The lone figure approached the castle walls cautiously. The kingdom had recently been sieged, so the air was eerily quiet but for the sound of leaves blowing carelessly by his feet. His sword drawn, he was taking no chances. The man he was after, a pathetic excuse of a human responsible for the death of many, was likely dead himself. But he had to be sure. He didn't want his journey across the The Seas of Origin and the rarely-crossed swamplands of the Dead Plain, only traversed by the extremely brave or the extremely stupid, to be in vain. He scanned his surroundings, his trained eyes angling to pick up any signs of movement. The spring breeze blew gently against the taut muscles of his arms, tense as he gripped his sword, expecting men from the fallen town to jump him at any moment. Despite being where he grew up, the sight of the familiar buildings being burnt remnants of their former selves stirred up no feelings of sorrow or grief. He himself had nothing to do with the siege, but since he was a man of unknown origins around these parts, the townspeople didn't know that. He entered the castle gates met with no resistance. The man he was looking for, going by the name of Urloch, was part of the King's group of courtiers. He weasled his way to the top, garnering credibility and the royal family's favour despite being a man of very little honour. It was him who was responsible for his family's exile, and the eventual slow, bloody death of everybody he knew. As a child, the lone warrior was rescued by a kind man named Alinarr and taken far away, across the Seas of Origin to the town of Ern. He was presumed dead by Urloch and his band of assassins. His whole life, hidden by a shield of anonymity, he was only known as Shasinn, meaning young boy in the Old Tongue. His life had been a series of lucky breaks, and Alinarr would always say it's because he had the favour of Ghorosh, the ancient patriarch of a pre-existing, primordial faith; the faith of the Old Ones. "He's real, even if the world no longer believes, no longer listens, no longer cares. It matters not to a god." Alinarr is a believer of the old ways, and instilled in him the ancient traditions of the Aishro, the warrior's rites. The old ways are no longer followed by modern society, but still deeply respected, especially among the impoverished ranks of the common folk. Shasinn stood still just outside the castle, listening hard for any signs of life. The castle lacked a moat, and the portcullis had been dealt with, most likely by a ram or cannon fire, as there was little left of it. The solid oaken doors beyond the remains of the portcullis were slightly ajar. Shasinn lowered his sword and kicked one of the doors, which swung open heavily, creaking ominously. Urloch was a coward, and was likely in hiding somewhere deep inside the castle. Shasinn knew of an escape route below the castle leading out into the nearby forest, it's standard protocol that in the case of a castle breach, the royal family as well as their personal guard were permitted to use the hidden escape route but no one else, not even the royal advisors. It is possible however, that Urloch could've lost his nerve after the castle was breached, and utilised the underground tunnels to escape himself. This was more than likely the case but Shasinn was not one to leave behind loose ends, and would comb the entire castle in search of Urloch. The reason for the attack on the kingdom was unknown to Shasinn, but there was so far no one he'd seen alive. That doesn't mean that the castle was completely void of the living, however, or that the attackers were long gone. Parts of the town were still on fire, and bodies still warm. Shasinn knew he had to keep his wits about him during his search, the castle being anything but safe. Shasinn was a dangerous man, and looked it, but he knew that if he were jumped by 10 men he'd not stand a chance. He was hoping that the castle would be largely abandoned after the royal family had fled, the attackers making off with any captors, the most likely assailants being a well-armed nomadic tribe with powerful allies. Those that Shasinn knew of had no known allegiance to royal houses and were lawless and violent, adhering to no authority. The allies of such a group would pose more of a threat, likely calm and calculated, an agenda hidden by the actions of the kingless tribe. Shasinn hoped they had gotten what they came for, leaving him alone to his mission. He would carefully search the castle, using his knowledge to its full advantage, only leaving once he was sure it did not contain Urloch. He was also hoping to find possible clues as to his whereabouts if he failed to find him. Shasinn scanned the room, observing the lobby, the tall arching ceiling and the famous twin staircases. The grandeur of the castle's architecture still stood proud against the scattered debris of the furniture. All was still in the room but a small whirlwind of dust, twigs and leaves, playing on the ripped carpet. When he was satisfied no one was in the