Defeat of the Mountain Curse

Submitted into Contest #152 in response to: Write about a character whose life changes for the better.... view prompt

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Adventure Drama Fiction

                       Defeat of the Mountain Curse

      Alpine darkness descended on Durkulin Castle like a death shroud wrapping a corpse.  The subconscious thoughts of  “temporary” castle resident John Stimpson and his recurring nightmares kept him from getting the rest he so desperately needed.

      John’s life recently had gone off the rails with no apparent explanation until he began digging deeper into his troubled ancestry. That led to the restless night in the ancient castle.

     He had come to the castle after tracing his family’s checkered history on the Ancestry website. On the website, John’s maternal great grandfather, Demetri Rudolphin, had written about battles at the castle during the Middle Ages. 

      At first, those conflicts seemed too far removed from his experience to realistically relate to his life, but, while tracing his family roots John found pronouncements of his great grandfather about the “Great War of the Families” in areas of Europe that eventually became Germany and Austria.

     According to Demetri, feuds between the  Rudolphin and Friedakendolf families had led to the passing of ancient curses from one generation to the next.

      John still felt far removed from such “voodoo” until he thought further about how his up-to-now ideal life had begun to descend into the toilet with no explanation.

     He had excelled in every pursuit of his life up to that time.  Second in his class in high school, he had easily made the Dean’s List in every semester during his four years at Cornell University and throughout law school at Yale.

      He achieved the top score on the bar exam on his first attempt. Courted by the top law firms in Metro New York, he had signed with  Browning, Browning and Smith, rated in the top 10 among litigation organizations. In record time his impressive string of victories landed him on the short list for partner.

     Within the next five years his ascent continued when Jan Browning, a multiple beauty pageant winner and daughter of the firm’s senior partner, found much that appealed to her in the handsome young attorney.

       They married less than a year later after a whirlwind romance.  “Camelot” did not last long, however. Based on a series of text messages planted by a rival at the law firm, John and his bride exchanged nasty, but false, accusations about infidelity. The death of the couple’s nine-year-old son, Franklin, from leukemia also had added pressure to the fragile relationship. 

      The “merger of the century” soon ended, as did John’s promising legal career.  

      Although the misfortunes mounted up in a really short time, John, at first, attributed it only to an unusual string of bad luck.

     At the urging of his older sister, Diane, John took a microscopic look into his great grandfather’s writings and the histories of other family members. 

     Demetri chronicled a bloody battle outside the walls of Durkulin Castle in 1466 during which the Rudolphin army had destroyed much of the Friedakendolf armyf.

     About 50 survivors of the battle formed the Rudolphin-Friedakendolf Confederation, and they believed it held the promise of unparalleled power throughout Europe during the Middle Ages.

      In the nearly six centuries that followed, many conquerors had ravaged the lands formerly belonging to the confederation. Many nations had replaced the original confederation partners.

     Descendants of the original combatants had settled  throughout the world, and some of the pre-compact 15th-century grudges still remained.

     In addition, the top-achieving male in the Rudolphin line in every second decade since the Middle Age battle had run into a brick wall of failure.

       According to Demetri’s writings, John’s great-great grandfather, Johann Rudolphin, had angered Angelica Friedakendolf, a revered soothsayer in the rival clan, with his strong support of the confederation. She had caused the “failure curse” to descend on the top-achieving Rudolphin male every 20 years.  Angelica warned that the curse would only come to an end through the “power of her spirit.” 

     The curse only would end if its victim spent at least one full night in Durkulin Castle. In addition, the cursed person had to defeat the evil spirits guarding the castle.

     John now believed that the troubled history of his family had prevented him from achieving the greatness which he felt he had earned. He hoped to find the key to his future in the ancient ruins of the castle nestled in the Bayerische Alps. 

     He had come to the castle with an army prepared to do battle with the spirits that he believed had plagued his life. In the ruins of the ancient fortress John and his protectors faced a barrage of physical and psychological weapons apparently propelled by black magic.

 The humans won the battle after a bloody eight-hour skirmish.

            Now, emboldened by this victory, he confronted the spirit of Angelica. Although angered by the defeat of her guardians and reluctant to give up her power, the spirit waved a steel rod and a thunderbolt came down from the heavens, striking John in the head and knocking him out.

      Awakened an hour later, John found himself at home in his bedroom in Sleepy Hollow, NY.

      He opened his computer to find an email sent to him by Jeffrey Harrison, the senior partner in Harrison and Carlsen. That firm had long been Browning and Browning’s chief competitor in litigation law. Harrison had tried for about two years to lure John away from Browning and Browning and Harrison had recently learned of John’s availability. Harrison knew that Stimpson’s tribulations had nothing to do with his abilities as a top-notch litigator. He now saw his opportunity to swoop down and snare a prize catch. 

     John accepted Harrison’s offer with its $10,000 increase in salary and soon began accumulating a case-victory record that looked like it would again put him on the fast track to a partnership.

       Six months later, while at a bar conference, he met prosecuting attorney Falona Capusto and they found they had a great deal in common. Their business association grew into a whirlwind romance and they soon formed both a professional and social partnership.


June 28, 2022 20:09

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Rabab Zaidi
09:40 Jul 03, 2022



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