The Lost Citadel

May 19, 2011
Long ago, there lay a land named Narul, a war torn, violent, and bitter land. Years upon years had it been filled with wars against a terrible force of evil: the Dark Force. This terrible entity, this evil existence, this heathen ruler—whatever it may be called—ruled from a citadel built into a mountainside, hidden by the Dark Forest, yet always powerfully leading its armies from its secret palace of witchcraft and trickery. After years during which it ruled all the land of Narul, oppressing all poor victims whom it had overtaken, these poor farmers and peasants revolted, driven by an unknown and unseen power, the Powers of Good.

These Powers of Good were mysterious, indeed, very mysterious, for one could not simply take possession of these powers if his intentions were to spread good or rid Narul of evil. Nay, these powers chose whom they would bless, and, when these mysterious forces blessed someone, this person was given ultimate power. For some reason—none, save the Powers of Good, know why—the leader of this specific rebellion (though many uprisings had occurred and utterly failed before this leader) was blessed by this supreme force, filled by the Powers of Good in all their splendor and strength. This leader, by the name of Sethron, gained awesome powers like the talent to cast magical spells, great sword handling skills, superior wisdom, exceeding strategic knowledge in wars, and the ability to inspire people to follow him. Of these, the latter proved to be the most important, for with this, he formed an army of millions, consisting of men, dwarves, elves, and wizards (Sethron’s own race). They called themselves “The Saviors of Narul”, which they would in turn do after many years of battle before a glorious victory, causing the Dark Force to flee into the lost lands of the East. After this final victory, the Dark Force’s evil castle was left in ruins and forgotten, deep in the Dark Forest.
* * *

I was slowly creeping through the woods one day, pursuing the same bear for over a week. Having only eaten some berries and a few other edible plants, I was famished. I would have to bring back this bear, a strong male, to show that I had come to adulthood and was worthy of being the next king of the vast empire of Damle. Yes, I was the prince, my father’s first and only child. Hence, the people of Damle wanted me to prove my strength and loyalty by finding and killing a male bear in the Dark Forest with only a dagger. Every prince before me had done so, ever since this great nation was founded, in the First Age of Narul.

I had been scouting this area for months, and I knew exactly where the bear would travel: to my favorite, secret spot, the abandoned citadel of the Dark Force. From my vantage point upon the peak of the ruined citadel, I had watched it; the bear always traveled past that location. So that day, I knew I could kill it if I could possibly sneak up on it in the castle and then stab the bulky male bear.

I looked upon the castle as I emerged from the dense woods and out into the clearing, wherein I could see the beautiful citadel, still grand after thousands of years of rotting and decay. The castle was built mostly inside the mountain, and the only protruding parts were several towers, which served as a lookout; from one of these I planned to watch as the bear drew near.

Also visible on the face of the steep cliffs of the mountain was a large gate, the only entryway into this bastion. However, I had found my own way, formed by years of decay, at the base of one of the towers, where I could remove several stones and crawl through and into the stronghold. I proceeded to do so at the moment, after crossing over the grassy clearing that separated the forest from the citadel. Once I had successfully entered the castle, I waited…and waited…for hours, through the day and deep into the night, until I saw the tall, looming shape of a hulking, male bear, lit by the moonlight. The bear strode down, directly into the grassy clearing where I sat so often in the years past. I had waited for this day nigh two years since I learned of this adventure on which I would have to depart.

And now, in these next coming moments, I would slay the bear, arguably the most important event in my life until this point, for today, I could prove myself worthy of being the King of Damle if I succeeded or prove myself unworthy, bringing shame upon my family.

The moments passed slowly as I crept down the old, putrefying wooden stairs to the base of the citadel. I removed the stones, crawling through my secret opening. Then, I ran towards it, quick as lightning yet so nimble and silent that not even the ears of the elves could hear my footsteps. Leaping with a cry of joy, fear, hope, anger, and strength, I caught the bear entirely by surprise. Stabbing it through the back, I thrust the blade deep into the beast’s lungs. I removed the dagger and stabbed it again, this time through the bear’s neck as it now lay on the ground. And lastly, once it had died of the mortal wounds which I had inflicted, I cut off the bear’s head, as sign to show all back home at Damle that I had succeeded in overpowering the great beast.

And with that, I walked away, my heart filled with joy that I had slain the bear and proved myself worthy of being the King of Damle. And I completed this triumphant feat in the place that I loved: my safe haven; my secret refuge; my second home. Though I knew it not at the time, at that exact location where I slew the bear, Sethron, leader of “The Saviors of Narul”, cast a spell that crippled the Dark Force and ending the war that once raged thousands of years ago. Two great accomplishments had occurred in my secret refuge: Sethron’s victory over evil and my victory over fear. For on that day, in that spot, I killed the bear, proving myself worthy of the Throne of Damle.





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