The Curse Lifter
by Lord Erdrick
Three unassuming yet somehow regal-looking people--two men and one woman--slipped into Tantegel Castle. Their boat was firmly anchored just a bit off the coast. They disembarked. ready to assess what damage Hargon's vile minions had done to Alefgard. No one would talk to them as they walked through the streets, for one reason. One among them, the Prince of Cannock, was under a curse.
After an encounter at sea with a lesser demon of sorts, they found a sword it left behind. The sword shone as brightly as a Goldman, and enticed the young Prince to the point where he greedily snatched it up. As soon as he did so, his hand melded around it, making the sword almost another part of his body.
His companions suggested the nearest place of residence. Tantegel Castle Town happened to be several leagues to the north, and they pressed on to the city. Finally they reached the town and found themselves walking the streets of Tantegel, eyed with suspicion and fear by the townsfolk. It took them two full hours of searching before they finally found the decrepit old man who didn't look a day under two hundred. He resided in a small house toward the western end of town, in the commercial sector. The man was droning on in an almost drunken fashion about two heroes who, long ago, had visited Tantegel...
"It was about the sixth day of, oh, I don't know which month. Some great hero and a few of his companions walked up to me when I was just a young 'un, and asked me if I knew anything about curses. I said, 'Yes, good sir, I do, art thou under a curse?' And he replied, 'Indeed, I am. Art thou able to lift this curse?' I said, 'Of course,' and with a few holy words I didst grab that unholy armor and rip it right off that man. I think his name was Erdrick, but I'm not sure..."
"What is he doing?" whispered the prince of Midenhall to the princess of Moonbrooke.
"He doth be rambling on in the fashion of an old man."
"No, but isn't he talking about... curses?"
The old man continued. "Then it was about another hundred years before I saw anyone again. This time it was just one man, said he was come to slay the Dragonlord, but he couldn't do it while he was wearing a cursed belt. And sure enough, he was wearing a belt with a devil's head for a buckle, and it was wrapped around his waist good and tight. He asked me, 'Dost thou happen to be learned in the art of lifting curses?' And I said, 'Indeed, I am. Dost thou wish to have a curse lifted from you?' And he said, 'Yes.' So I lifted that curse. With a few holy words I shattered that devil's head and that belt fell right off. He said, 'Thankee. I doth be Nester, slayer of the dragon, rescuer of Princess Gwaelin. I shall call upon thee if ever I need thine aid.' Or something like that, anyway."
"Did you hear that?" said the prince of Midenhall to both of the others.
"Our ancestors both had curses lifted by this man. Maybe it is destiny that my curse be lifted by him."
"Indeed. Let us try."
The prince of Cannock approached the old curse lifter. "Dost thou be the lifter of curses?"
"Indeed, I am. Dost thou wish to... wait a sec... dost thou wish a manicure?"
"Oh! Dost thou wish to have a curse lifted?"
"Hold on, let me remember the holy words... Ah yes! Vino! Wafero! Crousso!" The man's hands began glowing, and he reached for the prince's wrist. He grasped it...
"Ah, maybe there is no power left in these old bones..." the man said, shaking his head. "Try the church."
The Princes of Cannock and Midenhall stared at each other. "Why didn't we do that in the first place?" they chimed in unison.