Cal was in the middle of a muttered oath when he turned his head and came up short. A building loomed from the cloaking shadows, a dark phantom blotting out everything else in front of him. The edifice was made more spectral than its initial appearance suggested by the fact that it had never before existed in this location. At least not that he could remember. Cal stepped backwards in order to take in this apparition. The building was ancient, all gothic arches and spires, seemingly drawn from the night itself in swooping lines and soaring rooftops. He now recognized it for what it was, a church. How? How can this be? Thought Cal, bewildered. He was certain he had never seen such a place as this here previously and yet something so gigantic couldn’t possibly have escaped his notice. Though he searched for a reasonable explanation, none came. The reality was simple in theory; the structure hadn’t been here before. It had materialized in a matter of seconds.
To be absolutely certain this was not a figment of his imagination, Cal closed his eyes and counted out ten slow seconds, as the Diamera had taught him.
“If something believes you are not watching, it will relax and get restless after long enough. Things you once believed to be inanimate are apt to be so no longer.” Cal’s eyes snapped open. Looking once more at the stone edifice in front of him, his eyes widened. While it hadn’t disappeared, the building had done something that shocked him even more.
“What the hell?” breathed Cal “This cannot be happening!” he thought, horrified. The building had indeed moved. It had shifted almost imperceptibly, only a foot or two to the right, but enough to be noticeable from this distance.
Cal's mind was reeling. It had to be a dream, this couldn't be real. He took a few steps sideways, staring intently at the impossible church in front of him. It wavered. Like a heat haze, the building rippled in the still air as if it was merely a reflection on the surface of a dark pool. Cal felt sick. He put a hand to his head whispering
"No, no, no..." then a voice in his head, c'mon you fool, you've seen worse. You have a job to do, MOVE. Despite his misgivings, he propelled himself towards the wrought iron gate guarding the entrance to what felt like a gap in the universe. As he approached, a tattered street sign caught his attention. Of course, there had been no sign here before. This was was hardly of note seeing as things seemed to be making a habit out of appearing from nowhere. According to the marker, he was on the corner of Forso and Quetrum, which he knew. He scanned down a bit further and let out a sharp laugh, should've guessed, he thought. Every street sign was required to post the district and sub-district in which it was located, as well as the cross roads. This one clearly stated that the sub-district he had just stepped into went by the name of Marcond. Well, at least I didn't forget it existed, thought Cal. Silver linings to everything. So he'd found Marcond. Now all that was left to do was find Carinna.
Just as he was thinking this, the gate before him opened soundlessly. "Guess that's my queue" muttered Cal, under his breath. Heaving a sigh, he stepped forward into the dark courtyard beyond.
As soon as his foot landed on the other side of the gate, it started closing behind him. With a panicked curse, Cal leaped to safety. It swung fully closed with an eerily final thud as he watched. It now felt like more of a barrier than an entryway. He knew he must be imagining things, but it seemed as if the evil thing was laughing at him. Cal stood, glaring at the gate for a few seconds longer before uttering a warning "I'm watching you" and turning to face the hovering church. Wait... Cal started, hovering? Indeed, it was doing just that. Seeming to realize it had a spectator, the hulking structure quickly plunked itself down into a normal, non-floating position. It looked guilty, like a small child caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Now you're anthropomorphizing. Churches do not feel guilt and gates do not laugh. Get over yourself, Cal chided himself.
He walked towards the heavy wooden doors of the building, shaking his head. Cal stopped in front of the steps. Something told him that whatever this was already knew he was here. Not five seconds later, these doors too swung silently towards him, beckoning him forwards. The church was proffering its hand, palm up, promising.... promising what? Cal didn't know. He felt as if it had been waiting a very long time to do this. Whatever "this" was. He took its offer. Letting the church suck him into it's dark interior, he was only dimly aware of the doors shutting behind him.