The castle spread out from an ancient center in a series of concentric circles decreasing in age. Each circle was separated from the others by stone walls--more labrynthine than fortress, clasping and overlapping like petals. Each wall was carved in fantastic bas relief showing scenes of the hunt. None was ever still.
The outermost ring depicted the FoxHunt. Costumed men and women armed with tiny bugles. Terriers made dainty attempts at capturing a thinking, reasoning prey. Within these walls was the library, the greenhouse, and a handful of tea-rooms overlooking a lawn. Here she read and studied and was left to herself.
The second ring was the StagHunt. King and retinue, faithful dogs and hawks. Bows and arrows, long-legged steeds, and a quarry that would rather run than hide. The killing blow was always left to the King--possession of land and beast unquestioned, even in stone. Within these walls were the kitchens, the gardens, the aviary. Here she walked the grounds with him and ate with him every night.
The third ring was the BoarHunt. Warlord and men at arms. Long lances, hounds like horses, horses like harts. Success was no certainty and more often than not the warrior king went abidingly to death--staked to the ground by a tusk and snout that demanded sacrifice. Within these walls was a wood and a hall. Here she danced with him, at first unwillingly, but he would always escort her back.
In the fourth ring, the Hunt was reversed. Men of stone, armed with stone, backs to a fire and eyes fixed on the descending pack. Here she did not go, but she could see the tops of oak and black pine over the wall and a host of invisible gardeners was always set to pruning the barriers.
The fifth ring was seen by only one and depicted no Hunt at all. Only a mass of creatures running, running. Some ran on four legs, some ran on more, and there were those that ran on two, but they were no less animal than the rest. Who is to know what this wall contained? It is only left to say that the roads that led inward were many and the road that led out was one. And when The Change came about he could not find any of them and he did not try.