
Tas came to a doorway—he could tell by feeling the frame—and peered out into the darkness that was
“Neraka, huh,” he said, wondering if that was better or worse than being at the bottom of an ocean.
Cautiously, he took a step forward and felt something beneath his foot. Reaching down, his small hand closed over—“A torch! It must have been the one over the doorway. Now, somewhere in here, I’ve got a tinderbox—” Rummaging through several pouches, he came up with it at last.
“Strange,” he said, glancing about the corridor as the torch flared to light.