Fortune's Whim
by April

Tick tock.....listen to the chiming of the clock. Feh.....I wrinkle my nose at the poetic quality of my musings. I'm not the type to read the silly stuff.....why should my solitary thoughts border on it? Ridiculous.

Sighing over my temporary silliness, I pick up the deck of tarot cards, and begin to shuffle them again. They are a favorite of my customers.....always begging me to see what the cards say, their eyes gleaming with childlike excitement no matter their age. Young or old.....they are all the same. They all want to see what the future has in store for know the whims of fortune before they even occur.

Indeed, their curiousity is contagious. Pausing at the fortune card, I hold it before the flickering candlelight that illuminates this small room with an eerily appropriate glow. My personal favorite.....even I am not immune to the natural curiousity about the future.

Fate's an odd can't always tell what it's thinking, even by looking at it's face, the omens which populate everyday life. Some people believe that destiny is set in stone, that there's no way to step off the path the fates gently place you on without you even knowing. I don't know about that.....all I know is what the cards tell me, what I see in the crystalline orb that shines before me.

I wonder sometimes if I am subconciously manipulating these things to tell me what I want to see and hear, the way I do for my customers every day. It's become as easy as snapping my fingers to do that.....perhaps I do it to myself without even realizing. I would hate to find that the grand predictions I make for myself turn out to be false.....fragile illusions to be blown away by the ever-changing winds of fate.

I suppose I'll discover the truth of it tomorrow, when that boy magician makes his report. Everything depends on what he tells me.......everything. Not simply my fate, but that of the Tribe, and of Ghaleon. And this world. I smile a little in the dark, much like a spider biding her time for her victims. An appropriate analogy.....much like flies, the simple, stupid humans won't even know they are caught in our clever web until it is too late. And then the Fates themselves will laugh at them.....the way they laughed at us so long ago when our kind were banished to the Frontier. Fortune is our side, and not even Althena herself will dare defy us. I'll see to that.

I reach the High Priestess card, which gives me pause as my thoughts drift to my sister. I visited Phacia the other day to see how she has adjusted to her ruse. She seemed strangely content.....which worries me. I'm hoping that she is simply a better actress than we initially thought.

I also visited Xenobia yesterday, as part of our charade. It was odd to see her clothed in the skin of another.....I wonder if those married to shapeshifters in the fairy tales feel the same way when they see their spouses play pretend with the forms of others. Nevertheless, she too is playing her part well, and seems content. Though I have no doubts as to why she feels that way......I can't help but sneer at her, at her pathetic attempts to hide her sad devotion to him. I wonder how she would react if I revealed to her what the cards say about their future.....or should I say, lack thereof.

The clock chimes again, reminding me of the late hour. The witching appropriate for a sorceress like myself. But not for someone who has an appointment early tomorrow morning. Stifling a yawn, I reluctantly rise from my seat and begin to stumble off to my inviting bed. Tomorrow....the answer I need is arriving tomorrow. The key to everything.....the final piece of knowledge which has eluded even me. I look forward to it.