Getting to your childhood home will either require you to walk through the village or around it, as it is on the northeastern side. Nature has almost completely reclaimed the village—brave trees sprout through tall grass, and the only things left standing are the few buildings which were constructed out of stone. Your father’s former chapel, for instance. In the gold late afternoon, the irregular stones of the long wall make for strange and dark shadows all over its surface. What is left of the foundation for the village storehouse is in front of you,
next to what must now be a deer path, with the chapel about fifty feet beyond that.
Archus, the thoughtful owl with whom you’ve been traveling for some months now, stands at his usual perch atop your backpack (you discovered that a bird resting on your shoulder for days on end made for sore and shoddy bow work). You feel him tease a mosquito out of your hair as you look on the ruins of your home.