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  • Ryan Havdala

Dr. Darcy Winthrop

When children are very young, they ask a lot of questions. But as most children grow and learn, they ask fewer and fewer questions, having learned many answers. Not so for little Darcy Winthrop. Her questions always begot more questions. Question: Why do birds lay eggs? Answer: Because they’d be too heavy to fly while carrying babies. Question: Then why don’t griffons lay eggs too? Answer: Because griffons mate for life. Question: But why do griffons mate for life? And on and on and on… Upon reaching full adulthood, and with no end in sight to the questions, Darcy's curiosity for the natural world around her developed into a profession.

She entered academia, researching the fauna of her world full time, publishing field guides, consulting with advisors to kings regarding invasive pests, and dissecting rare species delivered to her university from around the world in the name of scientific discovery. The only irony though is that Professor Winthrop practically lived in the library. For all her wonder about creatures and what made them tick, she had spent precious little time in the field; her experience was purely academic.

So, when society disappeared overnight, Darcy grieved as any sane person would, but aside from losing so many loved ones, the thing she was most uncomfortable with in the new world was actually having to camp out and experience the natural world up close and without the safety and control she had always experienced it through before. But as the months of nomadism bled into years, Darcy’s silent discomfort with the outdoors began to be overcome by a curious anger. What were the Devourers? Where were they from? Why did they appear in the heart of societies to consume them? And for heaven’s sake, WHY WEREN’T PEOPLE TRYING TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?! If people are ever to be truly safe in their cozy libraries again, someone needs to understand the Devourers’ patterns, biology, and macabre food chain. Though it creates a deep discomfort down in her gut, it seems to have fallen to Professor Darcy Winthrop to answer these questions. And try she will, because the only thing that gives her more discomfort than field research is an unanswered question.


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