Closed Fortune Favors...

Autumn plays the fool; Dev'Ania, the agent of fate.

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Fortune Favors...

Postby Autumn Rose on December 20th, 2019, 3:59 am

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It was proving to be a long, dull day of waiting. With her recent revelation of her presence to Gweneveh, the two had held many long talks when the prostitute wasn’t working. To call it a revelation was a misnomer. Gweneveh was astute. She had been aware of Autumn since the beginning, or close to. Still, it was Autumn extending this sign of trust that was the beginning of any true relationship the women had other than cohabitation, and friendship blossomed quickly.

Autumn didn’t like that expression. Things that blossomed also died and usually quickly after the blossoming. Their friendship…

Autumn struggled to come up with a word that did it justice. A well dug deep and now over brimming with the fruits of that effort? No. Too cheesy. A cancer that had begun before they knew it and now was in every part of them? Too dark.

Autumn decided to leave it at what it was and let it speak for itself. It was friendship. A friendship between the living and the dead. Neither had known the other, but each had done what they could to make the other’s life a little better. Autumn had done her best to keep Gweneveh’s room cool in the oddly hot autumn while Gweneveh had not sought to remove the spirit from her residence. In fact, Gweneveh had tried to protect Autumn’s few remaining possessions. It hadn’t worked out, and now, Autumn’s book of fairytales had been held hostage for over a full season. Not to mention, it was winter, and Autumn’s occasional mood swings left the already cold season even colder.

But they were getting along. Which always made it rough on Autumn when Gweneveh slipped out for the day. For seasons now, Autumn had been entertaining herself, but now that she had the company of someone else again, she didn’t know what to do when those individuals were unavailable.

Today, she was trying to keep busy with cleaning the room. The sort of cleaning she could do was nothing helpful. It was just an excuse to practice her projection. She could barely move anything with the potency of her mist in this aspect, so she focused a projected area near the tip of one materialized finger and pushed a stray strand of Gweneveh’s hair off of her pillow. The stubborn hair kept catching on the fabric of the pillowcase and falling away from Autumn’s projected mist, forcing the ghost to start over again and again and again by willing her mist to form another flat disc of mist that could press outward against the physical world. Finally, the strand made it to the edge of the pillow, and Autumn lifted it free until it was far away from the bed, releasing it to fall to the floor.

She was about to start again when the door to Gweneveh’s room opened. Autumn dematerialized, only to realize it was her roommate and materialize again. Autumn’s bright blue eyes met Gweneveh’s.

“Good morning, gorgeous.”

Gweneveh beamed a smile back at her. “‘Good morning’ yourself. It’s midafternoon.”

“Sorry. I lose track of time.”

“You have more of it than most. It makes you forget how precious it is.”

Gweneveh was sometimes too astute for her own good. Autumn ignored her friend’s wisdom and, instead, moved on to the more pressing matter at the moment, at least in her mind. “Where were you?”

Gweneveh laughed. “Autumn, are you getting jealous?”

A lifetime of experience in this world still hadn’t given Autumn what she needed to cope with flirting. She was speechless.

Gweneveh laughed again. “I only jest. I was out with the most remarkable woman.”

“Remarkable?”

“Not that way. A lady doesn’t kiss and tell. She’s remarkable in the things she does. She’s a fortune teller.”

“Oh.” Autumn couldn’t help the roll of the eyes that came afterward. “A fortune teller.”

It wasn’t often that Gweneveh got defensive over the things she did, the choices she made, but this she pressed. “Trust me. This one isn’t a con artist. She told me everything I wanted to hear.”

“That’s how they make their money. They read you and tell you something about yourself that you gave away.”

“You’re too cynical, Autumn. What she said was true. I asked her about what my future held, for me and my love life. Do you know what she told me? That I would die, never married and alone, at least as far as lovers go.”

That was something that stunned Autumn. “How could that be what you wanted to hear?”

