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Leavings of the Black-Dog's Breakfast

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Marta washes the corpse of her cousin, plaiting her locks against her scalp. Death’s folk gathers around like thick fog, attracted by the smell of still firm meat.

Your Guardian must be powerful to bear their touch, they say; men make the best wizards, they say; and yet it’s old women who wash the corpses.

Marta wraps the dead woman in a fresh clean shirt. Her clothes, heavy with magic, are folded on the bench. She picks up the underskirt and bundles it into her bag of tools. Women can be wizards too.

Hungry eyes follow her out the door.