Printable Version of Topic
Click here to view this topic in its original format
Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > The Hanged Man
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 08:09 PM
After getting ejected from his bedroom for the second time, the Italian, in order to keep himself from looking nervously over his shoulder, made his way across the deck until he found an out-of-the way place to lean against the railing and tip his head back far enough that he was looking at an upside-down horizon.
"You'd better appreciate this," he muttered at the sky. "All of you."
And he pulled the Queen of Cups out of his jacket pocket, after some fumbling. "You. Are you there?"
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 08:17 PM
"I am nowhere." The voice was a soft hiss in his ear, but the woman was indeed there. Bare feet and white dress as always, though it seemed that her hair had grown slightly straighter and darker. Or maybe it was just a trick of the light.
"He eludes me. Step by step I retrace his footsteps and I know not why they matter to me. Steps on stone and grass, smell of metal and blood." She closed her eyes and pulled in a deep breath, her nostrils flaring like a frightened beast's.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 08:25 PM
"My sister spoke to him," Marcello said, and he bridged the cards with one hand, rifling them into the other. "I...I think I understand what the lie is now. Why does it smell of metal and blood?"
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 08:31 PM
"I don't know." She closed her eyes again, running a hand over her face, as if she smelled it. "It came. More of it. Dreams and flashes and feet... armies amarch, but I can't see the face." She pressed her hand to her stomach, growling softly.
"It is hollow. I should know this. Watching from above... why did I not care? Why did I not see? It makes no sense." She held up her hand in front of her eyes, peeking through her fingers.
"I see flashes. Like lightning. But it illuminates a strange landscape."
She pulled back her hand, then tilted her head, taking a step closer. "You know the lie?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 08:37 PM
Marcello nodded. "He split you into pieces. He tied each part of you to a separate piece...broke you up and grounded you in parts too small to keep control. And now he wants to force you into another lie, to live as another woman, who isn't yourself, and whose life is...not one you want to take," he said quietly. "I do not know why he wishes this now. But I think you would wish to be his pawn as little as she does."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 08:43 PM
"Pawn!" She bared her teeth in a ferocious snarl, almost spitting out the word. "I am no man's pawn." She considered his words carefully, eyes narrow angry slits. "Bits and pieces like butterflies on fire, I feel this, I know this. You speak the truth." She took another step closer, by now almost touching.
"No. More. Lies." She curled her hand into a fist, closing her eyes, then opened them with a frustrated sigh. "They escape. Flutter off like spiders to their corners, weaving nets that catch my thoughts. Not straying from the path is hard, this peace eludes my senses. It is a fight to remain here, focused on your self."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 08:47 PM
"I know," Marcello answered, nodding, and he looked down at the cards, fanning them out in his hand. "With your permission? I would like to try to help you. And I think...I think I might guess at how to release all the butterflies. The part I am not certain of is how to net them back into one place, bring them all back to you."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 08:51 PM
She gave him a regal nod, crossing her arms. "You are permitted." There was no trace of doubt there, just anger, fierce and righteous.
"I am tired of being lost. Tired of fighting for every last moment. Tired of seeing everything wrong and remembering the right. But it is all contradictions."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 08:54 PM
The young man drew in a deep breath. "Have you ever been pricked with a needle?" he asked. "Where when it first starts, it doesn't hurt at all, but then it jabs deeper, and you can tell that something is wrong? Would you know...know how to sense it, if I accidentally hurt you? So you can tell me, and I can stop?"
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 08:57 PM
She scoffed loudly, giving the man a defiant glare. "Do you think I fear a little pain? This emptiness is worse than pain, the little things I have to fill it with all have sharp edges and cut once I pick them up to feel. I do not know why I hurt now. To know why, will be worth any risk."
She closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them once more. "If it becomes too much, I will ask you to halt." It seemed that was quite a concession to make, as if her bravado was just a front.
Perhaps it was.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 09:03 PM
"Good," Marcello said.
He held up the Queen of Cups, showing it to her. "This is you," he said, quiet, serious. "I am using this to ground you."