Gweneveh removed the coat she had gone out in, draping it over the back of the chair at her dresser, and watched Autumn through the mirror there as she talked to the ghost. “Because love isn’t real. At least not romantic love. People play at it, pretend and trick themselves into believing it’s real, but in the end, it is all driven by lust. And once the lust wears off, they realize that was all there was to it. And then they leave each other. Or worse, they’ve had children together and find themselves stuck living a life they only had thought they wanted.

“If I die alone and unmarried, that means I will not’ve fallen for that lie. I’m happy enough to be clever and alone. But I won’t be. She said when I go, I will be surrounded by friends. At least, that was how I interpreted things.”

As clever and brilliant as Autumn thought Gweneveh was, it still stunned her that her friend put any stock in the ramblings of fortune tellers. Her skeptical stare said so.

Gweneveh sat down, removing her winter hat and letting her long hair spill loose behind her. Turning and leaning over the back of the chair, she met Autumn’s eyes. “Her name’s Dev’Ania. You should go to her, see what she has to say.”

“About what? My life?”

“You are fate-touched.”

Autumn smirked at that.

Gweneveh’s smile softened sadly for her friend. “It’s sad that someone who has lived as long as you can’t see that. You think all that experience would have brought you wisdom. You are fate-touched. How else would you have made it this long?”

“I’m stubborn. Fate has nothing to do with it. When you’ve lived as long as I have, you learn that fate has nothing to do with it. Anything that could be controlled and led by fate instead unravels and falls apart.”

“You could have been wise, but instead you played the fool. That’s good, though. Fortune favors your kind.” Stopping, Gweneveh dug into the pocket of her coat and pulled out a small purse of coins. She started to rummage through them. “Here, take my money and go find out for yourself.”

Autumn shook her head. “Keep your coin, Gweneveh. If I’m really touched by fate, as you claim, then an opportunity will present itself for my fortune to be revealed. Besides, I couldn’t carry the coins anyhow. I’m not strong enough.”

Gweneveh’s eyes narrowed. “Just because you don’t believe, doesn’t mean you have to be an ass to those who do. Go and talk to her. She’s on Shinyama Peak, one to the west. A little shop called Nine Lives. She’ll change your mind.”

Autumn’s eyes narrowed in return. “Are you trying to get rid of me?”

“Actually, yes. I have a regular coming shortly.” Gweneveh raised her eyebrows. “You’re more than welcome to stay, but something tells me that’s not your thing.”

Grumbling, Autumn twisted and disappeared, blinking through the walls into the snowy outdoors. There were small flakes drifting down from the sky, and the people that Autumn passed on her way to find the fortune teller were covered from head to foot in their warmest gear. Some of it looked old and not well looked after. After all, it had been several years since those articles of clothing had been pulled out and put to good use.

Some of the Lhavitians grumbled. Mountaintops were already cold, but drown them in snow and winter, and they only got colder. More of them though were happy for its return. There was hope, hope that things had returned to normal, that Morwen had returned, that the season’s cycle was complete once more. There was an attitude of trust and cordiality between most in the city, a sense of celebration and wonder at what the world was like blanketed in snow.

Autumn herself was brighter than she had been for some time, and every cold flake that lanced through her soul only made her feel warmer. She had friends, Candace and Gweneveh. And little Emma, too, though she wasn’t sure if she could count her fellow ghost. Emma might have been young, but she was smart, smarter than she let on. She didn’t trust Autumn completely yet. And Ennisa. Little made people more friendly than helping them save those they loved. Madeira was a little more complicated, not a friend but not the enemy she had expected either.

In her cheery mood, Autumn danced, spinning in circles as whirls of snow twirled through the air past her. She danced through wintery gust as the danced through her, neither disturbing the other as each danced to a different song, it to the song of winter and she to a song once heard on Black Rock. It was with this music in mind that Autumn reached the bridge and danced through the air beside it until she reached Shinyama peak. It didn’t take her long to find the building as it sat near the bridge with snow gathering on the wooden sign that stated its name, THE NINE LIVES.

