One Man's Castle

Story on a theme:  CASTLE

Thick tarry smoke billowed upwards in an expanding dance across the unbroken sky. Hugo surveyed the carnage of blood and muck across the field to the North where they had attempted their final stance before fleeing into the nearby forest. For a fourth straight year the Royals had marched in and decimated their village taking everything of value and burning what they couldn’t take or didn’t care for. He’d had enough of the routine and next year they’d be in for a surprise.

Hugo sent word through the forest and across the valley urging all oppressed and rightful land owners to an immediate meeting. Though weary and in need of healing, Hugo’s leadership brought hope and the news of a plan raised curiosity to a level that set a chain reaction across the land and nearly every resident made the journey to meet and hear of Hugo’s solution.

“My fellow leaders and countrymen,” he began, “each year we strive to build up our communities and get ahead for the coming year and each year the Royals march in and take by force what we have worked for. I’ve been through the forest to the stone fields beyond. There is enough stone there to build a massive fortress so high and so thick that the Royals wouldn’t be able to touch us no matter how large their sea of soldiers be."

“But Hugo, what you suggest is impossible. We don’t have the tools or the strength."

“The combined strength is right here before us. The trees and the vines will provide our tools and help with our speed. We’ll build a castle fortress where we can live without the fear of the Royals and be free on our own land."

And while Hugo’s plan was inspired and generally accepted by all, he needed an extra bit of help to finish the task before the following year. He sent a courier to find his old friend Elias. Elias and Hugo had grown up together and while both men’s hearts were in the right place, they each had different views to interpret them. Elias ran with a band of gypsies and was constantly on the move, owning little to nothing and keeping his troubles from catching up with him.

The villagers moved quickly with their plans. Using some trees to provide a path to bring the stone from the natural rock quarry, they began laying the foundation for their castle. Elias arrived with his gypsy friends and was happy to lend a hand for awhile. Being old friends, Elias was also quick to warn Hugo that building his castle was a bad idea.

“I humbly implore you to rethink this castle idea,” he cautioned.

“The size and strength of this castle we’re building will guarantee our safety and allow us to finally get ahead, free of the Royals once and for all,” replied Hugo.

“Hugo, how often have I counseled you to keep mobile and your troubles will not catch up with you?"

“Yes, old friend. I know your position and while we both want peace and happiness, our approach is much different. I am not one to move around. I prefer to stay rooted and build from there."

“Suit yourself. You know we’ll help until its time to move on. Perhaps someday you’ll see the wisdom in my words and choices."

Working nearly around the clock the collective of all the people built a massive castle nearly 100 feet high and four feet thick. They built a deep water moat around it with a door and drawbridge made of only the thickest trees from the area. In selecting the thickest trees, they thwarted any attempt at splintering the door apart with another tree used as a battering ram. They then reinforced the door with metal and put a metal sheeting across the entire outside of the door to eliminate the possibility of burning the gate open.

Finally, they stockpiled enough food to last for months should they need to. They even planted all of their needed crop food items inside the inner garden.

When they finished, Hugo and Elias made their farewells with Elias again trying to persuade Hugo to think about it differently. But Hugo was so confident in his impenetrable castle that he wouldn’t listen. They parted friends as always and the villagers moved into the castle and awaited the coming of the Royals.

When the Royals arrived, they were astounded to find a castle where once a simple grass village stood. As Hugo had predicted, the Royals were unable to penetrate the castle. It was simply built too tall, too thick and too ingenious to breach. Giving up the seige, the Royals sent out messengers to bring more reinforcements. Instead of trying to take the castle by force, they would simply move in around the castle and wait.

Their plan caught Hugo off guard but nonetheless, he’d prepared for this. They had their food reserves and could grow most of their crops without leaving the castle. But as days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months he began to realize that his castle wasn’t a castle anymore. The Royals had turned it into a prison. He was interned into the very monstrosity he designed to keep would be enslavers out so that they would finally be free. Only when it was too late did he realize that his old friend Elias had been right all along.

1 comment:

Mrsupole said...

Yea, I get a whole new group of posts to be first. Haha.

Hugo must not have been too smart and prisons can be built anywhere. Freedom is a precious gift and easily taken, but if your mind is free then you will always be free.

God bless.