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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The tower had loomed large in our minds—and our sight—for the past week. The building the potential brides slept in was only a few minutes’ walk away from the clearing at its base, so we could see the tower stretching towards the clouds out every tiny barred window that faced it.

It didn’t help that the tower projected foreboding. The sorcerer hadn’t chosen the common, pale gray stone used for building anything you wanted to last, or even the rarer rose, black, or gold granites favored by the nobles. Instead, he’d found a strange, flat gray stone, like a smudge of charcoal, crazed with veins of black. Not a single tendril of greenery broke the expanse of stone. Nothing decorated the outside of the tower, either. Only a small shield, with his symbol, ivy growing from a split stone, carved into the base of the tower right above the single ground level window.

There was no door.

*    *    *

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 keeps the kingdom safe with his magic, and his brides tie him to a land he couldn’t otherwise protect. There are other ways to do this tying–but his curse demands a bride.

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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.

33 responses »

  1. Can we fast forward to next week? The story is only intriguing me more and I can’t take it!!! Caitlin I love the story and you are a wonderful writer. I know he’s going to pick her. I’m dying here in anticipation!

  2. Kim Magennis says:

    Excellent scene setting. You create much more than a stage with your picture: Where did he get the stone, why does nothing grow on it? (it MUST be magic) How does anyone get into the tower? (I love the short, last line!)

  3. Frank Fisher says:

    That tower sounds creepy, especially if it doesn’t have a door. Well done describing it. It makes the story more intriguing.

  4. Sarah W says:

    His symbol and his reality don’t match up–part of the curse, or just wishful thinking on his part? 🙂

    I’m loving every word of this, caitlin!

    • There is, as Kim speculated, a good reason why no plants grow on the tower. The fact that I came up with this reason a few minutes ago makes me retroactively clever, I have decided. 😉

  5. You’ve captured all of us with an intense description of the tower-YIKES!- and the very last line. You are a wonder, Caitlin.

  6. Eden says:

    I like how the sorcerer’s reality is contrasted so very sharply with his vision… and with the way most of society here lives. What a grim world he must live in.

  7. ooh, shivery indeed. Can’t wait to read more! Terrific description of the tower – who knew building stone could be such an omen?!

    • My tired brain at midnight, I suppose. 😉 It just sort of happened, and I decided to go with it. A black tower would have been cliche, but a dark gray one works, I think.

  8. Fabulous description! Darkness and foreboding echoes throughout and as a reader you both want to run away and get closer;). Great 8.

  9. Alexis Duran says:

    I can’t wait to meet this guy. The tower description is most excellent.

  10. Ed Hoornaert says:

    Love your description of the tower. A smudge of charcoal, no greenery, a single window … great stuff!

  11. ED Martin says:

    Great description of the tower, especially compared to what the narrator expected.

  12. That tower sounds very foreboding. I do wonder what happens to the brides once they go inside.

  13. Now I’m dying to know what’s inside. Some of those girls must be dying of curiosity. It would be tempting to volunteer as bride-to-be, just to get a glimpse. Though it’s probably not a good idea. 🙂

  14. Nice description of that tower! Foreboding, indeed. I am totally hooked on this story, Caitlin. Write faster!

  15. chellecordero says:

    Maybe I am connecting things that aren’t there, but the barrenness of the stone and the taking of a bride sounds ominous. Great intrigue.

  16. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love the descriptions of the stones and the tower. That sounds like one creepy tower.

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