After a moment, he dropped to the floor, cross-legged, putting the Queen of Cups down, as if she were the Querent. "Everything else, all the energy needs to flow back to her."
He rifled through the cards, until he found the Ace of Cups. "And this is the source of your power. Your nativity is here." He put the card down on top of the Queen. "I bind these two cards together. Your power flows into you, protects you. The empty cup will catch everything that's been stolen from you."
The longer he spoke, the more his voice wavered, and he gestured for her to come down to his level. Held out the deck. "Pick a card."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 09:10 PM
She dropped down in front of him, but not with her legs crossed. Instead she was sitting hunched, legs together, balanced on the balls of her feet as if she was waiting to pounce.
Maybe she was.
As the cards were pulled, she got something hungry in her eyes, her mouth making a small strangled noise of longing. They had been her guide for so long, her one way of making sense of the world, of stringing things together.
Before the ace of wands had been torn up.
"I am the visonary mother. I am the bearer of the cup, the rain in the desert. I will not falter." She reached out to pull a card, offering it to Marcello.
In her hand lay the fool, reversed.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 09:13 PM
Marcello took the card from her. "Let's not worry about reversals," he said, serious. "What does the Fool represent in your life? Whom does it represent? When you draw the Fool, what does he mean?"
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 09:20 PM
She closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them once more to look down at the card. The image on the card had changed, instead of a man, there was a girl in the madcap hat of the fool, gleefully marching over the edge of a cliff. Her dress were checkered in white and black, and she carried a stick over her shoulder, with a nicely packaged bundle on. In her hand she held an egg, painted brightly yellow and purple.
"It... it is me." She gasped, because that had not been evident to her before. The Queen of Cups had always been, the secret smile, the red hair. And the ace of cups did not hold people... in fact it held nothing.
"I am the fool. I was the fool. I fell... through ignorance and naivety. I..." She glared at the card, but even though the ground was rendered in lavish desert colours, what lay below the cliff was unseen.
It was only certain she would fall.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 09:26 PM
Marcello's throat went dry-- rough, sandpapery. "Not anymore," he said softly, although his tone was uncertain. "This part of you--" he held up the Fool. "This part of you is going to go back to here..."
He tapped the empty cup, the queen below it. "The Fool and the Queen are one. The Queen can be foolish; the Fool can be regal. Both are facets of the same jewel."
He bit his lip.
He ripped the card in two.
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 09:31 PM
She gasped as he tore up the card, falling forwards on her hands and knees, gasping for breath.
For a few moment she was silent, then she spoke in a low mocking voice. "I did not wish for this. I see my choices and they were bad ones, but I see no reason nor rhyme nor consequence. I challenged gods and dealt with devils and yet am I still not alive? How much of a fool could I have been?" She glared at the card as if it was its fault.
"And I fell in love. That is always foolish."
But though she seemed more than a bit frightened she held out her hand, seeking to draw another card.
"It is working, little Magus."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 09:33 PM
Marcello stared wide-eyed at the girl, his face pale, and he held out the deck. "Pick again. Do the same. Tell me what it means. Are you...are you all right?"
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 09:36 PM
She pulled another card, handing it to Marcello.
"No. I am not alright. And I don't think I ever will be."
The card was Judgement, the angel blowing the trumpet of doom.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 09:37 PM
The man hesitated. "But it's working?" he asked. "Is it? Did you get a piece of yourself..." he looked at the card. "Back? Do the same thing. Tell me what the Judgment card stands for when you read."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 09:43 PM
"Yes... yes it is working, but it is all shards, they doesn't FIT anywhere yet. But they remain. They do not flutter off and die." She pressed her hands against her temples, watching the card.
For a moment she looked nauseous.
The card now depicted a beautiful desert city, with gleaming towers and green gardens. In the dawn-colored sky above now hung something that looked uncomfortably like a mountain, black and menacing, suspended and waiting.
"Gods above and below..." She bit her lip, hard, staring at the card.