room with him, Shasinn proceeded to climb the stairs. They were made of granite as black as midnight, and made no sound underneath his weight. He arrived on the landing and looked behind him at the ground floor. He seemed be alone. He took a deep breath as his anxiety began to get to him. He started forward again, planning to begin his search in the advisors quarters. I highly doubt he's here, Shasinn thought to himself. This whole thing might've been a waste of time, as well as possibly putting himself in harm's way. He looked inside the advisors' and servants' quarters, as well as the king's chambers. All he found was a cat, who purred as he approached. Shasinn sheathed his sword, knelt down and stuck out his hand. "Here girl," he said softly. "It's alright, the danger has passed now." The cat purred louder and rubbed its head against the chair leg, eyeing Shasinn flirtatiously. She advanced towards him, headbutting his hand and he petted her gently. "Oh how SWEET! Not as edgy as ya look then, eh?" Shasinn spun around and withdrew his sword, sending the cat flying under a nearby bed, yowling in annoyance. "Oh oh okay, easy now, easy now!" Shasinn grabbed a hold of the man and pinned him against the wall before he even got a decent look at him. "Where is the man known as Urloch?" demanded Shasinn. "U-uh although I really do like the appearance of your face, it's particularly nice close up by the way heh, but I would rather prefer it if you place me down, yeah? If you please... I am of no threat to you, trust me." Shasinn, sensing he was telling the truth, proceeded to put the man down. "Thank you, that's a great deal better." He sighed. The man was short and rather portly, no younger than 50. He wore a blue tunic and white cotton socks, with pink slippers. Looking self-conscious, he nervously explained "I do apologise, I am dressed in my nightwear. We were attacked a little after dawn this morn, all I could do was hide!" He sighed dramatically. "Very well. I've put you down, now answer my question please. Where is Urloch?" The man regarded him carefully, tapping his face lightly with his fingers. "My that accent is positively delicious!" He finally said. "As for your question, I don't know! Off with the rest, I expect. As soon as they chopped down those gates, everyone lost their minds and fled." "Is there anyone else in the castle with us?" "Well, um..." As he trailed off, a creak could be heard from outside the door. Shasinn readied his sword as a deep, menacing growl echoed around the halls and high ceilings.
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Murshidabad, West Bengal is a place famous for it's archeological site and the crown jewel amongst them is the Hazarduari Palace whose name literally translates to "Palace with a Thousand Doors" . Although it has a thousand doors, most of them are fake, just to confuse the people. And outside the gates of the palace, you are greeted by these ever friendly horse carts or tonga . They take you on a tour all through the town to show you the various places around. It's one of the best places to visit in West Bengal.
Recently, the pandemic has offered me the perfect opportunity to binge watch my favorite Netflix series called "Reign." It's a semi-factual portrayal of the life of Queen Mary of Scotland, set in the 16th century. As one would expect, it features all sorts of royals, monarchs, noblemen and women, ladies in waiting, knaves and knights, courtesans, peasants, villains and villagers, friends and foes, the occasional mystic or seer, and even a swashbuckling pirate or two. There's romance, mystery, mayhem, intrigue, luxury, wealth, splendor, poverty and one gripping cliffhanger after another. Now before you go telling me that I'm addicted, I'd like to point out that I'm already well aware of that, thank you! Ahem... Anywhooo, my appreciation for the show led me to an idea for a challenge. Rules to follow.
In 40 lines or LESS (BUT NOT MORE) write an exciting, entertaining, poetic tale about royals/monarchs (including kings, queens, princes, princesses, and any of those other folks I mentioned above). It doesn't have to be factual, but can be if you prefer. I'll provide a suitable word list below that you're welcome to utilize which is optional, not mandatory. Submissions must be penned in English because it's the only language I'm completely fluent in. No foul language or inappropriate images, and absolutely positively NO plagiarism.
OPTIONAL WORDS TO USE: Please check definitions for proper use.
luvnotes_challenge_host@fiercely_lit I had a feeling that it might not quite measure up, since it doesn't focus exclusively on Vikings; but perhaps it'll be a good temporary distraction.
fiercely_litIt's the perfect suggestion, thanks When you Hulu those Vikings you will see what I mean by the opening scene you'll... see thunder storming the dawning twilight, breaking skies as the raven flies over kills laid upon the hills of these raided lands: seized, by bloodshed hands of he - whomever, still stands. lol. Keep in touch