In the distance Dybia could see the city of Mourn coming into view. Despite it being his hometown it was an almost completely unfamiliar sight to him. Where there used to be nothing but small businesses and a thin cloud of dust in the sky from the mine, there were now taller, almost spotless, buildings and a completely clear sky. He could see the remnants of the part of town he had lived in on the west side of the city. The buildings there were all smaller and showed many signs of aging. Thirty years had spread the small town out several miles to the east, and made it a modestly sized city.
“Hm, I wonder if it looked much different from here back then?”
Dybia had elected to just go stay in the old half of town instead of one of the newer luxury hotels to the east. He had come here to pick up a particular item he had left behind thirty years ago. He wasn’t entirely sure it was at his old house, but it was the best place he could think of to go looking. The new roads leading to the old part of town took him straight through the newer east half of town.
It was the middle of the day, and this place was already getting on his nerves. He rode his motorcycle slowly as families walked through and beside the roads. They seemed to be circulating into and out of the souvenir shops and restaurants in the area, but all seemed to be coming from the largest hotel near the lake just outside of town. His hometown had become a complete tourist trap.
Dybia kept going, making as few stops as he could along the way. He hoped his first stop would be his last, and he could just head right back out of town. Something in Dybia let him know that it wasn't gonna be that easy. He knew had lost it somewhere before he left this place over thirty years ago. He was hoping that that somewhere was his old house.
Every now and then even in the older part of town shops seemed to be trying to cash in on the tourist flow. What was once the town hall had become a museum showing relics recovered from the mines years ago. He didn't think enough had been recovered back then before the mines were sealed to open up a museum around it. Some would have had to be replicas based on photos. His photos. After the first day there the ruins within that mine became a death trap.
He finally pulled up in front of a house that was just short of being called decrepit. It had been decades since anyone from his family had lived here. Dybia shut his bike off and sat his helmet on the seat. He ran his hand through his hair to shake off the feeling of helmet hair. Haw himself in the bike's mirrors.
"More salt than pepper these days."
The grass in the yard was up to his waist. The paint on the house was half chipped away. When he got to the door he could tell it was locked, but the knob was in such disrepair that the door opened anyway with just a push. The midday light had the house illuminated just enough to see through the dust. Looking around, he wished he had been able to live here with a family of his own.
He stopped that train of thought and headed up the stairs near the doorway going up to his old childhood room. For a room that was owned by two boys they had kept surprisingly little here. There were two beds, two dressers, and not much else. He walked over to the bed that had been his. He remembered his old hiding spot was three boards over from the leg of the bed that was away from the walls. He pulled the board out and began sifting through a few decades of dirt along with the junk he had kept there in the first place.
The only things he found there that he decided to take with him were a polaroid of him and his younger brother as a baby, a chunk of iron ore he took from the mine on his first day there, and lastly-
"Dammit! It isn't here!" Dybia shouted after he couldn't find the reason he was here. An amulet that his mother had given him was what he was looking for. He put the items he did have into a pouch on his belt anyway.
"Police! Freeze!" Came a shout from behind him. A young looking police officer stood at the doorway with his gun drawn, "What are you doing here?"
"It against the law for a man to pick a few things up from his own house?" Dybia told the man.
"The owners of this house died a long time ago, and we're pretty sensitive about looters in this part of town. Try again."
"Might want to check your records because last time I checked my parents owned this place. They're dead, so it's mine now. The name is Daniel Davis."
Dybia giving his name didn't seem to calm the situation. If anything the man tensed up even more with his gun still pointed at Dybia. He decided to play the situation out, so he stood up and put his hands over his head. He started walking slowly, with a calm look on his face, towards the officer. He stopped when he was within arm's length of the officer.
"From the look on your face I'm guessing some kind of reputation of mine is left, but when you calm down you can find me at The Ironblood Bar if it's still standing."
When Dybia finished talking he instantly put his hand on the man's shoulder and pumped enough electricity into him to knock him out, while making sure not to give him a heart attack. He didn't waste any time getting sentimental about the rest of the house. When he went outside he saw the officer's motorcycle parked a short way behind his.
"Musta been why he was alone."
He needed a while to think. He was going to go spend a while at an old bar he had always seen when he was growing up. If it was good enough for his father it was good enough for him. He thought he may even meet someone he used to know. Even if they weren't elated to see him.
Well... this would do. Even Trees needed a break every now and then, but why did he come to such a busy place for vacation? A lot of times his own decisions didn't make much sense to him, and this was one of them. Typically he liked to rest where there were no people around to distract him, but for whatever reason he chose this little tourist hotspot of a town. He wasn't even sure what was so special about it, just an assortment of shops and attractions built around a mine of some sort. Then again, he was a complete stranger to this world. Maybe the residents of this dimension found mines to be fascinating for some reason, or maybe the mine uncovered something spectacular. Whatever the case, it didn't matter; Tree Shade just wanted a little rest.
Earlier that day he brought a rather bizarre painting from another world and pawned it off for a couple thousand dollars. It was more than enough to pay for his hotel room, as well as several other amenities, but he felt more in the mood to walk the street than lay down. He'd have to try his best not to pay too much attention to those around him, however, or else he may be tempted to bring his work with him. Once again, that begged the question: Why did he choose such a busy location for vacation?
Tree's pipe was fresh out of leaves. He needed something to smoke. There was a bar nearby, he'd check that place out. Bars didn't always sell tobacco in these sorts of worlds, but he'd smoke a napkin or something instead.
Above the door, like in the taverns of old, hung a swinging sign.“Ironblood Bar.” Tree whispered aloud. A rather standard sounding bar name, but it wasn't bad. He straightened his top hat and stepped inside. Certainly he would have looked odd to the casual eye, but such places were usually used to seeing strangely dressed tourists. Whether he drew attention or not, however, didn't matter today. He didn't have any intention of getting involved with anything other than the fate of one unlucky napkin.