Description: In which Zach Glenn shops for a coat... and instead, purchases MYSTERY. Will the secret ways of the Tarot reveal the truth of reality, or will it simply make things confused in a welter of phallic metaphors?
The place is a shopping arcade in Southtown Village. The kind of place you might go if you need to get some new boots that aren't Goodwill quality, or if you wanted to have coffee, or eat some upscale Asian fusion cuisine, or go to a Panera Bread. The area is semi-open, but large colorful tarps have been stretched overhead, keeping out snow and making the large space heaters that keep the place from being frigid a little more economical.
It's important not to waste money, now that the holidays are over, with the long, grinding future of the rest of winter ahead.
However, there's something curious in between the Beautiful Girl Coffee Experience and a slowly dying record store, and that's a tiny sliver of store space, almost more of a yoga studio really. It's a room with windows facing the street, but they've been covered over. The door is open, though, and strange music and the faint scent of incense are floating out.
There is no sign with words on it, though someone has painted a purple-irised eye on a black background, which sits in one of those windows. Eerie... and mystical.
Zach Glenn was in the shopping arcade to purchase a good longcoat. He couldn't explain why he wanted one, but it was a rare occassion where he splurged on something for himself. He had been directed to this particular arcade by one of his squad leaders, who had mentioned good selections and somewhat affordable prices. He was just on his wat out when he had spotted the sign.
He had not seen one like it before, as far as he knew but there was... something familiar about the whole thing. Something he both could and could not place immediately. He listened to the music for a moment before deciding to enter.
The music is largely violin-based, rather sad. Stepping inside of that door, is like entering another world...
Well, that's a little dramatic. But the light is indirect and quiet. The music is coming from a small portable stereo.
There's a chair facing a space heater, and a table off to one side. The occupant of that chair is turned away from the doorway, and doesn't speak as Zach gets a moment to soak in ambiance.
Then: "Ah... I see you've come."
A red-nailed hand gestures. "Please - in the corner, there, there are chairs. Why don't you bring one over? And then, we can get to work - on answering your questions."
Zach's eyes go wide when he hears the lady speak. He's stunned, for just a moment as he is hit with that familiar hammer of mememory unexperienced. He takes a deep breath, regaining some semblance of centering as he calmly brings a chair over.
A single brows raises as he brings the chair over. "Of course you'd be expecting me," he mutters.
Rose turns in her chair. She is in her habitual dress/trenchcoat combination, which is, today, pretty functional. After all, it's chilly.
The music stops. "Perhaps it's not that great of a surprise after all. Nor, I think, is what question you intend to ask." She reaches for a red-wrapped bundle; after a bit of gesturing, she draws out her cards. Shuffling them, her other hand reaches over to turn the small table about, to properly face the guest.
One handed shuffling is quite a trick.
After a couple more rounds, she puts the stack on the table. "Speak your question aloud, and then, cut the cards. If there are explanations you feel it would be... useful to make... do feel free."
Well, Zach thinks to himself, if there was anyone who'd be able to help him get to the bottom of this it would more than likely be the woman in front of him. He sits down, gathering his thoughts.
He takes a deep breath, then moves forward. "I... remember things. Things I did not actually experience, if that makes any sense," he says as he reaches for the deck. "I will I find out why that is?"
Zach cuts the cards into three almost identical stacks before restacking them in a more or less random fashion.
Rose says, as she takes the cards, "An interesting question. Remember, as I read these, that this is a reading of the present and the shape it casts on the future... nothing is written, not in stone."
Then she deals them.
II - The Priestess!
Ace of Wands!
I - The Magus!
"Past, present, and future are revealed here," Rose says. "Shall we begin?"
She does so. Gesturing at the blue and greens of the Priestess, she says, "Let us see. Pure and gracious influence that enter the matter. Change, alternation, increase and decrease. Fluctuation. A tendency to be moon-struck - see all the lunar influence in the art? - unless a cautious balance is maintained. Perhaps you have had tumultous past lives."
