cutting into his skin. Mad with the desire to kill,
Caramon never noticed. Tanis jumped on his back as
the warrior crashed past him, but Caramon shook
him off as easily as a bear shakes off an annoying fly.
"Caramon, you fool-" Sturm grunted as he and
within two days, others will and this 'greatest gift'
may be lost forever." "The greatest gift!" Tasslehoff
said, his eyes shining. "Just think, Flint! Jewels
beyond price! Or maybe-" "A keg of ale and Otik's
fried potatoes," the dwarf muttered. "And a ni
the huge warrior dragged it out of the ground.
Riverwind stretched out flat, extending the branch
to the dwarf. Flint, nearly up to his nose in the slimy
muck, thrashed about and finally grabbed hold of it.
The warrior hauled the tree out of the deathmirk
stalked off into the woods by himself. Goldmoon
lifted her eyes and stared after him, then her head
sank into her hand and she began to weep silently.
"He blames himself." She shook her head. "And I am
not helping him. It wasn't his fault." "It's not
Tas assumed were impolite. The leader finally came
up with an ingenious idea. Pulling a fur blanket from
Goldmoon's pack, the draconian laid it down on the
ground. The creature picked up a stick and used it to
roll the staff onto the blanket. Then it ging
thought they had left the swamp, however, the firm
ground came abruptly to an end. Weary, sick with
the smell, and discouraged, the companions found
themselves wading through the muck once again.
Only Flint and Tasslehoff were unaffected by the
their own languages. The military draconian was
clearly upset. "Where is that Bozak priest of yours?
He must tell us what to do!" "The higher of my
order is not here." The robed draconian quickly
regained his composure. "One of them flew here
and took him
warrior," she said formally, conscious, of the many
eyes upon them. Riverwind's face showed no
emotion, though he was a ludicrous sight trying to
bend his tall body to sit in the seemingly fragile
chair. But-once seated-he leaned back comfortably,
thrusts and parries. Flint ate heartily and told
Caramon he was the biggest liar in Krynn. Raistlin,
sitting beside his brother, ate very little, taking
nibbles of only the tenderest meat, a few grapes,
and a bit of bread he soaked in water first. He said
waiting for him. A draconian appeared in front of
him, but Caramon hurled it out of his way with a
thrust of his great arm. He could hear a wild
commotion behind him, Sturm chanting a Solamnic
war cry, draconians yelling. Other draconians leaped
and family-an entire life-utterly destroyed, must be
so devastating that the mind shrank from even
imagining it. Tanis left him and walked over to
where Flint was sitting carving at a piece of wood.
"You might as well get some sleep," Tanis told the
them. "Just like the old days," Caramon said, his
eyes following hismbrother uneasily. "And look at all
the trouble we got into then," Flint reminded him,
plopping down onto the grass. "I wonder what they
talk about?" Tasslehoff said. Long ago, the kender
agreed cheerfully. He leaped up onto the fallen tree.
"Careful," he said, slipping slightly, then easily
catching his balance. "It's slick." He took a few quick
steps, arms outstretched, his feet pointed out like a
rope walker he'd seen once at a summer f
things get real confused. You just rest." The warrior
stared into the smoke, his sword drawn and ready in
case any draconians came for them. But the
draconians now had little interest in the prisoners.
The smaller breed, panic stricken, were fleeing into
grabbing the kender by the shoulder. "Yes, well-" Tas
paused to consider the situation. He brightened.
"That's all the better. The more of them there are,
the less chance they'll have of seeing us." He started
off again. Flint frowned. There was something
Caramon, come here. See if you can rip off the top."
The big warrior came over to stand in front of the
wicker dragon's head. Bracing himself, he got hold
of the two eyesockets, closed his eyes, took a deep
breath, then grunted and heaved. For a minute
Goldmoon. I returned to find Chieftain's Daughter."
"What choice did I have?" Goldmoon cried angrily.
"My father wasn't well. I had to rule or Loreman
would have taken over the tribe. Do you know
what's it like-being Chieftain's Daughter? Wondering
The farther north they traveled the firmer the
terrain became. By midday, Tanis called a halt when
he found a dry patch of ground beneath an ancient
oak tree. The companions sank down to eat lunch
and speak hopefully of leaving the swamp behind
draconians chanting. Even as he fumbled for his
sword, he was suddenly covered, head to toe, in a
thick, gooey substance that clogged up his nose and
mouth. Struggling to free himself, he only
enmeshed himself further. He heard Sturm swearing
next to him,
"No, do not kneel, noble animal," she said. "I have
ridden horses since before I could walk. I need no
such assistance." Handing Riverwind her staff,
Goldmoon threw her arm around the Pegasus's
neck and pulled herself astride his broad back. Her
when they die." The Forestmaster regarded them
with sadness as she rose to her feet. She seemed to
expect the question. "I know of these creatures,"
she answered. "Some of them entered the Darken
Wood with a party of goblins from Haven a week
ago. They wo
and the staff. I'll help Goldmoon carry Raistlin into
the woods. Tasslehoff's got something in mind. Just
be ready." Tanis groaned. "I don't like it any better
than you do," the dwarf growled. "Trusting our lives
to that rattle-brained kender. But-well, h
must go to the northeast, toward Newsea. That is
where the city is rumored to be. I have never been
there-" He frowned, then shook his head. "I've
never been there," he repeated. "Can we reach it by
tomorrow?" Tanis asked. "Newsea is said to be two
log as one of the draconians came toward him, its
clawed hands outstretched. Flint swung his axe in a
mighty blow that would have decapitated the
draconian if it had come anywhere near it.
Unfortunately, the dwarf miscalculated and the
blade whistied harm
recall the twisted and blackened bodies that lay
among the smoking stones. The great stone walls,
the huge stone temples and edifices, the spacious
stone buildings with their rock courtyards and
statuary, the large stone arena-all had melted, like
into the swamp. If not-" Sturm didn't finish. Tanis
closed his eyes to shut out the firelight. He felt tired,
tired of fighting, tired of killing, tired of slogging
through the muck. He thought longingly of lying
down and sinking back into sleep. Instead,
seemingly preparing to leap on the warrior and
devour him. "This will be fun. Let him have his
weapon," the dragon commanded. Its flapping
wings caused a wind to whip through the camp,
scattering sparks from the fire. Caramon shoved the
draconian guards a
cage, hundreds of draconians milled around a
campfire. And above the campfire . . . "Yes," Sturm
said, seeing Tanis's startled expression. "A dragon.
More children's stories. Raistlin would gloat."
"Raistlin-" Tanis went over to the mage who was
not know it still existed." "What did you see,
Raistlin?" Tanis asked softly, after a long pause. "You
looked far away-what did you see?" "I am magi,
Tanis, not a seer." "Don't give me that," Tanis
snapped. "It's been a long time, but not that long. I
this great evil on Krynn. I trust it was not you and
your companions." He spread his great wings.
"Wait!" Tanis scrambled to his feet. "What-" The
pegasus leaped into the air, circled twice, then was
gone, flying rapidly back to the west. "What evil?"