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The old castle is perched precariously atop a cliff, overlooking a green lake. The turrets and towers look like they are about to fall apart, and the drawbridge is put up, not allowing passage over a churning gray river. I rein in my steed and look to my companions. The two hulking warriors named Kingsef and Hiraf, (twins), and the Lady Belladona.
“Shall we find another way in? I think the main entrance may be a little too obvious.” I grin at them.
Belladona rolls her eyes. She waves me forward. “Lead the way Dark Prince.”
I turn my horse back and head down the hill toward the lake. My horse, Kila, roughly trots down the steep bank, I try my best to lead her on the sturdy clumps of grass. I fix my gaze on the castle as it gets closer. Maybe there’s another entrance or an irrigation hole or something.
My father has ordered us to come to the enemy’s hideout and return home with their leader captured and as our prisoner. I told him I wouldn’t fail.
This will end the war. Eradicate the wicked terrorists from my Father’s Kingdom once and for all. Well, that’s what he thinks. Personally, I don’t think they’ll stop. The loss of their leader will only fuel them with more anger, in my opinion. But I’ll do what he says.
I spot something high on the wall. “Look!” I point to the small grate.
Kingsef grunts. “How are we supposed to get up there, by flying?’
I laugh. “Pretty much.”
Hiraf lets out a bellow of a laugh, “Let me just grow some white feathery wings really quick. Become one of them faeries!”
Belladona mutters, “They’re called Ucello…”
We ford the river that continues on into the lake, and pull up right beneath the grate. I dismount and tell my horse to meet us here when we return. There are but few Whisperers in the land, I’ve never actually met another in person. It’s a strange thing, to speak with animals. Well, not that much to me anymore.
“Right then, quiet everyone.” I say.
Belladona releases her horse and then pushes past me. I watch in freshly renewed awe of the spy’s agility. She crawls up the wall as if she were a spider. I follow, with a slightly slower, but more sturdy style. The twins make their way up behind me, gripping the stones with their meaty hands. By the time I’ve reached the top, Belladona is halfway through undoing the rusty bolts barely holding the grate. Kingsef appears next to us and rips the panel clean off. I grin appreciatively. Belladona shrugs.
I slip in first. The grate leads to a (thankfully) dry tunnel, with only the very faint remains of a foul smell. I shift the shield strapped to my back, and crawl on hands and knees. I follow the tunnel until it curves upward. Light seeps in from a half destroyed floor above. I peek my head out. The room above is probably the crumbling remains of a washroom. I clamber out and wait while the rest follow.
“That way.” says Hiraf after inhaling deeply. That man can smell like a hound.
We weave through the decaying halls. I unsheathe my sword. The sunlight that slips through the cracks in the ceiling reflect off of my blade. I catch high pitched whispers of the rodents scurrying in the walls. At least they know we’re here. Why haven’t we seen anyone else yet?
I look at the collapsing floor. Maybe they’re all in a part of the castle that won’t fall apart beneath their feet.
Eventually we come to a hall with an actual ceiling and sconces holding flames on the walls. And soon after that we meet the first guards. They start to shout, but before they can I smash the flat part of my blade over their heads and they crumble. Hiraf leads the way up a staircase right behind the unconscious guards. At the top is a door. “This is it.” He says.
We nod at each other as the same obvious strategy enters our heads. We were all trained under the same masters back home. Belladona picks the lock with little difficulty, and then pushes it open.
I rush in first. Inside is the leader sitting at a table, and only two guards standing behind him. They don’t have time to grab their weapons before my comrades and I have our weapons at their necks.
“Hello. Hamish, was it?” I ask the leader.
He doesn’t say anything, but his eyes dart to his guards. Just then I notice the strange clothing the guards are wearing. I begin to yell a warning, but am cut off by the explosions of energy from the guard’s hands. “Mages!” I cry as Belladona and Hiraf go flying. They slam into one wall, and Kingsef bellows, he rushes forward, only to be blasted away as well. I twist and hold my blade to Hamish’s neck, effectively using him as a shield.
How did we not prepare for mages? The two guards turn on me. “No one move.” I breathe.
Suddenly my veins fill with ice. I can’t move. I can’t blink.
The guards run and wrench me and their leader apart. The last thing I see before the guard drops the hilt of his sword over my head, are my three comrades bursting out of the room and flying down the hall.