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Madame Destiny's theme today is clocks: tiny clockfaces adorn her dangling gold earrings, there is a half-dollar-sized gold watch resting just below the crisp collar of her buttoned white shirtwaist on a gold ribbon, and her left wrist sports a loose gold watch-bracelet. Across her neatly-tailored brown waistcoast drapes a magnificent triple-stranded heavy gold Prince Albert watch chain from one brass button to the watch pocket, and the fob of the watch chain is also a tiny watch. An enormous ring shaped like a grandmother clock lines her left middle finger like armor. The folds of her voluminous brown skirts periodically display a large golden watch hung like a nun's rosary from Madame's wide leather belt. Close examination reveals that the fine pattern on her waistcoat is, again, tiny clockfaces. This is only topped, so to speak, by the fine, tall, black silk tophat whose band is adorned all round with clockfaces.

Madame Destiny ticks from all sides and angles. They are all set to different times, and the resultant hum of unsynchronized ticking is suprisingly soothing.

She gently cracks her knuckles, one at a time, and smiles across the table. "A full reading today, yes, dear? It's been a while since I last saw you. Let's see what the Universe has been thinking about you lately."



She flips the first card into the center of the table. The card depicts a jewel-encrusted emperor's orb topped with, rather than a cross, a golden apple. Each of the visible eighths of the globe is a different color: red, blue, black, and silver. It floats against a starry background interspersed with random swirls of color which betray the deck's early 1970s design. "Oh, this is interesting," Madame says. "You may remember this card -- I think you got it once before. This is the Harmoneris Orb, the magical device that is supposed to respond to your deepest desires. The Gold Stars captured it as it was being transported to Hitler by his pet mages and mystikai, and it's supposedly locked in their vaults, though I'm not sure we should ever count on that, you know. In any case, here it is your position and upright, representing the Ace of Pentacles, which means that you're really sitting very pretty in terms of getting the material things you most want. You have material and physical comfort, and access to the means of reaching your dreams."

The second card is laid across the Ace of Pentacles. It shows a young, bald, dark-skinned man dressed in a heavily gold-embroidered coat with a stand-up collar that comes to just below his knee over a red dhoti, and a matching long red scarf over one shoulder. He holds a golden cup full of water outward, cradled in both hands, and there is clearly webbing between his fingers. The ocean stretches away behind him. The way she lays it across the Ace indicates that it is reversed. "This is a portrait of Arasu, King of Lemuria, as the newspapers called him. He wasn't from Lemuria, and he wasn't the king of his undersea land. His home was populated by mages and academics who withdrew from the world so they could do their research in peace and quiet. When they noticed the invasion of the seas by submarines full of weapons, they sent poor Arasu to offer himself as a mediator to stop the war. He wasn't very good at mediation, and no one thought he could possibly be from an advanced civilization, given his skin color. Both the Axis and Allied leaders insulted and offended him, and he started using his magic to interfere with both their undersea operations indiscriminately. In this deck, he is the King of Cups, and you may have noticed that the card is reversed. This is the thing that is crossing your ability to get everything you want, and he may represent a general environment of offended masculinity, or he may represent a specific masculine person who is blocking you."

Madame places a third card above the Ace of Pentacles. The image is of a middle-aged white man, balding and pudgy, peering out of the opened head of a giant robot over a vista of green hills and valleys. The robot is white, though it bears scars, dents, and burns from combat, and has a large red cross in the center of its chest. "This is Dr. Defense, a British mad scientist who built and led a division of giant robots to protect medical installations, and to transport medical supplies and information as quickly as possible. They started out in Europe, but eventually ended up serving in both the European and Pacific theaters, and got some very bad press for taking humanitarian supplies behind enemy lines. He was a doctor, an engineer, and a millionaire, and didn't give a damn what other people said as long as he did what he thought was right. Here, he is the King of Pentacles, which is a very nice connection to your position here as the Ace. This is the theme of your reading, learning the skills and doing the work, at an expert level, that will get you everything you want. I somehow don't think he's a specific person here -- I think he represents the... hmm, what was it that X said to me the other day?" She taps her chin thoughtfully. "Oh, yes. The achievement you have to unlock!"

