Description: Sharon asks a simple question! Slayer is so furious that his wife would even THINK he is not one thousand percent devoted to her that he storms out to find the most objective opinion in the land- a psychic opinion. Rose has some VERY BAD NEWS for Slayer, but are her motives entirely selfless?? READ ON.
It may be asked, how can Rose support herself when she uses her talents to administer poignant and uncompensated readings at arbitrary points throughout Southtown?
This is how.
A MODEST APARTMENT
(not very modest at all)
The door opens to the unnamed parlor where a highly exclusive psychic advisor plies her trade - at least, for her time in Southtown, however long a time that may turn out to be. Rose isn't standing there to open it.
The room is softly lit, as if from an oil lamp, shining through a shimmering cloth. It makes the light warm and rosy and throws a thousand subtle sparkles in the air, tiny sequins casting their stars onto an unlit ceiling. The air is rich with the smell of incense.
Rose is seated at a table, with an antique couch behind her and a more open divan before her, both with overstuffed silk cushions. A red cloth drapes on the table, also silk; a bottle of wine, a decanter of brandy, and a carafe of water rest near a glass, waiting the pleasure of the querent.
The cards are nowhere in evidence, as of yet. Rose herself has a glass of wine in her hand, the stem between middle and ring finger.
"Please, enter freely," she says. Somewhere music is playing, faint and soft. "Make yourself at ease."
"Slayer," remarks an impossibly melodious voice, one whose very timbre inspires men to blind loyalty, wild animals to obedience. She is seated in an attractive posture upon a forlorn-looking tree stump, somewhere in the barely-visited innards of Southtown's most prominent Wilderness preserve. She is unmoving, chest gently heaving with each delicately inspired breath, eyes unblinking save for the occasional perfect, vulnerable moment where she might blink.
"Yes, Sharon? Lovely?" Not even thirty feet away, a tall, awkwardly gangly, powerful-looking man has been chiseling at least a ton of granite for God knows how long. It's approaching the semblance of the woman before him, but there's still a long way to go - and the work goes slowly! Observe Slayer's tongue poking out of his mouth, the way that perfectly manicured moustache quirks with every twitch of his brow!
"Darling, do you think I'm your fated, only love?" It is important to note that Sharon has assembled a Disney Princess level of enraptured wildlife around her person by now. Back to the question - this is asked in a serene tone of voice, but its implications are staggering.
"S-surely you cannot be serious..." In fact, Slayer has hit his sculpture precisely wrong and shattered a granite fingertip in the process. He does not swear - he's got his entire rest of eternity to perfect this.
Sharon smiles, a mystical, ephemeral thing, the very essence of juxtaposed frustration and optimism. Her eyes twinkle like the stars on a winter night.
Slayer is already gone.
"Ah, ah, thank you, thank you!" Rose's summons are responded to almost instantly, and without the ado of footsteps, echoing stairs, or any sort of evidence of *approach* - Slayer enters the apartment stage-center, with characteristic long-legged steps and smouldering smoking pipe. Upon entering and closing the door, he doffs his jacket and undoes his cufflinks, to roll white dress sleeves up powerful arms.
"I'm humbled by your willingness to take my request at such short notice - Yelp has been going absolutely ga-ga over you, Miss Rose, and I would never allow my very destiny to be handled by any but the best!" He turns in place, and makes his way to the chair set aside for him. Without any prompting, he examines Rose's glass, sees it is full of wine, and pours himself a spot of brandy in turn.
"My name is Slayer, and I am afraid my need is *dire*," the man states, concern wracking his otherwise deep voice. Warm, fatherly brown eyes crinkle as they regard Rose from behind a monocle - "My wife believes she is not my truest, most deep love. A true psychic is the only answer to the resultant question! Who is my intended, most true love?"
With a dramatic SLAM, Slayer slaps his hand down on the table! He doesn't even know if it's a palm-reading! He is completely out of his league.
Rose's lips curve up into a smile. "Why, I had no idea that you were brought here by the Internet when you made your call. Is it really so helpful...? I had thought it would prejudice things, to read my own reviews."
The reviews are good, though it is possible that several are from Alma for the sake of driving business.
She does not object to Slayer's strong advance, nor his words, nor his dilemma, but she does raise an eyebrow when he slams his arm down with sufficient force to rattle the decanters slightly.
