Demon’s Castle

The stone castle rested silent and calm atop Mount Kilar against the cold light of the sky. Dometri was the last of his family line, and the castle now belonged to him. He sat in his car just inside the wall surrounding the place. Staring up at the main building of the old site, he wondered just how much trouble the place was going to bring him. As far as he knew, no one had been so much as inside the walls in over fifty years. 

He opened the door and slipped out of his car. Closing the door, he locked it behind him. There was no point in taking silly chances with his new car. The sounds of nature brought little comfort as he walked up the overgrown path to the front gates of the castle proper. Moving with care, he made his way to the heavy doors and pushed against them. They opened with a grunt of effort on his part. 

The entry room of the building was about what he had expected. Everything was covered in dust and the air was stale. He moved through the building room to room. As he stepped through the door of what had once been a grand library, he caught – or thought he caught – movement in the shadows at the far side of the room. 

He stopped and looked closer at the crumbling bookshelves against the wall. The books had seen better days and as he moved around the room, the feeling of being watched grew. “Who’s there?” He finally asked. 

A harsh wind battered the tall windows, shaking the glass in the dry, rotted frames. He turned his attention to when he thought he had seen the movement. Stepping closer, he saw the bookcase stood at a slight angle to the wall, unlike the others. He grasped the edge and pulled, thinking it would be funny if it revealed a secret passage. The amusement didn’t arrive as it swung forward, revealing a cobweb filled passage between the cut stone walls.

After glancing behind him, he stepped into the passage, unsurprised when the bookcase swung closed behind him. The darkness inside the passage was nearly complete, making it hard for him to see where he was going. He walked along the passage for a few hundred yards before noticing the sound of crunching under his feet. He stopped, pulled his phone out and turned on the flashlight feature. Shining it over the ground, he could see he was walking on old bones. Small bones that looked like animal bones. “That’s not at all disgusting,” he said, swiping his foot from side to side to clear the path.

He kept moving forward, now wanting nothing more than to get out of the passage and back into the light. A few more paces and he could see light seeping in through a crack along the floor. He stopped and placed his hands on the wall above where the light was coming in. The wall swung open with way too little effort, causing him to tumble into the room beyond. Dometri found himself in what must have at one time been the bedroom of the royal family. Things were covered in dust, but of a higher quality than even he expected. He got to his knees and looked around the room closer. Everything was heavy, dark wood, intricately carved with designs of dragons and woodland scenes. 

The place was beautiful and worth every penny he paid to keep it in his family. Getting to his feet, he looked out the widow over the forest below. On the ground, he could see people coming up the path with lanterns and torches. He went to the door and headed back to the entryway of the castle. Better to meet whatever was coming head on than to hide within the walls of the castle. 

Reaching the main doors once more, he pushed them open and took a position within the threshold to wait. It wasn’t long before the first of the group was stepping up to the still open gate in the walls. “Welcome,” he called to the men.

A single man dressed in royal blue stepped from the group after handing off his lantern to one of the other men. “Hello, Sir. Might I approach?” the man asked, seeming to have chosen his words with the utmost care.

“Please. Be welcome,” Dometri said, not knowing why he used such a formal speech. He stayed where he was and waited as the man walked toward him leaving his companions behind at the gate.

The man was silent until he reached the bottom of the steps. “Thank you for the welcome. Might I speak plainly?” He asked.

Dometri smiled, relaxing. “Of course. We are both equal as children of the world,” he said.

The other man relaxed as well. “It’s good to know a fair man now stands as master of Demon’s Castle. My name is Walter Montgomery. My friends and I come from the village at the base of the hill. We didn’t know who or what had taken residence here,” Walter explained.

Dometri looked from the man to the group behind him at the gate. “This place has been in my family for centuries. I’ve never heard of it being called Demon’s Castle. What’s that all about?” He asked.

Walter glanced at the sky. “Would you mind if we talked inside? My friends will stay at the gate, but I could rather sit for a few. I’m getting old faster than I thought, and that climb has taken more out of me than I wish to admit.” 

Dometri shook his head. “Forgive me. I’ve been exploring this place and my manners are waisted for the day. Please come in and join me in the library. But you will have to excuse the dust. It’s my first day here.” He led the Walter through the entry and into the library.

Both men took seats after dusting off the seats of two leather chairs. With a look around the room, Dometri spoke again. “So, can you tell me why you called this place Demon’s Castle?”

Walter smiled. “It has been known as that since long before my time. My grandfather used to tell me stories about one of the first people to rule from this castle. He was cruel to everyone. But since it was a time when cruelty was the only known way for royalty. He lead armies and concurred the surrounding lands. When he was just forty years old and the father of six boys and two girls, he was killed by an assassin. His wife took control of the castle until his eldest son, the third child, came of age to take the throne.” Walter paused, looking to Dometri for some kind of reaction.

Dometri couldn’t find the words to speak. He had never heard of this Demon or anything of the kind. After a moment, he managed to get his mind into gear and find the words he needed. “Would you be willing to meet me tomorrow at the Inn in the village to finish this? I’m sure your friends outside don’t want to wait and something tells me it’s a long story.”

Walter nodded. “That it is. I would be more than happy to meet you tomorrow. I have some documents and things from the history of this place if you would like to see them.”

“I would love to.” He looked around the room. “And this place could really use a good cleaning.” He stood and Walter followed suit.

The two of them headed back to the door, Dometri knowing this was going to be more of an adventure than he thought it was. Life was looking up.

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