The moon rises.

Chatterbox: Inkwell

The moon rises.

The moon rises.

You watch as a girl solidly in the awkward transition from childhood to adulthood stuffs her long hair into a newboy's cap. A young man, with eyes the color of charcoal and a head of thick curls does a double take.

She looks up. There is recognition in her eyes, you can tell. You don't stick around to see what happens.

The cobblestones are rough beneath the wheels of the carriages and the clopping of hooves. Even at dusk, this city is alive. You exhale loudly and watch your breath solidify into vapor in front of you. It's cold out tonight, solidly winter and everybody is excpecting snow tomorrow morning.

So you turn on your heel and enter the tavern behind you. It's loud and raucous inside, full of tipsy laughter and music and the sound of glasses clinking. Behind you, somebody whispers in your ear, so quiet you aren't sure you didn't imagine it, and when you turn around, there is no one to be seen.

This is a Castle, not a story, unless you make it one. You are in control, now.


This is, I think, the fourth thread of its kind (correct me if I'm wrong). I have not made any of the other threads. The Ultimate Guide defines a castle as "A disturbingly complex thread where a CBer makes up and describes a setting (any setting) under a name that matches the setting, like Forest Maker or Tavern Keeper. Other CBers sort of make up a story taking place in that setting (basically RPing, but you don't have to fill out any sheets) while guessing the identity of the person who made the thread."

Here is the link to the first Castle: 

The second: 

The third:


please enjoy :) 

submitted by A child
(February 4, 2023 - 10:03 pm)

Are you Jaybells?

submitted by Rora
(February 5, 2023 - 7:20 pm)

It has been years since I've last been here.

My eyes flit over the familiar doorway as I adjust the cap on my head. I wonder if the bartender would recognize me, sans dirty dress and the eleven-year-old air of knowing everything. It's funny. Last time I was here, a woman in trousers walked in and smiled at me. She called herself Leah. Three years really is such a long time. Now look at me: almost as old as she was then, with trousers and the look of having seen too much to match.

I look up to muttered cursing as a man barely past adolescence trips on the cobblestones, nearly missing being crushed by the evening rush of hoofbeats and wheels and harried adults. Idiot, I think, and somebody shouts it down at him in even more vulgar terms. He looks vaguely abashed, and then he locks eyes with me. 

It is almost as if time stops. But from the curl of his air to the embarrassment on his face it is him: my older brother, so brave and yet so unimaginably stupid.

"Ophelia?" I can see the disbelief on his face as he says my name. I stand up.

Somewhere behind me, I watch a figure disappear into the Tavern.

"Hello, brother," I say. "Drinks on me?" 

Even now, after everything, I can see the you're not old enough, Ophelia he's biting back. I'm not, in fact, eleven anymore, though. He half-shakes his head and half-sighs. "Okay, Ophelia," he finally agrees, shooting me a tentative half-smile. My brother always did like to do things by half.

I am unimpressed, and in three quick strides we are pushing open the doors to the Tavern and letting its noises fill our ears. This is a Castle, I remember the Tavern Keeper saying to me last time I was here. You are in control.


To those it might interest: my name is Ophelia. I am now almost fifteen years old. When I was small, barely five years old, my parents and I fled our wartorn village and moved around for months, trying to outrun the inevitable conflict. We reached a small town that was all too familiar a picture: fire, screaming, and blood. As the violence faded, the sounds of a child crying remained. My parents told me to wait in the forests beyond. They went in to find the child. My mother came back with a boy a couple years older than me instead of my father. Gradually, we became closer than most blood siblings. When I was nine, my mother fell ill and passed away. When I was ten, war came closer again, and my brother at hardly thirteen left me in the care of a relatively peaceful village to go fight. At eleven, I began my search, and for the past four years I have been looking for him.