Rose reaches forwards and touches that palm with a single manicured fingernail. "This is a dilemma indeed," she says.
"Questions of love... they are some of the greatest fears and woes the people of the world can have," Rose says, continuing to trace her fingertip along the lines of the proffered palm. "It is a very remarkable thing for you to be given such a question by your wife... but it is to your credit that you did not embrace this. Your wife must be a person who you feel very strong love for... and that should be obvious, but so often, my dear Slayer, it is not."
Rose lowers her hand to press her palm against Slayer's.
She sips her wine.
Then she draws her hand away, turning it around. A deck of cards is in them. Tarot cards. She sets them down. "Shuffle these once," she says. "Then hand them to me. I will sort them in my own ways while you speak your query aloud. Then you will cut the cards, and I shall read the truth of the matter."
This is absolutely thrilling to Slayer - a human fortune-telling! Why, it's been centuries since his last encounter with the Romani, and the last experience he can remember involved showmanship so elegant it *still* gives the vampire shivers. Rose might feel the shiver of excitement coursing through the utterly soft, chill hand she places her palm to - she'd certainly see it in Slayer's beaming face. He's eating this up.
The man sniffs at his brandy while Rose speaks, very much familiar with the *premise* of what they're about to do; he takes a mouthful as she's done, and swallows in a hurry. "Ah, I do not doubt my love for Sharon in the least - she is the Yin to my Yang, the radiance of the warm sun to my dismal, winter's night! She is my everything, you understand, Mystical Rose." This is almost certainly a result of Alma's Yelp reviews attempting to inflate Rose's advertising persona via stupid titles.
In any case, Rose will find the lines of Slayer's palm to be nearly virgin-soft in their lack of callus or hardship-related crease. As she removes her hand and offers the cards, Slayer shuffles them in a crisp, practiced manner - they flitter between his hands dramatically, and the man offers them back to Rose to shuffle. While she does so, he glances upwards, still smiling, and exhales one puff of ashy smoke.
"Well then, a haiku to make my inquiry as heartfelt as I can.
a cooling fireplace
her smile quavers'
The words are somber and serene - at least to Slayer - and he settles his pipe back into his mouth, as though his question has been spoken -perfectly-.
Rose can either go with the flow, here, or critique some bad haiku. It's a rough ball game.
What a soft and tender palm. It's like touching a lamb. A lamb with no wool, but even so...
Rose takes back the cards and holds them cautiously, as if feeling a presence in them that's stronger than usual. She contemplates matters in silence, and then deals the cards.
The Hanged Man.
The Queen of Disks.
The Ace of Wands, between Hanged Man and Magus.
The Five of Disks, between Hanged Man and Queen.
"How fortuitous, my dear Slayer," Rose remarks. "None of these cards are ill dignified - not a single one!"
She sips her wine again. "Shall I begin...? Or do you have any questions regarding my methods, before I implement them upon your problem?"
Slayer looks over the cards laid out before him, and removes his hand from the table - he figures Rose is done with it. The woman's touch seems to have left him feeling a little superstitious, considering the way he's shaking the affected extremity out.
"Aheh," he murmurs, perhaps a little nervously. Rose is-- this is different from the last time Slayer had visited a roma. The man's disquiet grows by the second.
"I, ah - absolutely, I do not mind any of your methods! I have no secrets to hide, no skeletons in my closet!" After 'several thousand' skeletons in the closet, you sort of start embracing them. For what it's worth, Slayer doesn't seem horribly concerned about being caught for something.
There's something *else* causing the twitch in his eye, the quiver in his lip, the slight creak of his chair protesting while he leans imperceptibly forward.
"Please, madam, do go on. I assure you, my interest has never been piqued quite like this."
Rose lets out a silky chuckle. "You flatter me, sir! But I'm glad that you've gotten into the matter. So often I am met with skepticism. It is a good instinct, a good habit - highly justified - but the change is refreshing!"
She puts the wine glass down. Don't drink and read.
"Our central card here is the Hanged Man. This card represents the Querent and his role in the entire affair. As you can see, of course, he is rather reversed, isn't he?"
Rose continues, "Our hung fellow here is said by the creator of this deck to represent an old era; the era that has passed away. You can see the triangle, of course, formed by the man's legs. This would be a rather hostile image - a sign of pointless sacrifice and suicide - were it not in the context of the opposition implied by marriage..."
