01 Feb The Tower in the Fog
On a bleak hilltop in the darkest parts of the wilderness all but forgotten by man, where the shadows gather and the restless spirits wander, there is a tower that rises out of the dense fog that blankets the forest. Few people who are still living have ever seen it up close, and of those few, even fewer will ever speak of it. One of those few people was my father, and he rarely ever spoke of it without the aid of strong drink.
“It is a wicked place.”
He used to say in a mournful, heartbroken tone that told me the memories of the place still haunted him, even though many years had passed since he last laid eyes on it. Father didn’t know who built the tower, no one did. Some say that the moss covered grey spire is merely the last remnants of a much larger fortress built in ages past, left to wilt and wither under the weight of the passing centuries, while others say that it is a temple meant to honor dark and vengeful gods whose names were better left unspoken. Not my father though. He was absolutely convinced that the tower was in fact a prison, though he never would say what or who he thought it was a prison for, and I knew better than to ask.
He spoke of the looming structure on the horizon in hushed whispers the way a child might speak about the monster that lives under the bed.
“ Evil sleeps there boy, always watching, always waiting.”
He never failed to stare directly at the place when he gave that warning from where he sat on the porch of the log cabin he and I shared in my youth, which was quite a feat for him since a grievous injury had taken both of his eyes many years earlier. I found it so eerie when he got like that and I never knew how to respond to him, just like I never knew how to calm him down when he would awaken in the middle of the night screaming at whatever terrible specter from his past visited him in his dreams. He would weep and beg and babble nonsense, though almost everything he said was always some variation of an apology.
“I’m sorry! There was nothing I could do! You know I never meant to leave you!”
he would say. I always wondered who he was speaking to in those dreams, but never found the courage to ask. I had accepted that my father would in all likelihood take his secrets to his grave, and had he not called me to his bedside one night as a chilling autumn wind blew in from the north and rattled the windows while a torrent of rain drenched the world outside, he very well might have.
He had called out to me so suddenly and desperately that for a moment, I feared someone had broken into the cabin. When I arrived in my father’s room however I found him alone, sitting upright in his bed and sweating profusely as his head darted from side to side as if trying to spot danger despite his blindness. It was immediately clear to me that he was in the throes of one of his night terrors, and I relaxed ever so slightly as I went about the task of calming him down as I had done many times before. I walked over to his bedside and reached out for his shoulder, but he grabbed my wrist with startling speed and turned to face me from where he sat.
His grip was strong, but I could feel his hand trembling as abject horror gripped him, and he spoke to me in a quiet whisper as if he were afraid someone might be listening in on our conversation even though he and I were very much alone in the cabin.
“ My time is short, and I can live with the weight of this thing no longer. Please, take my key and unlock the chest under the bed.”
I knew exactly what key and chest he was referring to. The key he spoke of was a gleaming golden trinket with a single tiny ruby at it’s base that had hung from his neck for as long as I could remember. It was a beautiful thing made with craftsmanship the likes of which I had never seen before. I had asked him once where he had gotten it, and all he had said to me in response was that it had been a gift from my mother. It was the first and last time he ever mentioned her.
The chest in question was a bulky iron box with a very intricate lock like mechanism composed of small gears and latches. It had been collecting dust under my father’s bed for as long as I could remember and though it should have been obvious to me that the two were connected, it never really occurred to me that one opened the other until that very moment.
I took the key from where it hung around my father’s neck gently and with utmost care as not to further upset him, and then leaned over to try and pull the chest out from under the bed which I must say was not an easy task, even for a fairly strong young man of nineteen who was accustomed to doing all the chores and labors that came with taking care of a blindman in the depths of the woods. The damn thing felt like it was full of bricks.
When it was far enough out from under the bed I knelt down and placed the golden key in the lock and turned it carefully. The strange clockwork mechanism that acted as the chest’s lock made a very audible clicking sound as it opened for what was undoubtedly the first time in decades, and my father flinched at the sound, as if bracing himself for pain.
Inside the chest I found that I had not been far off in my assumption that it had been full of bricks. Crudely cut bars of silver and some kind of flower, Wolfsbane I think, filled the chest to the brim. What struck me as especially strange about this, aside from the rather astounding realization that my father had kept a chest full of silver bars under his bed for what must have been decades at least, was the fact that the flowers looked and smelled as if they’d been freshly picked, and that just should not have been possible given the amount of dust that had collected on the chest itself and my absolute certainty that it had never been opened as long as I could remember. As I looked closer into the depths of the chest, I saw that silver bars and wolfsbane was not the only thing it contained. Hidden near the bottom was a small, wooden box that had been painted red and bore a strange crest that resembled a stag painted in gold on it’s lid. It looked completely intact to me which was somewhat puzzling when I considered that this box had to have spent quite a long time under the weight of several bars of silver.
