They told of dripping stone walls in uninhabited castles and of ivy-clad monastery ruins by moonlight, of locked inner rooms and secret dungeons, dank charnel houses and overgrown graveyards, of footsteps creaking upon staircases and fingers tapping at casements, of howlings and shriekings, groanings and scuttlings and the clanking of chains, of hooded monks and headless horseman, swirling mists and sudden winds, insubstantial specters and sheeted creatures, vampires and bloodhounds, bats and rats and spiders, of men found at dawn and women turned white-haired and raving lunatic, and of vanished corpses and curses upon heirs.
Rainer Maria Rilke greeted and wrestled with the angels of his Duino Elegies in the solitude of a castle surrounded by white cliffs tall trees and the sea. I greeted most of mine in the solitude of a house that still vibrated with the throbs of a singular life that had helped shape many lives and with the ache of attempts to render useful service to that life. The River of Winged Dreams was therefore constructed as a link between dimensions of past and future emotions and intellect and matter and spirit.
Stories start in all sorts of places. Where they begin often tells the reader of what to expect as they progress. Castles often lead to dragons, country estates to deeds of deepest love (or of hate), and ambiguously presented settings usually lead to equally as ambiguous characters and plot, leaving a reader with an ambiguous feeling of disappointment. That's one of the worst kinds.