It was Autumn’s habit to present herself in as real of a way, in as human of a way, as possible, so she stood outside the door. And hesitated. It took her several ticks to realize that was what she was doing, and she took several more to figure out why. Anticipation ran quick and greedy through her soul. If she had a heart, it would have been racing. Part of her wanted to believe that this was real. The other part was afraid it wouldn’t be and knew the disappointment the former would feel. There was only one way to find out.

Pulling in the loose mist that hung in a cloud around her, she focused her thoughts on it and bent it to her will, bending the light around her to present the visage of her best and most amiable self. The color of her dress was lost in the materialization, but the color of her bright blue eyes was not. She smiled and stepped through the door, only to find the room on the other side empty. Being a ghost, she hadn’t actually opened the door, so there was no way anyone inside would have heard her entrance. The use of the doorway had just been out of some habit formed in life.

A little black kitten slept on a counter nearby, and Autumn made sure not to disturb it. She was about to explore elsewhere when the sound of someone singing came from the room in the back. It was a beautiful voice, perhaps not the attuned voice of a professional but a voice that knew its strengths, but Autumn lost the words of the song through the wall. Not wanting to frighten the fortune teller, Autumn gathered in any swirling mist, so as not to appear angry, then stood in the doorway. With a loose strand of mist, Autumn created a small point of projected bit of her soul and pushed it sharply against the doorframe.

A small knock sounded, and the fortune teller looked up from whatever it was she had been doing. There was no missing the woman for what she was. The pale skin and pale hair with iridescent scaling. She was Konti, one of the blessed daughters of the isle of Mura. But Autumn also knew there was no escaping notice of what she was either. Despite her best efforts at materialization, anyone would be able to tell that she was there without being there, a disembodied soul, a ghost.

In an attempt to prevent any reaction of fear, Autumn put on her best smile, the disarming one. “Please, don’t be startled. A friend sent me to see you. She was just in here earlier. Gweneveh. I’m sure you remember her. One of the prettiest faces on the mountain. You told her fortune, and what you told her brought her relief, made her happy. I think she was hoping you could do the same for me.”

Realizing she hadn’t introduced herself, the ghost dipped a quick curtsey in her materialized dress. “I’m her roommate. Autumn.”
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Fortune Favors...

Postby Dev'Ania on January 7th, 2020, 3:33 am

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65th of Winter, 519AV

The blonde Seer watched out the opened door at her latest client leaving into the white snow. She had just concluded another fortune-telling session with a brunette woman who worked at the Red Lantern. Like many of the readings Dev did, this one was quite insightful for the client and even for Dev’Ania.

Once the beautiful woman had gotten far enough to where Dev could no longer see her, the Konti retreated back into the reading room of her shop. Still enjoying the cool, wintery air, she left the door open a smidge to allow the breeze to circulate throughout the shop.

As she made her way into the back of the shop, she was startled by the sudden clambering that could be heard from the room. Dev raced to see what was going on but was stopped in the doorway by Ember scurrying out the open door as she chased after a small rodent.

For a tick, Dev stood there in shock, until she peeked into the room to see boxes of tea dropped off their shelf and cards scattered all over the floor. The fortune-teller dashed after the cat. She wasn’t worried about Ember getting lost - she was a smart cat and could easily find her way home - but she didn’t want Ember to harm the animal. It was cold outside so she expected to find the occasional small animal finding their way into the shop for warmth.

Luckily, Dev’Ania found the two animals on the side of the shop. A small ball of brown fur was curled in a corner with Ember hissing at it. From what Dev could tell, it was a woodrat. She recognized the little rodent from seeing it throughout the park sometimes.

Ember crouched close to the ground with her hindquarters wiggling in the air. Dev noticed the cat’s stance and realized she was getting ready to pounce on the innocent animal. In a panic, Dev raced over and scooped up Ember in her arm just before she attacked the woodrat.

“Ember, no! Don’t harm the creature!”

Ember writhed in her owner’s arms as she tried to escape her hold and hurry after the animal that was now hopping through the snow to get away. Dev’Ania held tight to the squirming cat as she brought her inside and shut the door. Ember finally settled down in Dev’s arms as her grip loosened.

