Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta castle. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta castle. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 28 de mayo de 2016

Purple eyes

   The knight in shining armor was running through the hallways, make a clanking noise that was very hard to miss. He had entered the castle through the back, by a courtyard that had never been seen by eyes different than the ones of the cooks and maids that had worked there when the castle lived its golden age. Now, it building was empty and some areas were ruins, crumbling slowly into the ground.

 When he arrived at the end of one of the hallways, he took out a map from his pocket. It wasn’t very easy to take anything out of there with that costume on, so he decided to remove the leg parts in order to be faster. He wasn’t as big and powerful as one would guess so for a charming prince, but that’s what he was. He checked the map and then ran towards the left, down a very long corridor that connected the main part of the building with the south tower of the complex.

 He finally found the door that lead to the second tower. With one it of his sword, he was able to make the door collapse to the ground. He stepped on the remains of the door and started climbing the stairs, step by step. He got tired after the first fifty. He had to stop running so he sat down by a small opening to the side of the tower and saw the world from there. He could see the former gardens and the courtyard below but he was still too close to the ground to see any fantastic views.

 After a while, he kept on climbing, his armor was still making the clinking sound, with every single step he made. He stopped again after climbing for a long time and he saw, through another window, that he was close to his goal. He could see the road from the window and also the forest that existed between the castle and the rest of the civilized world. Some said the forest was created to keep everyone away from the castle but that hadn’t stopped many men from risking their lives and go there.

 Many died in the forest, attacked by packs of hungry wolves or by some huge bears that lived around. There were also rumors of ghosts and various monsters that only rose when the fog was thick or it was very late at night. But the biggest legend surrounding the area was that a dragon protected the building and it had burned knights to their deaths when they had tried to enter the castle without permission.

As he walked the few steps that distanced him from the room in the upper level of the tower, the knight celebrated the fact that he had wore the full armor to defend himself on his way to the top. He had killed a few wild animals with his sword but that was it. That’s why he felt that something was wrong. It had been too busy, not according to the legend that everyone knew by heart.

 When he got to the upper room, he knocked gently and presented himself as Knight of Vals and Dam, sir Tristane Deschamps. But even speaking loudly wasn’t good enough to make anyone open the door from inside. So he pushed the door opened and looked around to see if the rest of the legend was true. If there really was a very beautiful woman sleeping in the tower, waiting for someone to rescue her from imprisonment. He looked around but so no one.

 He entered the room and walked to what appeared to be a bed and checked, in order to know if the person that had lay there had left a moment ago or many years ago. He put his hand covered in metal on the bed and realized it was warm. There had been someone sleeping in it. Out of nowhere, a young woman appeared behind him and held him tightly with a knife to his throat. The knight felt hard to the floor. He couldn’t move there.

 The woman asked who he was and he repeated his name. Then she asked what he was doing there and he just looked at her a bit confused. He asked her if she wasn’t the beautiful lady that lived inside a castle waiting for a knight in shining armor to save her and take care of her for the rest of her life. She looked at him as if he had just heard someone speak in a strange language. The woman released him from her grip but told him to stay down.

 - You don’t need to rescue me.

 The knight was about to ask something else but then a sound was heard very loudly and appeared to come from the first floor. The knight had never heard anything like it, like a thousand lions roaring at the same time or many pieces of silverware falling to the ground. It was very unsettling and that’s why he couldn’t move, he couldn’t do anything more that advise the woman to live the castle with her as she was in mortal danger if that was the dragon.

 She didn’t appear to listen, instead helping him getting up. She seemed to be thinking about something else or was at least too distracted by other thought in her mind. The knight insisted she should go with him in order to fulfill the legend. He knew that she would be very well received in his towns and that everyone would love her.

 That apparently convinced the young woman. She stopped walking around and told the knight she would go with him. They went out of the door and slowly walked back down, each step being easier as they headed to freedom and civilization. The knight was happy about it because he had never thought he would be able to fulfill such a difficult task.

 When they arrived to the back courtyard, through which the knight had arrived, the woman stopped running behind the man. She just stood there, like frozen in time. Her heart was racing but none of her limbs could move. He got near her and tried to determine what was wrong with her and he couldn’t point it out. The roaring of the dragon seemed to grow closer so he decided he would carry the princess to the backdoor but that didn’t work because, somehow, she was very heavy.

 He doubted that was something natural. It had to be some kind of black magic in order not to take the woman out of the castle without fighting the dragon. Probably, whoever put her there, had left very specific instructions in order to safe her and killing the dragon was probably one of those. So he let her where she was and he stepped into the grass patch of the courtyard and looked up.

