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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.

Summary: The sorcerer has just chosen the narrator as his bride, and demanded she hurry up. I’ve skipped over some guards leading her to a tent, and helping her tidy herself up for the wedding, and escorting her to her groom.


Once again, the sorcerer’s remarkable green eyes held me transfixed, and I stumbled over my responses to the priest’s questions. The sorcerer’s responses were smooth and curt, his expression distant. We joined hands, the priest tied our wrists in ribbon, and pronounced us married. My husband’s fingers tightened on mine, and suddenly we stood in a kitchen, with a curved stone wall surrounding us, and a smaller stone-walled cylinder in the center, a door set into its side.

I let out a strangled squeak that had my husband glancing at me in annoyance, but instead of speaking, he pulled the ribbon free without ceremony, letting it fall to the floor.

“I expect dinner at six, and we will eat in the first room up the stairs.” He disappeared out the door, and I heard his footsteps climbing stairs. After a time, I went to the door, and opened it to see winding staircase that spiraled up out of sight, broken by rays of light stabbing through the narrow windows.

Perhaps it’s all the stairs that makes him so annoyed, I thought, I’m not looking forward to climbing them for a year.

*    *    *

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.


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.

32 responses »

  1. “Perhaps it’s all the stairs that makes him so annoyed.” Ha, I love it. She has a sense of humor. Gosh, that sorcerer is demanding. Looking forward to what happens next.

    • Can you imagine it? All those stairs… Her calves will be in great shape.

      I cut a line that says he’ll feed himself for his other meals, so he’s not too demanding. But yeah, he’s a jerk.

  2. He will have his hands full with his new bride. I bet she can’t cook. Marvelous snippet, Caitlin.

  3. Oh, so he’s going to be one of THOSE husbands! What kind of sorcerer can’t conjure up his own sandwich? 🙂 Hope she can keep her sense of humor through all of this.

  4. historysleuth1 says:

    Very good. I like his distance. I think it fits. He’s probably to the point of being careful not to be come attached. She’ll be gone in a year. Of course I want our heroine to be clever and change that. 🙂

  5. FCEtier says:

    The ribbon falling is a metaphor? I like that idea.
    Nice snippet.

    • The ribbon is more of a symbol–it’s part of the ceremony, to symbolize the marriage tie. I borrowed it from an old tradition. But his willingness to drop it is a bit like tossing a wedding ring.

  6. Alexis Duran says:

    No nonsense kind of guy, eh? I hope she rocks his world.

  7. Ed Hoornaert says:

    A truly romantic hero!

  8. Evelyn Jules says:

    Love your description of her new digs with the sorcerer. I don’t blame her for being annoyed with the stairs, but hey, it’s good exercise, right? lol. Great job! 🙂

  9. I like her spunky attitude when dealing with the stairs 🙂 I can’t wait to see what the year holds for her!

  10. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    You drew me right into the story. Loved the imagery! I’d be cranky too if I had to climb those stairs. lol

  11. I hope this bride teaches him some manners.

  12. I loved her thought that perhaps the stairs made him so annoyed! I love this heroine, can’t wait for more…excellent excerpt!

  13. chellecordero says:

    I have a feeling that his callousness is an act to protect himself from any attraction to a bride… I wonder if taking a bride each year is his decision or if he’s afraid of something happening after a year? I’m really not familiar with the story of BlueBeard so, loosely based or not, I don’t know if that would give me any clues.
    Very intrigued. And I love the naivety she seems to have, I guess she thought there would be at least a hint pf romance.

    • Bluebeard murders his brides, and hides their corpses in a room that he tells his new bride not to go into–and when she does, he’s next.

      No murder here, though.

      He doesn’t want to get attached, you’re right. The year timeline was demanded by the townspeople, actually, so that their women don’t loose too much time.

      My poor narrator will have plenty of disappointments.

  14. Eden says:

    A… the sweet smell of… romance? Not here! One would think our sorcerer had considered getting some servants by this point.

    • He has to have a bride–it’s part of his curse. But he’s none too pleased with the company, so he figures he might as well get some use out of them. He’s a real charmer.

  15. Whitney says:

    You know, divorcing is a lot nicer than killing, which I believe is what happens in the fairy tale, right? They get too nosy and look in the one room they can’t go in and then . . .

  16. Carrie-Anne says:

    I wouldn’t be too pleased about having to deal with all those stairs either. She’s got a lot of fast adjustments she has to make to this new life.

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