Even though they are countless in the fables and stories, powerful curses are nearly impossible to find. One might suspect they are but a vehicle to move a story forward than a reflection of reality.
— Hasidar Ridlin, On Lesser Magical Techniques
Beauty closed the door behind with a sigh of disappointment. The so-called “Master of the Seven Magics” barely had the ability to make some shadows and illusions. In a small town like Fires Down Below, that may have been impressive but she had danced with animated furniture, read in the light of golden lights, and danced with a beast that had become her lover. The mage behind her was not even a shadow of what they had at home.
The rain had continued through the night but had softened up into a drizzle by morning. She pulled the hood of her cloak and looked at her list. It started with the five places that Trus had mentioned earlier but Beauty had found two more through gossip.
The abandoned mine didn't have anything besides some dire warnings, discarded clothes, and empty bottles. It looked more like a place where teenagers sneaked away for drinking, drugs, and digging into each other's clothes. The faint smells of sex hung in the air.
She doubted there was anything that could produce a curse they needed.
The haunted boat was a curve hunk of rock sticking out over a cliff. Some joker had built a boat hull around it but had done so poorly. A few people fell off and died in the cliff below. It may be cursed, but it wasn't the type they were looking for. She expected there to be ghosts and the dead, not transformations.
Gossip in a breakfast restaurant had lead to a grand house near the edge of town. That was the most promising one in town, with tales of some beast stalking the hallways. Along the way there, she stopped by the city register and looked up the place: it was currently being contested by two children of the former owner. She had seen too many of those types of “haunting,” usually by one side trying to make it unappealing so the other would drop out.
When she had found out that one child was a talented illusionist and the other an animal training, she dismissed the house before walking to the far side of town.
Beauty sighed again, neatly folded her list, and pushed it into her pocket. One of her daggers brushed against her hand and she enjoyed the comfort of being armed. Even near the center of town, there were always thieves looking for an easy mark and a young woman alone made a tempting target.
“Lunch, and then Old Mads,” she announced.