“ Do you see the box?” my father had asked me softly.
“Yes” I said
When I did as he asked me, I found that contained within was a length of long golden hair bound up in a braid that glistened even in the dim candlelight.
Of all the things I imagined might have been hidden within my father’s mysterious chest over the years, I had never guessed that it would be human hair.
I turned to look at my father, prepared to ask for some form of explanation, but his voice cut me off before I could give voice to my questions, and unconsciously reached toward the briad of hair within the box as I did.
“ Don’t touch the hair!”
he screamed at me with startling volume, as if I were about to try and pick up a venomous serpent rather than a simple severed length of human hair.
His breathing had become fast and erratic at this point, like he was on the verge of panic. Once again he turned his head from side to side as if searching for danger before speaking to me again.
“ This thing has gone on for too long son, it must end.”
he said with the resolute certainty of someone who had come to a decision that they had been dreading for a very long time.
“ Father, what are you talking about? Why was there hair in a chest beneath your bed? whose is it?” I asked him with unhidden astonishment and concerned curiosity.
If he had heard my question, he didn’t bother answering it. Instead he began to frantically give me instructions that were less than coherent through clenched teeth.
“ It can’t go on any longer boy, it must end, and you must be the one to end it! You must take the box into the wilderness to the north, follow the path of white stones to the Tree with Many Faces. It is old and wise and will be your only friend in that dark place as it was once mine, you’ll know it by it’s white bark. Take the hatchet lodged in the trunk and then go left at the fork you’ll see in the path deeper into the wood.”
he said sounding somewhat unsure of himself, as if he were trying to pry details from very old memories. Try as I might, I could do very little to interrupt his fevered monologue, so instead I merely listened intently despite having no idea at all what he was talking about.
“From there the hair will be your guide, it will reach out towards it’s master and show you the path whenever you open the box, but you must never touch it! Even severed pieces of her can do you great harm. Do not trust the trees! they are her servants just as the ravens are her eyes, they will conspire to make you lose your way. Follow the hair into the fog, and do not heed the whispers, everything they say is lies! Once you cross the field of thorns you will find yourself at the Tower’s base. There you must wait for the first rays of dawn to appear over the horizon. When they do, you will hear her lullaby from the highest window at the Tower’s peak, then and only then as dictated by the ancient traditions, can you call out to her, bid her to let down her hair and let you ascend unharmed.”
“Call out to her? Who? What do I say?” I asked somewhat instinctively
“There is no time! You must listen! When the first light of dawn shines over the Tower’s peak, you must call to her and say “blood of my blood, let down your hair!” You must then climb to the tower’s peak son. Through the window where she will be waiting for you.”
His frantic tone had broken into a hysterical sob at this point, and his words became choked with emotion, as if the words he spoke caused him physical pain.
“ Then you must do what I could not, Son. Use the hatchet, give her the end she deserves. Put an end to the unending nightmare.”
he pleaded before falling back onto his pillow and pulling his blankets over his face.
Those were the last words my father ever spoke to me. When I went to check on him in the morning, I found that he had passed away sometime in the night.
It was the most heart-wrenching thing I had ever experienced at that point in my life. I remember trying everything I could to revive him, I even ran on foot to the nearest village which was some distance away to get him help to no avail. At the time, I thought that losing him in such a way was the worst thing that I could ever experience. I had been wrong about that, but I digress.
I’d like to say that I had heeded my father’s words, but in truth I had forgotten nearly all about them in the wake of his death. When I did recall them, often when I gave passing glances to the tower on the horizon they seemed like little more to me than the fevered ranting of a man on death’s door, both desperate and nonsensical.
That was before the dreams began of course. The first one came to me little over a month after my father’s passing.
In the dream I stand in a spacious and elegant bedchamber the likes of which could only have belonged to royalty. Fine tapestries of silk hung from the walls as faint rays of sunlight filtered in through a small window somewhere behind me .
