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

domingo, 26 de abril de 2015

The secret of the jungle

   The city was deserted. Everyone cleaned the sweat of their heads as they began walking through the empty stone yards that were covered in moss and roots. Most houses were made of solid rock but had crumbled centuries ago due to earthquakes and the growth of plant life. It was a beautiful but eerie sight, to see so many buildings all empty, no sign of life. They were covered in beautifully done “bas reliefs” depicting various images from the people that had apparently built the city.

 Every member of the expedition was now working, no longer trekking through the jungle to get nowhere. They had arrived and this was their price. The camp was built very fast, consisting of sleeping bags for everyone and mosquito nets to prevent people from getting sick during their sleep. They also one tent for meetings only where they held several weird apparatus and various maps of the region.

  When they began really exploring the city, they discovered it was much bigger than anything they had imagined and that they need to have more people in to help them with the cause. They asked one of the younger members of the party to go back to the town on the coast they departed from in order to call for more people to help them. The kid complied and left fast, on one of three donkeys they had brought with them.

 An entire day passed before they realized most of the art in the city depicted a fantastic creature: they were birds, in a flock. But, according to the drawings, the flock could transform into a bigger, gigantic bird that could sleep in the sun or have the power of the sun. That last part wasn’t very clear yet, as there were only images and no alphabet in any of the houses. The whole site was just about the imagining and the architecture, which consisted in at least a hundred houses in a roughly cube like form.

 Meanwhile, others decided to make a map out of the city and discovered the city was even bigger. Maybe it had been a very large city in the past but had shrunk before finally falling to time or some other reason. Some rocks looked older, and more affected by time. The site were they slept, with the houses still holding on in most of their structure, had apparently been abandoned. Some of the members of the team were sure this had happened only a few centuries ago, maybe even only a hundred of years ago. Others were not so sure.

 The more ancient parts of the city were difficult to recognize as the trees and the ground had quickly eroded the stone floor. The specialists did some testing and discovered something strange: the rocks on the “older” part of the city were actually not older than the rest. Tests found out the whole city was only a few hundred years old, at most. So something strange had happened were the center of the old town had not been as affected as the rest of the city.

 Two more days passed and some were already worried about the boy. The trip back to the port should have only taken him a day and he had been away for three. Some thought that maybe something bad had happened to him but the strange thing was that, in their way there, they had not encountered any ferocious animals or difficulties to surpass. They had cut through the jungle and had to stand the mosquitoes and the heat but nothing else. They realized they had never thought about it and decided, the ones that were botanists and biologists, to make a tour around the ancient city to find which species lived there.

 The search was useless as they found only some insects and a couple of bird species. Something was very wrong, as close by regions were known because of their rich fauna and flora. And this place seemed almost dead. Only the trees were really living there. Besides them, only some ants seemed to play a role in the environment. The following day, they decided to widen their range: they would walk a whole kilometer and then circle the city. But again, nothing appeared. There were no mammals or big reptilians, no frogs or big birds. They weren’t even nests in the trees. The botanists took some tree bark and decided to do tests on it to see if they jungle floor was somehow toxic.

 By the fifth day, the team was a little bit hopeless. They had traveled half way around the world and the place they had arrived to seemed dead, with nothing that interesting to see. All the bas-reliefs had been accounted for, not that it made any difference. In every house or building, there were exactly the same drawing of the flock of birds and the one of the gigantic bird attacking people with fire. For all intents and purposes, the people that had lived there had been dead for only a hundred years but had not made any real advancement except for their architecture.

 Some scientists, in the meeting held late at night, thought it was possible that the people that lived there had come from some other region and had quickly left after realizing the area was, somehow, toxic. But the tree bark’s tests didn’t show any massive toxicity. It was very normal although its cells looked strange in the microscope. They looked like the cells of a younger tree and not as big as one of those who grew there. They decided one night to stay only three more nights, in order to arrive at the port at the same time that the boat that took them to the capital city and then to their home.

 The thought of home was interrupted the following day, when one of the few women in the group yelled desperately. Many came to her aid and realized she had discovered something awful: the kid they had sent to the port had been found hanging inside one of the houses of the old city. The woman had woken up early to check the art there again and had found the poor creature. They took him down from there and realized he had a big splinter on each eye, almost used as a stake.

 The child was buried that afternoon but then, something else happened. It rained. But it wasn’t normal rain. It felt cold at the start, like normal rain, but then turned warm and strange. They soon realized it wasn’t water coming down from the sky but blood. Hot, red blood dripped from the trees and onto everything they had around. When it finally ended, all their clothes were tainted red, and so were their faces. Some of the members of the group were really scared, wanting to live the place as soon as possible. But that couldn’t be done just like that because they had to prepare, organize and that would take a while with so much to pack.

 They started the following day, after cleaning the blood of most of the clothes. But then, other people started to feel sick. They vomited and were tainted green. Their face grew even greener as they got worst. They had to delay their journey back as half of the scientists were sick in just a few hours. They had all eaten the same thing and had been careful only to drink water from their personal stash. They could only blame the blood rain, that had maybe poured into their mouths or eyes and then had contaminated them.

 Soon, only the leading expeditionary was fine. The rest were all sick and vomiting. The ones that had become sick first, were the same tone of green than the surrounding forest. That had become sort of paralyzed, unable to move at all. The man that had led them all there was not feeling sick but guilty. He had convinced personally everyone there to come with him to explore this jungle, promising them fame and glory, as well as a best name in the scientific community He had traced every one of them, had asked for the money and had paid many of their expenses with his own savings.

 And now, everyone was dying. It was hard for him to sleep the last night, before leaving, but when he finally did, his sleep was soon filled with nightmares and sweat. He woke up in the middle of the night and realized there were thousands of birds flying over the jungle. They were circling the center of the city. He stood up fast and tried to find his fellow expeditionary men but they were nowhere to be found. Somehow, they had disappeared.

 The man didn’t stood by and decided to run out of the forest, that had become thicker all of a sudden. He felt the presence of the birds and stumbled upon roots and rocks as he ran. When he fell again to the ground, he helped himself up with a tree and then screamed, like no one had screamed in the jungle before. The birds then flew down onto him and formed a bigger creature, or so it seemed. They attacked him viciously and killed him, drinking his blood and the flying away. Where the remaining of the scientist where, there was a young tree and, between the bark, there was the shape of a face, a screaming face.

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.