The Rising of the Palace
by Enthusiastic Fish
Based on Poe’s “The Haunted Palace”
Prologue: The Haunted Palace
In the olden Time, long ago...
Two men stood together, meeting secretly atop the highest tower, looking out over a domain that would soon fall. Both knew it, but one still held a desperate hope of recovery.
“It is too late, now.”
“It cannot be too late. It is never too late.”
“Until now. See for yourself what has happened to this valley. Where once we could look and see the green from the fields and the blue of the rivers and all were happy and safe, now, all I see is misery, decay and corruption.”
“What one sees in a moment does not have to be what is seen in the next moment. I cannot accept that all is lost.”
“You cannot accept it because you feel it will reflect poorly on you.”
“No. It is because my father is the one who has done this.”
“It is not your father.”
“You speak of an evil thing.”
“Not many believe such things exist.”
“You have seen him. You have seen his eyes. You know that it is an evil thing, not your father.”
“It is my father’s face, my father’s voice.”
“It is his body, but not his soul.”
“I cannot allow him to destroy the valley.”
“It has already done so. The best thing would be to flee before it realizes that you still live.”
“I cannot run.”
“There is no other choice. Left alone, it would die. Those who survived the destruction have already fled.”
“I will kill it.”
“It is evil, but it cannot be killed. The only thing that can cure corruption is infinite purity. Otherwise, the corruption will simply spread to the pure. You cannot kill it.”
“You may leave, but I will not.”
“You must. If you die, the house will fall.”
“If I leave my father here, there is no house worth preserving.”
The red sun sank beneath the horizon, plunging the decaying valley into darkness. The two men stood together in the deepening gloom.
“You will not be persuaded?”
“Then, allow me to do this one thing for you.”
The man turned and waved his hand over the younger man’s face. In a moment, the younger man froze, his eyes widening.
“If I cannot force you to leave this valley, I will ensure that your soul cannot be stolen as was your father’s. Porphyrogene, your soul is your own. No man, nor beast, nor demon can take it from you. I endow you with the power to escape your body should one take possession of it. You will not die with your body. Your soul will escape the power of the evil one who would take it. The good of this land will live on in your soul.”
Then, he waved his hand in front of the man’s face once more.
“What will you do for me?”
“Wish you well.”
The man smiled and the two embraced.
“May your wishes become truth.”
They separated, and the older man knew that his wishes would only become lies. He left the valley. His presence would only endanger a wider area and both of them knew it.
When he reached the end of the valley, he looked back at the palace, his eyes full of tears. He could see the movement within the palace and when the burst of power washed over him, he knew what the result was. He prayed that his blessing had indeed saved the soul of the heir.
Head bowed, he spoke a last few words.
“Ah, let us mourn!- for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!”
Then, he left the lost valley behind.