The Drawbridge

"Are you the man who works this drawbridge?" She asked. Her face was sunburned, the lids of her eyes tired, her lips tight with determination, holding an expression that betrayed a tale of recent toil. But this could not hide an innocent beauty those pure eyes held. He gaze hit Gword like a shockwave, startling his heavy heart back to life.

"Ex-excuse me?" Gword stammered, releasing the hilt of his dagger.

"The Drawbridge. To Devil's Helmet? Do you work it?"

Gword laughed nervously, those word sounded so wrong coming her. Someone this lovely could not be destined for such a place as hideous as this pit he guarded. Perhaps she was lost! But she had in fact referred to it by name...but still she couldn't mean to travel there.

"Yes." Gword said, forbiddingly.

"Will you lead me to it?" The young woman asked, after a pause.

"No, what business draws you here?"

"That affair is my own."

"Tell me woman, do you know of the land you seek?"

"I've heard enough to find it haven't I?"

"And still you seek to explore it's grounds, maybe you do not believe the tale and wish to satisfy your curiosity by visiting it yourself. I can account for the horrors myself. This is no place to go exploring whimsically. Believe me when I say--"

"Good sir, know this: you can't dissuade me." She gave a sad smile. "Your confirmation of this fantastic myth that I was reluctant to believe has only increased my need to put end to a legend of my own."

"Now--"

"WHENEVER you're ready." She said with finality. Her voice was strong but her gaze wavered fearfully. Gword gave a dissatisfied nod and took a step back from her. He lead her to the door of the tower. He could see the mental fight she waged as she forced each foot through the sand that sought with each sinking step to protect her from this pit. But something even stronger drew her. Gword shook his head with frustration as he let her pass into the tower. Would Devil's Helmet not cease in its quest to consume everything beautiful?! First his love, then his best friend and now this woman propelled to an unfit fate.

"There are only three types of people in Devil's Helmet, The oppressed, the oppressors and those who love the chaos. You don't belong here." Gword said firmly. "I won't let you through."

"Your job is to let people through, you're a gatekeeper. Charge a fee if you like but you can't stop me from going through!"

"What good will your money do me? I’m chained to a rock in the middle of the desert by the ruler of the land you seek. But I can protect you them, keep you from here!"

"No one can! Now lead the way."

Gword laughed quietly, sadly, at her persistence. He led her to the only door in the bleak room. A black door covered in a thin layer of grease.

"I've half a mind to demand the reason that draws you here." He said taking the ring of keys from his hip and pushing one key into the rusty lock.

"And the other half?"

"It say's I don't want to know." He pulled open the door onto a wall of impenetrable darkness.

"I'd listen to the latter." Girl gave a humorless smile, keeping her gaze from falling on to the darkness behind the door. Gword took a  lamp from off the wall and pumped the switch until a flame breathed to life inside. He held the lamp high as he step into the darkness. The young girl followed him.

He closed the door, darkness incased them. The warm lamp light fell on to the wooden plank below their feet. Gword handed the lamp to the lady.

"Hold this." He reached over to the wall to his left and pumped a brass lever several times.

"Aaaahh." The girl cried jumping back, as the wooden plank under her shook and fell a couple of inches below ground level.

The End

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