When I first came up with Darren Gilbert, I pictured a grumpy wizard thwarting a random burglary of a shoe store. As I’ve explored Darren’s past I’ve discovered the joys that sprung up in his journey of mastering magic. But I needed to shape this eager student of magic into someone who would eventually storm into the shoe store to replace the boot he’s worn out. And while I have Volodar as Darren’s primary antagonist, if I wanted to fully degrade Darren, I needed to alienate Darren from Maxwell. And while I planted some seeds previously, introducing Wayne has provided me a stronger tool to sour their friendship. During the last installment, Wayne blew up the plans Darren and Maxwell had for their Night Off.
Fresh off of destroying their night off, Wayne looks for a fresh way to torment Darren’s friends. A few weeks later while Darren, Nory, and Maxwell are sitting around their table next to their dormitory, playing a card game. As the round creeps to a close, Maxwell salivates over his inevitable victory. Wayne inserts himself into their game and attempts to further undermine Darren’s friendships. Will Wayne’s actions isolate Darren? Or will Darren strengthen his friendship with Maxwell?
Darren drew a card, placing it alongside the others in his fingers. He chewed his upper lip as he tapped the corner of each card. With a glance at the played ones, Darren pulled his hand into his chest and leaned toward his friend. “What are you looking for?”
Maxwell waved his cards over his head and grinned, “Why would I tell you? I have a vested interest in winning this round.”
“Darren, stop assisting him,” Norry wheezed, thumping his hand on the table.
Darren shifted his played cards as his eyes flitted about the group. “I’m not trying to help him.” With a sigh, Darren leaned back into his chair and released a long breath. “Besides, I have my own plans for that pot.”
Maxwell leaned over and tapped the pile of bills. “Don’t get too familiar with my future funds.”
“Just because you’re a card or two away from winning doesn’t mean the pot’s going to be yours.” Darren lifted an eyebrow as he selected the least helpful card in his grip.