 The dragon wasn’t flying, as he had thought. He appeared from the opposite side of the courtyard, tearing down a wall with its enormous paws. It was very big, just like a gigantic lizard with blackish wings and a sickening greenish skin. The dragon pushed the wall, launching several stones towards the knight. He avoided them easily. He decided to grab his sword and run towards the dragon. He had to fulfill his destiny.

 But his arms were almost broken when the sword hit the dragon’s skin and it did absolutely no damage. Not only that, but the body of the creature seemed so big and resistant, that the blow had actually affected the knight more than the dragon. The creature did nothing. He just watched him trying to feel his arms again and grabbing his sword to try again with same results.

 He then realized there was no way of killing the creature, so he ran towards the princess in order to wake her up from her trance. The dragon was only looking at him so he thought it was a safe thing to do. When he reached the woman, he realized she was very cold, her hands almost feeling like ice. The dragon watched as the knight tried like a fool to “wake” her up fro whatever was happening to her.

 But then the dragon just grew closer and ate the knight in one gulp. The girl was then able to move but her eyes were not the same as before. They were purple, just like the eyes of the dragon. She blinked and the dragon blinked. She thought about tearing down the wall and the dragon did exactly that with ease. The princess was the monster everyone was afraid of. That’s why she couldn’t leave her castle. Because she shouldn’t. There was no way in trying to prevent evil from pouring out of her. So she kept herself locked away, even if sometimes she needed to breath like anyone else, to run away.

lunes, 21 de septiembre de 2015

Queen of tragedy

   The devastation brought by the wave could be seen easily from the castle, which had been built in a peninsula that shoot straight into the ocean with a very high elevation. The waves that attacked the city did not really affect the castle or the people inside it, although they did feel the arrive of the killing water and saw how it engulfed the whole fishing town that was located very close to the castle. Every little boat and those small and weak houses were rapidly destroyed by the wave. The people didn’t even have time to pray or to scream. The wave was just too fast and too destructive, it didn’t leave a thing standing. The people in the castle, including Princes Ariana, were all horrified. She sent some soldiers after it happened but, as they were about to go out, another wave, even taller than the last one, hit the beach.

 No one could have survived that. And the thing now was that, because of the second wave, the access to the castle had been flooded. Until the waters receded, they were all trapped there, without any communication with the rest of the world. Ariana’s father, the King, had left the day before to attend a very traditional ceremony in an inland town and her mother the Queen had also left to visit her brother who was a duke in some region south of the castle. Ariana was alone and needed desperately to talk to someone, as she was very perturbed by the images of water hitting the fishing town with such vile and strength. She remained in the chapel for a whole day, praying and asking God for the souls that had been lost. She asked “why”.

 But, of course, she never got an answer. After that time, the princess tried to help the people that were inside the castle and organize everything for every single person to have a ration of food. She had no idea how much time that could last but she would at least try to help them as only she could do it. At the end of the day, the castle was hers, her domain, and everyone inside it had to hear her until the King or the Queen came back. The day after the waves hot the coast, the castle started to receive various letters sent by aerial means (pigeons, mostly). Many were soldiers informing of the situation on their towns and others were people, asking for help as the situation was very dire. It was a surprise to see letters from far inland and the Ariana’s heart stopped for a moment.

 She asked her helpers to look for letter from a specific location. There was only one letter and it was from a farmer. He said the wave had flooded his field and now his crops had been destroyed, so he had no means to sustain his family or to trade with others. He also mentioned, although briefly, that the nearby town had been flooded too and festivities had been cancelled. Ariana breathed out. Her father was probably okay but she needed to be sure. She asked her servants to answer the letter she had just read and do what they could to locate his father and help that poor man with his crops. She owed him, or at least she felt so.

 Ariana did the same thing to know if her mother was okay but there were no letters from that region in the big pile that had arrived during the day. More pigeons entered the castle during the day, but almost all came from very nearby, were apparently the stench of death was already hard to ignore. People said that there were no victims, as the people who sent the pigeons were merchants that traveled from town to town and saw what happened all around them. Apparently the fishing town couldn’t be saved and the most awful part of it all was that everyone could easily see the ruins of the town from the castle. It was so close but at the same time it had such a different faith than the people hidden in the castle.

 They received a letter from the King the day after that. He informed the people that he had been injured by the flooding, that had taking everyone by surprise. He was in bed with a very swollen ankle, product of a fall as he escaped the water towards higher ground. The doctor said that it was easy to cure but that he had to stay there for some day, at least a week, to make his leg better. Ariana read the letter in front of everyone and even shared with the people the nice adjectives he had for her. He said that the castle was in hands of the princess and that everyone had to respond to her orders and listen to her lead, as she was the only person with authority to be there with them.

