castle - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
The castle lay like an old man of the hill, the moonlight shone on his craggy, tumble down face. Moss clung in the shade of the ancient walls like a straggly beard. The once proud turrets had crumbled in places giving the impression of a disheveled party hat.
The cold damp air wrapped around him like a heavy coat of chain mail as he descended the tight spiral staircase to the dungeons. In the absence of flaming torches the dimness gave the impression of twilight despite the heat and brilliance of the late July afternoon outside.
There was just nothing right about the scene. Carlos passed the binoculars to Lisa so she could see for herself. The ancient grey walls of the castle were juxtaposed with the smooth aerodynamic steel of the stealth bomber and the sleek profile of the jaguar F-type parked on the grass. Going in now was risky, inside the circular towers could be any number of adversaries with any kind of weaponry. They could be picked off by sniper from the top most ramparts or from the narrow windows. And what could they do? These places were designed with defence in mind, a clear vantage point over the surrounding farmland and a stagnant moat with retractable draw-bridge. Carlos snatched back the binoculars, the drawbridge was new, reinforced steel under the wood, the chains were coated in plastic and then attached to an electric winch. He reached for his radio only to hear a soft click behind them, "When is MI5 going to invest in anti-infra red suit technology? You glow like the worms you are."
The old castle stood on a rugged slope, moonlit snowdrifts piled against half-ruined walls, the windows dark and gaping. It's battlements glistened with ice in the crystal cold air, their ragged outlines blending into the rocks behind.
The castle crumbles in slow motion, slower than the eye can detect even over a lifetime. Only the sun and the moon themselves witness the steady deterioration of these abandoned turrets and ramparts. This castle, once the life blood of the low-lying regions that stretch horizon-bound from these hill battlements, is where we stop for the night. Within walls that have defied eons our safety isn't guaranteed but enhanced and there is some protection from the driving rain that threatens to come. Cosied to the frigid walls we can at least forget the biting winds for a time. What is one night to a ancient house of nobility such as this? Is it even the same as a second in our lives? I don't know. What I do know is that tonight we are the lords, the ladies, the peasants and the knights. We are the masters of this castle for a blink of Old Man Time's eyes, a camera flash in the cosmos. We are the beneficiaries of builders so long ago they feel like unlucky characters of fiction, caricatures of history.
The castle is more ancient than any bone left in the soil. The once smooth rock is pitted and scarred. This old man of the hill knows how fleeting time is, how soon the present becomes the past and the important becomes the irrelevant. In this hallowed and ancient site the trees have seen the centuries blow past in the winds of each season and witnessed the folly of our struggles.
Walls stand mute, water awaits the call of the wind to ruffle and move as molten glass of deepest green. Grey stone rises from the land, unapologetic and bold to defy entrance and protect what has been entrusted to their care. Below the uneven patches of grass are arrowheads of old, hilts of broken swords and armour that failed to protect.
Beneath the chorus of the birds I hear the voices of old, the clash of metal on metal and the pounding of horses hooves. I stand where knights stood, see what kings, dukes and peasants saw. In this pale light, were it not for the tell tale signs of weathering, it could be almost any century in the past seven hundred years.
There was a time I avoided Bodiam. God knows the bloodshed that has been on the castle ramparts and soaking into moss covered ground these past centuries. Not anymore though. I've come to crave the experiences of nighttime, when the stars kiss the sky, decorating the heavens above like the most exquisite jewels. Beauty beyond human creation, all for simply raising you eyes instead of watching the timid footfalls that take me toward the aging drawbridge.
It was here I discovered my thirst for life after sunset, seeking ghosts and whatever else prefers the world without the glare of the sun. In this shadowless black my ears are perfect, my senses heightened. The once glorious castle has succumbed to the weather of countless years, the cold grey stone stoic in each storm. Once I stand with boots upon damp wood, I kneel to take in the watery aroma. In the clamour of the day it is lost beneath the hubbub of the tourists, yet now it is the heady scent of summer, so different from the winter chill.
