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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 Aamir “Mire” has married the narrator, Gwyn, spelled them into his tower, told her to make dinner, then interviewed her, suggested rather rudely that she can visit his bedroom if she gets lonely, and she stormed off. I skipped over some exploring, and now she has decided to snoop around his floor.
The first door I came to was painted blue, so I listened at it, and hearing nothing, tried it. It opened on his bedroom, with dark wood furniture, and mysterious items strewn around, though the room overall was neat and clean. Past the bed, I saw the doors to the balcony.
Tempted, I took a step forward. I wanted to see the view from the top of the tower, to stare in the direction of the home I would never see again. But the mountains on the southern border would be visible, stretching towards the sky. While I thought, my feet had drifted closer to the balcony. Feeling guilty for intruding, I retraced my steps, reaching for the door that had mostly closed behind me.
It swung open, the sorcerer on the other side.
* * *
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.