2010.07.02 05:48 geoviedo Spider-Man
2017.04.07 19:09 r/raimimemes: The Home of Pizza Time
2016.12.26 22:29 God_loves_irony Idiots Nearly Dying
2023.06.03 16:00 MissDirected67 Proxy sealing of murder victim
2023.06.03 16:00 KlutzyArmy2 Once again, fake news is proven fake
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2023.06.03 15:59 Inorai [Remnants of Magic] Legion - 54.2
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Once inside, I blinked, looking around.
I…don’t really know what I expected, truth be told. Most of my experience with the immortals’ home bases thus far were based off Aedan, who mostly had a tent, and Anke, who had…everything.
What greeted me was a shockingly normal entryway that looked plucked straight out of an average suburban home, its crisp white walls hung with cheerful paintings and crimson drapes covering a window off to one side. I stood in the entrance for a long moment, decidedly unsure. This house definitely did not belong behind a downtown doorway.
A hand nudged me forward. “Keep going,” Mason mumbled.
“Oh,” I said, and stepped to the side. The others filed in behind me—and they too stopped, equally dumbfounded.
That confusion was tempered, though. It was something tingling in the air, a shiver of energy beneath my feet. I might not be Keira, but I could sense the magic all around us.
“Come on,” Recluse said. I looked up again, in time to see him and Aedan round the corner at the end of the hallway. “Don’t dawdle. And don’t touch anything.”
“Cheerful guy,” Mason mumbled.
I heard Amber whap him in the side. “Shut it.”
A mound of shoes sat off to one side, with Aedan’s sneakers in the mix. I shuffled over, yanking my feet out of my shoes. Tromping all over the guy’s house with dirty shoes seemed like a good way to piss him off, and pissing him off seemed like a really bad idea. And then, socks scuffing against the white carpet, I hurried after them.
Or I tried to, anyway. As soon as I turned the corner into an expansive living room, I froze again, eyes going wide.
A wide, languid window sat in the wall next to me, opening out onto a picturesque farm field that was nowhere near Denver, filled with trees bearing fruits I couldn’t name. That much…well, it caught me by surprise, but it was within the realm of possibilities I’d considered once magic was in the mix.
But there was another set of windows on the far side of the room too—and whatever was going on outside them, it didn’t even look like anywhere on Earth. Black stretched from edge to edge, with twisting, twining waves of blue and green swirling across the darkness.
“Is that magic?” I whispered, taking an uncertain step forward. “What’s-”
“Don’t trouble yourself with it,” Recluse said. I glanced up. He’d dropped into an overstuffed couch, square beneath the windows. He gave us a cursory glance, then turned his sights back on Aedan. “Sit, sit.”
“Okay,” Aedan mumbled. He shot an uncertain look my way, then eased down onto one of the surprisingly comfortable-looking chairs scattered around the room.
Seeing Aedan so out of his depth left me even more shaken than I already was. I glanced to Amber, who shrugged back at me, her expression carefully flat. “I guess we sit,” she whispered.
So we crept forward, taking up seats of our own.
Recluse didn’t spare us so much as a look. “So,” he said, leaning back. His arm stretched across the back of the couch—and he smiled, eyes glued to Aedan. “You’re the damn Wanderer.”
“That’s me,” Aedan said, raising a hand. “I, uh…I just go by Aedan. Usually.” He ran a hand through his hair, shifting in his seat. “Doesn’t really matter, I guess.”
“Names matter,” Recluse said, though, nodding approvingly. “No shame in wanting the right one used.”
“And you?” Aedan said, raising an eyebrow. I could see him settling second by second, coming back into himself as he eyed our host. “I heard you go be Tafari, but-”
“Nah,” Recluse said, chuckling as he waved a hand. “That name’s dead now. Used it too much. Who gave it to you, anyhow?” He shifted, his head falling to one side, but his eyes stayed fixed on Aedan. “How’d you find me, anyway?”
“We work for the Legion,” Cailyn said. I jumped, startled by the new voice. She sat with hands clasped demurely in her lap, watching the unfamiliar man. “Anke. She-”
“Ah,” Recluse said. He grimaced, shaking his head. “Figures that the nosy bitch herself had a hand in this.” His gaze darted back to Aedan. “Heard you got mixed up with her. Shame.”
“Hey,” Cailyn mumbled.
“Now and then,” Aedan said, folding his arms. His expression steadily turned stony. “She’s got nothing to do with this, though.”
“Yeah, I s’ppose,” Recluse said. His dark hair was pulled back into a rough ponytail, and as I watched, he smoothed a hand across it, making a face. “Still, that explains it. That lot have never had respect for a damn soul in their lives. ‘Course they still haven’t picked up on me leaving that name behind.”
“You?” Recluse said, turning a look on Aedan. Just when my heart started to beat a little faster, he nodded—and the gesture looked approving enough to leave me feeling a bit baffled. “You can call me Dejan. It’s got another few decades of life in it before it’s used up, I think. But you lot?”