“My sweet, sweet girl, Ember! I love so much, but you can’t do that! It was just a sweet creature looking for warmth in the cold.”

Dev’Ania rubbed her face against the black cat’s fluffy fur and listened to the soft purring of the cat. Ember was maturing so fast. Faster than Dev’Ania had thought. It felt like the Konti had just taken the kitten home for the first time just yesterday, but in reality, it had already been a whole year. Ember was no longer a kitten despite her refusing to stop calling the cat a kitten.

As she caressed the head of the cat in her arms, she started to daydream about how it would be when she had her own children. Holding her baby in her arms and watching her grow up day by day. She couldn’t wait. The thought made her eyes become glossy with the forming of joy-filled tears. For now, though, her baby was Ember, and she always would be the Konti’s baby.

The fortune-teller laughed as Ember’s soft paws tickled her nose. Dev took her finger and scratched behind Ember’s ears, watching as the cat’s eyelids began to shut, hiding her bright blue eyes. Dev’Ania rocked Ember in her arms as the blue-eyed cat drifted asleep.

“It seems like that woodrat ran all the energy out of you,” giggled the Konti as she placed Em in her usual napping spot. “I suppose I will have to clean up the mess you made before another customer arrives. Wouldn’t want them to see the room a mess.”

Dev picked up the boxes of tea and tarot cards that had fallen. In perfect timing, she heard a knock at the door as she picked up the last card.

“Hello! Welc-” Dev paused in her introduction as she caught sight of the ghost standing before her. She wasn’t scared, just slightly shocked. While some people would likely be startled by the sight of ghosts, Dev was not. Especially after meeting Emma.

Dev’Ania returned a smile to the Ghost. “Yes, of course! I remember your friend. Welcome to the Nine Lives, Autumn. I’m glad you came to see me and I would love to help you.”

She was pleased to hear she was recommended by Autumn’s friend. She led Autumn into the back room. “Let us have a seat and we could talk more. Oh, and don’t mind the cat. She is quite friendly.”

The statement was worth rethinking, after the woodrat incident today.

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Fortune Favors...

Postby Autumn Rose on January 29th, 2020, 2:12 am

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Dev’Ania didn’t seem off put by the presence of a ghost, so Autumn assumed the woman had met one before. Autumn wondered which ghost that might have been, if she had met the individual herself. If it was Emma, then Autumn had very little to fear. Emma was harmless, and most people might even be charmed by the child if they could get past the fact she was dead. If it was Jomi though, Autumn had a lot more to work against. She adored him, his snarky attitude, his want for fun, his daring defiance of Madeira and her expectations of him, but if a person wasn’t ready for it, his presence could be grating, especially if they were the target of his ‘fun.’ Dev’Ania greeted the ghost with a cheery smile and invited her farther back into the shop. Autumn decided it had probably been Emma.

“I’m glad you came to see me, and I would love to help you.”

That made one person. Being dead didn’t make one welcome in most places and most circles. Being dead but still being around, at least. Her and Gweneveh. Gweneveh was a special case though. Few people saw the world the way Autumn’s incredible roommate did. Hers was a cynical view, yes, but one that left her open to the acceptance of all people. Romantic love didn’t exist, not in her opinion, but that left her with more of every other kind of love to give. Hers was a cup overflowing.

So what made Dev”ania so special? Perhapsshe was more attuned to fate and each person’s part in it. Perhaps there was truth to her ability to read into fortunes. If she was tied to fate, then she’d be more likely to accept individuals as they came, perhaps not understanding their part, just knowing that they came as they were and did what they would. Whatever the case was, Dev’Ania seemed comfortable with her presence, and Autumn would not take that for granted.

Still, she was skeptical. Following the woman deeper into her shop, Autumn accepted the invitation to sit. As she always did, Autumn did her best to appear and act as a living person would. She had no need to sit. Her body never wearied, because she had no body, no flesh, no muscles. But her host had invited her to, and as it was expected, Autumn obliged. Concentrating her mist to the exterior reaches of her soul, Autumn worked them to refine the details of her materialization. Vague shapes became more clearly defined, and the colors that had only been hinted at before were given more life. Bending her knees, she hovered at sitting height over the chair. If anyone were looking beneath the table, they would see that she was actually suspended several inches above the seat, but she had no body to feel for furniture, and no one was looking anyhow.

At the mention of the cat, Autumn peeked back in the creature’s direction. Its eyes were still closed, but she could hear it purring contentedly. A small part of her wondered for a moment what it was cats thought and dreamed about, but there were more pressing matters at hand, pressing matters like answering if this woman’s revealing of fate was real. The potential this could open up was huge if she was legitimate.

Autumn had never done this before, so she wasn’t sure how things were meant to proceed. She decided to begin with honesty. “I should let you know before you invest too much time in me that I’ve come empty-handed. I cannot pay you, not in the traditional sense. Ghosts have no need for coin, except in rare circumstances, circumstances like this one. Being dead doesn’t exactly set one up for being successful in business. Having no body doesn’t lend itself to getting a job. I could owe you a favor, though who’d want a favor from a ghost, I wouldn’t know. There seems to be little we can do that most people wouldn’t be able to do for themselves with much more ease. But I could owe you.”

Autumn didn’t like extending such an offer. She’d rather part with copious amounts of wealth or worldly possessions. Favors put her in an uncomfortable spot. She didn’t like owing them, but for the right thing in return, she’d take the risk.

As long as she was being honest, she figured she’d keep up the streak. “The truth of this, though, is I don’t even know if I should owe you for this. I’m doubtful that you can do what you claim to do. I have my reasons for my doubt. Living in a city of illusions teaches you to trust no one and nothing, not even yourself and your own eyes. The world is built on deceit. I hope you’ll forgive my skepticism, but the last one who claimed to be one of your kind that I talked to told me I’d wed and live a long life with that man to the end of my days.” Autumn gestured to young form. “This is the age I died at. Twenty-five. Raped and murdered by my betrothed. I think you might understand why I’d be hesitant to believe.

“I’m doubtful, but if Gweneveh believes you, then I should too. Because she of all people ought to be able to see through a lie. She lives on deceit, as if she were born to it. If she believes, it speaks a world to your art. I’m hoping she’s not wrong.”
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Fortune Favors...

Postby Dev'Ania on March 17th, 2020, 2:39 am

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Dev’Ania adjusted her chair closer to the table as she sat down. Her hands sat on top of the table with her fingers interlocked. A warm smile was spread across her face. Her eyes focused on her guest. As she did with each guest to her shop, she used her eyes to examine the person. Being a great fortune-teller meant knowing your clients very well within only a couple of moments of meeting them. This woman, this ghost, was more difficult to read than expected because of her current state. The teller’s eyes stayed fixed on the ghost woman for a few ticks as she tried to quickly observe as much as she could about her.

She looked relatively young, so how did someone so young die? Didn’t you have to be super lucky to have the chance to come back as a ghost? If not, then wouldn’t there be an excessive amount of ghosts scouring the city? If her ghost form is here in Lhavit, does that mean she used to live here? Dev had never had the chance to actually learn much about ghosts and it would have been helpful to know these answers, but she thought it would be rude to ask a ghost she had never met before.

Autumn explained that she had no payment for the reading, which made some amount of sense to Dev’Ania. After all, how was a ghost supposed to earn kina or even carry anything around? “Well, I understand. And it sounds fair for you to own me a favor in exchange for a reading. I don’t know, perhaps something will come up one day that requires the help of a ghost. I will know exactly who to go to!” Dev smiled assuringly.

One thing the Konti was able to identify about Autumn was how uncomfortable she seemed to be there. The ghost had the same expression many people had while visiting Dev’s shop. She was doubtful. It was something Dev was used to experiencing with people who had never been to a fortune-teller or people who have only been to fortune-tellers who make up false information.

