Rielle was shunted off to the abyss at the very top of the castle. Her legs started to ache as she was pushed through yet another set of cold, stone steps, and her sight blurred at the constant view of the winding centre-construct. The bullies must have diverted her around the main quarters of the castle, for every room they had passed through had been blanketed and devoid of living. Rielle might have noted its lack of warmth, had the chamber she had first been thrust into not lacked that spirit all well. The whole castle was haunted by the cold.

When they finished their ascent, Rielle wanted to collapse, but still she was pulled onwards, past a ledge that held only one person at a time, to a large, wooden door. One of the kidnappers (for the two always seemed to guard her in unison), threw open the door and tapped Rielle so that she would have to step inside. They already knew she was petrified of them.

"Your room, miss," he slurred in a mock of a butler or something. Rielle backed away from him again, disgusted.

She missed her room at home. She missed the wood and the tones of colour that had filled her heart with ideas of adventures. Adventure stories were never like this; they were meant to be full of willing exploration and trekking through a forest of thick, leafy trees. In all her dreams, Rielle had never fantasised about being stuck, the damsel in a tower.

"Have a nice stay," the other crony crooned, before he slammed the door, the violent sound leaving Rielle to her pain.

She wrapped her hands around her stomach, falling to her knees in pure fear. The walls were endless in their circular state; Rielle studied them, peering through the bricks for any way of escape. The strip of mottled stone kept turning, and each part of the wall was exactly identical.

There would be nowhere to go if she escaped anyway. No way out of a tainted land. Rielle pushed herself off her knees, slightly nauseous in the position. The only sense left in her bedraggled mind told her to make the most of the worst.

Rielle sighed. It could have been worse. At least there was a mirror, albeit with a dirty crack through its face, hanging askew from one brick.

Yet...all this was little consolation for her life. No box of coloured fabrics in the corner could cause Rielle's heart to speed up. This wasn't home. She didn't even have the strength of will to investigate what that box contained. Apart from that, the only other objects in the room were a pot that spoke for its own uses and a pile of blankets stuffed with straw like a griffin bed. So much for luxuries. Rielle wondered whether the rest of the castle and home had been so barely furnished. That was hardly likely.

In one side of the tower-room existed a square cut out from the stone. As Rielle neared, she realised that it was the best this strange place could do for windows; although it oversaw the orange, barren landscape, the window contained no pane of glass.

She gripped the rough edge of the window, quickly casting her eyes down before a sickness set in that was due to the vertigo of the sheer drop that followed. She must have been almost as high as the clouds; faint wisps of colour seeped into her turret, causing her to shiver.

"Oh, Felix," she mourned, conjuring images of his gorgeous features, "where are you? What are you doing at this time of the day?"

Rielle lifted one hand, on which she leaned her chin. She let herself be swept away into the fantasy of being with the man, walking hand in hand, pointing out the beauty of their homeland. She didn't care if he was her teacher; surely love at its greatest traversed those boundaries?

Eventually, Rielle managed to pull herself away from the window-gap. She dragged her feet across the floor of the tower, over to the shapeless heap of blankets that substituted her childhood bed. Whilst they were not uncomfortable, she noted, it was not the same to crush herself down onto the floor, straw and floorboard inches from her nose. In what seemed like an age to her, Rielle finally found sleep amongst the tears that poured into a pool on the blanket, not ready to continue with this captured state.

The End

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