PodCastle 763: INDIGENOUS MAGIC – Dying Rivers and Broken Hearts
Dying Rivers and Broken Hearts
by Gabriella Buba
Manila, Philippines, 1936
Maria-Lucia had failed.
In her hand, a freshly struck agimat burned. The copper amulet pressed with the image of the Virgin Mary was hot with the power the coven had gathered from the full moon. Golden light streamed between her clenched fingers.
All eyes were on her, as her first meeting as leader of the Mallari witches after the death of her husband came to a close. The full moon sank into the black waters of Manila bay.
Pasig, the sea-dragon of Manila Bay, had not come to renew her pact with the Mallari Witches, nor to accept Maria-Lucia as their new leader. The dragon went by many names. She was a bakunawa to the sailors from Cebu. In Manila she was a laho, the moon chaser.
“Is it because of me?” Maria silently asked her witch-heart Lucia, “Because I’m not truly a Mallari Witch — only married-in?”
Lucia, normally euphoric after soaking up moonlight and magic with her coven, was hesitant. “I don’t know. She’s come to our call before, why not now?”