As I paced back and forth around the magnificent chamber a sickly sweet aroma of perfume filled my nose and a pleasing, wordless melody filled my ears. Beneath my feet I could feel something soft that was unlike any carpet I had ever felt. When I looked down to see what it was, I found that it was not carpet at all that lay beneath my feet, but rather an impossibly long mass of golden hair. It covered nearly every inch of the floor and furniture that lined the chamber and piled up in heaps at the walls where it could grow outward no further.
At the very center of the chamber was what appeared to be an enormous bed, though it was somewhat difficult to tell exactly what it was beneath all that hair.
Upon the bed sat what seemed to me to be a woman clearly the source of all the hair, sitting upright and humming the sweet melody that graced my ears as she brushed the long hair that obscured her face and body entirely with a brush that was rather laughably unsuited to the task. Her hands looked human enough, dainty and delicate even. Her nails were painted a deep red and on her finger I could make out the gleam of a golden ring bearing the emblem of a stag.
I opened my mouth to try and speak to her, but no words passed my lips. Instead I would gag and cough as I felt something rising at the back of my throat, and the sensation was so intense that I fell to my knees unable to breathe.
When I opened my mouth to vomit out whatever bile had built up in the back of my throat however, I looked on in horror as a long, thick length of hair fell passed my lips and when I looked down at the floor beneath me at the hair covering the floor, I saw that it no longer appeared pristine and soft, instead it was ragged and filthy.
Bits of broken glass, sticks, twigs and what looked to me like the dead bodies of small animals in varying stages of decay were tangled and threaded throughout the mass of hair. Some of them were sickeningly fresh, while others looked as if they had been dead for quite awhile.
When I looked up through bloodshot eyes at the person on the bed from where I knelt choking and vomiting hair onto the floor, my eyes were greeted by the sight of long black claws attached to deathly pale hands reaching out towards me and a pair of ruby red eyes that glowed like the fires of Hell itself staring into my very soul from beneath all of the hair.
A chillingly indifferent voice whispers into my ear, and then I awoke from the dream in a cold sweat.
I tried to dismiss the dreams at first. I rationalized them as manifestations of my grief and did my best to move on with my life in the woods. Eventually though as the months passed and my nocturnal torment continued unabated I found myself recalling my father’s dying words more and more whenever I looked out at the ominous stone tower in the distance. When I couldn’t tolerate the madness any longer, I set out one morning into the wilderness beyond the cabin with a decent sized pack of food, and my father’s mysterious box in search of the path of white stones he had spoken of.
As I journeyed past the tree line deeper into the woods, I found that my surroundings became darker and darker with every step that I took despite the fact that it was early morning, until only a few faint rays of sunlight penetrated the dense canopy of the trees above and the path forward was shrouded in near complete darkness, to say it was unnerving did not do enough justice to the cold dread that began building in my stomach as I walked.
Another thing that struck me as unsettling about this part of the woods was the utter silence that filled it. One expects to hear all kinds of sounds out in the woods whether they are made by animals, insects, or even other people. But not in this part of the woods. I could hear almost nothing at all, not even the solitary chirp of a cricket. It was this deafening silence that kept me from noticing the ravens for quite awhile.
They sat perched in the high branches of the trees along the path following me with their coal black eyes as I went and made not a single sound as they did. There were dozens of them at least, and their presence unnerved me all the more when I recalled my father’s words.
“ The ravens are her eyes.” He had told me.
I found myself wishing that I had asked him to explain more that night. Who did he mean when he said “her eyes?” Was he referring to the woman from my dreams? Who was she? Was it she that had so tormented my father’s dreams as she now did mine? Was she the inexplicable evil of the Tower of which he had so often spoken? It seemed obvious that she was, though such knowledge did little to explain who she was and what exactly her grievances with my family could have been.
After walking through the dark of the wood for some time, I found myself enveloped in a deep white fog that shrouded the path forward and very nearly obscured my vision entirely.
I didn’t see the path of white stones father spoke of at first, I felt it. Felt the soft soil of the earth beneath my feet abruptly change into the hard, cold surface of a stone, and I followed it until the mists that filled my vision thinned just enough for me to see the narrow line of flat white stones that led further into the dark wilderness. To my eyes, they did not appear to have been there unnaturally, and by that I mean they didn’t seem man-made. I saw no obvious tool marks or signs of excavated or displaced dirt that would lead me to believe they had been placed there recently. Despite this each stone was smooth and polished and fit perfectly with the next one in the line like pieces of a puzzle. I followed this path until all the familiar traces of home were far behind me, and I was alone in the silence and the fog.
