She walked the ramparts, admiring the view of the valley below. In the far distance, she could see the latest version of Swamp Castle rising once again from the wreckage of the previous version. One of these times, they might manage to have sunk enough stone into the swamp to make a castle stable. But probably not this time.
She had to admire their stubbornness, though. The family had been at it for generations, hauling stone from quarries farther and farther away in their quest to build on their nearly worthless estate.
It made as much sense as her situation, stuck as one of many young beauties held ageless in her well-concealed and invisible castle until a prince should find it. After a century of watching her neighbors sink into the swamp, she was certain she was doomed to watch for centuries more.
Watch as castle after castle fell over, burned down, and sank into the swamp.
Watch as none of the handsome young neighbors gave up their fixation on castles in the swamp to notice her or her sisters thanks to Raven’s meddling.
The last prince to pay any attention to matters outside of his swamp had been cursed to roam the land shunned by all as he turned into a werewolf every full moon. The beastly curse was almost broken when he stumbled into the forecourt of her castle, but then he panicked and fled. That was two swamp castles ago, and none had come as close since.
After seven tries, Sydney found the secret to opening the tower. But by that point, Raven had completely lost interest, and was busy arguing with herself from several openings in the parapet. Sydney was a tad nervous about actually entering the tower that seemed so willing to entrap people, so he finally gave up and picked a different path.
Back on the main road, he continued towards the distant town. Which, interestingly, didn’t seem any closer even after a day of walking towards it. That made him wonder just how far it was.
Right about then, he stubbed his toe on a rock at the side of the road. Looking closer, he realized it was a milestone, and that he’d seen more like them along the way. This one simply read “43”. No hint about units, or origin. He decided to look at the next one he encountered.
After nursing his stubbed toe, and a light snack while resting, he set off down the road.
He idly wondered as he walked what he would do if he encountered a fork in the road.