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Loviatar

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Her name was Loviatar, and the blizzard she had caused had not entirely ceased. The streets of the village she was passing through were ribbons of white, flawless. Except for one. Ski tracks laced through its center like stitching come undone. The skier: a thin, ageless woman wearing three wool sweaters, a hat, and thick mittens. Loviatar. She was generally avoided, because every time she visited, she brought bad luck with her. This time, it had been the blizzard.
Her first visit had been in the spring, when farmers were planting their seeds. She had skipped past the fields, waving cheerfully and asking for a place to stay. No one offered her one. When she left and the crops began to grow, there was a terrible blight, and the people of the village didn’t eat much for weeks.
The second time had been in the middle of the summer, when the scorching sun baked the tops of everyone’s heads. She sauntered through the village wearing shorts and a t-shirt. At that time, she hadn’t been blamed for the blight. The next day, it rained so hard that the streets flooded. Anything that had been left out was swept away.
Her visit before the blizzard had been the beginning of autumn, when the air was just beginning to turn cool. She bought a loaf of bread with a shiny, copper penny and left. The baker who sold her the bread became ill not long after that with a terrible fever. He recovered with the help of a healer but was left with weakness that would never leave.
So she skied through the empty streets, head bowed, feet and ski poles moving methodically. Her mouth was set in a thin, determined line. And she needed a place to stay.
A young girl stepped out of a stable as Loviatar passed it, clinging to a pole that held the roof up. “Excuse me,” she said, “do you want to come in? It’s cold out here.”
Loviatar’s chapped lips broke into a smile.
“Yes,” she said, “I do.”



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