I don’t know when the madness first began to set in. the memory comes back to me now fragmented like a dream half remembered. I recall pressing forward down the path determined to reach its end, when I began to see human-like silhouettes in the fog all around me, floating in the periphery of my vision, whispering to one another.
I couldn’t make out exactly what they were saying in the beginning, the further I walked however, the clearer their words became. They whispered of my father and his suffering, of a nameless shame that had followed him to his grave, of my own failure to comfort him in his dying moments, and of a gruesome and horrible death that lay ahead of me. I tried to ignore them, but they would not be ignored.
They floated above and around me as I walked, speaking in great detail of everything that kept me up at night. Every failure, every doubt that has ever wormed its way through my skull, every fear and insecurity that kept me from experiencing life in the fullest was known to them and they used them like razor sharp daggers against me.
Were it not for my father’s old box, I have no doubt I would have lost myself in the fog. It began to shift and jerk around in the pack I had placed it in the further I went down the path as if a small animal had somehow found its way within.
In a fleeting moment of clarity amidst all the whispers, I took the box out of the pack and held it in front of me, releasing the small latch at the front of it as I did, and watched in amazement as the braid of hair that lay within rose out of the box, and reached forward like a long, disembodied finger pointing into the pallid depths of the mists.
I walked in the direction the hair pointed to almost as if I were in a trance only vaguely aware of my surroundings as I did. It was the sight of the Tree of Many Faces father spoke of that brought me back to reality.
It sat in a clearing devoid of other trees, and further distinguished itself from the other plant life of the forest with its massive size and the fact that it quite literally had countless human-like faces etched into its bark. Some were worn and ancient looking, others looked freshly carved, but all of them looked sad. At the center of the trunk directly at eye level with me, was the largest of the faces that resembled a bearded old man, and below that face lodged into the base of the trunk I could make out the gleaming head of the hatchet father had spoken of.
With some trepidation, I slowly made my way into the clearing and over to the tree, where I then took hold of the axe with my free hand and pried it from its resting place. I nearly toppled over with terror when a deep sigh came forth from the mouth of the tree’s largest face in response.
The ancient branches of the tree swayed in the wind as the face’s hollow wooden eyes opened and gazed upon me, and the hatchet in my hand, before the tree itself spoke to me, saying only a few words that expressed centuries of sorrow.
“ Please little one, finish it.”
It begged before closing its eyes once again and falling silent once more. I needed no more persuading at this point. The truth of my father’s words was clearly evident to me now, as was my mission. With the box in hand and the hatchet at my side, I pushed onwards toward the dark spire in the distance with a renewed sense of purpose and strong desire to put down whatever evil had cast its shadow upon my family. As it would turn out, my new found enthusiasm would be short-lived.
The forest was treacherous at the best of times, and the closer I seemed to get to the tower, the more turned around I got. Just as father had said, the trees themselves seemed to conspire against me. They defied my every attempt to use them as landmarks. I would carve an “x” into the trunk of one only to find it missing when I turned around. Sometimes, I would see the same tree in an entirely different spot than when I first laid eyes on it. This paired with the all consuming fog that seemed to cover everything the closer I got to the tower made navigation almost impossible.
The hair in father’s box however remained consistent. Whenever I would open the box, it would show me the way forward. After several hours of wandering, my destination, and thus the end of my journey came into view.
The Tower was much larger than I had first believed. It stretched upward into the night sky like a jagged blade jutting out of the earth and nearly reached the clouds. It was majestic in a way, a gothic display of architectural brilliance and perhaps arrogance as well. I could only imagine the ambition and work it must have taken to produce such a structure. The task of climbing up to its peak was daunting just to think about, and I hadn’t even made it past the dense field of thorns that lay between me and the Tower’s base.
I don’t know how I didn’t die in that place. The journey through the thorns was more painful than anything I had experienced up to that point. The way forward was cramped and narrow, and the thorns seemed to reach for me with a vicious will of their own.
Each one was like a barbed hook digging deep into my flesh and refusing to let go. My clothes were torn and my spirit nearly broken when I finally crawled out onto the other side broken and bloodied. Perhaps by luck, or perhaps by the will of the Gods, I had made it to that wicked Tower, just as father had asked of me. But my woes were far from over. Fatigue weighted on me like a boulder, and anxiety over what I had to do next filled me like a wave of icy water as the blood from my wounds seeped onto the ground around me, I was so exhausted.
I must have lapsed in and out of consciousness several times by the time the ruby rays of the morning sun began to light up the sky above me, and the melody that haunted my dreams filled my ears. It was sweet and welcoming, and spoke to the deepest parts of my soul, as if to remind me of a joy I had long since forgotten.
