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Cursed

Ella crept through the cemetary. It was night, and a storm blocked any light from the stars or moon as it poured rain and howled with wind. She had little worries about being seen, but it was so dark she needed to take great care not to stumble and risk breaking the thin clay tablet she had spent days making.   This cemetary was old and had not been visited in years. Ella did not go too far into the cemetary before stoppng at an old crypt. She tapped the stone door twice with her walking stick. The stone door swung open on heavily greased hinges and she stepped inside. Two taps on the floor and the door closed.   "Licht," Ella commanded and an orb afixed to the ceiling of the crypt that was a dozen feet long on each side flared bright, illuminating the inside of the crypt. Smiling, she went to a corner where she carefully took out the clay tablet she had kept hidden in a large pocket. It was time to cast a curse.
 

What Was Curse?

A curse is a condition magiclly put upon someone, either directly on that person or on an item that would then transfer the curse when touched, held, or used in a certain way to trigger the transfer.   People often confuse spells with curses if they affect people in a terrible way. The easiest way to tell the difference is that spells are cast to last a finite time while curses are cast to linger until certain triggers or conditions are met to end it. By magical standards, a curse is a spell that will only end when certain conditions are met or if the curse is removed. Sadly, the ending condition of a curse tends to be something horrible or near impossible.  

The Horror of Curses

The only limit to a curse is the imagination of the vile person who casts it, though the only saving grace is that there must be a means for the curse to end written into it by the creator. This is called the escape. Fail to write in the escape and the curse will fail to be cast.   The victim living long enough to break their curse is not always possible and often their family or friends carry out desperate acts to break the curse for them. And while under a curse, the victim will suffer for the very essence of a curse is to make them suffer.   Trapped in a never ending sleep has been a classic curse for ages as has turning someone into an animal. Cursing someone with madness or terrible pain is very common as well. Anguish, pain, and torments of every kind have been cast on someone somewhere in time.   Because curses are so horrible, they are outlawed and reviled by most religions. One who casts curses is no longer considered a mage even by other magic-users. Instead they are considered a hag if female or a goat if male. Religions often consider these hags and goats as heretics at best. The punishments for being caught can be as horrendous as the curses they cast upon their victims.
Casting a curse is not as simple as stories say. First, the curse and its escape must be written upon a thin clay tablet and then baked in a kiln.   Then, the tablet must be placed in a tomb or crypt. There, the creator must perform a ritual involving sacrifice. What this sacrifice is varies depending on the type of curse and can anything from an animal to a person.   If the sacrifice made is to be a person, the younger the better. There is a more than the boogey man to blame for missing children.   Once the ritual and sacrifice is complete, the caster must recite the curse exactly as written on the tablet then break it, sending it through the realm of the dead where it will then return to the world bound upon the victim or the item meant to receive it.

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Cover image: by geralt

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