Had a couple of delays so the next couple of chapters will be up by Friday, with apologies. I’m pretty under the weather, sorry!
I guess I should start at the beginning. I’ve been working as a mercenary for a while now, and had just completed a long term contract with a wizard, who felt that he could spend some of the loot we’d…liberated on making things right in his homeland. After escorting him there, I headed to the next village, and sat down in the Inn, waiting for the guild board to post any unclaimed work.
Artis, the small town I’d entered seemed to run on that model anyway, but for the first three days, the guild board remained bare. More importantly, no one approached it, so on day four, dropping an extra silver coin on the stained, sticky bar top, and asked Joren, the barkeeper, what was going on.
“Ah miss,” he said, with a wink and a smile with one too many missing teeth, making it look a bit more like a grimace of pain. “The guild isn’t hiring out right now. We found that out of townies couldn’t handle our Herlarns, nor our Boonsars,”
A herlan huh? I thought to myself. Unless they’ve been allowed to grow and breed, Herlan’s aren’t too bad. Boonsars though. I thought they were gone from this world. Obviously not.
I offered a matching, sunny smile of my own, and looked down at my hand, casually collecting dark and light into a swirling ball.
“I’m from these parts, I guess you could say, so I’m more than a match for anything you’ve got,” I said. “My mother was a water hag from the swamps two towns over,”
“Yes miss, you’ve got the look of changelings from our part of the world, but nevertheless, the guild doesn’t…” he looked down, then up, and smiled. “The truth of the matter is, because of all of the issues, the guild left here. I post some jobs, but not often. And, as it happens, I do have one. But…” he paused, looking me up and down. “It’s not for magic wielder, nor a changeling. Not unless you’ve learned other things while travelling,” he added.
I smiled coyly, and pushed him a coin, with a knight on one side. It represented the 50 quests I’d undertaken, without using magic. The productivity of conserving my powers.
“Does this maybe answer your question?”
He nodded, and wordlessly tipped his head to a door off the main room.
Knight of Conis keywordhttps://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-card-meanings/minor-arcana/suit-of-pentacles/knight-of-pentacles/
UPRIGHT: Hard work, productivity, routine, conservatism.
There were four cups remaining as I finished this tale. Four cups, as four of us huddled into the dying firelight, thinking about everything we’d been through to get here.
Which meant my round was only four more cups. There was a bright side.
I looked up and realized that it was nearly dawn – we’d lost listeners, as people had drifted away. I dropped into a daze, contemplating the four remaining with apathy. Knowing that one was my executioner, and the other two, witnesses.
But they couldn’t kill me while the tale remained. While a chance for all I’d fought for and lost was still theirs to snatch from me at the last minute.
But then, a final figure drifted back. Dark robes hiding them in shadows behind me. I smiled and offered them an imperceptible nod. I could have sworn the darkness returned my gesture.
The magister cleared his throat. “And is that all?” he said, and double tapped his cup. The other two also double tapped, so I raised my hand, signalling for our round, and I said, “well, not quite…”
“You, madam, take this too far,” Meneise said, with a tired yawn, but waved her hand, in a gesture of continuance. So, I bowed my head and waited, trying to think about anything else I could tell them. I had explained the worst of it, past my escape, past the assassination, but I had held one thing back….
The serving maid brought us more ale, more bread, more cheese and I took my portions, chewing thoughtfully, and then, with a sip, continued my tale.
My deck is the Elemental Power Deck (you can get details on the deck itself on my site at https://fiction.bykai.com/tarot-prompts).
For my draw, I shuffled but did not take any invented draws (I kept them all the correct way up), and each day, I’ll share the meaning of the card at the end of the part, and then collect them in a glossary when the project is complete. These meanings may be the standard meanings, or they may be my understanding of them. If you disagree with a meaning, by all means, let me know, but I am working to the meanings as I understand them to start with, and will not alter the story if my meaning differs dramatically from yours.
I’d already decided, as the set is coins, cups, wands and swords that I’d write a high fantasy novella of sorts, but I’m not sure if that’s all it’s going to be. (in my deck, coins/pentacles are interchangeable. I’ve chosen coins over pentacles for numbered cards, pentacles for named (Page to King), so I could introduce magics as well as other fun.
I shuffled several times (every four cards), to be sure of a good mix, and the deck has already been shuffled daily for a week, so, the pattern it drew is not due to poor mixing 🙂
The 26 cards I drew are:
1. The 4 of Cups
2. The Knight of Coins (pentacle)
3. 10 of Coins
4. 9 of Coins
5. 8 of Wands
6. 7 of Wands
8. 5 of Wands
9. 4 of Wands
10. Queen of Cups
11. Knight of Cups
12. Page of Cups
13. Justice (major)
14. Wheel of Fortune (major)
15. 9 of Wands
16. 8 of Swords
17. The High Priestess (major)
18. The Lovers/Twins (major)
19. 8 of Cups
20. Emperor (major)
21. Empress (major)
22. 10 of Swords
23. 9 of Swords
24. Knight of Wands
25.Page of Wands
26. The Magician (major)
Just a quick post cause everything is *all go* here but I’ll be drawing 26 tarot cards on the 28th or so of March, and they will form the backbone of a 26 part story, that should be mostly contiguous, but we’ll see.