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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.