This month’s Flickr story is a fantasy piece with a familiar twist at the end. As I wrote it, I wasn’t sure how it was going to end, but after some thought, the ending came to me. I’m sure many of you will pick up on the inspiration. (If not…we need to talk!) I have no idea where the picture is from but it caught my attention when I found it on Flickr.
I hope you enjoy it. Please share and leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.
I stood on the cliff’s edge with my long brown hair blowing in the wind, shielding my eyes against the sun as I stared at the dark forbidding castle below. It was my destination. I’ve travelled many days in search of Castle Morrigan, and there it stood in all its gory beauty. I knew all along going there might mean I never return. It was the price I intended to pay. I had no choice.
Borma the dark wizard kidnapped my beloved Aimee and brought her to this decrepit castle. I followed the trail, alone but for my unfailing partner Brida. Brida is a snowcat, immense in size with a temper just as large. She protects me fiercely. I’ve had her since she was a cub and now in her full grown state, she inspires fear in others and safety in me. Without Brida, I might never have made it thus far.
And there we stood, the wind blowing her white fur this way and that while I looked at that castle of misery.
“Brida, we’ve made it,” I said. She turned her head upwards at me and back towards the castle, growling as though she knew what lay ahead.
We followed a well worn path that ran down the cliff, zig-zagging and crossing back and forth until we reached the bottom. I knew we would be spotted by any guards at the castle, but at this point I didn’t care anymore. My mind was singularly focused on Aimee.
In my head I envisioned her chained in a dungeon, dark and afraid. It fueled my anger. More than once I used that anger to push myself harder and farther in search of her. Now that I could see the means of her captivity, it blinded me with rage. Nothing would stop me now. Not even a heard of snowcats or a kith of giants. My anger burned ever brighter.
I unsheathed my sword and approached the castle, its dark gloomy walls rising higher in the air. It was settled in such a way as to force visitors to climb down into a shallow valley making the castle rise higher giving the illusion of power and magnificence. I felt its weight hovering over me but I couldn’t let it overcome my singular focus on recovering Aimee. The castle itself was partly in ruins, hardly ever used anymore. It was so far away from anything that its significance long ago faded.
It was perfect for Borma, the dark wizard of the mountain. Once forced from his refuge deep in the snow capped Middle Mountains, he retreated to this desolate dwelling, knowing none would stop him. I believed he’d have some guards serving him and approached as though he did, wary of a crossbow bolt yet still carried forward by my anger and rage.
Its gate was open and I heard no sound from inside. Brida growled a low menacing sound, the kind that often forced her prey to flee in terror. We walked inside and found ourselves in a large courtyard. It was grey and dirty, the walls rising up all around us. I noticed many of the crenellations were crumbling or missing altogether.
It was so quiet leading me to think maybe the occupants were gone. I hoped at least Aimee still resided within those drab decaying walls. The only place we could go was up a flight of stone steps off to our right, so we did.
At the top of the steps, there was a small landing with a large wooden door. We approached wary of the impending ambush. Brida moved slowly and stealthily at my side. As we neared the door, I jumped and held my sword in front of me as a raven that must have roosted in a broken section of the wall near the door suddenly burst out, flapping its black wings and cawing at us madly. My heart beat faster and faster until I calmed myself when I realized what happened. Brida’s eyes were wild. “It’s fine Brida, just a filthy raven,” I said calming her.
I stepped to the door fearing the worst. I knelt closer listening for sounds on the other side, but it was quiet. Wary of any hidden surprises inside the door, I crashed into it, hoping to catch the guard inside unexpectedly. I tumbled forward into darkness, falling to the floor. Brida followed me inside, growling and scanning the room.
It was empty and silent, no sign of anyone.
I stood up confused, dusting myself off. Surely I was in the right place. “Brida girl, where are they?” I asked. She sniffed around and suddenly broke off down a dark hallway. “Brida, wait!” I called out.
I noticed a torch on the wall. I sheathed my sword and reaching into the bag around my waist, I took out the flint and steel I carried and struck it, igniting the tar soaked torch. I pulled out my sword and carried the torch in one hand while my sword I held in the other as I followed down the dark corridor in search of Brida.
I tracked her paw prints in the thick layer of dust on the stone floors until I came to a large room that had a small cot and a desk with a chair. Brida stood in front of the desk sniffing and growling. “What is it girl, do you smell something?” She didn’t turn her head. I saw a small piece of parchment on the desk and approached it. I lay my sword on the desk and picked up the parchment, reading it by the torchlight.
You are persistent Myrddyd. However I am much too clever to let you catch me here. Your darling Aimee is alive but no longer here. By the time you read this, she will be with me in another castle. Her blood is important to me. I need her pure crimson blood for my greatest spells. Fear not, I will not let her die. I wish you could understand, but alas I know you do not.
“No!” I cried out loud, my arms raised high. “Aimee…where are you?” I bemoaned. Brida howled a hideous, terrifying sound.
My beloved was gone, taken to another castle.
Red filled my vision. I vowed to never stop searching until I found her and killed that wretched Borma.
My search continues to this day.