Iruvapuri was invincible. But they hid from the secret that was their daughter. Read on, for the story of Charumati.


2. The Curse

            Charu didn’t dare to draw the silk curtains that surrounded her on both sides. The maid-servants walking next to her occasionally cast her a frightened glance. They were the only ones there that knew her secret. The forest was just a continuum of brown and green, nothing new, nothing interesting.

            The string in her hand twisted and turned itself to form a lotus, rather than the rose that she had so carefully crafted. It was always that way with her, nothing simply remained what it was. Neither did she ever accomplish what she wanted to. The magic seemed to control her, and not the other way around.

            Her parents were alienated, her sisters scared, and if word got out she would be exiled or hanged for practicing black magic. It seemed that the people in Iruvapuri believed that magic could only be black. But the energy that formed inside of her, the energy that she couldn’t stifle, it didn’t seem dark at all. Even the little piece of string in her hand emanated a golden light that she couldn’t associate with evil. She dropped the string and it returned to its previous frayed state.

            The general looked the other way and urged the soldiers to speed up their pace. The princess, despite being the princess, was best far away from Iruvapuri. Magic caused nothing but trouble as far as he knew, especially in a land steeped in superstitions like Iruvapuri.

            He wondered if it was any different in another country. It wouldn’t. The princess would just be someone else’s problem. He wondered how the king of Vingaard would deal with it. He imagined that he would deal with it using something sharp and metallic.

            Something sharp and metallic…

            The words came to her, but she couldn’t imagine why. Her last thoughts had been about the kittens that she’d had to leave behind. Then suddenly, ‘sharp and metallic’. She didn’t want anything sharp and metallic near her kittens.

            She sighed. Her thoughts were more out of control than her magic. She picked up the string, forming it into a spider’s web, trying to prevent the string from twisting into a lotus. She succeeded a little, forming a strange flower with sharp border.

            The soldiers set her down for the mid-day break, and the string untangled from around her fingers, and the sharp flower lay flat against her palm. Slowly the golden thread turned a darker shade. She smiled, thinking that the magic was weakening, until the weight hit her palm.

            It was a surprise when the thin trail of blood slid down her finger that she realized what had happened. The simple string had turned to bronze. She remembered the tales of fantasy she heard as a child, of a king who turned everything he touched to gold.

            She was officially cursed.

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