I rose to my feet at the sound it, and with all of the strength I could muster, I shouted the words my father had spoken to me on the night of his demise.
“ blood of my blood, let down your hair!”
A short moment later, a wave of golden hair cascaded down from the Tower’s peak like rain from the heavens, and settled at my feet. I knew what I had to do next, though admittedly I did so reluctantly. I took a hold of the hair as if it were a rope, and upon doing so, I felt a surge of herculean vigor the likes of which I had never felt before, and climbed. Climbed for hours up the side of that stone monstrosity with singular purpose. I climbed until the sun was high in the sky and the air that filled my lungs was thin and cold. I didn’t know what awaited me at the top of the Tower, only that I had to reach it, if not to avenge my father than to put an end to my own nightmares, and those of all who had lost themselves in the fog in search of this accursed place.
When I reached the peak at long last, I found myself on an extravagant balcony of polished obsidian. Before me was an open door from within which the hair seemed to grow like vines.
The lullaby was much closer now, I could hear it coming from close by, and with the hatchet in hand, I proceeded through the door.
What awaited me within was a sight much more ghastly than anything from my dreams.
Worn, weathered, and broken furniture lay scattered about all around what once must have been a regal bed chamber, and the thick, pungent stench of rotting flesh hung in the air like a dark cloud. At the room’s center was the bed from my dreams, but rather than a single woman alone upon the bed there was instead a trio of corpses at it’s foot . The first was vaguely recognizable as that of an old woman. It wore a tattered silk robe embroidered with glyphs and symbols beyond my understanding, and on one of the fingers of it’s skeletal hand, I spied the ring imprinted with the emblem of a stag from my dreams, glowing a deep red as if by some form of sorcery.
The other two corpses were clearly that of two young children. I couldn’t bear to look at the sight of them for more than a moment, but the true horror of that room was on the bed itself.
Upon the bed I saw a haggard and pale looking woman thrashing about like a wild animal, trapped in bindings fashioned from her own impossibly long hair. It wrapped around her arms, legs, neck, and also the bed posts. She clawed at it desperately trying to escape. In just the few moments I had been in the room, I saw her rip her hands free with her own teeth, and then desperately try to tear herself away from the bed by pulling her own hair out by the fist full, to no avail. No matter how much she tore out, it would grow back before my eyes in moments and the bindings would re-tie themselves. It was as if the woman was a prisoner of her own hair.
She stopped abruptly when she heard me approach. As I got closer, she turned her head to face me with her crimson red eyes to the best of her ability given the state she was in, and spoke to me in a voice that was sweet, sincere, and uncomfortably familiar.
“ Blood of my blood, welcome home! I’ve waited so long to see you again.” she said.
“Who are you?” I asked her, sounding much more timid than I intended.
“ You know who I am child, you’ve always known. I am she who gave you life, she who watches over you from above and she who sings to you in your dreams.” she replied.
“ You mean to say you are my mother?”
I asked her as the implications of her words shook me to my very core.
“Come closer so I may look at you.”
I stepped forward slowly keeping my hand on the hatchet at my side as I did.
“ You have your father’s eyes.” she said with reverence as I approached.
“ What is going on here? Why are you… like this?” I wondered aloud despite myself.
She gave out a long sigh before she replied.
“ A curse of betrayal, blood of my blood. perpetrated upon me by my own mother, and your father.” she said with growing bitterness in her voice as she gestured over to the corpse of the old woman at the foot of the bed.
“Why would they do something like this to you?”
“ Out of fear little one.”
“ Fear of what?” I asked with growing incredulity
“ Fear of power, fear of their own weakness, fear of me.” she hissed before her voice quickly snapped back into a sweet, motherly tone.
“ But none of that matters anymore, blood of my blood, you’re here now and the betrayers are dead. You can return my ring to me and set me free, so I can give you the life you were meant to have that they stole from you.” she lamented
“ And what life was that?”
“ The life of a king, of royalty among royalty. You are the heir to power the likes of which this world has never seen, release me and I can show you!” she promised.
“Who are they? I asked, gesturing over to the child corpses.
She deflected the question
“ What does it matter blood of my blood? They are dead and gone, do not cry for them, for they will not cry for you.”
“My father wanted me to put an end to you.” I told her.
“ Of course he did, he was a coward, and would naturally want you to be a coward as well, but you are no coward are you? Set me free son, let things be as they should be.” she responded with calm assurance.
