I cautiously opened the door of the cottage and peered out. There was no one to be seen and everything looked just as it had the previous day. I examined the side of the house and could see faint signs of disturbance but nothing to compare to the sound and shaking of whatever was being hurled at the house.
In awe I turned my sights toward the castle. There it sat in its early morning splendor, the sunrise giving a pinkish cast to the white walls. With a deep breath I took to the road once again. After my frightful night I had no desire to stay anywhere for the night
I walked through the silence over and around hills. The sun moved slowly across the sky and the castle grew in size as I traveled. I passed a few silent villages with their scattering of houses and barns and empty fields of still grain. I fought the desire to stop and explore, listening to the deeper pull of the castle instead.
As the sun approached the horizon I finally reached the gates of the castle. I expected to enter some sort of a city first, but there was nothing but a cobblestone road that began a hundred yards from the gates.
To my surprise I was still met with the oppressive silence and obvious absence of anyone. I reached out and touched the tall metal gates. They swung open silently and I entered the main courtyard.
A grid of pillars were situated evenly before me with a trellis work spanning the spaces between and thick heavy vines entwined among the trellis. The most luscious looking grapes hung invitingly from the vines. I looked at the grapes hungrily but they were out of my reach. I continued on.
The tiles beneath my feet made a beautiful path of mottled granite. I followed the path through the pillars toward an arched doorway. When I reached the door I examined the gold etched artwork around the frame. It depicted tall slender ladies in beautiful gowns and elegant gentlemen picking grapes from the vines above their heads and singing and dancing to now silent tunes.