 These words from her father made Ariana feel very happy and also very important. She had never done much in the castle or even in her life, only being a nice girl that sits correctly whenever an important visitor comes and that leaves for her room to do nothing at all there, except if you consider combing your hair or looking at your dresses some sort of job. The truth was that Ariana was thrilled to finally have some responsibility and taste, however short it may last, the sweetness and pleasure to share her kindness with her people and with everyone that wrote the letters that kept coming into the castle. On the fifth day, the waters finally receded and soldiers were sent to every single nearby that to assess the situation.

 The small fishing port had not been the only one to be destroyed completely. A very large portion of the coast had been devastated by that same wave, ten meter tall or more, so many towns had suffered the same faith. Even some soldiers that decided to check on the state of the castle came with urgency to see the princess and asked her to put some men to work. Apparently, the bases of the castle had been shaken very seriously and repairs had to be made in order for it not to fall into the ocean. A small army of men was hired to do those works and the proper army was tasked with burning every corpse they saw and help survivors, if any. There were not to many.

 The first week was difficult for Ariana, specially when a merchant that sold fur came into town and old everyone how the wave had destroyed the region south of the castle. He swore the smell was too overwhelming and bodies piled up on both sides of the roads. Ariana felt awful and sent some soldiers right then but it was useless. The man was right; there was nothing but destruction, especially because in the south there were no hills or mountain. It was a big plain and now it was something like a swamp, with flies flying all over it and over the bodies of hundred of people. One of those was the Queen, who had died with her brother as they were outside the duke’s house when tragedy came. Being inside, wouldn’t have changed a thing, though.

 The princess tried not to cry when she received a pigeon telling her of her mother’s death. She only asked for the soldiers to bring her body and that of the duke, if they found him. Some days later the dead body of the Queen arrived into town and a rapidly organized funeral was arranged. Ariana would have loved to have her father there to comfort her but was now having a very dangerous fever and his doctor recommended for him to stay were he was, as any trip might be too dangerous for him. So she had to bury her mother alone, in the family mausoleum. Many people attended the funeral and she wasn’t surprised, as her mother had always being loved by her people.

 Ariana, in the inside, was devastated. Now she didn’t want any responsibility or to grow up, she didn’t want to be the woman who ruled over the kingdom. And even if she was the last royal, she would have to marry to be able to exercise her role as Queen. It hurt her to be thinking of such things, as if her father was dead too but he wasn’t, he was just injured and she wanted to be with him but then no one would stay behind to help the people that needed the family. Some of her father’s helpers wanted her to leave to have a free reign over everything but she refused to go and even jailed some of those who pretended for her to leave the city and stay away from the corruption.

 Only two weeks after the waves hit the coast, the King came back to town. But Ariana suffered once more because he wasn’t doing as well as the doctor had said. Unsurprisingly, the doctor had left the party that accompanied her father. She ordered soldiers to execute him if they ever saw him. But the most important thing for her was to see her father, which whom she talked privately and summoned a religious authority and a lawmaker. After some days, the King was too weak to keep talking and he eventually died from his wounds and mistreatment. His funeral was attended by all and he was buried in the crypt next to his wife.

 Everyone was more surprised, however, with the fact that a new law had been enacted the day before the king’s death. It liberated his daughter of marriage and gave her the power to rule the kingdom as Queen. People didn’t know whether to celebrate or not. But eventually, they would know the answer to that question.

viernes, 2 de enero de 2015

Castle by the cliff

On the tallest hill of the entire region, there used to be a castle. If tales were to be believed, one could see the ocean from the westernmost watchtower. Visiting nowadays was disheartening, to say the least: only the walls remained, in some parts even less than that. One could see were the rooms used to be, the primary water source and even the most important person’s chamber.

That last one was the duke. There was no king here, at least not for a very large radius. In these mountains, only the duke ruled over the peasants, back then. Today, it was still a remote region although some roads crossed the former forests and even got close to many of the old fortifications.

Back then, there were only two towns in the region: one just outside the castle and another down the hill, close to a thin river that passed through there. Today, the river can only be seen in the spring or in the fall. It source freezes in winter and gets dry in the summer.

The duke, according to historians, was benevolent and all his sons and daughters kept the region peaceful. They built watchtowers all over the forest, creating a perimeter around their lands but many saw it as unnecessary: there was nothing coming in and the only people that left were merchants and they always came back.

If one goes by the books, there were two hundred years of peace and isolation, were the folk of the region would just mind for themselves and take care of their land in their own way.

But one day, without them knowing it, the king that ruled the country died. To be precise, he was murdered and his brother, a bloodthirsty devil, sat on the throne. From then on, every single region would slowly fall into his sphere of influence, that consisted of troops being sent to sack every town of its most prized possessions and then asking them for all their crops when time was right.

So during the next fifty years, region-by-region, land-by-land, the soldiers of the Dark King (as he was known) invaded mercilessly. So one day, they followed the one road that, back then, linked the castle in the rock with the rest of the kingdom.