"They came. It was the dawn and they came. To judge us. I saw it. I saw it before it happened. I dreamed it... I dreamed it and awoke and ran and ran. Judgment. Our doom. Righteous. I should not have offended. Such a little fool I was." There were tears in her eyes now, just from watching the card.
So much pain there.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 09:47 PM
"They'll fit," Marcello said, sounding certain. "I...I didn't talk to the magus. My sister did. But she said that he took you, and split your soul, and tied you back down again, to many things." He held the cards up. "I think he tied you to the cards."
He took a deep breath, then took Judgment. "This card. The events it represents are memories, dreams, your power to see your future, your right to own your past that has been taken from you. No matter how bad these memories are, they belong to you. They go here."
He watched her, grimacing as he waited for her reaction, and ripped the card.
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 09:53 PM
She went eerily, utterly silent.
Not a word. Not a gasp.
She just sat there, frozen and pale, palms and knees glued to the deck.
"Gods..." Her voice was a tiny little thing, all arrogance lost now. All surety. Her shoulders shook for a moment, face safely hidden behind her hair.
"I remember." But not they why. And not the after. Just that terrifying moment of knowing that you had met your doom.
That you would be judged. Nothing would be deemed worthy.
And you would be gone.
"Seeing the future changes nothing." Then she clenched her hands into fists and straightened up so quickly it was as if someone had jolted her.
"It fitted with the fool. Judgment. You are right, they fit together, like pearls on a string. The fool were many leaves, this one but one." Her eyes were wet. "There could not be another." But she held out her hand, to stop now would be to not know why.
Or what happened afterwards.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 09:57 PM
Marcello only held out the cards, and nodded. "Do they...are they starting to feel more whole? Tell me when you pick the card, what it means."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 10:06 PM
"Yes... they..." She searched for words in a careful little voice, breathing pained and shallow. "They are merging, finding pattern. Fitting. Bit by bit." Her hand shook a bit when she reached for the cards, but in the end she braved herself and pulled one.
It was the Knight of Wands.
"Departure, flight... he left me, didn't he?" She frowned and studied the card, who was slowly changing. Now the young knight on the horse had no helmet, the pale short hair reminding quite a bit of Jochy. He had a staff behind, the sky was dark, and the horse was racing for a circle of distant stones.
"My son. The false one." She put a hand to her stomach, a bit disoriented by an entirely unrelated memory. "He left. Ran away. Not like the King of Wands." She shivered, then swallowed hard.
The king of wands had been torn up the last time she met with Marcello.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 10:12 PM
Marcello took the card. "I met your son," he said quietly. "I know him. Not well, but enough. I think he runs because he's frightened."
He looked down at the card, looking it over. "How does--" he started, but then his eyes sparkled with realization. "Your son," he said slowly, holding the card up to rip it. "Your son is your own."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 10:16 PM
She sucked in a breath, holding it tightly for a moment.
She looked as if she should protest, but she could not.
She could not.
It was no lie. It was real. The piece fitted, even though there was a huge gap between what she knew and what she did not know. How this had come to be she still was not certain.
But he was her son.
And for a moment she sobbed in gratitude.
"I do not know how it fits yet... but for this you have my thanks." She had a son.
One that was not dead.
No matter how foolish she had been, no matter how grave the threat, that was still true.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 10:18 PM
Marcello hesitated. "You could see him, you know," he said softly, watching her. "He's...I get the feeling that he's one of those people who is always alone, even when he's with friends."
He let out a breath, trying to temper his own feelings about Jochy. "Do you want me to continue?" he asked, as he held out his handkerchief.
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 10:25 PM
She accepted the handkerchief, dried her tears, then handed it back. "I will. I do not know why he ran away, that part is still obtuse..." She closed her eyes, then sighed. "There are bits of memory. But the night of his flight is etched in crystal. Why would he..." But there was no use asking.
Instead she opened her eyes and picked another card. "Four cards make the rim of the wheel, we already have the spokes. It is not safe to stop until the full measure is done."
She offered the card to Marcello, it was the ace of pentacles.
A massive, leatherbound book with a pentacle engraved on the cover. Shades of eyes and words shifted in the background.