The fortune-teller needed to show Autumn that she indeed was serious about her work and was trustworthy. “Skepticism is common. I see that you are uncomfortable coming to me, but that is okay. Soon, I will gain your trust and you will see that there is nothing to be doubtful about with me. Naturally, there are people in the world who feed off of giving people false hope and causing them harm, but I am not one of those people. It may be hard to believe me now, but I will do my best to show you. It is up to me to earn your trust. I am so sorry to hear what happened to you, but I would say you can trust the words of Gweneveh.”

Dev’s smile turned to a slight frown. It made Dev’Ania sad to hear that the ghost was only twenty-five when she was murdered by someone she loved...or was told to love. It upset Dev that some terrible person pretended to give her a reading and it resulted in her losing the rest of her life. How could someone be so cruel?

“I think we should start with a card reading,” Dev took her deck of cards and shuffled them between her hands as she explained. “With this layout, we will be able to see what the cards reveal about your past, present, and future. In order for it to be effective, you must connect with the cards yourself. To do so, you have to split the deck into three separate groups while thinking about your past and present and what may await you in your future.”

The Konti rejoined all the cards into a deck and placed them in front of Autumn. “Whenever you are ready, Autumn.” Dev’s smile returned to her face as she waited for Autumn to reciprocate her instructions. “Be sure to really gain a connection with the cards.”

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Fortune Favors...

Postby Autumn Rose on April 15th, 2020, 9:27 pm

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The sound of cards slipping past each other before they slapped down against the table or the card beneath them filled the quiet little shop. It was a simple sound that belied the heaviness of what it represented, the sheer weight of what it held. Fate. This was a culmination of what was and what currently existed and how those two would shape the things that were to be. All of that was supposed to be held in a single deck of cards.

Autumn couldn’t stop the healthy dose of skepticism that rose up in her at that thought. The only certainty she had ever found in a deck of cards was when a gambler stacked his deck. She had always found that fate and fortune were just what people made of the circumstances dealt to them, nothing to do with predestination or a heavy, more omniscient hand guiding their paths. Lhex, if he even existed, was nothing more than a petty child burning ants beneath his magnifying glass. If one was insignificant enough, they escaped his attention, and in the end, everyone was insignificant. Fate and fortune and those who claimed to see into the two had no place in this world.

But Gweneveh believed.

Gweneveh. Gweneveh, who refused to believe in romantic love, something that Autumn, even given her history with it, still believed in. That same woman had sold her belief into the words and predictions and fortune told to her by Dev’Ania. And if Gweneveh could believe, Autumn could, at the very least, give the woman a chance.

At the Konti’s direction, Autumn reached her transparent hand out to the shuffled deck, letting her fingers and the accompanying mist dance across the top card like a fog driven by some sparse wind, swirls floating away from both the cards and her fingers to dissipate into the ether.

She concentrated on the first card, as her soul sank into it, spreading through it, soul and supposed fate occupying the same space for a moment in time. This was perhaps the purest connection these cards would ever have to any soul they read a fortune for. While others may have concentrated on the cards and the question at hand, none of them had literally poured their soul into it. Her first thoughts went to her past and the many things those seventy-three years had contained. Her childhood in Kenash and the friends, both freeborn and slaves she had made, her carefree younger days, her short betrothal and the death that had ended it. But death was not the end. A long life of death had followed, filled with many more people who came and went until there was Maro. Maro’s short life swelled in her mind, burning bright before fading quickly to nothing. He had died alone, though Autumn had been there for every other important event in it.

Each card she slipped through and past had its own unique texture and taste. It was, of course, neither of these as ghosts could experience neither of those sensations, but that was the closest comparison Autumn could come up with describe the way they touched her soul. These cards were more tangible than most living things, living souls being the only exclusion. The first one was molasses in texture, her descent through it sluggish and impeded, and honey sweet in flavor; the second, sifting sands and cinnamon. Card upon card passed her by, and she passed by them. The thirteenth card tasted of copper and felt like a cool breeze, the kind just cool enough to be uncomfortable.

What she did not expect was the emptiness of the fourteenth card. Upon encountering it, it was as if her soul had met an impassable wall, solid brick or steel that barred her path, and it was tasteless. This was the end of her thoughts about her past, she decided, and she worked her mist to separate that card and the others above it from the rest beneath.