She deals a fourth card below the Ace of Pentacles. The card depicts a stage magician wearing a tuxedo, cape, and domino mask, posed dramatically over a table of seven upturned top hats. Each hat holds something different: a rabbit, a bouquet of flowers, a wand, a pile of fruit, gold coins, a bottle of wine, and a handful of daggers. The card is upright to you. "That is Sandor the Magnificent," Madame says. "He was a USO stage magic performer, but also a real mage. People just loved him. After the war, we found out he was not only a spy for the Allies, but also the Axis, and possibly even a third entity, though we never found out what he was really doing. His performances and his life were all smoke and mirrors all the time. This is the root of your reading, the seven of cups, the fact that while you have access to the road to your hopes and dreams, it is obscured with illusions and distractions that divert you down other roads."

The fifth card is placed to the left of the Ace of Pentacles. The card depicts a painfully young and plain Asian woman in bulky red Japanese armor, leaning on a long staff that ends in a swordlike blade. She dangles a mask from her free hand, one with the terrible features of a Japanese demon. The landscape behind her is flattened and devastated, with only a one-legged torii gate standing in the distance. The card is reversed to you. "While no records of her real or Japanese code name exist, Allied forces called her the Red Naginata. She was a bulletproof who frequently went into hand-to-hand combat with Allied para forces, and who had a real talent for rallying her forces with her words. She sometimes made fast decisions that ended nigh-disastrously, but her facility with weapons and words usually saved the day. This is your recent past, the page of swords -- a pattern of things not always going according to plan for you, and often depending on your skill with words and improvisation to smooth the outcome."

Madame flips a sixth card out to the right of the Ace of Pentacles. The card shows a grey humanoid figure with no clothing and no features, standing on a cliff, looking out into the night sky. In one hand, it holds several masks in a fan-shaped array. The masks depict different human faces, some of which you can make out: an Asian man wearing a military hat, a black woman with perfectly coiffed hair in a 40s style, a brown-skinned person wearing a bandana. The card is reversed to you. "This card gives us an artist's interpretation of the Outsider, who is a mystical being of unknown origins. Sie appears to everyone differently; each person sees zir as the sort of person he or she is most uncomfortable around. The Outsider usually operates in the shadows and edges of society, but sometimes chooses to become overtly involved in situations when they demand it." Madame considers the card for a moment. "This card is set in your near future, and represents the Hermit. Reversed here, I think it represents an emergence from contemplation and presentation of something you've been working on to the world."

She deals a seventh card below and to the right of the central six cards. It depicts a grey humanoid figure of indeterminate gender, hanging upside-down from its ankle. The figure's cloak consists of far too much fabric to be real -- so much, in fact, that it blocks out anything that might be behind the figure. There is no ground or floor, just a dark void. The card is reversed to you. "This person is the Grey Traveller. No one's certain of the Traveller's gender, but most everyone uses 'he', so I do as well. He's one of the Mystikai, and the earliest sightings of him go back well before the first World War. His powers are unknown, but he's always a source of great knowledge. And when he doesn't know something immediately, he goes away to seek the answer. Here, he represents the Hanged Man, which is always a difficult card to interpret. Reversed, in the position of your self, I think we're looking at a decision that you have not made in pursuit of your road to wisdom. We'll return to this in the context of the full reading in a few moments."

The eighth card is dealt above the Hanged Man. It shows Lady Justice in her iconic uniform -- blue military-style cutaway jacket with red epaulets and red trim over white trousers and black boots -- immobilized in an attitude of struggle, encased in a block of ice that appears to be built of a wall of ice swords, their hilts making a crown atop the mass of ice. "You may recall that Lady Justice," Madame says, nodding to Lady J, who is sitting at a nearby table and smiles briefly over her newspaper before ducking back behind it, "spent a number of years frozen in ice in Antarctica, after being betrayed by a fellow American who let the water in around her and froze it solid. In this deck, this image represents the ten of swords. In this reading, it is sitting in the position of your emotions. I think that you are feeling very betrayed around something involved in this reading. Something else to discuss in a moment."

