Clare, Dimitri, and Lidia were all nothing but distant legends to Ellie and Savannah. Now, their full story is revealed.
Witness “The Beginning,” when the world was nothing more than dreams. See the mansion in its earliest stages, and watch the Garden of Evil take shape. Discover Claire’s secrets, her friendship with Lidia, her romance with Dimitri, and what led her to betray him. Most importantly, discover the secrets behind her disappearance…
All the briefly-told stories from “The Mansion's Twins” are now revealed in full. All the mysteries and questions left from “The Mansion's Family” are finally answered. But beware. Those were dark times. After all, if you entered an empty world, and knew part of it could be yours, how far would you go to claim it?
“There’s new light in your eyes, Claire,” Lidia said, as they took seats around the table at the start of a group meeting.
The light from the center of magic was still alive inside her, but the profound sense of clarity and purpose was instantly muddled when she returned to the Garden. She was sure she had a plan the last time she left the mansion. A plan to say goodbye, to cut ties with Lidia forever, block them all off and walk away…
Things could never be so simple.
“What?” Claire said.
“You thought I wouldn’t notice?”
Claire was about to speak, but both she and Lidia fell silent as the others gathered around.
Lidia took a deep breath, and smiled at everyone around the table. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” she began. “We’ve all been preparing for this, though you might not have known it. But now, we’re ready. We should take a journey to the other side of the forest. Claire? I think you know the place I’m talking about.”
“Do I?” Claire said. Lidia’s words made her terribly uncomfortable. The day had finally come when Lidia wanted to go after the mansion. Claire hoped she could keep them distracted for at least long enough to warn Dimitri. She couldn’t let them near the mansion, not while he was living there. But they could still find it, whether or not she said anything.
“You know where I want to go, Claire,” Lidia said. “Will you take us there?”
Claire hesitated for a long moment. “The magic is well-guarded,” she said. “I don’t know how I’d be of help to you.”
“I understand it’s guarded,” Lidia said. “That’s why we haven’t attempted this sooner. But we’re ready now, Claire! Especially with you leading us. I know you’ve been there. We can do this.”
“The guards are stronger than we know,” Claire said. “Anyway, don’t we have enough magic already?”
“Enough?” Lidia laughed. “Are you immortal yet, Claire?” She offered her hand. “Come with me. Let’s talk outside.”
Claire sighed, and followed reluctantly. Together they stood on the front porch, and she waited for Lidia to speak.
“What has he been telling you?” Lidia said.
“Dimitri, of course. I heard all the strange questions your little twins asked, wondering why we even wanted immortality in the first place. Who wouldn’t? Aren’t I right, Claire? Don’t you still want everything we dreamed about?”
“I…” She paused. Lidia could see right through a lie. “I do, but…”
“If we go to the mansion, we can’t hurt anyone who lives there. It’s the center of the world’s magic, we don’t have the right—”
“The right? Don’t you think we’ve earned the right? I see what he’s doing to you. You think you love him, don’t you? But would you hold on to that for nothing in return? No one’s going to remember your name if you stay with him. He’s holding you back! I’m not asking you to hurt him—I’m not asking you to hurt anyone, all I want is to get inside the mansion. Why haven’t you even taken me there?”
“Lidia, I—I’m sorry.”
“You promised me no more secrets.”
“I didn’t want to put my twins in danger, I—”
“I know, Claire, I know. But now they’re gone. You’ve been to the center of magic, you can lead us there too!”
“I didn’t go alone,” Claire said. “I don’t know the way, not by myself.”
“Then we’ll find a way. But first, just between us… What was it like?”
“I… I don’t have words for it…”
“You don’t have to. I can see it in your eyes. Don’t you want that feeling back? What if you could have it all the time?”
Claire was silent. She couldn’t deny she wanted what Lidia described, but that didn’t matter. Dimitri was worth more. Wasn’t he?
Stories of the Early Days will be released January 28th, 2018!