"Up top," Rose continues, "we have the Magus. This represents the relationship which you hold at the moment. The Magus represents the dynamic forces of the universe - wisdom. Power. Intelligence. But sometimes cunning, trickery and deceit as well. A 'magician' is often as much charlatan as wizard..."
"And down here is the Queen of Disks. It stands for a woman with dark eyes and dark hair; of many moods, truthful and really rather charming. This represents the relationship which you are drawn to..."
Rose trails off. The mystery of those two stray cards is left hanging, for now.
Things get very real for Slayer, very quickly. The hand he rests his chin upon taps upon his cheek jovially, but the cadence of that percussion slows as Rose speaks, 'till fingers curl into one another, tighten into a perturbed fist. Pointlessness? Sacrifice? Suicide if not for marriage? Slayer looks away for a moment, and manages a tidy mouthful of his brandy. Something to keep him appearing less-than-close to the whole ordeal. The man looks back to Rose, position carefully twisted to the side. His smile is eternal, his manner is impeccable, his tone warm and hospitable.
"This is all enchanting, I promise, but the central question is simply one of whether or not my w-"
The Queen of Disks, a dark haired woman, with eyes like the deepest pools of pitch? Slayer's face slackens. His monocle tumbles from his eye to bang uselessly against his chest. The man leans in, eyes locked onto Rose's own. For a moment, it looks like he might *kiss* her, but that's ridiculous.
"It has been," he begins, interrupting the entire sermon, "a very, very long time since I have met a woman with the Power. You have an incredible gift." Slayer reaches down to set his monocle in his pocket, and focuses again on the table and those cards strewn between himself and the gypsy.
Rose meets Slayer's gaze, monocle and all. Her eyes are slightly lidded. Her lips are quirked up in a knowing smile.
She did all this on purpose.
"Oh, that is quite kind of you... but I cannot claim anything more than a certain amount of a 'gift'. Let me clarify these relationships, however - lest it seems as if you are simply hung, between two women."
That was also on purpose.
Rose touches the card interlinking the Hanged Man with the Queen of Disks.
"The five of disks represents Worry, as you can see from the title at the bottom here. It shows here a connection full of tension, trouble, concern. There is a sternness to it, the disks grinding against each other - the reversed pentagram, of course, orients towards the Queen here... a dragging downwards, the triumph of the flesh over the spirit."
"You might wonder if you've gone in over your head."
Rose takes a deep breath.
"But linking you to the Magus...we have the Ace of Wands. A bursting tree of life, ablaze with passion. A terribly masculine card, of course. But beyond the... obvious association, it represents sheer force - natural, surging force, not that which has been invoked."
Slayer is eating directly out of Rose's palm, now. Combining psychic powers with a sick-as-hell coldread/dragalong is basically unfair, even when it's stacked up against millenia of experience and cleverness. On the other hand, maybe Slayer is just that hopeful man at the magic show, throwing logic to the wind to believe for just one second that the young man on the stage is an actual sorcerer.
Either way, at this very moment, Rose has an indescribably powerful vampire biting his lip while he listens to her. The words she speaks are powerful, intriguing, concerning. Hung between two women? The vampire spikes an eyebrow upwards, pulls deeply upon his pipe. Concerning.
Worry, regarding a struggle between flesh and spirit? Surely Rose is not suggesting that Slayer is... tired of Sharon!? No! He won't have it! The man stands erect, moustache bristling, eyes wide in rejection. He doesn't slam a hand down on the table, simply because it would be *exceedingly* rude, but he does bristle so intensely that a static charge develops around his moustache.
Rose saves the whole potential disaster with the Magus - force, natural, whelming. Slayer relaxes, and again palms his pipe, glancing over one shoulder to the woman across the table from him. His reaction, despite everything, is...
"Ha ha! So some sort of an affair, perhaps? How dramatic! Thrilling! Sharon will not know what to DO with herself. Vengeance? A reign of woman's ire like nothing one has ever seen??" Slayer simply leans forward, smiling brightly.
"Go on, go on -- who exactly am I considering having an AFFAIR with? I'm positively stumped!" He doesn't get this, really. He just doesn't understand.
Rose certainly can see the feelings she's evoking in Slayer, even if after a certain point she wonders to herself if he's putting her on.
