finished (Chapter 1, that is)
I approached the coach quickly. The horses reared at the sight of my hooded figure. Rain poured heavily down on my black cloak. As I stepped in, a strange sense of foreboding became prominent within me. The man inside greeted me with a cold smile. I waved coldly back. He too bore a hooded cloak. His hood obscured his features, making him difficult to identify. "Mr. Tensal, glad you could make it. I was beginning to think you wouldn't show up," said the hooded man. "Well, here I am," I replied. "There you sit." The driver started the horses. With a lurch, the coach moved steadily forward. "Have you ever been to Chrevlmoore?" the hooded man asked. "This would be my first time," I said. "Might I make a suggestion?" he said, "Keep your distinctions between reality and the macabre very clear." I looked quizzically at the man. "For now, though, I wouldn't pay that much mind."
Time seemed to slow down as the castle grew in the horizon. The sky appeared to darker than it was when we first set out. I fell asleep, hoping it would make the remaining trip go by faster.
"Get up," the hooded man said with conviction. I rubbed my eyes and turned my head to face the coach window. It was still pitch black outside. The hooded man was the first to step out. I followed after him, boots sloshing in the mud below. He gestured for me to come near. I obliged. "Julius," he said, "quickly, go back to the coach and fetch my lantern. There are things that I need to discuss with you on our walk over." I went fast as I could, grabbed the lantern from beneath the man's seat, and ran back over. The hooded man pulled a match out from one of the folds in his cloak, and in one swift motion struck it and dropped it into the glass compartment. Under the dim glow of the lantern, he set off down the damp dirt road. I followed close behind.
The distance to the castle looked to be roughly a couple leagues. "We couldn't have taken the coach all the way there?" I asked, "The path looks smooth enough." The hooded man came to a stop. He extended his arm and pointed to the north. The wet cobblestone of a massive stone bridge glistened in the moonlight. "Too narrow to cross by coach. This leg of the trip must be done on foot." And with that, he began walking again. And again, I followed. "What brought you here, Julius? What compelled you to come to Chrevlmoore?" asked the hooded man. "My father," I began to explain, "was a pioneer in every respect. He moved the field of anatomy further than anyone else with his research. Chrevlmoore was like his home away from home. He spent most of his years living in that place. I only ever saw him when I was in primary school; he walked out the door without even a goodbye to Mother. I was under her care for most of my life. I suppose the father I once knew has been long dead, and whatever research he left in that castle will help me find out everything else about him."
“Ahhh,” said the hooded man, “so this isn’t just a simple scientific expedition, eh? No, this is a son’s journey to find his heritage.” “You could phrase it like that.” In our chatter, we had lost track of time. We hard arrived at the foot of the bridge. The sky cracked open, and thunder pounded at the valley. Rain began to pour down. “We should stop here,” said the hooded man, “we’ll set up camp for the night and start off for Chrevlmoore in the morning.” He took his pitching equipment off his back and began pitching our tent.
Once inside, the stranger removed his hood revealing the face of a firmly built old man. He had the appearance of a clean, well-kempt man, but his finer features suggested that he was an avid outdoorsman. What stood out in particular were his eyes. The left was a bright green, and the right blood red. “I don’t believe I’ve formally introduced myself. Robert. Robert Waters.” He extended his hand to shake mine. “Jul-“ I began to say. “I’m already familiar with your name, Mr. Julius Tensal,” Robert interrupted. “A pleasure,” I said, and I grasped his hand and shook it.
The lightning and thunder kept us up through the night. Neither of us could get to sleep with the ruckus around us. “I knew Arthur – your father – quite well. We worked together in that castle for years. He was brilliant, no doubt, but as with any man, he had his flaws. And his biggest…” Robert paused for a moment before continuing, “…was his ambition.”
I stared up at the roof of the tent for the next couple of minutes, thinking about what he had just said. “Mr. Waters, what do you mean, ‘ambition’?” I tried to say, but he was already fast asleep.