In my new YA fantasy novel Everdream, in the middle of the land of Tyernas, on a hill overlooking a wide river, stands its capital—the home of the king, Castle Cairdrist. Aside from the odd rare trip with his father, Cairdrist is the only place Kynan has ever known.
At first glance, Cairdrist looks much like any late medieval castle, but there are some important differences.
Built of limestone and granite imported from the sea coast, the castle looks grey most of the time, though in the right light it looks almost golden. It is built in a cluster of towers and halls, encircled by two protective walls with gates that stand open except in time of war. Its great hall is large enough to hold all of the great lords of the kingdom, and many common folk as well.
Kynan spends most of his time between the library, which boasts a large collection of rare books and scrolls, the training yard, where he practices his fighting skills, and his tapestried quarters. He enjoys watching the smiths work in the armoury, and he may also pay a visit to his father’s advisor, Lyr, in his offices. But he will only go to the throne room or his father’s private audience chamber if he is summoned there. Having grown up in the castle, he knows all the secret passageways that join all his favourite haunts, so he can slip from place to place without being observed.
But the place he most often visits, especially when he is in turmoil, is the Queen’s Pavilion. Centred in the manicured gardens within the inner wall, the pavilion is a domed rotunda carved and painted with scenes of a dream world. The dominating feature is a bed, where Queen Aderyn sleeps the Eversleep, attended at all times by four ladies in waiting. The king had it built for her when she first arrived at the castle, and often she would beg him to leave his throne to Dream with her, but he seldom did.
Now the Queen’s Pavilion only serves as a reminder to Kynan of all he has lost, and launching point for the adventure that will prove his worthiness to all the doubters.
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