Chapter One: The Beginning of the End
Everything has a beginning, even the end. Although being able to
tell where something new begins and where something old ends can be difficult,
but in the case of this story there is one major turning point. Where? Well, it
all began with the rash actions of one girl - a girl who named herself
Hope had always felt like an outcast, which wasn’t too far off
from the truth. She was the only humanoid member of the Dream World, as far as
she knew, who remained “Untainted.” Oh, how she hated the term, but it still
wasn’t the worst thing people called her. She hated being “worthless.” If she
were so worthless, then why did the Divine Leader bother keeping her around? It
just made no sense at all.
Today she was trying another one of her many escape attempts.
Being kept in the Untainted Territory on the outskirts of the palace all alone
was no luxury. She was alone because people were afraid to step foot on the land
set up for those without a mark. Only one person dared to visit her.
Delilah’s visits were probably the only thing Hope was going to
miss if she made it out of the Dream World successfully. After years of planning
and many failed attempts, she had finally perfected an escape plan. Tonight she
was going to succeed.
The sunset was absolutely beautiful. The glowing orb melted
behind the dark black castle, the action causing the whole sky to change colors.
She crept closer to the castle’s drawbridge as she watched the scenery.
“Heh,”Hope whispered under her breath as she watched the sunset.
“It’s like you are saying goodbye to me sun,” she laughed a bit to herself. Her
rash actions might just result in her death, but she no longer cared. What was
the point in living if you didn’t like where you were or what you did every day?
Risking her life for a change was completely okay with
The drawbridge began to move up towards the sky. It had taken
forever for the timing to line up perfectly. Tonight the guards were in the
middle of a shift change while the bridge rose, perfect for
As the wooden bridge lifted from the ground, she gripped the
wood, riding it upwards. She felt her feet leave the ground causing her to
tighten her grip. Her hands turned white from the strain as the bridge slowed to
a stop. Hanging vertically, she listened to the sounds of the guards on the
“Hurry up,” Hope hissed under her breath as the guards began to
move inside. The clank of their heavy armor echoed as they retreated into the
castle, ever so slowly. Finally, finally they had retreated
Quickly the girl pulled herself up until she was sitting on top
of the drawbridge. Below her was the hard stone entrance path. She had made it
to the castle. Hope pushed herself gently and slid, or rather fell, down the
other side of the drawbridge.
Landing with a soft thump, she looked around once more. No one
had seen her; she was safe. As quickly and as quietly as she could, she entered
the castle. The castle was beautifully horrifying and took her breath
The opened room had many hallways merging off of it that went to
corridor after corridor of the huge castle. Hope couldn’t help but think that
the Divine Leader was in one of those rooms. Even though she wasn’t a true
member of the Dream World, she still respected their ruler.
Voices were coming closer, the new guards. Hope hid behind the
closest statue of who knew what as she listened to the voices. The castle was so
dark at night. It had been designed to use the sun as its main source of light,
so the torches that lit the halls were few.
“I don’t understand why we have to guard the castle; no one is
coming in,” mumbled one of the guards in annoyance. “I have better things to do,
like training those dang scouts.”
“We do what we are told and don’t complain,” a second voice
replied. “You know the stories of when our Leader is mad… Just don’t risk it.
Don’t risk dying,” the man mumbled. Their voices were fading now and eventually
out of ear shot.
Phase one of Hope’s plan had been completed successfully.
Still situated behind the statue, she quietly moved her hand to her
pocket, feeling for her map. Slowly, she pulled out the folded square. Delilah
had helped her make this map of the castle, and it was finally time for Hope to
She opened it up slowly and cringed a bit at the loud crinkling sound it
would make from time to time. The light was dim, and Hope struggled to read the
map. After staring at the piece of paper for some time, she finally was able to
trace the path she needed to take.
“Please work,” Hope whispered to the air as she returned the map to her
pocket. After making sure the coast was clear, which it was, she moved out from
behind the statue and down one of the long corridors to the right of the
The winding hallway seemed never ending, but soon she arrived at a large
archway. Along the pillars of the arc were carvings of almost everything;
dragons, beasts, villages, elves, fairies, etc. In the center of the arc three
words were engraved deeply into the material: