Here's what happened: I was working on the course assignments for Week 2 in my Tarot Foundations course I'm taking online with Brigit of Biddy Tarot fame, and, well, as always, my story muse struck. If you're going to give me an assignment to tell a story for a Tarot card, be prepared. *rubs hands together with glee*
At first, I wasn't going to share with the course group because, well, *scuffs toe on floor*, golly, I was embarrassed. I mean, this isn't a writing course for gosh sake, but after a few thoughtful moments I swallowed the gagging fear and decided this was perfect for the #bravewriting challenge.
For each card below, write down:
• What is happening? (Who, what, where, how?)
• Then what happens? What is the outcome?
• Why did it happen? What is the moral of the story?
Start your story with "Once upon a time…"
Once upon a time, children, our High Priestess sat in this exact spot, right here in front of Claritus Lake with two swords crossed over her heart. A crescent moon floated in the night sky, illuminating the bare surfaces of the Ambigo Islands, looking, I'm sure, just as they do tonight.
Her burning muscles vibrated with the desperate need to drop the long, massive swords, but she wouldn't--not ever. But she was all too aware the only thing preventing the swords from crashing down was her furious, desperate, pure will.
At sunset, Kelan had tied the blindfold, letting his fingers linger over her cheekbones.
"You could simply tell me what I need to know, then this would all be unnecessary, Patrice." His voice was the most beautiful thing she had ever heard, like dark, deep notes of promise.
"Give you the keys to the mechanism of your own destruction? To our peoples' demise? Never."
He huffed, tightening the handkerchief with a jerk. Side stepping the sword Patrice held, he glanced at her straining forearm. "You're blinded by your own delusions. Tell me now and your sisters will be returned to your mother."
"Natalie?" Patrice turned her head, but Kelan had tied the blindfold expertly. The world was black with red mottles morphing behind her eyelids. "Tatianna?"
"But I am not without a heart, contrary to what you may think. If you can hold the swords until sunrise, I will set you all free."
Patrice held still, like a rabbit scenting the fox. "I don't believe you."
"That is not my problem. What you choose to believe or not is entirely up to you." He leaned down, his warm breath on her neck. "Tell me what I want to know..." he let his words fade as his lips touched her hammering pulse. She shivered, remembering how those lips had felt pressed to hers just hours before. His hand brushed the hair from her shoulder...and how that hand had clutched her to him.
"And you can all leave."
"Kelan, please. There is more at stake--"
"Enough!" He yelled, straightening. "You've made your choice, whether you will ever admit it to yourself."
Time had passed, how much time she wasn't sure, only that it was enough to wear her to the breaking point. A drop of sweat dripped down her back, her neck and shoulders shaking violently. She knew Kelan was watching from somewhere close by; he would never leave without the information he sought. Another bead of sweat crawled down her spine, between her cheeks. The swords were the heaviest thing she'd ever held in her life.
Something popped in her left shoulder as if a wire on a suspension bridge had snapped free. Patrice screamed as first her deltoid, then her bicep, and then her forearm tingled before fading into nothingness. She lost all feeling in the hand, too, but her fingers were frozen in place from hours of clutching.
She clamped her other arm tighter against the foreign lump that was once her left arm. Her back groaned, begging for release. Each bone in her spine felt swollen, stiff, but she straightened with inhuman strength, gritting her teeth. The strands of muscle in her neck heated up like steel girders strained to the point of fatal fatigue.
"Natalie? Tatianna? Are you awake?" But she thought she could hear their soft breathing beneath the sigh of the lake water rolling into the shore in quiet laps. The mind will play tricks, fill in the blanks to support the lies we've chosen to believe. Kelan surely sedated them with some evil potion made by Wescott, she thought. It was the slide of cold metal over her arm that first alerted her to what was happening.
"Natalie! Tati! Wake up! Run!" She screamed, her voice rattling up the raw flesh of her throat. But it was too late. Even as Patrice stood with the intent of pushing forward to shift the swords weight so they would fall behind her, her right wrist gave out in a searing snap of fire and sparks.
Driven by pain and terror, Patrice shoved her body forward, falling on her face. Her nose shattered into an electric fire of pain and wet. Pushing herself up proved impossible with one arm useless as a wet towel, the other hampered by the broken wrist.
"Oh, God, Tati!" She sobbed. "Natalie. I'll never forgive myself. or Kelan." She sobbed into the portico floor, blood and snot and tears pooling on her upper lip and chin, dripping to the porch in wet plops.
Finally she rolled herself over, managing to pull the blindfold halfway off with the numb hand. She fumbled with the white handkerchief...Kelan's, it smelled like him...until she could see the silver crescent moon grinning down at her.
The water sighed over and over; no other sound except her bubbling, bloody breath. Patrice strained her neck to force herself to look at what she'd done, but all she saw were Kelan's two swords lying half on the grass, half on the portico.
"What?" she gasped. "What?" She struggled to her knees, her left arm beginning to tingle with the return of blood.
"You're a stubborn woman, Patrice," a low male voice said.
"Where are they?" Patrice asked without turning to see Kelan's approach.
"Safe, as they've always been."
"You're a bastard," she whispered.
He chuckled. "I never claimed to be otherwise."
What brave thing did you do this week?