Filipino EMPIRE OF SAND X POPPY WAR
Lunurin, a mestiza stormcaller, hides in a convent—from the Inquisition branding her a witch, and the Goddess of Storms, who sings of drowning colonizers. When she’s discovered, a marriage-of-convenience might save her from the Church, but not her Goddess. A typhoon is brewing in Lunurin’s bones. Freeing it will destroy the violent colonizers, but also the family she found in the convent and her new marriage.
Lunurin drank in the scent of seagrass and salt, balancing on the dock above her oyster beds. She lowered the last seed-oyster platform into the water. Her arms burned.
Lunurin eyed the calm turquoise depths, rubbing together pruned fingertips gone fish-belly pale, stark against the browned backs of her hands. Worries swirled like a budding storm till the rope at her waist tugged. The brush of Catalina’s hands checking the dive line steadied her.
“Do you have to dive?” asked Cat, a fellow novice at the Convent of Saint Augustine.
Lunurin frowned down at the buckets of gold-lip oysters. “I don’t have enough for the Abbot’s dinner. I can’t take any more from the floating platforms.” Woefully bare after four such dinners. Decades old pearl oysters would be dinner for Codicíans who lacked any reverence for the sacred creatures. What waste!
“It’s dangerous.” Cat made the sign of the cross with ink smudged hands. “The shipyard workers have seen drowned ghosts in the water.”
Lunurin touched her dugong bone pendant. Tabi, tabi po. She warded off anything Cat’s words might’ve woken. As a stormcaller, she knew how far god-blessed fury could twist the soul, even beyond death. How many of Aynila’s tide-touched burned on the Abbot’s pyres before they built the Palisade over the ashes?
“You worry too much. It’s just sailor’s tales,” she lied.