"The Book. His book." She watched the card. "He wrote it down. All of it. Everything. Layer upon layer upon layer until he gifted it to the man he had chosen to walk the path once he was finished." There was a fond memory on her lips ash she shook her head. "Tear it, please, I want this memory."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 10:28 PM
Marcello took the card. "It's not just his book," he said thoughtfully. "It's the Ace. It's his power. It's what he is that he doesn't want you to know."
He nodded obligingly, ripping it, falling into a mechanical sort of motion as he offered the deck out again.
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 10:35 PM
She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath as she savored the memories. "Oh power... strands and logic and words and patterns." She laughed, a pearly little sound as she smiled at him. "The world is not as shallow as he thinks, and the Red Mage carries the book now. I taught him how to dance so perhaps there is hope there yet. Perhaps there is hope for us all."
She reached out for the cards once more. "Four more now for the stave. After that, no more. I just pray for the right knowledge." The further back, the more horrible it had been.
The more recent memories were safer, simpler.
And in between something hid, unseen.
The card she pulled this time was the Empress.
"Mother." The card depicted a stern but beautiful woman, shining black hair, sitting on a white throne.
"This is my mother. I remember sometimes hiding under the dais, listening to everything." Her smile was fond and loving.
"She did not resent our birth, not even when her beauty was slowly torn from her."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 10:38 PM
"Your birth?" Marcello said. "Here. Your mother. Your birth. Maybe motherhood in its own right. All yours."
He ripped the card. "And three more."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 10:46 PM
She shivered a bit, then reached out to gently touch the hand before she pulled another one.
"Tell me little Magus... why are you doing this for me?" The card she had pulled was the nine of pentacles, and that was herself on the card, decked in a wondrous gown of cold, jewels on her arms, and a golden dragon entwined in her hair.
"This was my life. If it is riches that you wish for, I could provide them. Princess, then queen, you have restored some semblance of order to myself."
She let him tear the card, sucking in a breath as she did so.
Then she pulled another one. It was the Six of Swords.
"Is this the journey that we are on? Into the unknown? I remember sitting in the boat, with you at the helm. Except it was not you, was it?" She frowned, then shook her head.
"Onward to the shores of Melderyn. It makes no sense."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 10:54 PM
Marcello shook his head. "I...I suppose I am doing this for you, in part, because you helped me, because you were company and comfort when I was scared witless," he answered softly. "But I would be lying if I said this was all for you. This is also to keep the magus from his path. I am not a magus; I don't pretend to be. Not here; only in that one dream where we all met. And to protect the woman I love. He has ill intentions toward her; she would be the vessel he would fix you to, and I think it would hurt you both. I would not have you forced to play her part any more than I would lose her."
He tore through the first card, and then stopped at the second. "I was never your boatman," he assured her. "I don't know what that one means, not with your own memory. This is. It's your choices. Journeys. Your...you need to be grounded in the known to have an unknown. It can't all be unknown, it can't all be known. This is your own recollections returned to you, not stopped up and filled with what you can remember."
He ripped it.
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 11:02 PM
"Nobody can pretend to me the Magus. There is only be or not to be." She was smiling though, as if the memories returned to her filled her with some semblance of joy.
Filled the hole somewhat.
Made it easier to endure the unknown that was left.
She was in that boat now, afloat. She did not yet know where her river led.
But she had faith.
She knew her mother now. She knew her son. Blood was everything, without blood you had nothing.
The last card was drawn from the deck with a smile on her face, and the card reflected that back.
"The sun was so hot at home. Searing. Stronger than here. People would hide in the shadow during the hottest hours of the day, but I would sneak out and dance. Alone." She closed her eyes, bending her head backwards as she looked up.
"Look at the sun through closed eyes and everything burns red. Dance in the heat and the world ceases to be. In the distance everything burns of mirages, shivering over the sands."
The sun. One constant. It was under the sun she belonged, not in the distant cold.
"Tear it little Magus and let me digest what I have gained."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 11:04 PM
Marcello tapped the Sun card. "The Sun is your home, then. Your constant. Always rising, always setting, always just where you expect it to be."