Perhaps once I would have staked across these planks caring for the noise I made, but no longer. Now each step is soft and soundless. The the iron grille I curl my fingers around the metal that has already leached the heat of the day into the air. It is quite cold. There is something about the lack of others that allows me to imagine - for my creative mind to surge with new ideas. In those precious extended moments poetry comes as if from the ether, in full form without struggle, arriving as thick as arrows on a committed foe. But this is no war.
History blows in the soft breeze and calls from the skyward bound walls. In these nocturnal castle rambles, I can loose myself and find inspiration. What else can a writer ask for?
The trees surrounded the caste like great armies defending their citadel. Their armoured trunks reached out in the air protectively. This great expanse of green enhanced the castles eerieness and buety as its porticullos made out of hard iron guarded the passage. Senitels silently walked the walls keep two eyes watched. The circle towers had a spiralling stair case. The stair case made it awkward for invaders to fight upwards. The steps were also uneven so the defenders had an advantage. Great mighty pride trebutchets stood with legs on towers ready to unleash their hinged fury. The grey stone seemed eerie in the night as it enhanced its beuty with the radiant moon shining down guiding it by its face. The keep drew the attention as turrets take root and grew like trees.
The crumbling cracked rocks were layered on top of each other, caked with mosses and dried up blood. The sea was wailing like a mother in agony, battering its waves against the rocks.
Spooky doesn't quite cover it and eerie is an understatement. In the shadow, cast by castle walls thicker than my arm is long, a chill creeps over the uncut grass. The scent of late fall is laden into those gusts that push impetuously against the sentinel stone. Every flutter of a leave catches our attention, sparks our minds to turn faster, loosening their tenuous grip to the agreed upon version of “reality.” Before we leave for the cover of the forest tree-line, walking with purpose through the dwindling light that remains, we bury a GPS chip. The radius is pitiful, but if we lay them like electronic breadcrumbs the other runaways will come, follow us to whatever is at the end of this journey.
If this fort of stone, built on blood and bone, could talk, you'd beg for deafness. Though I cannot hear the whispers of the ages, tales of lives lost and deaths of agony no-one should ever feel, they remain cloistered in the castle dungeons and echo around staircases of twisted rock. So much to say and no ears willing to hear, no soul willing to feel the torment that lies within. I am no different. I turn my head to the breeze and stand on flora barely weeks old. The past is a forbidden land and its people's trials are over. In future times, when gravity has mastered this place, humbled it to no more than pebble and crumb, we too will be in that hour-glass that is now. For tonight the old hearth, the place that once whole ox's turned will be my chamber before I trudge onward in the morn. Until then it is silence I wish to soak in, anything else portends to danger and I have markedly less interest in ideas of chivalry than those knights of old. This is the place the song told of, this is the trail of the runaways of Stevenson.
The fortress of Galley is a fine castle, built with a panorama of the surrounding land. From the towers once stood medieval watchers, quiver and arrow ready to fly. Steadfast walls were built for defence in an age that was defined by jealousy, greed and the love of power as much as honour, nobility and loyalty to the crown. Past the iron gates that trapped would-be intruders, lives of servitude were eked, safe from battle-axe and ballista alike. This castle stood to inspire awe in a realm run on deference to royalty, to title and social status. From cloistered rooms land parcels were given to lords for promised service. In times when "technology" meant wood, string and metal armoury, the expectation of comfort was reserved for just a few. It was a world of subsistence living for all but the mighty who guarded their kingdoms of tax payers. So long as they sang the right songs of protection, of greatness, of manifest destiny - they would grow rich for generations to come. So when my eyes befall the grandeur of the weather-beaten stone and hear the wind in the trees, it is an ode to the selfishness of genes I hear. Whispering in the grasses are tales of peoples set against one another in war by an aristocratic class perpetually enriched by the conflict.
Castle walls rise out of the darkness, out of the silent charcoal curtain that is the dawn. They are pitted and forlorn, no longer the bastions of protection and glory that they were. Under my fingers they stone is more rough than the callused skin of an old man and it leaves my skin cold, drawing dampness into my bones. It stretches away, disappearing into the black in every direction. The light is barely there, like a feeling that's difficult to get a grasp on. There is a temptation to hunker down here, to stow myself behind a narrow window and peek into the world appearing with the details of a finished canvas. Or else I can follow the river that should lie just beyond. I won't have the cover of darkness, but perhaps the lack of scent and prints to follow will tilt the odds of escape in my favour just enough. How quickly the dream of the runaway becomes a nightmare, but I'd rather be living this version of freedom than decades in the “safety” of the camps.
