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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, married her without much interest, spelled them into the tower, unceremoniously untied their wedding ribbon, and dismissed her to make dinner.
Retracing my steps, I picked up the ribbon, dusted it off, folded it up, and pushed it deep into a pocket. Who knows, I might never have another.
Dismissing the sad path of my thoughts, I rummaged through the shelves and cabinets, and after I had found mostly spices, cookware, and dishes, I turned my attention to searching for a larder. A trap door hid under the third thick rug I peeled up, and I lifted the door, peering into the darkness. One by one, small globes of light burst into existence, illuminating the stairs and a hint of the room beyond them. I followed the light into a room with rows upon rows of shelves, the cellar so startlingly cool I shivered as I gathered up the ingredients for a simple meal.
Starting a stew of meat and vegetables simmering, I added seasonings as I sliced bread to toast, and set aside two shiny apples. Everything came together just in time, and I took two plates covered in lovely etched silver domes, two glasses, and a pitcher of water up the steps. The door pushed open with my foot, and I placed the heavy tray on the table.
The sorcerer looked up at the rattling thump, and frowned at 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 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.
Ooh, love the lighting scheme. There’s gotta be at least a few perks when you’re married to a grumpy sorcerer, right?
There’s plenty of magic perks–not a lot of personality perks, though.
Even though it’s not a ‘real’ marriage, it’s still a sad wedding feast! Nicely done Caitlin, thanks for sharing.
He could do better, but he just doesn’t care any more. He’ll learn.
Very nice details. I get the feeling he won’t like anything she does.
Not so much… She’s not like his usual bride at all.
As always, fabulous description. I love the hints of magic that appear unexpectedly. You show so much. I agree with Kim, it’s a very sad wedding feast. Great snippet.
If I had magic powers, I’d use them to make my life easier. Wouldn’t you? 🙂
I imagine he never expected her to prepare to dine together after his gruff dismissal of her earlier. It sure sounds like she’s going to perplex and charm her way in; let’s see how prepared he is for that encounter.
I cut a bit from a previous snippet where he makes it clear they will share the evening meal–and only that meal. He’s annoyed at the presentation, though.
I still say this guy needs a lesson in good manners.
Yep. He’ll get a few, too.
I love your descriptions of this scene. This sorcerer is going to be a tough nut to crack, that’s for sure.
He’s a nut, all right! 😉
I love the sheer practicalness of your heroine. The detail about her picking up the ribbon in case she never gets another was poignant! It’s the touches like that which you weave into the stories so seamlessly that really give an impact, And of course I’m with everyone else who commented – can’t wait to see Grumpy Wizard realizing his life has changed. Great excerpt.
She may be practical, but she has a sentimental streak, too.
Grumpy Wizard is a bit slow, sadly.
Hmm, that wizard is not a happy fellow. 😦
He’s been married something like 50 times in 50 years. No, he’s not happy at all.
Neat! This snippet gave me the feeling that anything could happen, and that anything is possible. It’s a bit magical at this point, for me. 🙂
Good to hear. 🙂