Zach frowns. "Only the one," he says after a moment, taking in the card. But yeah, more than a few fights." Not, really, terribly unlike /this/ one when Zach thinks about it. "Sometimes..." He takes a deep breath.
"I fight," he says, "Professionally, I mean. Sometimes... let's just say some of the techniques I've used don't get taught at Quantico."
"Are you so sure? Or do you speak of your time," Rose says, "before joining the military?" She rests a fingertip on the Ace of Wands, but adds, "Are you ready to see the present? This may seem a ridiculous question, but the present is often the thing we shy away from the most. The past we can see through gauze, and the future could be anything."
"I'm sure I don't,"
"No," Zach answers firmly. "I didn't know enough before I joined the Corps. I never learned how to use swords, for instance."
"Swords? But we see here - Wands. Burning bright, aflame. Strength, vigor, rush, energy - to say nothing of the masculine connotations," Rose says, glancing down. "It does speak as if to suggest something primal and natural. The wand, of course, is wood - taken freely, only shaped, as opposed to a Sword, which would be forged by will. Your present, then, is one of pure energy - not quite 'potential,' but not yet expressed into a particular shape or form."
This might go right over Zach's head. Einstein comes to mind, and Zach speaks it with a raised brow. "Neither created nor destroyed?" he asks, uncertainty masquerading as skepticism. "Though given that the swords in question were... essentially willpower focused into that form..."
"Not necessarily in a literal sense," Rose says. "But perhaps it does reveal something that you might be able to do... if you put your mind to it. You say swords? How many - two?"
"One," he answers, "Different occassions, but I think they were both the same. Kind of like a katana, but shorter." Zach considers. "Didn't even occur to me to try more than one."
"A wakizashi, yes," Rose muses. "Interesting."
She lowers her eyes. "In the light of that, let us consider the Ace of Swords as well. It represents that which is invoked - a powerful sign for good or evil, depending on its bearer's will. And of course we have quite a combination of masculine images, here..."
Rose is silent for a few moments. Then she asks, "Before I continue, I must ask you. What is it that you dream of? What, if you could, would you create?"
"A world where I'd be out of a job," is Zach's response. It comes so quickly that it appears Zach was not only unready for the question, but unready for the answer as well. He considers this for a moment, and has another question. He leans forward to look at the cards.
"You keep mentioning the masculine images," Zach asks with pure curiousity. "Why?"
"Masculine and feminine are the traditional names... and they are suggestive, certainly," Rose says, with a half-thoughtful smile. "Suggestive of thrusting and penetrating, of receiving and growing."
Rose leans back in the chair. "But they are not really the best name for them, I think. Nonetheless, a dual play of forces is typical in our ideas, in the images we hold, even if we know full well it is not always so. Hero and villain; yin and yang. Rising and falling. Positive and negative."
Rose looks at her fingernails. "There is a dynamic flow in everything... I have heard, you know, that every atom in our bodies, is nothing but whirling empty space, surrounding the tiniest speck of collected positive particles, and an equal number of negative particles. Do you know what that implies, Zach?"
Did he ever give his name? Rose raises her hand up, gazing at the fingers. "Nothing is real, and everything is possible."
She looks up with a smile. "Does the imagery make you uncomfortable? Perhaps we should move on to the meaning of the Magus, though I fear it will not be any less... mm... phallic."
The fact that he never gave his name does /not/ escape the psion. Rose cannot help but notice the instant wariness. The palpable, almost reflexive gathering of his will. Generally speaking, it's not a good sign when someone just plucks your name out of the ether like that.
"I don't recall introducing myself," Zach says firmly, after he's taken a long breath to keep himself in place. To master himself, in a way. It is, one supposes, /entirely/ possible that Rose recognized him from a fight show somewhere.
"But continue," he finally says, evenly.
Rose smiles. "Well," she says, eyes turning down to the cards. "Indeed."
