Chapter III
67. Lolotte's Castle
The chill of the night air was intensified by a biting wind that whipped around the crooked
mountain path.  Only a few feet wide and open on either side it was an immeasurable fall into inky
blackness and the jagged rocks at the bottom, waiting teeth for just one misstep to shred a foolish
adventurer and leave another skeleton on the pile of those that failed before.  Each step had to be
taken with great care and faith as little useful light was cast by the ghostly yellow eye that was the
full moon hanging in the horizon over the shoulder of the great dark fortress at the end of the
twisted path.
The castle was itself seemingly carved out of the great mountains as a cursed fist clenched at the
black sky, surrounding it in eternal gloom.  Great burning torches lined the battlement of the
sinister castle and ghastly yellow light was aglow from the flickers of those that burned beyond the
windows giving but a hint of life and the horrors that awaited inside.
No plants or animals could sustain life on the barren stone path that lead into the jaws of the
monstrous fortress, nor even birds dared to brave the seemingly poisonous sky around the place.  
There was however, something else that filled the void.  Not an animal, nor any sort of natural bird,
and certainly no longer human.  Their shrieks rivaled the howls of the open wind while their wide
leathery batwings cast long menacing shadows on the twisty path as they passed in front of the
full moon’s glow.  For those unfortunate enough to get close enough to one, you could see the
blanched skin pulled taught against their skulls, vicious curved fangs of their wailing mouths, and
the wicked razor claws on their long bony fingers.  They circled the sky in endless vigilance as
guardians of the dark castle.  The fade in their empty eyes indicated they once might have once
been human, adventurers tricked or captured and cursed by black magic.  There was nothing left
of their previous selves.  This was their doomed existence now.  These creatures, “goons” were
now servants of the dark fairy, Lolotte.  This was her castle…
Loose pebbles crunched under the heels of the sneaky princess as she carefully measured each
gravelly step with the attention it demanded given the failing moonlight.  The crackles and clicks of
her heels on the stone path were lost in the howling wind, a measure of luck she certainly needed
while Lolotte’s goons swirled overhead.  While silence was not her luxury, invisibility was.  Rosella
pulled the magical cloak more tightly around her as the biting wind found an opening that sent a
chill through her slender body.
She had returned to Tamir via a tumbling magic portal after a vision revealed that the good fairy
Genesta was once again in peril at the hands of the wicked fairy, Lolotte.  While freeing Tamir,
and rescuing Genesta was the greater good of the quest, something more compelling and
mysterious was driving the young princess this time around.  Lolotte had a son, Edgar, whom she
had transformed into a hideously pathetic green ghoul before Rosella’s first adventure in Tamir.  
Back then, Rosella had defeated Lolotte and found the magical fruit that would heal her dying
father, King Graham.  She returned to her home Daventry, but not before she had also restored
Edgar to his natural form, a handsome young man.  And also not before she declined poor Edgar’s
marriage proposal.  She declined hastily and had Genesta transport her back home, never thinking
about the consequences of her actions.  Now, not only was Lolotte somehow still alive and once
again rising to power, but the vision had shown Edgar once again in his ghoulish green form, and
seeming to be in conjunction with the plans of his devilish mother!  Could Rosella’s decline have
affected him so much?  Did his bitterness overtake him?  How would he feel to see Rosella
again?  Could she undo the pain that she had unintentionally caused him?  At what cost?  And
would she want to pay it?  
The flood of questions made the princess’s head spin.  Since she had recklessly decided to take
on this quest, she had survived the murky mess of the swamp, a vicious troll’s cave, narrowly
avoided several “dinner dates,” and walked shoulder to shoulder with zombies!  But now she stood
in front of a castle full of untold dangers, both physical and emotional.  And for the first time of the
day, Rosella really did not know what to do.  Her heart was not speaking to her at the moment,
and that left her feeling very lost indeed.
But the quest for survival always kept her from wandering too far or too long into her own
thoughts.  And this time it was the billowing winds that assaulted the narrow winding path toward
Lolotte’s citadel.  The wind was becoming stronger, and thus more dangerous.  Wearing a foolish
pair of heels was enough stress on her slender ankles and knees without a strong wind in the mix.  
With little to no room for error on the twisty mountain path, a void on both sides, Rosella felt her
muscles and joints straining to support her.
With the winds picking up, the princess needed to make a choice.  Crouch down and wait for the
winds to pass, or briskly make her way up the rest of the path praying that her legs and balance
support her before it’s too late!  Which will it be?