I flinched as he sat forward, twisting back around to face us. His finger came up. “It’s Master Recluse from you.”
“Yes, sir,” Cailyn said meekly.
He sniffed, wrinkling his nose, and shook his head. “Shouldn’t let you inside the place at all,” he muttered. “Brings nothing but trouble.”
“About that,” Aedan said. I looked up, as did Master Recluse. Aedan grinned nervously, rocking his shoulders. “Ah…I should probably apologize. I know we’re here at the ass crack of dawn. I, uh. I just thought-”
“Really?” Recluse said, fixing a dead-eyed stare on him. “I hadn’t noticed.”
Aedan ducked his head low, ruffling his unkempt mane of hair. “...Sorry.”
Recluse heaved a sigh, sitting back on his couch again. “Would you look at that? The Wanderer even has some manners to his name.”
Amber let out a snort. I kicked her, not taking my eyes off the pair in front of us.
Settling himself, Recluse shook his head just once. “It’s rude as hell,” he said, his gaze sharpening. When Aedan flinched, he seemed to sit a little taller, shoulders squaring. “If anyone else had tried it, I’d have cast their atoms straight into the void the moment their shoes touched my carpet,” he said. “A man’s got a right to enjoy the peace in his own home, you know.”
My pulse quickened. What the hell did that mean? What exactly could this guy do?
Aedan sat up, wetting his lips. “Look, I-”
“But, I suppose it’s fair enough, coming from you.” Recluse chuckled, one eyebrow raising as he watched Aedan’s reaction. “Been hiding from you a bit, have to admit. At first I wasn’t sure what sort of mess you’d drag with you, and then…” He shrugged. “It was just easier to stay to the shadows, once I’d started. Sorry.”
“What?” Aedan said. “I…I don’t-”
“I suppose this is about what I can expect, in the end,” Recluse said, not even seeming to hear him. “Bit surprised it’s taken you this long to track me down, truth be told.”
Aedan’s expression grew more confused by the second. I almost felt bad for him. Almost. “I’m sorry, I don’t-”
“Long story short, I probably owe you this one,” Recluse said. He grinned, the corners of his eyes crinkling. A few minutes ago I wasn’t sure we’d make it through the encounter without the immortal killing us. I still wasn’t entirely convinced of that, actually. But looking at him now, with genuine pleasure on his face, I felt myself starting to relax. “So, you can be a little rude tonight. I’ll let it slide.”
Aedan hesitated again. His eyes flicked to me, then back to the man. “I don’t understand a word you’re saying,” he said, arching an eyebrow. “You get that, right? You’re just over there spouting off whatever you want and no one understands a goddamn thing.”
My gaze turned to daggers. Horrified, terrified daggers. “Aedan.”
“Oh, no,” Recluse said. “I didn’t confuse you, did I? I feel horrible.” His intonation changed not one bit, his expression as amused as ever.
“Just another asshole, aren’t you?” Aedan said. The corner of his lips twitched, a grin starting to take shape—one I saw mirrored on Recluse’s face, to my utter, abject relief. Aedan leaned forward, still fixated on Recluse. “I’m gonna have some questions. But we came here for a reason, and I…I need your help. Can we ask you some questions?”
“No one ever comes for pleasure,” Recluse said, spreading his hands helplessly. His gaze drifted over to me, and he shook his head, as if we were commiserating about it all. “Can you believe him, barging in here and making demands?”
“He’s a handful,” I said, my mouth dry. Recluse’s eyes were a dark, bottomless sort of brown, sucking me in deeper. It felt like I might drown, like I might-
“Ah, well,” Recluse said, looking back to Aedan. I sagged, the strings holding me up shorn through. “You’d best be careful, Wanderer. With a mouth like that, I might cast you into the void yet tonight.”
“I’d get better,” Aedan said, still wearing that deathgrin of his.
That got a chuckle from Recluse—who nodded, sitting back again. “Looks like I was right,” he said. “You’re trouble and a half. But tonight is your night. Promised that already, and I don’t take back promises.” His chin lifted. “Ask your questions, Wanderer.”
I saw Aedan’s eyes widen, their green glinting in the dim light of the living room. He glanced to me, triumphant.
I gave the slightest of nods, slipping a hand to Amber’s knee. There it was—our opening. Our chance to get some answers.
Aedan nodded back—and looked to Recluse, sitting back to cradle his hands in his lap.
“Then…let me explain why we’ve come.”
2023.06.03 15:59 WM_WorldMania Must turn his back to the crowd World Mania WM #Making World More Livable #worldmania #wm #makingworldmorelivable Follow us on – Youtube: @WM.WorldMania Facebook: WM.WorldMania Instagram: wm.worldmania Pinterest: @WM_WorldMania
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