"The Magus. It represents skill, wisdom and an adroit nature. Elasticity. Craft. But also theft; occult wisdom perhaps, or a quick impulse of it. It says that there are messages to send, and business to be conducted, but also that learning or intelligence can interfere with the matter at hand."
Rose gestures. "In a sense, I would say that this suggests that what you dream cannot be realized while you are limited by what it is that you've learned. This is perhaps a strange remark... Do you understand? It is... harder to elaborate, when I do not know all of the details of your case."
Zach takes another deep breath, gathering thoughts and words. It's not an easy thing to explain. Sometimes Glenn simply wonders if he is insane, and that /terrifies/ him, given what he is capable of. "It... happens when I meet people, mostly," Zach finally says.
"I remember conversations, moments. Fights, in some really specific cases. I remember them with such /clarity/ that it's almost like they happened yesterday. But I also know that these things didn't happen." Zach considers.
"There this circus, the Twilight Star Circus. Maybe you've heard of it? There's a performer there, a juggler. I... I /remember/ her taking over Japan. Which... clearly never happened, right? Or another person, a young priestess. But I remember her being something else entirely. I have what's right there in front of me, and then I have this completely contradicting memory of the person. Sometimes the memory of the person lines up with what's in front of me," he says nodding towards Rose and the cards, "Here, for instance. But not always."
"Are you addressing me," Rose asks after a moment's thought...
Then she steeples her fingers and leans forwards. "Or the memories which you hold, which appear to be as me? It is a common flaw, a common error, and the root of much suffering to address, not what /is/, or even what /seems/ to be... but what it is you have imagined."
Zach looks down and away from Rose, before slowly closing his eyes. "Both, maybe," Zach says quietly, hoarsely. "Sometimes... I'm not so sure."
"I think your concern is not these phenomena you experience," Rose says after a pause, "though they may be the sign of something greater. I believe that what is lurking in your heart, the shadow that haunts you, is your /fear/ of what these phenomena /might/ mean. Does this seem as though it could be true...?"
"That I might be crazy," Zach asks, "Or that these are things that /might/ happen? Because both of those are pretty terrifying in their own ways." Some bits of memories Zach has been willing to share. Others though? Sharing /those/ memories would be a one-way ticket to the looney bin.
"Insanity is a social phenomenon," Rose says. "A thousand years ago both of us would be thought mad, or witches."
She reaches forth to gather her cards to herself, sweeping them into her deck. It is not quite a dismissal, but their wisdom, it seems, is spent. "I cannot speculate... on how true or false these visions are. It could be a past life... an impungement from another time-track... A sign that you are a soul from another world... I can think of a dozen more. But!"
Rose raises a finger. "I will assume you have spoken to your unit's physicians - that you know it is not a sign of mere physical injury."
"What you must do," she continues, "is not let this consume you. Do not let your memories of a past, or a dream, or another realm take you away from the world in which you dwell /now/. Explore them? Let them guide a quest? Certainly... but do not spend more time than you must, or wish, dwelling within the vaults of your own skull."
"Or mad witches." Zach grins a bit. "It's definitely not from any injuries. Not unless it happened when I was really young," he admits, "And I think Mom, being a doctor, would have said something to me in that case... by now." Zach considers for a moment.
Then he stands. "Good advice, to be sure," the Marine says. He is quiet for a moment. Thoughtful. "It gives me some things to consider. Thank you." Zach moves away from the table. "What is it that I owe you for this?" he asks. Not 'how much,' one might notice.
Rose raises a hand with a faint smile. "The first one is free," she says, which may have permutations. "If I am ever in need, I hope that I would be able to count upon your assistance, of course..."
"Assuming I'm able, of course," Zach replies with a nod, heading for the door. "My time's not always mine."
Rose chuckles faintly. "Do take care," she calls after Zach. "Oh --"
"And could you close the door when you leave?"
Log created on 23:23:30 01/06/2015 by Rose, and last modified on 02:13:29 01/07/2015.