Appearance notes: I am of average height for my age, perhaps a little on the short side. My dark brown hair is tucked into a cap, as previously mentioned. I am wearing a smudged white button up with trousers and suspenders. I have finally acquired a decent pair of shoes, which I don't particularly intend on giving up this time. A silver necklace, unbeknownst to you, is tucked into the collar of my shirt.

(side note: Ophelia's brother is welcome to be an NPC, but if anybody wants to RP him that's also fine!) 


@Rora: no I am not Jaybells. Also, anybody is welcome to participate in this---as it is, of course, designed to be an RP of sorts and not a solo write---under their CB name or a pseudonym!

General information about my character: I have participated in the two previous Castles and this post is a reference to those in a few ways. 

General information about this Tavern: I have meant for it to be the same Tavern as the one in the second Castle, but it's fine if the story progresses and ends up turning it into a different one, obviously. Like I said: you, the CBers, are in control now. Write the story. 

submitted by A child
(February 5, 2023 - 9:53 pm)

In my opinion, dusk is when the world truly comes alive.  The more modest folk return to their homes and tuck themselves into bed, but all the best and worst people come out when the sun melts below the horizon.  The sky is a soft pinkish orange hue, tinged with deep blue where it touches the earth.  Shadows are long and darkness has begun to creep from its reclusive corners.  This is my time to shine.  Literally, I think, laughing to myself as I strike my first match and raise it to the tall rod I carry with me.  I take my time along the cobblestone lane, one ear open to the raucous shouts and whispered secrets that fill the street.  Raising my flaming staff like some ancient witch, I light each and every streetlamp.

People, carriages, and horses all pass by.  None of them pay any notice to the lanky young person with a mane of curly black hair haphazardly tied back into a ponytail, wearing worn boots and an oversized coat, who lights the lanterns that illuminate their paths and keep them from the horrors of night.  To them I am just a lowly servant, simply a cog in the grand machine.

Before I move on to the next street, I decide to stop at a tavern for a drink or a bite to eat.  Well, not just a tavern - the Tavern.  I smile at the Tavern Keeper as I enter the building's dimly lit, warm atmosphere.  Once I've gotten my meal - a beef stew with a thick slice of bread and bottle of wine, if you must know - I sit down at a small corner table.  The crowd is large tonight.  I might be able to earn myself some pocket money.  With a snap of my fingers, a flickering golden flame materializes.

submitted by the lamplighter
(February 6, 2023 - 5:16 pm)

@the lamplighter, are you Artemis?


Days are such an odd concept, I think. They're a product of human's propensity to own things, to call natural phenomenons by artificial names and claim them for their own. They're arbitrary values, arbitrary words, merely containers for a bigger concept. A box for time.

Ticks and tocks, that's what I understand. I live in four dimensions. Time isn't a constant, a thing to box up uncreatively. It's a möbius, snake-twisting through space before it sinks it's venom-edged fangs into you with that unshakeable grasp humans have since named 'aging.'

But it's a Thursday, and I have nothing to do. I get a comfortable income from making clocks, tinkering in my workshop among the ticking of the time I try to measure, because every second is precious. I double as a mechanic if needed, fixing things for people, engineering solutions before their very eyes that take shape so quickly they call it 'magic.' Me, I call it 'time.'

I don't have any orders right now, so I'm heading to the Tavern for dinner.

Throwing open the door, and the dark room appears, silhouettes turning to look at my small frame. The tavern keeper is at the bar, polishing a glass. A woman and a man sit at the counter, drinking and talking. There's a man at a far end table, the lamplighter, eating by himself with a conjured flame to light his meal.

I walk over to one of the middle tables against the wall, the one with the candlestick that's angled wrong so it's shadowy, the one where I carved my initials near the ground when I was a little kid. The one where I can see everyone coming and going. The one where I feel safe.

I call the bartender over, and I order. 

submitted by the clockmaker, the Tavern
(February 7, 2023 - 11:34 am)

He peers over the edge of the table, glancing curiously at the flickering flame in the dark-haired person's palm. It dances like it has a mind of its own, and perhaps it does.

