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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, suggested rather rudely that she can visit his bedroom if she gets lonely, and she stormed off. She snooped around his floor, got caught–and asks about the balcony, which makes him angry. He demands “Stay off the balcony.”
“Why?” I didn’t understand this sudden hostility.
He stared not quite at me, almost through me, his remarkable eyes haunted. “No matter how unhappy you are with this marriage, you leave this tower at the end of the year, with me. Alive.”
I pressed my hand to my mouth, wishing I could take back the words. People whispered that he killed his brides, but I knew some brides had flung themselves from the tower.
“I’m not given to such permanent actions, you’ll see.” I made my escape.
* * *
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.