The mud splashed up his boot. Looking down at the mess, John shook his head in frustration.
“I just cleaned these damn things,” he muttered under his breath.
He had been traveling for days now. The rain had been pouring relentlessly since he had entered this region and the cold had soaked down to his bones. He continued for a few more hours and had become more mindful of puddles on the ground and avoided them when he could. Just as his frustration was reaching a boiling point, he saw a castle in the distance. The structure consisted of a single spire reaching far into the sky topped by a steel bulwark that would protect archers if the fortress was ever under siege.
After what felt like an hour, John spotted a side road that he could safely assume made it’s way to the castle. Without hesitation he changed course and set out towards the castle. What he would tell the inhabitants never crossed his mind. The only thing that was populating John’s mind was visions of a warm meal.
When he envisioned the fluffy and soft towels, John nearly fell to the ground at the idea of being dry for the first time in days. The idea of walking on dry ground had John in such a trance that he did not notice the steps of the castle in front of him. His foot kicked the first step and before John could snap out of his fantasy his face slammed face first into the steps.
John had to just lay on the steps for a few moments. The pain from his face seemed to pulse down his body. Looking down, John saw that he had scuffed up his clothes badly. A few spots even had blood on them from a cut or scrape. John removed the dirt from his clothes that the rain had not already removed and continued up the steps.
From this point the castle seemed to reach up past the rain clouds and into the heavens themselves. The few windows that the spire had were lit with an inviting warm yellow that made John yearn to be inside.
“My kingdom for a fire”, he muttered to himself.
The main entrance to the castle consisted of two fifteen foot high wooden doors. As he got closer he could see a door knocker that resembled the head of a goblin. John reached out to knock on the door when he was paralyzed by his thoughts. What would he tell the owners of this establishment? To allow him to take shelter in their home? He shrugged his shoulders.
“Time to put on the good ole John swagger,” he said to himself with a hint of cockiness and muttered a spell under his breath. He brushed his hair back with his hand. Instantly his face was filled with confidence and an energy that he had not had since he started this blasted journey. He reached his arm up and hit the door with three loud slams that he was sure would echo through the building.
To be continued…
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