After a little while, he pushes his food aside, venturing to ask.

"How do you do that?"

The dark-haired person glances up, their eyes crinkling at the corners. "You want to learn?"

They move their hand, and the flame twitches with it, spinning around the cup and trailing the edge of the table, dangerously close. He could swear it looks like a faerie. He's used to seeing the charred ashes from after fires, and not the dancing flames itself.

"I'm afraid it's not a skill that can be learned."

He deflates, but shrugs. "But can it be imitated?" 

submitted by the chimney sweep
(February 8, 2023 - 8:52 am)

I am so cold. 

You say to make it my story; you say I am the one in control. You are mistaken. No one cares about us, the scum of the streets and the plight of the poor. Our dire straits are nobody's business. Outside of warm places, there is no hope. 

My reflection shivers convulsively in a tavern's windows as I stumble by. Solidly winter, indeed. I am so cold. 

Standing outside the tavern, I look in. My eyes unfocus and I stare at my reflection instead. My hair is chopped off unevenly, more brown than blond. My clothes swirl around me in the wind, more rags than garments. 

People enter the tavern. People in cloaks, lamplighters, sweeps. "Matches? Would you like to buy matches?" I ask. No one even glances at me.

I am so cold. "Matches are good for keeping you warm," I say, almost to myself. A bitter oxymoron for the wind to decide. 

"Help me," I whisper.  

submitted by The Matchstick Girl
(February 8, 2023 - 10:25 pm)

I, a medium-short almost-woman walks down the street, hands in pockets, head down, hood pulled up, wings and carefully hidded beneath cloak and antennae flat against head, hidden amoungst hair. I glance at the matchstick girl. I need matches. I lost my pack of them to the River.

I crouch down, eye to eye with the girl, and run a hand through my short, dyed hair, simultaneously pulling off my hood.

"I'd like to buy some matches, please." I notice the girl's fingers, turned bluish-white and numb by the cold. A sure sign of frostnip. "Oh, my, you look rather cold. Come into the Tavern with me, and I'll buy you some warm food."

submitted by The Assassin
(February 9, 2023 - 3:45 pm)

I push my bangs back, staring at the figure before me in wide-eyed astonishment. "Are you coming in?" they ask, opening the Tavern door.

All at once I nod, brushing away my natural caution and the snowflakes melting in my hair. I don't particularily like taverns, but the customer's words and the warm draft of air from the doorway have already won me over.

Inside the Tavern, the air is steamy and warm as promised. There are many people here, drinking off the day's troubles with slopping tankards of mystery beverages. We take a seat in the remaining corner. The light is dim, casting long stripes of shadows across the rough-hewn table. 

I want to say thank you to this person, whoever they are, but it's hard for me to say things like that. Instead, I lean slightly forward and withdraw packets from the inside pocket of my jacket. "You- wanted matches?" I say quietly. "One shilling."

submitted by The Matchstick Girl
(February 9, 2023 - 9:43 pm)

I nod, and fish a shilling out of my inner pocket, setting it down on the table with a snap, and I slide it across to her, accepting the packet of matches in return. 

"Many thanks." I say, then call the Tavern Keeper over. "A plate of hot food and a mug of drinking chocolate for the Match Child, please. And I'll have the usual. Oh, and could you bring over a bowl of heated water?"

While he brings the food and other stuff over, I turn back to the child.

"Now, lets see about those fingers. You've got frostnip, which is closely followed by frostbite. It isn't too hard to treat. You just need to keep your fingers in the warm water he'll be bringing until sensation return."

submitted by The Assassin
(February 10, 2023 - 2:20 pm)

The disappointment in his eyes is evident, but the chimney sweep simply shrugs.  He asks me if it can be imitated.  A curious question, I think.  I'm not sure of the answer myself.  It may be possible, but one would have to find another fallen star willing to pass on its light, the way I did.  I smile at the sweep. "Well, I don't know about that, but if you would give me your hand..." 

