Almost two years ago, I wrote a fairy tale called The Weavers’ Blessing, posting it here as I wrote it over the space of about two months. It can now be bought on Amazon, for those of you who are interested (and if you’re not interested, it can still be bought there).
At long last, I undertake to write a sequel to it, The Kangraff’s Curse. I present to you now the first chapter. I would love to know your thoughts as you read :)
There once was a kingdom called Poldar. It used to be empty and gray, full of slimy bogs and misty marshes. Then one day long ago, when the great magicians walked the land, the evil Kangraff made it his home. His heart was as dark as the blackest of tar, and he was a sorcerer of great power. Bending the land to his will, he turned the misty marshes into treacherous swamps and raised the slimy bogs into festering volcanoes. A red, smoky haze hovered over the whole kingdom and drew to it all those with wicked hearts.
The evil Kangraff delighted in ruling by fear and oppression, but one day he realized the end of his life was nearing. He set about finding his successors, searching the lowest pits of his land until at last he found what he was looking for: A man and a woman who would rule Poldar with all the foulness and depravity he so cherished. In the dark of the night, he abducted them and forced them to marry each other. Then he spoke this curse over them:
“May you and your descendants rule this land out of the wickedness in your hearts, and may you and your descendants never know love.”
The evil Kangraff mentored the couple until the end of his life, and their family took his name as theirs.
Yet after the evil Kangraff’s death, his greatest foe came before the dictators of Poldar and spoke this counter-curse: “Wickedness will not rule Poldar forever, for one day your family’s line will end.”
For many generations, they prospered through trickery, bribery, theft, and lies. Poldar grew into a powerful threat to its neighbors. Its kings took pleasure in conquering nearby kingdoms, though none exceeded King Eric’s glory in winning the great kingdom of Clachan nor his disgrace in losing it to an eighteen-year-old girl.
Still, the counter-curse always hung over the Kangraffs. Then one day, the king and queen, Maxwell and Louise, could bear no children.
Poldar was about to collapse into civil war over who would rule it next. At the last moment, just in time to avert bloodshed, the king and queen produced an heir, a stolen child they claimed as their own. They named him William and called him Bill, and as their family had been since it began, they were cruel, abusive parents.
Then the strangest thing happened. On William’s seventeenth birthday, he ran away.
He knew the moment he first stepped onto Ferngold’s soil. For one thing, its border was a sharp line with sticky brown mud on one side and green, springy grass on the other side, the Ferngold side. It was more than that, though. There was a strange feel to the air. It dug inside his chest and did something to him that William could not understand. He decided it was a pleasant feeling, though.
For a moment, his knees gave out and he dropped to the ground, breathing heavily. He was safe. Ferngold was a good place—his parents would not find him here.
A moment of rest was all he could indulge in at present, he decided. There was much he had to do.
He jumped when a strange, lovely music burst from a tree with more leaves than he had ever seen. He drew his sword with a metallic ring as it scraped along the inside of the scabbard, and peered closely up at the branches for the source of the sound. When he found it, he had never been more surprised. Who knew birds could make such pleasant sounds? The sword returned to its scabbard and his shoulders relaxed.
After weeks of running, William could hardly comprehend he was no longer in immediate danger. The journey had taken so long—three times longer than it could have, since he had to skirt the edge of the neighboring Clachan and could not cut through it. From everything he had ever been taught, horrible things happened to people of the Kangraff family when they stepped into that land.
His short rest was over. William stretched his weary, sore muscles and once more shouldered the small brown sack containing the meager remains of the supplies he had managed to steal before he fled home.
It was time to take on a new identity and see if someone would teach him a real profession.