Rose runs the tip of her tongue over her lower lip for a moment. "Well," she states, reaching for her wine glass and raising it up again, leaning back into her couch and raising up the glass. The glittering light from that mood lamp shimmers in the residual red.
"I'm not certain... thus far, the only woman I know about in your life is your wife. You are a mystery to me, Mr. Slayer... even if I do see with more attention than most..."
She arches one eyebrow again. "Shall I elaborate on just who or what the Queen of Disks represents?"
Slayer takes Rose's relaxation as a sign to relax himself - he eases back in his chair, and resets his monocle upon his left orbital. He refills his snifter, and swirls the brandy about in a hand more likely to chill than warm. The man watches Rose consider her next words, smiles primly at her as she regards him -- and cants his head to the side, as though inviting more.
"I find your readings... tremendously accurate, Miss Rose, truly, something to be accoladed! Yelp will certainly hear about how you have seen through my very heart. But I cannot help but..." He leans forward, venturing to settle one elbow upon the table, to rest his bearded chin in his hand once more.
"-Worry-. Whoever this extra woman in my life must be, she is... indescribably brave, ambitious to warm herself at the selfsame flame my dear Sharon enjoys! Sharon is..." He trails off, searching for words. He taps at the side of his nose, eyes flashing, and smiles conspirationally.
His words aren't quite as poison-laced as Rose's, but carry implication and depth of their own.
"Sharon is a horror on two legs when scorned. This 'other woman', for all her bravery, her soaring sights, her marvelous, utterly *human* thirst for more, for perfection..." The man inhales from his pipe, deeply, allowing its embers to illuminate his angular features in a demonic light.
"She must be quite the incredible individual. I believe you have hit upon the reason for Sharon's self-consciousness." This is a patent lie. Sharon has not been self-conscious since before the Earth started spinning.
Yelp again. Rose thinks to herself that 'Yelp' is perhaps the most singularly unattractive name to have raised in an environment like this.
She rests one hand against her temple, fingers loosely curled as she gazes across the table, even as Slayer leans on it.
"Your Sharon does sound like an astonishing woman... I am, frankly, surprised that she would even bother to suggest such an... exploratory route for you. It shows supreme confidence... or a supreme compassion, for needs, wants, she saw within you that even you cannot see."
The pipe doesn't bother her. Hey, it kind of goes with the incense! After a fashion.
"But often we have urges, cravings, that are self destructive, don't we? Even the glorious are no exception."
"Mmm." Slayer nods at Rose's words, which ring as true as any he's heard recently. He hadn't even questioned Sharon's motivations, to be honest - why would she cast doubt on their relationship, send him out like this? Sharon's never doubted anything in her life! The man's brow furrows - he finds himself perhaps lost in thought, staring at the weave upon the tablecloth between himself and Rose. He is *quite* torn.
Or an excellent actor. One wants very badly to believe that the boy on stage is a sorcerer, after all.
"I'm afraid I must take my leave, now," says Slayer, rising to his full, frankly worrying height. He stoops, to extend one long-fingered hand, to let it rest on Rose's own, and smiles.
"Thank you, ever so much, for your gift of sight and consideration. I meant what I said earlier - you are gifted - and I fear I'll have to take much into account after today!" A rich laugh leaves him after he states that his world is slowly crumbling - he straightens once more, but not before leaving a considerable sum of money before Rose.
"Ta, Ms. Rose, and we will meet again! I worry that I'll become addicted to fortunetelling, if all of the sessions are quite this... stimulating! Ha ha!" He takes his leave, gliding out of that cozy apartment on those same long legs, bending to scoop his jacket into an intricate swirl that leaves it perfectly positioned on his torso. One light, door-slamming tug later--
Slayer is back at the clearing he'd left not even thirty minutes ago, smiling ear to ear at Sharon, who has absolutely not moved.By now, birds have started building a nest upon her ebon tresses.
"Tell me what you found." With a voice like the wind through a forest, Sharon makes her curiousities clear.
Slayer simply smiles, takes his place at the half-finished sculpture, and begins to chisel once more. Sharon cannot help the smile that pulls at her lips - it is hard to stoke a fire in her man's eyes, but Slayer certainly seems -- stoked.
Passion is such an ephemeral, underappreciated thing.
Log created on 22:03:30 12/05/2014 by Slayer, and last modified on 02:31:14 12/06/2014.