As she did, Autumn turned her attention to Dev’Ania. “Dev’Ania, child, have you ever read your own fortune? I’m just curious. You know what they say about trusting skinny chefs.”

Setting the pile to one side, Autumn began the process of thinking about the present all while concentrating on the cards and Dev’Ania’s response, if the young woman had any. Mint surrounded the aura of the fifteenth card though it was more the smell of it than the taste, and if there was any texture to it, it was so faint the ghost missed it. That was a flavor she was familiar with even in death with mysterious wraithmint on Black Rock. Her mind forced herself away from her past and back to the present and her current life here in Lhavit. The mountain was so different from the isle, but it was the people and circumstances that Autumn put the most thought into. Of course, there was her tenuous relationship with Miss Madeira Craven, a figure from the past that seemed to come back to haunt her present. There was Ennisa and her infinitely cherished Itzi and the terrifying living husband and dead wife that had tried to steal the latter away. This season had also marked the enigmatic arrival of the dovecote and the second face from Autumn’s past to return in the space of two seasons. Baelin and Madeira had both changed considerably since Autumn had seen them last.

Card twenty-three was cinnamon again but with a woody texture like running one’s hand over an unfinished board with slivers. It wasn’t until she reached the forty-fourth card that she met the familiar wall of nothingness that told her to stop. The forty-third card was snowflakes on the tongue in both flavor and feel. She secretly wondered how many children were outside now, faces pointed to the sky and tongues sticking out in hopes of catching a frozen flake. As she paused again to separate the deck, another question arose.

“Do you think you’ve ever been wrong about a fortune? Do you ever doubt what it is that you’ve told another?”

Concentrating mist into her palms, the dead woman pushed the three piles toward the living woman, her last thoughts lingering on what any of this could mean about the unforeseeable future.
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Fortune Favors...

Postby Dev'Ania on July 24th, 2020, 2:59 am

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Dev’Ania watched in awe as the ghost picked up each card, one by one, and began making the first pile. Usually, any other person would have been able to split the deck into thirds, but it appeared that Autumn, a ghost, had to pick each card individually. Maybe she would gain a deeper connection with the cards by doing it that way. Autumn’s fingers touched each card with ease. The fluidity of her movements made Dev curious. How did ghosts do that?

Her head flicked up to look Autumn in the eyes as she asked her question. ‘Child?’ The ghosted calling her that, took her back for a second. How long had she been a ghost for? She didn’t look much older than Dev, but perhaps she had been a ghost for several years. “Oh, of course,” she nodded, “I always read my own fortune. Mostly when I am developing new spreads.” Dev’Ania smiled with her hands rested on top of the table and her fingers interlocked. “I can assure you that I am very good at what I do, even though I learn something new every day.”

The Konti sat back patiently waiting and observing as the piles were made by the ghost. Once Autumn finished with dividing the deck into three piles, Dev’Ania grinned speaking as she flipped the top card of each deck, placing the cards in front of their respective piles. “Much of fortune-telling deals with your intent. What you want them to tell you. I’ve learned that having the same faith in the cards as you do in a god or goddess, will present you with a true and honest reading.”

She rested her hands on the table with her fingers intertwined and looked into the deep eyes of the ghost. She could see the curiosity and skepticism in her eyes. A quick sigh escaped her bright lips before she began speaking again.

“I trust the cards and in return, they give me good fortunes. Though, that is not to say that they are never wrong. The future is complex. The most minuscule action can alter someone’s entire future. All fortune-telling does is present a likely possibility for your future.” The fortune-teller nodded and widened her smile. Her hand reached forward and she lightly tapped the first card on the table. “This card here is representative of your past.” The card depicted a person laying flat on the ground, penetrated by 10 upright swords. “The Ten of Swords. It represents a great deal of pain and loss. It marks the loss of the painful loss of something, which could be a relationship or even losing touch with yourself.” Dev’Ania could clearly see that Autumn had lost something - her life! But she knew that there was something always deeper to reveal about a person. Even if they are a ghost. Her eyes looked up at Autumn with a hint of pity. It was upsetting to see that she had been so young when her life was taken.
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Fortune Favors...

