Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Darvinin: Homecoming 3

The house was exactly as Darvinin remembered it, except that it wasn't there.

The gates let into an empty lot, forlorn and overgrown. The walls were still there, but even they were hard to look at; they were bland, uninteresting, far too boring to focus on.

Darvinin frowned. He had the address right; he was sure of it. Which meant... She hid it. Mother hid it. Mistra was waiting at his side, Shanna and Sam behind them, Leander and Evrimon spread casually out to the sides. He lacked the skill to break this spell -- he doubted that there were more than a dozen people in the world who reliably could -- but he still knew what to do. Come to the house.

So he walked forward, through the gates, and the others followed. Inside, he could see the stone walk that led to the front door, though the lot remained bare and there was no door. "Keep to the path," he said quietly.

"There wasn't a trail here," muttered Sam, but she sounded more intrigued than worried; Darvinin glanced back in time to see Shanna squeeze her hand and then let go.

"Your mother isn't going to arbitrarily destroy us, is she?" asked Leander.

Darvinin shook his head. "No, Ruin's the crazy one." He stopped to consider that. "Or I am."

"That's a bit less reassuring than I'd hoped for," said Leander, and Darvinin shrugged.

"I'm not a reassuring sort of person," he said. "Not anymore. Maybe I used to be..."

"So," said Leander nervously, "You're saying that at any moment we could find ourselves--" He stopped. "Standing at your front door."

Darvinin nodded. "Exactly. Can't imagine how you missed it. Centuries-old house, right here in front of us. All we have to do..." He raised a hand towards the knocker. "...is--"

The door swung inwards. They were, somehow, standing on the wide stone porch; columns stood to either side, supporting the upper porch above them. "Master Darvinin," said the elderly servant Sonder in the most melancholy voice imaginable, "We rejoice at your return."

"...Show up," finished Darvinin, nonplussed.

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