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Cursing the Weather Excerpt:
The lash bit into Nysa's back. The force sent her sprawling onto the wooden floor of the empty inn as fire raced across her shoulders.
"Stop daydreaming," Gekiryo Lady ordered. "Back to work, you lazy urchin. If I catch you staring out that window again, you'll be cleaning out chamber pots."
Gekiryo Lady's threats were not idle. Nysa scrambled away from the stout woman, and bolted through the kitchen doors. Sweat and blood burned in the new cut on her back, but she didn't dare stop to bandage it. Instead she joined the servants, chopping beef for the stew and helped the cooks prepare for the mid-day crowd.
As she worked, her thoughts returned to what she had seen across the road. A Teru Teru Bozu doll had hung from the flagpole above an abandoned cottage. The doll's body, made of long, white silk blew in the cold morning air. It looked as if a child had drawn the grin and uneven oval eyes of the doll's face. The construction was simple, resembling more a ball caught under a sheet than an actual doll. So why had her throat tightened when she spotted it dangling high in the air?
The doll's legend told that, when hung high, the Teru Teru Bozu smiled at the gods, attracting favorable weather. Now it symbolized the residence of a weather wizard.
In her experience, wizards equaled trouble. Nysa had overheard travelers discussing these new wizards, who controlled the weather. In the larger cities to the west, the weather wizards hung their dolls to let the citizens know they were open for business.
Here in Bunkiten, the small town was ideally located as a stop-over for pilgrims and merchants heading east. With most of the town's citizens wealthy, a wizard could do well.
But what would happen if someone infuriated this weather wizard? Floods? Droughts? Killing winds? More would be at stake than just one person's life.
From BLACK GATE Issue #15,
EDITED BY: JOHN O'NEILL, NEW EPOCH PRESS, APRIL 2011
The Wizard's Daily Horoscope Excerpt:
VIRGO: Today's the perfect day to make a change in your life. Stop waiting around for a proposal. Do something drastic that will send a wake up call to your beloved, causing him to realize how precious you are. Tip: Buy a long white gown that moves alluringly in the wind. Beware: Sharp tongues and well-meaning advice.
SAGITTARIUS: Your keen senses will be alerted when danger taints the wind. You will be called to take up spear and sword to rescue a friend. Seize the opportunity, don't hesitate to leave immediately or gossip will be your undoing. Tip: Unpack and clean your leather armor. Beware: Overindulgence in wine and spirits.
GEMINI: Just when life has finally settled down in a comfortable routine, you will find a treasure. While this may seem like a wonderful gift, it will only lead to trouble. You're at a crossroads in your life, proceed with care. Tip: Feast well tonight. You'll need your strength. Beware: The siren's call.
From BLACK GATE Issue #11,
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EDITED BY: JOHN O'NEILL, NEW EPOCH PRESS, AUGUST 2007