I walked towards the castle, apprehension filling my every step. I kept waiting for the three men to appear and start chasing me again, but the only sound was that of birds chirping in the trees. The castle walls loomed ahead, the red sandstone reflecting the sun. I noticed men scurrying along the tops of the walls as I got closer. I could hear them shouting, but they were too far away to make out what they were saying.
I looked back, unsure if the shouts were a warning. Mary stood just inside the small grove of trees watching me. She frantically motioned for me to keep going before sinking further into the shadows. I wanted to slap myself for not asking her more questions before she shoved me towards the castle. I just wanted to know where I was. I put my hand in my pocket to reassure myself that the Widowmaker was still there. When I felt the jewel encrusted spider, I started walking towards the castle again.
The heavy wooden doors creaked open in front of me. My heart thumped painfully in my chest as I waited for the doors. Inside the courtyard, a small battalion of soldiers stood ready. Their hands rested on their sword hilts with a deceiving ease. I had no doubt that they were all efficient with their weapons. I froze, unable to approach the imposing group. A scream almost escaped my lips when a set of hands grabbed my arm and began to haul my forward.
“Where are we going?” I finally choked out.
The stoic man stared straight ahead, his jaw clinched in silence. He led me through a torch lit hallway. The air inside of the castle was dank and cold. I could fill a chill seeping into my body as we walked. I was sure the man was taking me to a cell, but to my shock, we entered a bright room. The floor was lined with rugs and animal skins. In the center of the room a throne seemed to grow out of a huge tree. It was not carved, the tree formed the throne.
The man sitting in the throne was a large man with a thick red beard. A thin, twisting crown rested on his unruly mane of red curls. His face was set in a permanent scowl. With a crook of his finger, the guard shoved me forward. I stumbled, awkwardly falling to my knees.
“Where have you come from and why are you here?” the man’s voice boomed through the room.
“I’m not sure how I got here. I fell into a lake,” my voice cracked. “M-mary sent me here.”
“You have found the Widowmaker?” the man’s voice filled with rage. “We have spent centuries protecting the world from that cursed spider. That lake was our last line of defense, you’ve doomed us all.”
Desperation set in as his words hit me. Despite all the warnings, my pride had forced me to search for the artifact. I knew I was the best and finding the Widowmaker would prove that. My pride would lead to the downfall of humanity. My breath came in shallow gasps as the panic set in. The world seemed to rock beneath me. I did not even notice the soldier entering the room until he spoke.
“My Liege, the Guild is here. We must get ready to defend the fortress,” he looked at me, anger clear on his face.
The guard grabbed me again, this time leading me deep into the fortress. I felt numb as I listened to the footsteps thundering overhead. I had brought death to this place. I still was not sure where I was or who the Guild was, but I knew I was in trouble. The cell door clicked shut behind me. They had not even bothered to search me for weapons. The spider still rested in my pocket as I listened to the soldiers preparing for battle. Their blood was on my hands.
(Remember that likes equal a fourth part)