They talked for a bit, of the ‘old’ days, of how it was funny that that time, when the saying applied, could arrive without warning. Eventually Branch got around to asking about Torant. That was the reason he came. He had hoped Marin would still be here, she knew its pathways better than any alive, she knew more about Clarity than anyone Branch knew, and it was all from paying attention to what came through the doors of The Exchangery.
“Torant? Why would you want to know about him? Well, why not I suppose, the last Growth Mage to come through Clarity.” She paused, a distant look grew, and she seemed to disappear into memory for a moment, “He was something, a young fellow, barely in Mageform before leaving it. You remember, you were here. Real eccentric kid.”
“I remember, he had an odd way about him. Though, I think we all do. Well, really, I am interested more in where he is now. Where do you think he would be?” Branch said.
“Where, would you think they sent him? Only one place for someone like that to really go, I believe it was the same place that your old friend Trent went. Now there was a fellow! He knew how to treat a lady.” She winked, and walked off, deeper into the soft-lit building, he followed.
“What do you mean? What one place are you talking about?” Branch asked, he thought of Crescent Bay, but that made no sense, or the Southern Wilds, a greater expanse of forest than even the Timberlands had a mysterious air but had been the basis of exploration for generations.
“You are a character Branch! Where have you been? It’s been a few years now, something appeared off the coast far to the south. A rip in the world.” Her voice grew grim as she spoke, at first, he though she was poking fun, but realized quickly, she was not. “Trent came here shortly after it appeared, asked about a few odds and ends. Mostly though he talked about my eyes.”
“A rip in the world?”
“Oh, that’s just what people are calling it, but from what I’ve heard it sounds like something that is growing from the world. Things around it…grow…differently, act differently. Many people don’t come back, or when they do. They aren’t the same.” She turned, as though she was choking on her words.
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