Living in the shadow of the Castle - Part 1

I find myself in a daze. There is the acrid smell of burned timbers and the moans of the dying. It happened without warning. A raiding party from the kingdom across the Great Desolation Mountains swept in during the night and destroyed everything I held dear.

I should give some background information. I am a servant and soldier of the Great King and his Son. His crest and coat of armors hung above my mantle. It all started during a time similar to this. My family had been set upon by robbers and my father was killed during the altercation. I was taken from my family and sold into slavery.

One day when my master reached his limit with my incompetence, he beat me and threw me outside the city walls. I laid there on the side of road for what seemed like days. My will and spirit were as broken as my body.

At some point, I heard the roar of horse hooves in the distance. The sound grew in intensity till I thought my ears would burst. And then it ceased. I tried to look but I could not summon the strength to move my head. It was at this point that I felt hands under my arms lifting me to my feet. It was then I realized I was in the presence of royalty. There upon grand white stallions were the Great King and his Son. The King questioned me asking, “How did you come to be thrown out of the city like common garbage?”

I replied, “Oh, Majesty, my master became tired of my inadequacies, beat me and left me here to die.” Then words that I will never forget were spoken, “My child, today your ransom will be paid and you will become a child of the Great King. You will live in my city and eat at my table. You will serve me as an ambassador and as a soldier when needed.” He then turned to look at the Son, who drew reigns and galloped toward the castle. The King watched his Son ride into the distance and then returned his gaze upon me. “Let us return home this evening. Send a messenger ahead that we may celebrate with feasting a new member of my family.”

With that I was lifted upon a horse and we made our way across the open fields. We were headed toward the jagged peaks of the Great Desolation Mountains. Our journey became arduous at this point. The pass became narrow and the winds began to howl. We continued on paths that seemed to point to the skies. And then my gaze fell upon a sight that I still find hard to put into words. There was an ocean that was emerald green and shimmered like crystal. There were fields and vineyards overflowing with fruit that stretched as far as the eye could see.

I sat there in awe till I was brought back to reality. “Magnificent is it not?” asked the King. “Yes, Sire. Never in my life have I beheld a land of such beauty or abundance.”