Blood was its foundation. Blood was why it had been built and because of the blood was why it is my safe place. My stronghold.
Crystal are its walls, two hundred standards tall. Seamless are its stones. A thousand standards thick. No door.
The wall opens and closes at my demand and within them grows my garden. All the plants I love best. All the plants my true mother loved best, for it was she who had built the Citadel for me.
Her face is but a dream and her voice, like a breath of wind. It was so long ago. His face overshadows all, like a streaked nightmare. The Citadel is the safest place, where not even he can enter.
We had seen something he didn't want us to see. He hadn't even noticed me at that time. She had pulled me along with her; running, running until breath ragged in my throat and I could taste the metallic tang of blood. My heart beat so hard, I thought it would break me, but she wouldn't stop and dragged me along. Then she'd pushed me. Hard. So hard, I thought she was throwing me.
When I'd woken up, all I had seen was blood. Blood everywhere. Her blood.
Wandering, a kind farmer had taken me in. Clothed me, fed me, sheltered me. I grew up with his children and he made no distinction between us. At first. The farmer gave me more difficult chores because I would do them promptly. How well I truly did, I'm not sure. Sometimes, I would be away for days. Keeping sheep, mending posts, taking the animals to the Valley for summer. It kept me occupied. Made me forget that they had begun to shun me. Avoid me. Even the farmer began to look at me oddly.
One day, I came home from the Valley with the flock, only to find him waiting for me. The farmer's family had sold me to him. I ran, but could not hide. Fled, but didn't go far, because he was so much stronger than me. So much faster than me.
That is how I ended up deep underground. In a cell. Like a lab rat. He never even realised I was that child.
That is how when the tests first began, I found that I had an impenetrable Citadel. Founded in love, built upon blood.
I still have nightmares. I still dream that Maguiren is coming for me, waiting, even though I know he is no more. It was because I wanted to lay my darkest fears to rest that I had returned to the Eastern Kingdoms. Yet... the Dark Shadow still haunts the halls of my nights, prowling outside my Citadel walls. Somewhere. Waiting.