This excerpt is from a story by John H. Dromey, who is also a contributor in both Japanese Fantasy Drabbles and the upcoming Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles (Out Sept 24th).
And look out for his poetry during Horror Matsuri in October!
BY JOHN H. DROMEY
Hoshiko was a born dreamer. As she grew older, many of her recurrent dreams faded. Some vanished entirely. Others lingered.
One fantastic, oft-revisited daydream was especially persistent. From the time she was a little girl, Hoshiko imagined someday she would live in a castle. Then, one day, her dream came true, if only for a short while.
To distance herself from the domination of a wicked stepmother and the apparent indifference of her father, Hoshiko chose to stay with a younger sister of her late mother.
Although a commoner, Aunt Momo was in the employ of a daimyō and thus entitled to live within the walls of the feudal lord’s castle.
Momo was overjoyed to have the company of her charming, well-mannered niece. She pampered her houseguest with fine food and outfitted her with fashionable attire.
For her part, Hoshiko adjusted quickly to her new surroundings. She envisaged a prolonged, peaceful sojourn. That was not to be. The young woman’s contentment and peace of mind were irreparably shattered when she attracted the unsolicited attention of the daimyō’s second son. Although Jiro had all the trappings of a samurai, he did not possess the qualities usually associated with someone of that rank. He was rumored to be a wastrel and a philanderer.
Momo gave her niece a stern warning. “I dislike the way he looks at you. Within the castle, or without, you must never allow yourself to be alone with Jiro.”
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Insignia: Castles & Kimono is also included in the new omnibus edition The Insignia Series Omnibus Volumes 5-8. If you haven’t read the previous volumes you might like to buy this set at the discounted price!
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