Blackthorne Bluff

You've traveled for days through a primeval forest. The trail you followed, while old, had recently been used, so it easy to follow. You stand a top a bluff looking at an ancient Castle. Your mind racing at the thought of what long forgotten treasures might still be locked within its coffers, you begin to look at the walls for signs of life within, but no sounds are heard.

Your eyes are drawn to a seemingly unweathered gargoyle perched above the castle gates, the wings spread out wide as granite eyes look down upon you. A chill passes through you, as a mysterious wind suddenly stirs up the dust around you. You debate the wisdom of following this path here, and wonder what other mysteries await behind the drawn bridge. Your body tenses as a low growl breaks the silence behind you.

"'ello", a voice speaks out from behind you. You whirl around to see a young woman with two large hunting hounds eying you. Her dress is very elegant and looks to be well taken care of and almost regal. There is more to this place it seems. "Can I help ye?" Her hands reach out and stroke each dog's head. As if by commanded, the dogs sit next to her, their eyes still locked upon you.

You stumble to find your voice, but can only muster a long drawn out sigh. A smile breaks, the woman's lips seeing your frustration.

"Ye are safe here" her voice soft and welcoming. "Nae harm will come to ye, unless ye seek to bring harm. Even the hounds seems to become less rigid as she speaks. "We get 'ew visitors here these days. Most 'ave forgotten this place ev'n exists. " She raised her chin to look over you and dips her chin once to the granite statue you were admiring before her sudden appearance.

The bridge of the castle begins to lower, and again that chill sweeps through your bones. The woman speaks of safety here, yet your mind cannot fathom how a deserted castle suddenly opens by a simple nod of this woman's chin.

"Ye will see 'uch here that will leave ye questioning, but I give ye my word, nae harm will come to thee, unless ye seek to do harm." Her voice grows more comforting with each word, are you under a spell? Is this all a dream?

Finally you find your voice and ask in a labored voice, "Where am I?"

"Ye are at our home, Blackethorne Bluff. Come, ye look like ye c'uld use a rest." She moves past you, the two hounds close to each side. As she steps onto the drawbridge, the sound of horses and people fill your ears. You turn around, in shock, to see a lively, bustling castle inside the now open bridge. She turns and motions to you, her smile warm and inviting. "Please enter, ye are free to leave whene're ye wish it."

Will you take the chance to enter or will you leave? The choice is yours.....