A prophecy


Queen of Swords








The Star








The Emperor








Knight of Rods








Temperance








Seven of Swords










Diana

Lyssa

Myrine

Mercy

Lilith

Party

Women

Lily led the way into the kitchen, where she was laying the Tarot cards on the big round wooden table, the colorful designs making a bright, unfinished pattern. Lily had hardly looked at the deck for years, but now that the second wave of the New Age was underway, she had felt the urge to dabble in the occult once again; the First Lady consulted astrologers and superstition was back in vogue. Not that Lily would do something because the First Lady did it, but it was a symptom of the times. The Aquarian Tarot Lily once laid for her fellow cheerleaders (making her rather exotic) was exhumed and dusted off, and rusty mental hinges forced back into motion--with the help of a book, something she would never have deigned to use previously.

Lily sat down at the table and began to explain the cards to Diana and Sam while Myrine filled the kettle, demonstrating her indifference to Lily's predictions for her future. "We chose this card to represent Myrine," Lily said, indicating the Queen of Swords in the middle.

"Who says 'we' chose it?" Myrine protested from the cupboard where she was digging out tea things.

"Why the Queen of Swords?" Sam asked.

"Swords are for people with dark brown hair and eyes." Myrine batted her long-lashed eyes at Sam and Diana.

"Myrine doesn't have dark eyes," Sam protested. "She has green eyes."

"Hazel," Myrine corrected her.

"She has dark hair," Lily insisted. "There's no card for that combination. This card," she continued, pointing to a card displaying a peacock and a star in gaudy seventies colors, "indicates what crosses her, keeps her from achieving fulfillment --The Star reversed. It means pessimism." Lily giggled, tapping the books at her elbow. "I already looked it up."

"Or illness or conceit," Myrine added from the counter.

"You're never sick," Diana said. "And you are pessimistic."

"Maybe she's conceited?" Sam suggested.

"Watch it or you won't get any tea," Myrine said. The kettle started to whistle and she poured boiling water into the hand-thrown teapot.

"And this is beneath her, that means hidden or subconscious influences -- The Emperor reversed. The Emperor stands for authority, but reversed it means immaturity. Maybe it stands for your degree in recreation?" Lily said with her inevitable laugh.

Myrine grimaced. "Speak for yourself. You're still in high school." Myrine had made a career of recreation; when she wasn't teaching self-defence, she dabbled in administration at the local community center.

"Maybe it means Myrine rejects authority," Diana suggested.

"Male authority," Sam contributed.

"I don't need any tarot cards to tell me that," Myrine said as she brought the tea to the table.

Lily turned over the remaining cards. "Now these last four cards indicate the progress of events. First there's the Knight of Rods reversed. Let me see what that means," she said, leafing through her reference books. "I can't remember anything!"

"Isn't it supposed to be a person?" Myrine asked.

"Matt?" Diana suggested.

"Well, reversed usually means the other sex."

"What are rods?" Myrine was remarkably interested in the cards for one so unconcerned.

"Blond complexion, Air sign, it says here."

"Then it is Matt."

"I don't believe it--the books say different things!" Lily complained. "This one says Rods indicate fire signs."

"So that means it's either a man or a woman, blond, either an air sign or a fire sign. Wow. Very informative."

"I'm a fire sign and I'm blond," Lily said.

"But you're already in my life, you're not in my future."

"So is Matt," Diana pointed out.

"What sign are you, Sam?" Lily asked.

"My sun is in Groundhog with Mouse rising," Sam said, face straight. Lily let loose an explosion, drowning out the laughter of the other two.

"Not mouse," Diana protested.

"The next card is Temperance," Lily said when she caught her breath.

"No, not that," Myrine objected.

"It means temperance."

"Who would've known?" Sam murmured.

"`Tempering bodily passions and desires,'" Lily read.

"You're going to break up with Matt," Diana prophesied.

"It also means strength of spirit," Lily added, studying her book.

"At least that's something," Myrine said. "It looks like I'm going to need it. The next card doesn't look very pleasant at all." There were swords lying everywhere and one lonely figure standing in the middle of them.

"Actually, it's not as bad as it looks," Lily consoled her. "It says here it means peace, the end of a battle. See, he's collecting the swords and putting them away."

Myrine grimaced. "To end a battle you have to have one first. Doesn't sound very fun to me. You can lay the cards for Di next time."

"I wonder which card she would be?" Lily mused. "She doesn't have black hair anymore."

"But you can see the black at the roots," Myrine pointed out.

"My hair is red and there's no suit for redheads," Diana stated in a tone which allowed no opposition. "So that's the end of that! Come on, Sam."

"You guys just don't appreciate what I do for you," Lily said, laughing.



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