This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is from an unnamed, just-started WIP, with the placeholder name of “Bluebeard,” because it’s very loosely based on that fairy tale. Every year on the Winter Solstice, a sorcerer takes a sixteen-year-old girl as his bride, divorcing her and exiling her before he takes a new bride the next year.

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Everyone carried on like it was a great sacrifice, but it wasn’t, not really. Yes, a girl was carried off at sixteen to marry the sorcerer, but farm girls married younger all the time. And yes, he was old—my grandmother remembered him taking brides when she was just a girl–but  plenty of brides married older men, and at least he still seemed young and handsome. And yes, after a year he divorced and exiled his bride, and the unlucky desperate ones who tried to return found the land turned against them.

But during that year the sorcerer kept them in his tower, they learned dance, art, music, or honed whatever skills they came to the marriage with. They emerged as ladies, with manners and knowledge, fine clothes and jewels. And most importantly, they kept all those gifts and a hefty dowry, enough so that even divorced, they had their pick of husbands, or never had to marry at all.

It didn’t sound so bad to me.

*    *    *

This story is very loosely based on Bluebeard. The sorcerer is cursed, and the brides are caught up in the curse, though the nearby villagers don’t know how or why. He performs some yet-to-be-determined service, which is why they’re not chasing him out with pitchforks, but nobody really likes him much. And he’s a bit grumpy, himself.

 

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

30 responses »

  1. Kim Magennis says:

    Young, handsome, rich and refined. I wonder what the catch is? Very interesting story line. Looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.

  2. Caitlin , you weave a story so fascinating, I’m interested to see what happens next–always a good thing for both the writer and new reader.

  3. Frank Fisher says:

    Very intriguing snippet. I’ve never read Bluebeard, but I was able to picture the possible resemblance.

    • Bluebeard married (and killed) a bunch of wives, and handed each a key to a room where he told them not to go–a room where he hid the corpses. No killing here, but I do plan to work in keys and an investigation somehow.

  4. Eden says:

    Interesting… But the exile confuses me. Does it mean they can’t return to the land they’d been born to? Because, otherwise, what’s the use of gaining all those amazing skills to just be tossed away because you can’t be on land?

  5. Alexis Duran says:

    Not so bad except for that whole Bluebeard part! It sounds like he doesn’t murder his brides but I’m sure there’s something besides dance instructions awaiting her in the tower. Very intriguing opening.

  6. Sarah W says:

    I love the premise, and that he appears to be doing the best he can with the curse he was given.

    And also interesting that some of his former wives seem to want to return to him–or was it just to their families?

  7. Ed Hoornaert says:

    This is a great setup, Caitlin. Very enjoyable and easy to read.

  8. Gemma Parkes says:

    Oh, there is so much more to this than meets the eye! I’m hooked!

  9. Oh, I remember the Bluebeard fairytale! This sounds like a really intriguing twist on it. I wonder what the catch is for these poor girls.

  10. I love the premise and I’m figuring there must be some serious catch here, which is highly intriguing! Can’t wait to read more, great snippet.

  11. chellecordero says:

    Extremely compelling, certainly makes me curious to read more.

  12. Hmm, I don’t know what to think about this. Is she next? Is she trying to convince herself. Curious indeed, but I love it! Great work as usual.

  13. Carrie-Anne says:

    That’s a really interesting premise. If a marriage must be arranged, it helps if the potential husband is at least fairly young and handsome.

  14. I definitely want to read more. There must be something to end the bittersweet nature of his existence. Perhaps she’s the one to end his curse? Or…maybe she does something that ends his curse, but then she becomes cursed. Oh…sweet torture. During their year of marriage, they truly fall in love and he bares his soul to her, and in a self-sacrificial choice to end his curse, she accepts one in his place… Gosh, you could go so many different directions with this. 🙂 Good snippet, Caitlin!

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