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Dear friends of latex,
we're bringing you another part of our twisted Christmas tale about Latexelf and his forced last adventure. Don't forget to read the previous parts, if you already haven't done that, and enjoy :)
It was barely noon when Latexelf spotted the towers of the wizard's castle. It seemed it wasn't that far far away after all.The gnomes tended to exaggerate everything, didn't they?
If I hurry up a little bit, I might be home by night, thought Latexelf, and he smiled dreamily as he walked up the paved road towards the castle.
It looked... right. From the foundations to the tip of the highest spire, the castle looked as if chiseled out of a giant single piece of black granite. There were scores of snarling gargoyles everywhere, a beautiful excess of gothic arches, as well as spiky contraptions made of twisted rods of black iron. Yes, this was exactly as an evil warlock's castle should look. Latexelf started to like its owner at once.
Strangely, there was a neat little park right before the castle itself. The trees were bare, of course, and covered in snow, yet all the paths were shoveled and someone even brushed the snow off all the benches and the stone rims of several frozen fountains. Latexelf was a creature of comfort himself, and here he saw the work of a kindred spirit.
I'll reach an agreement with this guy straight away, and get invited for tea afterwards, he thought.
He paused to gaze upon the castle for several moments, then walked through the park right to the gate. The doors were plated in black metal with thousands of spikes. Of course they were. Latexelf had to look for a spot there he could knock without getting his hand pierced right through. Then, all he could do was wait.
It took so long that even Latexelf started to consider it impolite, but finally, he heard muffled footsteps. Moments later, a figure clad in black armour appeared on a walkway over the gate. A black helmet with a closed visor peeked out from between the merlons. It made no sense but Latexelf thought he saw a surprised look flash over the cold metal. Men wearing nothing but long gloves and stockings clearly weren't regular visitors here.
„Yes?“ a voice said hesitantly from under the visor. A perfectly ordinary voice, not a wheezing wail of a long-dead warrior whose soul remained trapped within his armour, as Latexelf had secretly hoped.
„Well... I...“ Latexelf tried to remember his manners, which would've been easier if he had any. „Good... day... sir,“ he uttered slowly. „Could I... please... if at all possible... speak to the lord of the keep... please?“
„A moment,“ the helmet nodded, and disappeared. It was truly just a moment until the gate started to open.
Well, that's that, though Latexelf, and he bravely went in.
The vast courtyard was just as tidy as the park in front of the castle. Not a single snowflake lay on the pristine cobblestones... and there was nobody there.
„Hello?“ said Latexelf, quite unsure of himself. „Cursed armour man? Are you here?“
Latexelf didn't know what to do. First he pretended to admire the architecture, then he paced around the courtyard until he stopped to lean against a large fountain. The basin was empty, and there was a tall stone pillar in the middle with a statue of three large snakes on the top. Water would sprout from their open jaws in warmer seasons but now it was frozen. Instead of being filled with the sound of gentle splashing and bubbling, the courtyard was eerily silent.
That was until one of the stone snakes turned to Latexelf and said: „The master will be here shortly.“
„Thank you,“ replied Latexelf calmly, being particularly proud of that little feat. There weren't many who could boast of having a sudden heart attack but not letting it show.
Suddenly, he heard a thunderous stomp of many feet and a moment later, a small army of black-armoured men flooded the courtyard from all sides. They all looked alike, and Latexelf wasn't sure whether the one that met him at the gate was among them. He also wasn't sure whether going inside the castle was such a good idea after all. Now he was surrounded by dozens of armoured soldiers wielding some very nasty and very spiky glaives, volges and maces.
Only one differed from the rest, wearing a long cloak of some thick black material, polished like a mirror. This man, clearly a commander, stepped forward and pointed an accusing finger at Latexelf.
„You!“ he bellowed. „Here for the princess?“
„What?“ gasped Latexelf. „No no no, that must be a huge misunderstanding. I'm only here for the...“
„Dungeon!“ barked the commander, and his black-clad men rushed forward.
Latexelf only managed to scream „Mind the gloves!“ before someone bashed him over his head. Then, only the dark.
* * *
Photo: Marie Pracnová
Makeup: Geen Pagliacci