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Stranger at the Wedding by Barbara Hambly (Excerpt)

Stranger at the Wedding by Barbara Hambly (Excerpt)

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
After she has a premonition that her sister will die when she takes her marriage vows, a young wizard attempts to stop the wedding
After she has a premonition that her sister will die when she takes her marriage vows, a young wizard attempts to stop the wedding

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Dec 22, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/29/2013

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STRANGER AT THE WEDDINGBy Barbara Hambley
Her cloak held close around her, taking great care not to trip on theround, slippery stones, she moved along the house wall toward the widegate in front.Her breath was coming fast. Weather-magic was low-level—even if they were looking for her, listening for her, the Council of Wizards wouldnever know that she had summoned fog. The small illusions that cloaked her were likewise undetectable at a great distance, though face to face another wizard could have seen her through them.
 I 
 
 swear by the power within my veins, I swear by the heart of my spirit,that I will never use the powers of magic to meddle in the affairs of humankind, neither for ill nor for that which seems to me to be good.
As she had told Lord Mayor Spenson, she had spoken those vows sixyears ago, upon entering the Citadel of Wizards. If she was detected at this,the Council might very well repudiate her.She paused for a moment near the wide carriage gates, closing her eyes and trying forcibly to eject from her mind the thought of not being able toreturn to the Citadel to finish her education. Not being allowed to learn anymore of the secrets the Council mages had in their keeping. Not being allowedto taste the great powers of which, in six years, she had only begun to sip.Angelshand was full of dog wizards, self-taught freelance mages whohad refused to take the Council vows. Some of them, like the renowned
 
 
Magister Magus, made a fair living from such members of the Court as werewilling to risk disgrace by consulting them about love affairs and gamblingtalismans. Most, she knew too well, occupied small shops or cheap lodgingsand eked out their livings peddling passion potions and abortifacients, luck charms and cut-rate horoscopes, half-educated, frustrated, dodging by turnstheir creditors and the Inquisition, from whom the Council would do nothingto protect them.Kyra shivered and hurried on through the gate.
 I just can’t let myself becaught, that’s all,
she thought as she slipped out onto the flagway that circledBaynorth Square.Shrouded by fog, the great square lay quiet before her. From over thewall that separated the kitchen yard from that of the Wishroms’ nearlyidentical granite mansion, she heard a serving girl’s shrill laugh and smelledstewing meat and coffee as someone there opened a door. Out of sight in themisty darkness, a man’s voice chanted, “Meat pies, meat pies, jolly, jollymeat pies . . .” and, farther off, came the iron-wheeled clatter of a cab goingsomewhere fast. Unseen in the gloom, the bronze fountain trickled amournful music, and from far off the droning of a hurdy-gurdy drifted like aspiral of colored smoke in the dark.Kyra took a deep breath. The fog was very thick now.Before her the high porch of the house loomed like a trading ship’sstern castle, the scents of tubbed gardenias and field lilies thick as music inthe air around it. Gathering her heavy skirts, she climbed the tall steps, wetnow and slippery with the moisture in the air. Her mind laid a little spelltoward the house—Briory, on her way to the front door to summon the

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