“Okay, I have no idea what the hell is going on. Explain things to me, please,” Ari said as she crossed her arms. The big man, named Alan, was seated across from her at one of the circular tables. Fireside Inn was empty, except for the hired help that brought them drink and lunch.
“I cannot tell you much, Arianwyn-tare, for the journey will tell you everything,” Alan replied as he gestured to a serving wench to bring him another tankard of ale, “The Oracle is a Tarot Witch more powerful than the other Witches. Her power dwindles with age, like all Tarot Witches, and ever ten years, any and all Witches at least sixteen undertake a journey to reach Mount Delphi. Once there…well, nobody but the Witches know.
“Most of the Tarot Witches are good, but there are those who misuse their gift with the cards. They do not just see a possible future and give advice. A Tarot Witch can summon the beings locked within their cards. Beginners to the gift can only summon Aces, The Fool, and The Magician.
“Of course, a Tarot Witch cannot undertake the journey alone. That would be suicide. Instead, they find their Guardians. Guardians are also chosen by the cards and are destined to protect the Witch that they were bound to at birth. Only five Guardians can be bound to one Witch, although it is possible for a Witch to have one or two Guardians.
“Another thing you should keep in mind about Guardians is this: they usually have a mark of the Major Arcana they represent. Also, the can control one of the five Elements, depending on their affinity. There is a limit of one of each Element per Witch. These five are Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Spirit. One last thing: sometimes a Guardian can be from the world you come from, but most of the time they are residents of this world. Do you understand, Arianwyn-tare?”
Truthfully, Ari felt a little overwhelmed by the things she had to learn. Yet there was also the stirring of excitement beneath the confusion. Still, she had two more questions to ask before she started anything.
“How’d you know my full name, and what does ‘tare’ mean?”
“We knew you were coming. Also, ‘tare’ is what we give to Tarot Witches to denote respect,” Alan finished off his ale and gestured for the boy. He whispered something in the boy’s ear and the child took off. Alan then stood, along with Ari, and led her back to “her” room. Sitting on the bed was a pack and what appeared to be clothes.
That was when he left her alone, closing the door softly behind him. Ari walked over to the bed and picked up the shirt, gasping at the lavishness of it. It was made of the finest silk, dyed a lovely lavender color with shards of pale rose showing faintly. It was short-sleeved, and there was a goldenrod colored Celtic knot sewn right below the collar. The pants were also made of silk that was a light orange, some pale lavender shards strewn here and there to add a soft effect.
She put them on, surprised at how well they fit her. They clung to her figure snuggly, so that nothing would get in the way if she had to move fast. Ari looked in the mirror and saw what appeared to be the personification of the dawn. It was strange, and it felt as if something inside of her was starting to change.
This…has to be a dream. Ari thought as she gently touched the cool, smooth surface of the mirror. She heard a thump and turned quickly. It was the lavender silk bag that held her Tarot cards. She made her way to the pack, frowning when she saw that one had fallen out. It was the Nine of Wands, in the upright position.
Great. She put the card away and exited the room, the cards in her left hand. There, in the main room, sat Alan with a wool pack, black sheepskin cloak, and what looked like a string of leather. He smiled at her, handing her all but the strip of leather.
“Just to make sure you never lose your cards,” he told her with a wink as he tied the silk pack to the leather, creating a “necklace” for Ari. It was then that she realized just how kind he had been to her, and couldn’t help but hug the big man. Ari couldn’t reach his shoulders, so she settled for his waist. Alan blushed and coughed before gently pushing her out the door.
“May the Stars of Fortune shine upon you,” Alan said in farewell as Ari left the tiny, empty town. She smiled, waved, and never looked back as she entered the woods, following the road to wherever it took her.
Nine of Wands: Upright – You may have a secret enemy who’s a lot stronger than you, but you have the inner strength to deal with this. It’s always worth standing up for what you believe in, particularly when you’ve learnt from your own experiences. That way you’ll never really lose.
Also note that the four suits (Wands, Swords, Pentacles, and Cups) have an Element that they are assigned to. Pentacles are Earth and Cups are Water. Swords and Wands are in debate over which is Air and which is Fire. In my deck, Swords are Air and Wands are Fire, but they are up to the creator as to which Element goes with which suit. Another note is that the Guardians represent the four suits. Therefore, their weapon associates with the suits.