I’d like to say that I didn’t consider her offer at all, but that would be a lie. Though she seemed far from trustworthy her offer did have a certain appeal to it. My father was dead, all that awaited me back home was an empty cabin, and even though I wanted to deny it, I knew in my heart that this thing whatever it was, was the only family I had left in the world. It made the decision I knew I had to make much harder.
“ You’re right mother, I’m no coward.” I told her as I raised the hatchet and plunged it into her neck.
She let out an agonized scream that shook the tower to its very foundations. Pitch black blood seeped from the open wound in her throat and she glared up at me with those fiery red eyes of hers for but a moment, before she chuckled at me as if I’d just told her the funniest joke, revealing a row of rotten black teeth as the long strands of hair that constricted her tightened around her body as it began to wither before my eyes, until only her bones remained on the bed. All at once the wicked sense of foreboding that had overwhelmed me ever since I first stepped foot in the tower evaporated, and I felt more free than I ever had.
I could have abandoned all sense right then and there and danced for joy, but then a horrible realization struck me. I realized that in my zeal to avenge my father, I had killed the only person who could have known how to get back to the ground below. Without that accursed thing that had called itself my mother, I had no way of escaping the tower. It was the magic of her cursed hair that had allowed me to climb to this place to begin with and without it, I did not know if I could make the climb back down without falling to my death.
Her look of bemusement as she withered away made sense to me now, she knew what I now knew, and it amused her. It was perhaps her final act of spite against those she had terrorized for so many years. If she could persuade me to join her or kill me herself, she could condemn me to a slow death by starvation here at the peak of this awful place, far away from anyone who could help me and as it turned out, she very nearly had her way.
I can’t remember how long I spent screaming over the balcony for help until I was exhausted, or how many times I beat my fists against the walls and spit on her corpse as I paced the room desperately trying to think of a solution to no avail. Hours became days, and days became weeks. I did my best to ration the food and water stored in my pack to prolong my survival but eventually all of it was gone, and I found myself waiting to die. At the end of the third day without water, I had given up. I felt the cold unfeeling stone walls closing in around me from where I sat huddled in a corner farthest away from that awful bed and the demon that had died upon it, waiting for death’s embrace when the little ones came for me.
I dismissed the ghostly apparitions as hallucinations when I first saw them, as I believe most people would have. After all, who in their right mind would believe that a pair of children could have found their way up into such an awful place? It was impossible. But they stood before me nevertheless. A boy and a girl with soft expressions of pity painted across their young faces.
I asked them who they were and how they had gotten up to the chamber, but they did not answer me, instead they silently helped me to my feet in unison, and guided me over to the corpse of the old woman at the foot of the bed.
The girl then gently leaned down and removed the golden ring from the corpse’s finger, and placed it onto mine. I felt an unnatural warmth spread over me as she did, and life returning to my body with it.
I became something else in that moment, something that was still human, but at the same time not. Power the likes of which I’d never known before flowed through my fingertips and all feelings of hunger and thirst melted away. It became clear to me why my mother had so desperately wanted to be reunited with this ring, and I berated myself for not thinking of it on my own.
When I was strong enough to walk on my own again, I turned to the ghostly children that had been my saviors, and thanked them for their kindness. The first and last words they spoke to me was that that was what families did for each other before they both evaporated like the morning mists. I still find myself missing them some days.
I haven’t left the Tower since that morning, and that suits me just fine. With the ring in my possession, the tower was no longer a prison, but rather a fortress built with magic. The very bricks and mortar of the place are now extensions of my will, I can move about freely within it, and there was so much to discover. In the many years I have spent here, I have learned more of the world than most could never hope to. I have found a vast library on the nature and practice of sorcery within the tower’s walls the likes of which I doubt exists anywhere else in the world and have spent some decades committing it’s contents to memory. I have learned of this world and the one beyond, of curses and of medicine, of science and superstition, and of course of the prophetic power of dreams, I am everything my mother wanted me to be.
But I am not as cruel and petulant as she was, I am not a monster. I do not seek to rule or oppress anyone with the power I have collected in this place. It is my hope to protect this knowledge from people like her, as I know there are many out there in the world.
I dream of a day when I won’t have to anymore, when I can open this place to the people of the world without fear of terrible consequences. When that day comes, I have no doubt that it will be the happiest day in human history but that day is not today, and until that day arrives, I shall forever remain the patient guardian of this Tower in the Fog.