He ripped it, then gathered up the remainder of the deck. "There. Finished? How do you feel?"
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 11:09 PM
She let out the breath she had been holding, admitting "Frightened. I must admit that my courage failed there for a while." The smile was a small, almost humble thing. "I fear I might have influenced the deck to give me kinder cards. I did not wish to proceed after Judgment."
The thought made her look almost nauseous, shivering. "I feel like I might be sick, but there is nothing in me but hunger for more. I dare not though. I dare not take in too much, this is still... overwhelming."
She frowned, then gave Marcello a questioning look. "The first card, is this foolish business we have embarked on?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 11:16 PM
Marcello laughed. "But that hasn't been taken from you," he pointed out. "It's not something the magus would have tied to a card. I-- I think this is what he intended, to tie each part of you to a card, knowing you would not let harm come to them."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 11:27 PM
"I... no, I would not have. I rarely parted with them." She gently reached for the deck, then pulled back as if she had burned herself.
"He cut me up like an animal. Bits and pieces." The thought was disgusting to her, to have been mauled and maimed to this extent, and for what?
This she did not know yet.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 11:30 PM
"Precisely," Marcello answered. "He expected you to...to keep them close, not to suspect that they were at the root of this, and...I don't think it would have occurred to anyone else...except that your son...he told me how he remembered you keeping your cards with you."
He picked up the last two, put them with the rest of the deck, put them back into his pocket. "Things are going to become increasingly dangerous for all of us," he said quietly. "The girl in black...her people...they want to turn the magus into a god."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 11:38 PM
That made her blink, giving Marcello a very odd look. "I think I remember her, blackberries and the hidden thorns in life. Little lamb caught in the blackberry patch, found by chance to save a life." She drifted off, then shook her head. "Gods above and below, my thoughts still run circles around most subjects. It takes effort to walk a straight line."
But less effort now than before.
"He has sought power before..." The Ace of Pentacles had given a semblance of memories, she now had more than grey eyes to go on when it came to the man that had entrapped her. "But to seek to be level with the gods themselves? Folly!"
After the outburst was over, she asked quietly. "You have met my son, is he well? I do not think he was, when he left."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 27 2008, 11:49 PM
"I didn't know him when he was unwell," Marcello admitted. "He-- I have reasons to resent him, for the way he's hurt someone dear to me, but it's-- it's nothing inhuman. It's nothing so bad that it can't be forgiven. He means well. I would say he genuinely tries hard to be good. To care for people. He is well in health, I think. And in mind. "
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 27 2008, 11:58 PM
She nodded thoughtfully, then smiled. "That is well then."
She still looked a bit shaken about all the things she had learned. It was not easy to integrate what she felt with what she knew.
"Do you wish for vengeance then, against him? Or do you seek to forgive him?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 28 2008, 12:03 AM
Marcello laughed. "Neither. I just want the wounds between him and my lady to be healed. I don't want her to hurt so. I...I suppose I want them to be friends, if she wishes it, but he's...he's not done anything worthy of vengeance, and I'm not the one he's wronged. It's Niabheara who needs the chance at forgiveness. But," he rolled his eyes, good-naturedly. "That would require his apology."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 28 2008, 12:08 AM
"We are not a family given to apologies." She shook back her hair, giving him a haughty smile. "Not at all. It surprises me little if he persists that he did nothing wrong."
She pulled her legs underneath her, rising to her feet.
"I must depart. I feel I should dance 'lest I lose this clarity. I would ask you, but that path is not for you little Magus."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 28 2008, 12:12 AM
The young man smiled. "No, it's not," he agreed. "I...I'm glad you've agreed I'm not a sword," he informed her cheerfully, and waved a hand. "Take care."
Posted by: Alynealin Apr 28 2008, 12:15 AM
"No, you would be a useless sword." She giggled, considering the man. Then she giggled again, took one sweeping step back, and was gone.
As if she never had been.
Powered by Invision Power Board (http://www.invisionboard.com
© Invision Power Services (http://www.invisionpower.com