Madame deals a ninth card above the ten of swords. It depicts a muscular man all in black or charcoal grey, wearing a fully-concealing mask over his head and a voluminous cape billowing in the wind. He is standing on a rooftop, gazing up at a full moon. The card is reversed to you. "This card shows us Nox the Night-Stalker," she says. "If you've read your history, you know that despite the fact that he was bulletproof and even served in World War I, the War Department announced that he had been asked to stay in Wonder City and mentor the paras who were still here during World War II. It turned out, as we found much later, that he'd been given a Section 8 discharge from the Gold Stars because of severe shell shock from the Great War." She touches the card. "Nox was best-known at the time for his ability to appear in two places at once, or at least to not be in the place where someone was attacking. In this deck, he represents the Moon, and reversed in your hopes and fears, I think it's saying that you're aware of illusions and distractions and that you fear them at least as much as you fear not having them."

She places a tenth card above the Moon. It depicts an enormous woman dressed as a pirate, in black tricorn, eyepatch, blue frock coat, and trousers. She stands with each foot on a ship, and she's got five U-boats gathered in her arms, dripping water and a few sailors. "This is Grace O'Massive, Scourge of the Seven Seas," Madame says with a smile. "She had her own pirate ship that looked like a tall ship, but was actually under engine power; had her own pirate band, some of whom were mad scientists who developed new technology for her ships; and spent her time looting cargo ships and occasional passenger vessels. She was known for her strict sense of honor -- no civilians were to be hurt, and ships would always be left with enough supplies and fuel to get to shore. Once the war started, though, she was outraged by the behavior of the German U-boats, and she went to a great deal of trouble to throw a monkeywrench into the German fleet. She represents the seven of swords in this deck."

Madame studies the layout and says, "I'm seeing a difficult message, dear. Firstly, that you are in an excellent position --" she touches the Ace of Pentacles "-- where you know what you want and have the resources to get it, and that you could, in fact, have the skills --" she taps the King of Pentacles "-- with which to achieve it. But you are being distracted --" she indicates the seven of cups "-- by pretty shiny illusory things from getting those skills and taking that road. Recently, you've been making hasty decisions --" she touches the Page of Swords "-- and saving yourself through sheer improvisation, and you know very well that you could do better. But there's this offended, offensive, hot-headed and ill-considered masculine energy --" she turns the King of Cups to face you in reverse "-- blocking you from taking the good things you've been working on alone --" she slides the King over the reversed Hermit "-- and presenting them to your intended audience. You must find a way to overcome the reversed King of Cups to break out of this negative cycle you've become trapped in. And this is probably influencing decisions and sacrifices and your further seeking of the things you want to learn and do --" Madame pushes the reversed Hanged Man toward you "-- suspending them interminably, a sort of dream that you may feel is ultimately unreachable. One reason I think the King of Cups may be a person or other entity, like an organization, is this feeling of deep betrayal in your emotions --" she slides the ten of swords toward you "-- to which betrayal I think you may unconsciously attribute the insurmountable obstacles to what you most want right now. Your hopes and fears are all illusions and delusions that you recognize and fear --" she taps the reversed Moon "-- but that you also fear dispersing, possibly by overcoming the King of Cups, because you don't know what's really on the other side. Perhaps you fear that it is more of the same? Your outcome here is a warning --" and Madame picks up the seven of swords and places it directly in front of you "-- to ask for the help you need, to not go it alone, not to slink off into the shadows, but to form yourself a knot of trusty allies and ask them to help you overcome and go beyond what you're doing now, to help you build what you need to reach what you want. You can do anything, dear, if you step through those illusions to the other side. It won't be without pain or sacrifice, but in the end, I think you'll find that the things that hurt you and the sacrifices you make are also part of the smoke and mirrors that keep you in your unsatisfactory place." Madame sighs and smiles, folding her hands. "I hope that helps, dear."

Date: 2013-04-07 08:43 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
CLOCKS

Also, LOVE the header.

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