One day while relaxing outside my home, I spotted a figure on a horse in the distance moving slowly towards me.
A man in my position has made many enemies as well as friends. I cannot afford to be careless. I therefore was about to set my wolves on him when I realised he was nothing more than a child, a boy of 12 years or so.
As I allowed him to approach, I saw more clearly how frail and weak the child was, barely able to hold himself in the saddle. In fact, when I addressed him, he swayed and fell from his mount.
I called for my servants. They cared for him but it was a week or more before he regained his strength enough to speak.
The boy explained that he had been sent by his master on a quest to find me in order to build a castle to his specifications and he handed me a parchment with drawings and measurements.
I told him not to worry about it now, that when he was well I would send him back to his master with my answer and price. Rather to my surprise, he turned pale and began to shake uncontrollably.
'Are you ill?' I asked, then rather sternly added, 'I told you to recover your strength. There will be time enough for this business later!'
His words tumbled from him then in a rush. There was no mistaking his fear and dread now.
'Please, Lord, I do not wish to go back! I beg to stay here with you. I will work for you free of charge and do anything you ask, but please do not send me back to him!'
What could I do? I did not know why he did not wish to return to his Master, but the fear in his eyes was undeniable. I am not one to pry, but I told him he could stay.
He became my best apprentice and builder, but that was over eighty years ago. The boy who came to me has since grown old and passed on to another place.
Finding the parchments with his Master's plans sketched upon them, in studying them idly, I remembered again how terrified the boy had been and thought to myself, 'What kind of home is this?'
There was no way to see in and, on the first floor, there was no way to see out either. Beyond that, though, something that struck me even more: a very detailed crypt had been planned. In this crypt were cages... but to house what or whom? Animals or perhaps human beings?
I slowly began to understand why the boy was frightened: perhaps this was to have been a home for one person, but for others it would be hell.
Remembering the boy, I made a decision: I would build this castle! I would build it for the boy who came to me in fear for his life and I will call it 'The Fear'.
But be forewarned! If you visit 'The Fear', you may never return.
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