“What a waste,” Altman muttered as the building vanished behind the foliage once more.
“I’ll say,” Kaylene agreed. “At least it wasn’t for nothin’. Your uncle bought the place years back, as I understand it, though why I couldn’t say. Tired of the city, I suppose.”
Altman looked back at Deman, who was bringing up the rear. He was lost in thought, a frown still pasted onto his face. He didn’t appear to have heard a word they’d said.
Before the house grew clearer. It sat on a small rise with a commanding view of the valley floor some distance from the Ralladran river. The trees thinned as they approached; a large area had been cleared around it once, and the woods had only gradually begun eroding the edges of the clearing. Oak dominated these woods, and one single mighty tree remained in the rear yard, so large the foliage was visible over the top of the house itself.
Smoke rose from several chimneys poking upward toward the sky. The slate roof was stone-edged, the ornamental blocks apparently designed to give the look of a castle. Altman frowned; they looked out of place and somewhat jarring. “Looks likely he’s home,” he said, curiosity growing with him.
They dismounted their horses and tied them outside the gate, entering the yard. A broad but shallow stone staircase led them to the main door.