Prisoner of Darkhaven

By: Emma Paul




CHAPTER ONE


Castle Darkhaven stood out against the darkening mid-evening sky.

Its highest steeple pointed defiantly towards heaven, as if daring God

to send his angels and tear it down. Franz Müller spent half his day

climbing the treacherous path up Mount Damon to the dark castle.

The cliff narrowed the higher he climbed towards the legendary

home of the dark Lord Damien Dontaleone. They say he is a demon.

Franz pushed the disturbing thought aside.

Stones tumbled down the face of the mountain as his fingers

clumsily searched for crevices and grooves in an effort to find better

support. Taking a shaky breath, he pressed his back firmly against the

rocky surface and continued inching his way up the path.

Icy wind whipped through his hair. Thunder boomed and

lightening streaked across the sky, as he got closer to the castle. Night

approached fast. His chest tightened with anxiety and his heart

pounded.

Franz lifted a trembling hand to his eyes, wiped the sweat from his

brow, and smoothed his hair away from his face, to get a better look at

the black stone structure looming high above him. He was so close.

Castle Darkhaven could be described as black as night, unlike any

he had ever seen and hopefully would never see again. This is my

only hope. His precious Elise waited for news of his meeting with

Lord Dontaleone and he wouldn't let her down.

Franz closed his eyes saying a prayer before he made his way down

the stone postern leading to the main entrance. Night had finally

descended and the full moon shone brightly against the black starless

sky.

Peculiar shadows danced in the glow of moonlight. They twisted

into odd shapes, intertwining into each other.

Franz walked cautiously to the gate.

Swallowing nervously, he slowly averted his eyes from the eerie

shadows and forced his trembling legs to keep moving forward

towards the castle's main entrance.



3



A tiny dark blur darted past him. He stopped, clutched his cloak

tighter around himself, and turned sharply to his left with eyes wide,

limbs shaking. Tension in his gut knotted painfully.

"Who g-goes there?"

Nothing.

He could have sworn he heard something. Pulling his hood away

from his ear, Franz strained to listen. Eerie silence surrounded him.

Gathering what was left of his courage, he continued down the dirt

pathway and up the enormous stone steps leading to the front door.

A sudden shiver raced down his spine, feeling like the cold breath

of someone or something trickling down his back. He whirled around

to see who might be standing behind him, trying to focus into the

pitch darkness, but saw no one.

Taking another deep breath, he grabbed the gargoyle shaped iron

doorknocker and banged it three times against the wooden panel. A

cold wind blew over him, but the icy temperature had nothing to do

with his chattering teeth.

The doors creaked open.

Peering in, Franz stepped inside, adjusting his eyes to the sudden

brightness.

Several torches lined down the entire length of wall.

His heart thumped. A long foyer led to what he assumed must be

the main dining hall.

The wall reflected shadows that seemed to move with him. It's only

my imagination. Something watched him.

Up ahead he saw the arched entrance leading into the dining hall.

A fireplace warmed chilled skin. His long cloak suddenly became

much too heavy. He loosened the top allowing it to part open in front.

Eyes darting left to right and fear tightening in his chest, he

hesitantly stepped into the hall.

Someone stood with their back to him, facing the fireplace.

The man stood at least a foot and a half taller than him. His broad

shoulders stiffened and his head turned slightly towards Franz.

"What do you want Miller?”



4



He sighed deeply and turned around. Dark unemotional eyes

pierced like daggers. .

Franz stammered, feeling the unwavering cold stare from Lord

Dontaleone. The man's expression turned to disgust as he regarded

him. Suddenly feeling pathetic and small, Franz lowered his head to

stare at his booted feet.

"My lord? I..."

Lord Dontaleone stepped a bit closer. "You want to beg me to save

your daughter. And what will you give me in return, hm?"

Franz snapped his head up and blanched. It wasn't his intention to