Towers, turrets, stone steps, massive oak doors, steeply twisting spiral staircases, ancient stone walls, circular rooms in towers, great hall for feasting, long oak table, rich tapestries of emerald green and gold hung on the walls, suits of armour standing guard, coat of arms, swords crossed on the wall, dank steps twisting down to dark dungeons, narrow passageways, windows like great slits in the thick walls, central open air courtyard, moat choked with weeds, colossal oak draw bridge on iron chains, reflection of castle in moat.
There is a castle over the way, beyond the river that divides the county. Before you clear the woodland the fortress dogs will bay to announce your coming. Should you be foolish enough to travel by night they will send huntsmen to ensure your quest ends before dawn. Delay until you are blessed by the rays of the English morning and the guards will at least grant you the right to speak. After that, my traveling friend, your guess is as good as mine. We keep to ourselves in these parts and them folk over there are no our kin. These are suspicious times and you my dear are stranger than most.
Within the remains of the castle is a dampness that does not belong to the air outside. Despite the courtyard being open to the elements the odour and humidity are quite different. The ground covering is sparse and those that grow are the shade-loving flora of broad leaf and juicy stem, interspersed with tufts of grass. It's a fine place to corral our horses overnight - freedom to roam without the option of running away. We sit, perspiring skin caressed by the cooler air, our bodies still feeling like they are travelling – rocking with the movement of our steads. The shade is a luxury after the summer heat. Tonight I will sleep like the king of this decrepit castle and execute my wrath on anyone intent on playing jester.
In the movies castles are no more impressive than any other stage set, in fact, less so for the lack of novel gadgets. If it's medieval, we've seen it all before. To see castles in real lift though gives some perspective to the vast amounts of time that have passed since their creation. Stones that will show no weathering in my lifetime have vertical valleys, rivulets for the seasonal rains. Castles aren't static as I thought them to be; they are less “buildings” now than “sculptures of nature.” Each imperfection is shaped by insignificant drops, none of them a match for the stone, but together sufficient to carve a joint legacy or organic art.
Just twenty miles north of the castle is a metropolis of metal and glass, concrete and asphalt. The people mill about, measuring their lives to the second, absorbed in salacious gossip and politics. But within the castle perimeter it is nonsense to measure time that way. The smallest division here is the rising and setting of the sun, the appearing and vanishing of the mighty battlements from the naked eye.
With my back to the stone, the roughness pressing into my skin, my daydreams are picture perfect - from low-res to high definition without the use of the recreational chemicals my friends imbibe nightly. History lives here with the ghouls and ghosts. Under the slivers of moonlight I've seen phantoms pass by, never once acknowledging my presence. But perhaps they are locked in another time, visible but somehow dislocated from the here and now. I'd rather be in these ancient walls, imagining, fantasizing, building “castles in the air” than sitting safely in smog. Haunted places are my sanctuary. How can I be scared of the dead when the living are so volatile?
On that ice world the ever-present cold was our nemesis. For every step forward we slipped backward almost as much. The wind made talking impossible, howling sharply. Crossing such a pristine desert was an entirely soulless endeavour, until we discovered something that defied belief. A white castle, growing like a crystal, sparkling just the same as any cut diamond, rose out of nothing to tower above us, disappearing into the freezing fog. Windowless perfection with a single entrance. We drew closer until all at once the four of us stopped as still as any statues the White Witch ever created in that land of Narnia. The wind was silenced like a scolded dog. Then not from the opening, but from the structure of the white castle came music in no form we had ever heard, in no language we could comprehend. Yet all at once our legs walked again, taking us within. You'd think the finest scientific minds would notice such a bewitched state, but we were moving as if in a dream. Nothing else mattered. No other thoughts came.
Back at the castle, the friends looked around at the hallway, carpeted with an indigo material with elaborate golden designs and draped with tapestries and dark cloths, making the whole place look regal (as it was supposed to).