The hall I entered was as elegant and mysterious as the rest of the castle. Tall windows lined the corridor with elegant drapes hanging in pleated perfection. Through the glass panes I could see gardens with fountains and flowers of every kind. I moved through the passage taking in the beauty around me.
Exquisitely crafted candelabras mounted the walls every fifteen feet and beautiful wall tables with gracefully carved legs and ornate vases adorned the spaces beneath the candles. Everything seemed built for very tall people and my thoughts immediately turned to the strange man in the tower.
He must be part of this kingdom, but where was he? I pushed the question to the back of my mind and returned my attention to the passage before me. I finally left the hall stepping into a large, round room.
A fire burned silently directly across the room from where I stood. To the left there were stone benches and chairs scattered in a chaotic, but organized pattern. To the right I saw the most beautiful pair of thrones. Even from where I stood I could tell they were carved from marble and inlayed with gold and silver in the patterns of grapes and vines.
The hearth across from me was the same marble as the thrones and held the same gold and silver inlay. The mantle was placed just above my head and on it were delicate blown glass sculptures of long-legged dear with large curving antlers.
I examined the room from where I stood seemingly frozen in place. After seeing the glass sculptures I glanced out the windows that framed the thrones and realized it was almost sunset.
I remembered the experiences from the night before and felt a surge of panic rush through my body. The doors and gates had opened at my touch, how could they possibly keep out the dangerous host that attacked the cottage. I looked around for the circle of safety I had been given the previous two nights, but could see nothing.
Released from the frozen awe I began searching the room meticulously. There were no other passages behind the scattering of benches, but I quickly discovered a passage covered by a tapestry behind the thrones. I didn’t know where this corridor would lead, but I felt very strongly I should follow it.
This hallway had fewer windows and walking along it made me even more nervous, but the unknown danger spurred me on. At the end I encountered another large round room. This one had no fireplace, but a grand staircase wound around the outer edges. In the center was a beautiful fountain carved in the shape of grape vines reaching ten feet in the air.
At a ninety degree angle to my left was another opening and corridor. I stepped toward the opening and immediately felt that same sense of wrongness I had experienced the previous two evenings. I paused and then turned to the stairs. Nothing happened so I began climbing.