At first, no one really noticed anything strange, besides a few uncommon deaths in the forest but that was not really that uncommon: wolfs roamed the wood in the search for meat and many people were sure their numbers were rising, so the town had already begun a plan to kill some of them or at least to push them away from the areas they frequently visited.

It was in the winter when a girl named Ariana finally realized that what was killing the countrymen were not wolfs but humans, soldiers in gray armor. She managed to escape without them noticing her near the edge of the woods. Crying, she told her mother about what she had seen and they, in return, went to the duke and told him that vicious deeds were being done in the forest, far more vile than anyone would have imagined.

The girl herself told the duke, a peaceful man, that she had seen soldier wearing gray, eating by a fire near the edge of the forest, inside their lands. She had been there picking raspberries for a dessert but she had dropped them all when she saw what they were doing: As it happens, the soldiers were not by the fire to keep warm, they were there eating, cooking their meal. And when the girl saw what they were eating, she couldn’t scream, not even breather. She confessed to have been paralyzed for a few seconds, before she managed to escape.

The soldiers in gray, the color of greed, were eating a human child. Even more disgusting, they were eating one of the girl’s friends. This made the duke realize that those soldiers had already entered the region and were probably waiting to be given the order to attack, to invade their territory.

The duke summoned all his advisors and the strongest and fittest men and women from the two towns. Every single person that knew how to use a weapon or how to defend him or herself, was now essential for the survival of their territory.

It was ordered that all people that couldn’t battle, elderly or very young, pregnant or just not strong enough to battle, had to stay inside the castle, in a special room overlooking the cliff. The rest of the people would prepare themselves for the fighting, which wouldn’t be taking long.

A week later, the grey soldiers finally attacked. First, they aimed for the town by the river. They took it rather fast, with no casualties from either side. Any way, there were only a few persons guarding it, mounting bombs and traps. The duke had decided that the river town, as it was only made of a handful of houses, could be left behind to better defend the upper town and, if it came to that, the castle.

Anyway, the bombs and traps left in some of the houses worked beautifully and many grey soldiers had to pull back as they weren’t fit for battle anymore. But disabling a dozen wasn’t enough. Between the river town and the castle town, there was a small plain with scattered trees. And when the grey soldiers army stepped into it, the people of the region finally saw what they were up against.

They were at least a thousand soldiers, creating a tight formation on the plain. Some had horses but most of them came by foot. All of them wore helmets, to conceal their identities, to make them even more fierce and despicable.

The people of the mountain were hidden among the many houses and little streets of the castle town. From inside the castle, no one could see anything, so they wouldn’t know if their loved ones died or got taken. Only if they won they would ever see them or their bodies again.

For a whole day, the grey soldiers just stood there, waiting, picking the best time to attack. The duke thought that they might decide to attack at night or early the next day, as they were skilled soldiers and knew how to attack when their enemies were mostly weak.

Indeed, the attack came covered by clouds that reduced the amount of light in the mountains. They raided houses and wholes streets, screeching horribly and laughing with a deep and awful voice. The people of the town lived up to the expectations and begin attacking from the rooftops and the sewers, from the trees an even standing in the middle of a street.

In the first few hours, many people of the mountains were killed, without mercy or a single second of doubt. But when the sun started to shine, they recovered quickly, killing several soldiers with arrows, stones and swords. For such a peaceful people, some of them were very skilled with metal.

Some of them even created a melted mixture of metals that they poured on top of a large groups of greys trying to penetrate the castle. The screams of pain were heard by the men and women waiting inside, waiting for their deaths or for the end of the struggle.

But it did not seem to end. Soldiers and townsfolk kept on fighting, maybe slower and with far less agility but insisting on their actions, on what each thought was right.

Then, from inside the castle, came yelling and screaming and cheering. The ones outside had no idea what happened. At least not until they saw it too: the day was bright clear so anyone could see it. There were five big vessels on the shore and people from inside were already heading towards the castle. In a matter of time, they would arrive to the battlefield.

The duke, a wise man, seeing his land in distress, had decided to use an old way of communication to contact some ancient allies of this land. Passed down by generations of his family, there was a ring, made somewhere beyond the sea. The duke took it and put in in a tiny bag, which he tied to the leg of a hawk. The bird left they day before the grey soldiers attacked the river town and now, their allies had responded.

That alliance had been forged centuries ago but it was visibly still alive. The troops from the sea help destroy the grey army and defend the castle. With the duke, they organized a greater alliance to liberate the rest of the kingdom and bring peace back to the known lands.

Eventually, no one really knows how, the dark king was defeated and everything came back to normal.

Several years after, the castle fell into disuse when there were no more descendants to sit inside it. Now the place is in ruins and the people from the town try to get tourists to visit the castle in order to tell them the legend of their lands and the magic of these mountains.