War of the Twins

War of the Twins by Margaret Weis Page A

Book: War of the Twins by Margaret Weis Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margaret Weis
“It looks just like it did when I left it—all broken and crumbled after the earthquake. You’d think the Queen would have tidied up a bit by now. I don’t remember it being in such a mess when I was in it in Neraka. I wonder which is the way out.”
    He looked back toward the stairs he had come down in his search for Crysania and Raistlin. Vivid memories of the walls cracking and columns falling came to his mind. “That’s no good, that’s for sure,” he muttered, shaking his head. “Ouch, that hurts.” He put his hand to his forehead. “But that was the only way out, I seem to recall.” He sighed, feeling a bit low for a moment. But his kender cheerfulness soon surfaced. “There sure are a lot of cracks in the walls, though. Perhaps something’s opened up.”
    Walking slowly, mindful of the pain in his head and his ribs, Tas stepped out into the corridor. He carefully checked out each wall without seeing anything promising until he reached the very end of the hall. Here he discovered a very large crack in the marble that, unlike the others, made an opening deeper than Tas’s torchlight could illuminate.
    No one but a kender could have squeezed into that crack, and, even for Tas, it was a tight fit, forcing him to rearrange all his pouches and slide through sideways.
    “All I can say is—being dead is certainly a lot of bother!” he muttered, squeezing through the crack and ripping a hole in his blue leggings.
    Matters didn’t improve. One of his pouches got hung up on a rock, and he had to stop and tug at it until it was finally freed. Then the crack got so very narrow he wasn’t at all certain he would make it. Taking off all his pouches, he held them and the torch over his head and, after holding his breath and tearing his shirt, he gave a final wiggle and managed to pop through. By this time, however, he was aching, hot, sweaty, and in a bad mood.
    “I always wondered why people objected to dying,” he said, wiping his face. “Now I know!”
    Pausing to catch his breath and rearrange his pouches, the kender was immensely cheered to see light at the far end of the crack. Flashing his torch around, he discovered that the crack was getting wider, so—after a moment—he went on his way and soon reached the end—the source of the light.
    Reaching the opening, Tas peered out, drew a deep breath and said, “Now
this
is more what I had in mind!”
    The landscape was certainly like nothing he had ever seen before in his life. It was flat and barren, stretching on and on into a vast, empty sky that was lit with a strange glow, as if the sun had just set or a fire burned in the distance. But the whole sky was that strange color, even above him. And yet, for all the brightness, things around him were very dark. The land seemed to have been cut out of black paper and pasted down over the eerie-looking sky. And the sky itself was empty—no sun, no moons, no stars. Nothing.
    Tas took a cautious step or two forward. The ground felt no different from any other ground, even though—as he walked on it—he noticed that it took on the same color as the sky. Looking up, he saw that, in the distance, it turned black again. After a few more steps, he stopped to look behind him at the ruins of the great Temple.
    “Great Reorx’s beard!” Tas gasped, nearly dropping his torch.
    There was nothing behind him! Wherever it was he had come from was gone! The kender turned around in a complete circle. Nothing ahead of him, nothing behind him, nothing in any direction he looked.
    Tasslehoff Burrfoot’s heart sank right down to the bottom of his green shoes and stayed there, refusing to be comforted. This was, without a doubt, the most
boring
place he’d ever seen in his entire existence!
    “This can’t be the Afterlife,” the kender said miserably. “This
can’t
be right! There
must
be some mistake. Hey, wait a minute! I’m supposed to meet Flint here! Fizban said so and Fizban may have been a bit muddled about

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