Postby Autumn Rose on September 20th, 2020, 4:32 pm

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Faith. Trust.

There it was. The most impossible thing to ask, and yet, here Dev’Ania was, asking for it. Every fortuneteller did though. If there wasn’t the slightest bit of belief or hope, then the people who came wouldn’t pay for the telling. The bad ones, the real cons and swindlers, weren’t good enough to ply their trade convincingly enough for multiple tellings. That’s why most of them worked the traveling shows. Even if they returned to the same town, there was generally enough time for people to have forgotten. But the good ones? The good ones managed enough of the truth, enough vaguely convincing details, that they convinced the fortunetold that the act of divination was real, and in that way, good fortunetellers got repeat customers. The better they knew someone, the better they could keep up the act. At least, that was the way Autumn saw it. Death made one skeptical. Very skeptical.

Now that the cards were flipped, Dev’Ania pointed to the first one. “This card here is representative of your past.”

And there it was. Always begin with the past. That was what Autumn had always seen them do. If they ferreted out some detail that was accurate, assumed something correctly about the past, it gave credibility to their art form. The little trust that was given at the start would then be strengthened.

Autumn looked down at the card Dev’Ania had flipped and had to admit it did seem accurate. It was a bit gruesome with a person laying supine run through by ten separate sword, and Autumn had to wonder if Dev’Ania used a separate deck of cards when telling fortunes for younger customers, for children. She laughed a little at those several thoughts, muttering mostly to herself but loud enough that Dev’Ania could catch it, “That’s pretty close but far too few wounds there to be me.”

She would explain what that meant, if the fortuneteller’s curiosity got the better of her, but the harshest reality of it all, that Autumn would spare the Konti from. The ghost didn’t think the other woman needed to see the extent of her mutilated and violated corpse. That was a materialization no other woman, no other person, needed to see.

Dev’Ania went on. “The Ten of Swords. It represents a great deal of pain and loss. It marks the painful loss of something, which could be a relationship or even losing touch with yourself.”

Vague, as these things always seemed to be, and Autumn was ready to leave when she realized how accurate it was. Out of all those cards (maybe sixty or seventy, she couldn’t be sure exactly), this one had been chosen for her and not just for her but for her past. While the card itself meant nothing to Autumn, the explanation that Dev’Ania had offered of it fit Autumn’s past best. Loss, Maro’s loss, had been the focal point, the thing that had driven her. Dev’Ania paused and looked to Autumn, pity in her eyes.

Autumn nodded. “You’re right. There has been loss in my past, but it wasn’t the loss of my life. I chose that, as much as anyone can choose for something of that nature. I knew it was coming, but I faced it to make a change. And it worked. The man who killed me was brought to justice, a justice far harsher than anything humankind could have brought to him.”

Her hand went to her necklace, and she thought of the coin that filled that empty pendant when she was standing on Black Rock. She would explain what that meant too, if asked.

“But my loss came from something I found after death. I loved, loved like I never had before. Around him, all my sorrows and my suffering were… Well, they weren’t gone or forgotten, but they felt meaningless. Here, I had hope and joy, and that was enough. More than enough. Things began to change. I can’t say what they were for certain, only that life was better because of it. Whatever it was made me feel almost-” she couldn’t find the right word so she used the wrong one that was the closest she could manage- “whole.”

Autumn couldn’t meet the fortuneteller’s eyes as she admitted the next part. “But as with everything, he was stolen away from me too soon. He had a sense of righteousness, a sense that good will toward the less fortunate. It got him killed.”

Autumn’s eyes narrowed as she met Dev’Ania’s. “So you’re right. I have known loss. I have known pain. But that’s an easy enough assumption to make about a ghost.” Autumn tapped a materialized finger soundlessly on the second stack. “What does it say about the present?”

This was the next step. If a fortuneteller managed to make an insightful observation about the present after an accurate statement about the past, then they could feed their customer anything they liked about the future, and it would seem destined to happen.
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