Where Nightmares Come From
Soon, the Prince was of age and he prepared to leave the castle for his studies. He embraced his father tightly, knowing they would not see each other for years. As he rode away, leaving the only home he knew for the very first time, he glanced back at the castle and the people surrounding his waving Father. The last thing he saw before the castle slipped from view was Nocturne, there at his Fathers side, whispering her whispers in his ear.
The stories reached the Prince in the final year of his studies. They seemed fantastical at first and claimed that his Father had become a monster, a bane to his own land. It seemed the Lord had begun taxing his people harshly and imprisoning any who could not pay, condemning them to the bowels of the castle to await some form of trial and eventually, a horrible death. There were tales of lavish sin-fueled parties where the Lord would fly into rages at others, often baiting guests into heated debates, only to shackle them in chains for disobeying his view or command. Neighboring Lords and land-owners avoided the castle, fearing the tales of torture, and staying clear of the screams that lasted well into the night. And within each chilling account, what each witness never ceased to mention, was that the girl Nocturne was there, with her strange whispers for only the Lord’s ear. It seemed that Nocturne was either immune to the Dukes blood rage, or the very cause of it.
Now, with this madness consuming his Father, the Prince learned that neighboring Lords were preparing to siege the castle and divide its lands among them. As the Prince rode quickly for home, he knew that any such battle would be short, since recent tales told that much of the castle had been abandoned and now only the Lord and Nocturne lived within its bloodied walls.
As the Prince neared the castle, he galloped past the villages he remembered as a young man. Once vibrant and alive, they were now shells of towns, filled with the starving, the desperate, and the dead. The castle road was littered with bloated corpses and the creek he once played in as a boy ran red with blood.