I slumped in my chair, the ale in front of me looked less than appetising, but what else could I do. It looked like there was no way into the castle. It was strong and secure, surrounded by ditches and moats and heavily guarded by skilled archers. It was useless. My love had been taken from me and there was no way to retrieve her.
“What’s wrong with your face?” an elderly woman slumped down next to me. I ignored her. “You’ll turn that ale off, face like that.” I pulled my collar hiding my face a little and hopefully providing the hint that I didn’t want company.
“Must be a girl then?” She took a final gargled slurp of her drink. “Although not that many girls around here. Except for that bonnie new girl up at the castle, of course.” I couldn’t help but turn a little back to face her.
“Ah, so I’m right. It is a girl.” She smiled triumphantly. I sighed.
“Well, what of it? It’s no use now, she has been locked away in that fortress. Promised to another.” I took a sip of my drink hoping to disguise my raspy vocals as thirst.
“Love you, does she?”
“Well, she told me she did. I guess I’ll never know now.” The old woman nodded.
“What if I told you there was a way to find out?”
“There is no way, she is locked in that stronghold until she is wed,” I said exasperatedly. Frustratingly the old woman nodded slowly at me again.
“Well, what if I told you there was a way, a secret way, into the castle?” Her eyes shimmered and she licked her lips.
“Where? Tell me where. I need to go at once.” I made to stand but she pulled me back to my seat.
“Hold yourself, young man. Patience is the skill.” She shook her empty glass at me. I understood the meaning. It could be a trap but I had to risk it, I called to the barman and pointed to her empty glass. Within seconds she had her drink. After she took a slow agonising drink of it, she turned to me and licked her lips once more, now satisfied.
“Under the arches of the drawbridge, there is a secret door. You can only get to it when the water lies low. But it has been dry for many weeks so I would think tonight you would make it. It will take you into the very walls of the castle but it would be a way inside no-one would know of. Once inside you will need to use every skill you have. Especially patience and listening. It will be the only way to avoid the guards and find your love.”
I stood up and threw money down on the table. “Thank you. Thank you so kindly.” She nodded her nod once again.
I waited in the woodlands until darkness. Then just as the woman said made my way down to the water. Crossing it carefully I stood underneath the archway. I could not believe my luck. Hidden in the darkness was a doorway, so many would miss it, but there it was, exactly as she had said. I started climbing the steps up to it, preparing myself for the challenge ahead. As I reached the top step behind me I heard the heavens open. I glanced back at the moat, wondering just how long it would take to fill, just how long I would have. It didn’t matter, no matter what I had to try.
My response to Sue’s wonderful photo prompt. A bit of an adventure this week. 🙂
If you want to give the prompt a go too, head over to Sue’s Page Thursday Photo Prompt – Bridge #writephoto and join in the prompt.KL