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 a WIP, with the placeholder name of “Bluebeard,” 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 married the narrator without much interest, spelled them into the tower, told her to make dinner, then join him in her study, where he ignored her until she hit him with a piece of paper. Her last line: “You asked me to come.”

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“I see patience is something we will need to work on.” He set his pen down, “What do you hope to get out of this alliance?”
“I don’t see the need for fine manners or dresses that won’t fit through a doorway, but I could learn to read and write better. For the rest, I need to think.”
“And what skills do you have?”
“I can read and write well enough, do sums, ride a horse over rough terrain, shoot a bird on the wing, set a trap, track, reckon by the sun or stars, cook, sew, keep a house, lead a plow horse, plant a field, clean furs–”
“How is it that you know so many positively… unladylike skills?”
“When I was two, my mother had a rough pregnancy, and a rough delivery. She had twins, a boy and a girl, and for a time we thought we’d lose them.”
*    *    *

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.

26 responses »

  1. Kim Magennis says:

    Chauvinism comes in so many forms. To be ladylike is to have no survival skills!

  2. Surprise! He’s married a winner. Love, love, love this.

  3. Gemma Parkes says:

    I hope he appreciates what a great girl he has there!

  4. Oh, she’s quite the skilled young woman. I look forward to the rest of her response. From what we’ve seen of her so far I can’t believe she’ll let him get away with being a jerk.
    Great snippet!

  5. Alexis Duran says:

    I like her more and more each week. He’s going to have a hard time ignoring her for much longer.

  6. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love this concept! And I love that Mr. Bluebeard is going to get as good as he gives with this one. 🙂

  7. I enjoy her range of skills, and what she wants to improve on. Loving the story, terrific snippet!

  8. Ed Hoornaert says:

    I wonder if–no, hope that–he appreciates her type of skills.

  9. Since he picks a new one every year, I guess the brides don’t last long. Maybe this one will be different.

  10. Love the snippet. Looking forward to more

  11. chellecordero says:

    I do believe the sorcerer got more than he was prepared and she certainly won’t be a wilting flower under his foul temper or lack of consideration. This is going to be quite a year for him.

  12. Whitney says:

    I like that if you had no context of the characters, this list wouldn’t be *too* surprising if it belonged to a young man, but it’s spun on its head with the introduction of “unladylike skills”. You think, “Ah, a woman!” with a grin.

  13. Carrie-Anne says:

    She’s my kind of woman. All those skills are much more useful and practical than so-called ladylike skills like dancing and painting.

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