The Practical Applications of Fairytale Curses
Copyright 2016 Louise Pitcher
Lorelai hugged tight to the grey wall, taking advantage of her grey cloak to blend in with the shadows. No one should be in this section of the fortress for another fifteen minutes. At least according to the guard schedule.
Stealing that had been worth the time delay.
She didn’t want to risk just walking through the hallways, so she was sticking to the shadows. Lorelai hoped that her stealth cloak would hold up if anyone came through here unexpectedly.
Consulting her mental map of the guardhouse, Lorelai took the right path. Like all the others, the hallway was short and made of slate-grey mottled stone. She carefully muffled her steps as she walked, the stone would echo loudly any small sound she made.
The grey door at the end of the hallway almost blended into the stone. The map she had memorised said it was the guards’ break room. It was the easiest place to take down a large chunk of them without letting them interfere with her rescue mission.
Lorelai reached into her leather satchel and pulled out a vial of purple powder. She took a breath to prepare herself before thumbing out the cork and pouring a small handful of the sparkling powder into her hand.
She slowly turned the door handle and eased the door open a crack. Fortunately, it must have been well maintained because the door slid silently in its hinges.
From the small sliver, Lorelai can see five guards around a table playing some kind of card game. Three of them had their backs to her, but the remaining two would be able to see her if she remained in the doorway too long.
Lorelai took a deep breath and lifts her hand, blowing the powder through the gap in the doorway. Soon, the small room was covered in a fine dust of purple, contrary to the amount of powder she had held in her hand. There were advantages to having a magic user for a friend. (Even if this friend had gotten themselves kidnapped, causing a massive inconvenience for the rest of them.)
Lorelai waited for all the powder to settle to the floor. None of the guards stirred, so it was unlikely any of them had magical resistance like her. The sleep should last for at least three hours, and the powder was still present enough in the room that anyone who entered for the next three hours or so would also be put to sleep.
Ali stomped through the stone hallways, breathing heavily through her mask, frustrated with the plan. She would have much preferred to have simply stormed the fortress and beaten everyone up until they gave Honi back.
Ali knew Lorelai’s plans. They always involved her girlfriend taking advantage of her ridiculous magic immunity to do sneaky stuff, and Ali being in charge of bashing any problems until they stopped being problems.
This time Lorelai was to go first and sleep dust everyone she could, and Ali was to knock out any stragglers until they met up where Honi was being held.
Only, there weren’t going to be any stragglers. They weren’t that good. Usually their opponents were strong enough to give Ali a chance for some physical aggression, but judging by how easy it had been to steal a guard schedule, they weren’t going to be much of a challenge.
The only reason they had caught Honi was that they had hired him for a performance and snatched him when he turned up. He was far too skilful of a magic user to let anyone take him when he wasn’t all gussied up for a show. For some reason an illusionist turning up with heavy magical protections was considered rude.
She wondered why this lot had decided to kidnap a known favourite of the cursed princess. Someone who was known for defending her darlings. There were still rumours going around about what happened the last time Honi had been kidnapped, even if the rumours were under the impression that it had been a foreign artist that was kidnapped. Honi’s skills with illusion tended to muddy the gossip surrounding the princess.
She continued down the hallway, keeping an eye out for anyone who hadn’t been caught by Lorelai’s vindictive use of sleep dust.
Lorelai took great pleasure in inflicting magical sleep on anyone who annoyed her. Honi insisted that her immunity to sleep spells was a very odd side effect for a sleep curse, but since it had featured in no less than nine of their rescue plans, he had stopped complaining.
Honi wondered how he got himself into this. Again.
He would have loved to blame the glorious Princess Lorelai Light and her girlfriend-slash-bodyguard Alitranna Songsteel for getting him kidnapped by these lowlifes, but that was just the captivity talking. He was used to a much higher standard of abduction.
He banged his body against the stone wall he’d been chained to for the last five hours. Honi just wanted this to be over. The chains that attached Honi to the wall were long enough to give him room to manoeuvre, but the binding runes on the cuffs were making him ache. They needed to hurry up and rescue him already before these amateur runes damaged his magic.
He has decided that his personal wards really need improving. If he had planned them better, they wouldn’t have been as susceptible to being conked over the head. He had put far more strength into their magical protections and that had left a gap. It shouldn’t have been an issue as he had enough other magical items that provided protection. Anything less than a warhammer or other ridiculously overpowered weapon wouldn’t do any damage. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to wear that kind of blatant magical defence without upsetting his customers and losing his meal ticket.