He does so, watching me with uncertianty and curiousity.  Carefully, I move the flame from my palm to the tips of my fingers, and then into his own hand.  His eyes widen as the small blaze flickers in his grasp.  It glows almost as brightly as it does when I hold it.  Curiouser and curiouser. "This - this is incredible," he murmurs.  The two of us sit there in silence for a moment, drinking in the soft, warm light.

The Tavern's door creaks open, and I glance at it.  When I do, my blood runs cold.  Their confident stride and long cloak are instantly recognizable.  The assassin stands at the Tavern Keeper's table, a shivering child by their side.  I curse under my breath, and the chimney sweep looks up at me as the flame in their hand vanishes into smoke.


I am not Artemis. @A child, could you be?

@The Matchstick Girl, are you Jaybells? 

submitted by the lamplighter
(February 11, 2023 - 10:29 am)

I nod to the Lamplighter as I pass their table. I am not here for them, at least not today. I am here to care for a poor child found on the streets, just as I once was.

Throughout my conversation with the Matchstick Girl, I keep one eye on the Lamplighter. I do not trust them.

Fluffy winds partially out of my sleeve where he was keeping warm and rests his head on my hand. I gently stroke his head with my other hand beneath the table.

submitted by The Assassin
(February 11, 2023 - 4:53 pm)

The Tavern Master returns, setting a deep bowl of warm water on the table. "Enjoy your meal," he says with great dignity, and leaves to clear the adjacent table of empty plates.

I look at the food, but the Assassin motions to the water first. I wriggle my fingers doubtfully and dip them in the bowl. Little pinpricks of heat shoot up my arm. "Mmph," I say. "The 'sensation' has definitely returned."  

"Put your hands in the water," the Assassin says, anchoring my wrist firmly in the water. I scowl and reluctantly submerge my other hand. With both hands thus occupied, I turn to the window. The wind is screaming like a demented phantom outside, and the snow has turned to sleet. 

When I look back, I see the Assassin taking a long side-glance at the Lamplighter's table.

"Where did you get all this profound knowledge of what-did-you-call-it- frostnip?" I ask. The Lamplighter is now looking back. Even across the room, their dislike is apparent. Questions begin to form in my mind like the bubbles in the hot chocolate beside me. "You seem to know this place?" I blurt. 


I am not Jaybells. Assassin, are you Golden Lion Tamarin? Lamplighter, are you Darkvine?  

submitted by The Matchstick Girl
(February 11, 2023 - 8:43 pm)

Not going to write right now, but just wondering how this works

submitted by Runaway princesses
(February 12, 2023 - 8:33 am)

I am neither Golden Lion Tamarin nor Darkvine! Nor anybody else who
has been named yet! It shouldn't be too hard to guess me if you pay
attention... The Assasin is modeled after a character who I use for a
number of other things.

Heh heh literally half of this post will be about my snake.


"I learned about frostnip and
frostbite during time I spent in the north. And when one travels often,
one gets to know many people. This Tavern is a wonderful safe haven, and
the Keeper is kind."

Satisfied that the Match Girl will keep her hands in the water, I retract my own hand, and reach under the table again for Fluffles, allowing him to slither onto my hand, and then lifting him up and placing him on my shoulder.

Fluffles, who I sometimes call Fluffy for short, is a juvenile corn snake. Corn snakes are constrictors, and not venomous, but Fluffles would never harm a fly regardless, unless I asked him to. He has brightly colored orange scales and a cream-colored underbelly, and he wears a blue and white snake-sized bandana. The bandana is enchanted, and both the snake and his bandana I got from a farmer in the south in return for killing a mud-beast that had been plauging her fields.

submitted by The Assassin
(February 12, 2023 - 2:26 pm)

*le gasp* Could you be Scuttles???  Also I'm not Darkvine!  Almost put my real name though, that would've been unfortunate.

submitted by the lamplighter
(February 12, 2023 - 6:16 pm)