Being an illusionist wasn’t the most respectable of professions, but it was far more entertaining than being a stuffy wardmaker, even if it generally involved more kidnappings.
Lorelai watched as Ali approached the rendezvous point only moments after Lorelai arrived. She was glad to see that Ali had made it through safely. The room where Honi was being kept was at the end of another slate hallway near the centre of the fortress.
“Are you ready for this, Ali?” Lorelai asked. There was no need to whisper as they had already taken down all of the guards outside of the room, and the heavy door would muffle any sound bar the loudest of screams.
Ali heaved her warhammer, muscles tensing, “Always for you, princess.” She nudged Lorelai in what she hoped was a comforting manner. “Though I do wonder why it’s always Honi who gets kidnapped? Isn’t that the princess’ job?”
“That’s because I’m better at not upsetting people who have convenient dungeons in which to put people,” Lorelai responded absently as she gathered her energies to deal with the spellwork around the door.
“Point,” Ali responded and moves so she was flanking Lorelai as she moved forward through the wards.
Lorelai had been cursed as an infant; an angry magic user had spelled her to fall into an eternal sleep upon her twenty-first birthday. However, this caused strange effects on her own magical abilities.
Initially it had only been an immunity to sleep spells as she was already technically under one, but as she had grown older she became more and more resistant to spells being cast upon her.
It also had the side effect of leaving her completely unable to cast spells, but able to use the same techniques to destroy spells. Including wards, like those surrounding the door that was keeping them apart from Honi.
“I feel cheated,” Ali declared, her words slightly muffled by the mask she was wearing.
“How did you get into my fortress?!” A tall blond man shouts from his position standing near the chained Honi. The room is clearly a cell, small and enclosed, with Honi chained to the wall farthest from the door.
“He’s pathetic,” Ali said as she walked further into the room, Lorelai following close behind.
“Pathetic? Who are you to call me pathetic?”
“Princess Lorelai, rescuer of magicians-in-distress,” Lorelai declared as Ali moves closer to Honi’s chained figure.
“What is a princess doing with this wretched illusionist?”
Lorelai moved closer to the man, obscuring his view of Ali. “I believe a more important question would be what are you doing kidnapping him?”
“None of your bus-” his words abruptly halt as he slumped forward unconscious.
Ali lowered he warhammer from where she had hit the man. “Very pathetic.” She declared, “Come on, let’s get Honi free.”
Honi was also unconscious form the sleeping powder, but his body was held in place by the chains. Both slumped figures were covered with sparkling purple dust. Ali hefted her warhammer and walked over to their sleeping friend. She moved his body so he is further away from the wall and hit the section of metal attaching the chains.
With a loud thump the chains rattle down to the floor. Ali loops them together before dumping them on Honi’s stomach and lifting him bridal-style.
“Lead on princess.”
Honi awakens two hours into their walk away from the fortress.
“Wha…Huh?” he says from his position in Ali’s arms.
“You slept through our rescue. Again.” Lorelai says gently smirking.
“Yes, the princess here was a glorious hero, charging into the fortress to rescue the fainting illusionist-in-distress. And you missed it.” Ali says.
“She used sleep dust on everyone, didn’t she.” Honi says as Ali smoothly places him on the ground, chains having been removed hours before.
“I’d rather not get injured having to rescue you again. I’ll stick to sleep dust, thanks.” Lorelai says sighing as she leans up against Ali now that her arms are free. Ali places a quick peck on her cheek.
“Try not to get kidnapped tonight, I have plans.” Lorelai continues smiling down at Ali.
Honi looks away, already knowing what is going to happen. “I’ll try not to get kidnapped and interrupt you date.”
“Many thanks.” Lorelai mumbles from her position leaning down mouth fixed on Ali’s.
Sometimes curses have surprising side effects. Sometimes these side effects are surprisingly useful. Princess Lorelai was cursed to fall into a deep sleep on her twenty-first birthday, only to be awoken by true love’s kiss. Until then she’s going to take advantage of her immunity to magic to kick ass, take names, and rescue her friend. When Lorelai's friend Honi is kidnapped, it is up to her and her girlfriend-slash- bodyguard to rescue him. Again.