Three Card Spread

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{{ | date=08/12/2018 | cast=

| st=The Undisputed Truth | place_name=Alma's makeshift workshop, 1257 Lansing Street | log=It's some days after Alma has recovered from the wreck and the ritual to free Maya. Her arm is free of the bandage. A disappearing jagged line cross hatched with dots of stiches are all that remain of the path she pulled along her skin with a broken glass bottle. And ever since that experience, she has been laying cards to get a feel for them and for how they are used. She texts Zach to see if he'll come by becaused, and to put as vaguely and without context as she is wont, "I want to try some things."

Zach barely ever says no when the reason for the visit is 'I want to try some things.' He, however, still looks pretty beat up - though not in any immediate mortal danger. "Hey," he says when an unobstructed line of sight to her has been established. He walks with a bit of stiffness that looks especially unusual on him given how surefooted he is on a normal day. "So what's on your docket for today?"

Alma focuses on his movements, and has to ask before she brings up anything else, "Do you want any painkillers?" A quick moment later she has an awkward afterthought which is, "Wednesday gave me some stuff that helped, want me to call him?"

Zach waves off the offer, "I'm fine," he affirms. "I've had plenty worse, and it's good to remember how fragile you are every now and again. I'm healing up, it'll be right soon enough. Wednesday can save his stuff for folks who need it." He doesn't bristle, at least, at the offer for help.

Alma considers his choice and acknowledges it because she is one of the ones who needed it. "Yeah, I'm glad he saved some for me." Then she adds, "Look, I know I got us wrecked but that was the only direction where we didn't end up road kill. That's the docket. I'm freaked out, I want to know how this works. It's not 100% accurate. I need to understand it before I'm in a situation like that again." She defocuses in thought a bit before continuing.

"So you'd said," Zach acknowledges. He doesn't press any further on that point, however. Whatever his beliefs on the matter, he accepts her explanation of her own. "So what's the plan to understand it better?" Training? Training is a thing he groks. She's seen him at it, in fact.

"Practice. Lots of practice." There's an area on her floor that is littered with detritus. Actually, when you look closer it's not littered. It /uses/ litter, but there's some structure to the placements. There are fragments of tan cobbles from Hart plaza. Wafting around in the air currents are a couple of downy feathers. Leading against the wall, with some paint smeared on them are a couple of paintball guns. She motions at them, "I borrowed some paintball guns from some neighborhood kids so that people can try shooting at me later. If I move away with more than random chance, that's good! I want to set up a choatic system where it's even more random than some people but I haven't figured that out yet." That might explain the weird trebuchet looking contraption sketched out in notebooks on her workbench.

But, and here's why she's invited Zach here today, there's also a simple cloth laid out and some tarot decks set around it. "I've also been trying out decks and spreads all week getting to get used to this." She doesn't pick up one of the decks on the ground, she pulls one out of a vest pocket. "I'm keeping this one on me so that we get attuned to each other? It's a thing?" She sits on the floor next to the cloth. "I want to try out some spreads for you. I've been workign with three so far. 3-cards, Celtic Cross, and something called a Chakra spread. The Celtic Cross is kind of advanced so maybe we can do that one later? I want to try the 3-card the most!"

"Hard to get more chaotic than a gas-powered painball marker," he agrees with that part of her method at least. "Hitting what you aim at is mostly luck with those things to begin with." These tarot spreads? They are a thing Zach is familiar with. He shrugs when she calls the Celtic Cross 'advanced' but again, accepts her characterization of her experience. "Yeah attunement is a thing for many people, gifting's the other most common route, but however you like, I suppose. Where do you want me?" Three's comfort in how familiar this method is, perhaps.

She reacts to his shrug with, "I know it's one of the most common spreads; but it's been only a week, and the the other two felt easier. I'm following the feeling. To be honest, the three card kind of... like a haiku instead a novel. concentrated." Her skeptical face is turned inward but she likes intense concentration and is rolling with it.

Zach's head bobs from side to side in acceptance of her defense of the three-card method. Again: Haiku, a thing Zach has context for. "Do you use a querent card?" It's asked as a matter of curiosity, rather than because it has any significant weighting for him in particular.

She is almost full on in distracted fog as she considers this, "I don't," she stars off in to space, "know." She looks at Zach. "I haven't been, but that doesn't mean I won't." She fingers her deck some. She looks at her other hand and starts counting, one finger "I invited you here." second finger "I've been practicing alone." third, "I want to help you..." fourth, "/and/ practice. so it's helping me too." palm: "I'm not sure who the querent is."

Zach accepts her answer either way. "It's your show either way then," he says, making a sweep of his hand to reinforce the content of his next statement, an imperative: "Lead the way."

"Hmm, sit there?" She points across the cloth from her, then shakes her head. "No, there." She indicates next to her, like when she's meditated with him before. She sighs in exasperation at herself and tells herself, "it's practice."

Zach nods, moving to where she has indicated the second time and settling himself into that kneeling posture (seiza) that he is so fond of in so many situations. (Perhaps 'fond' isn't the correct word here. 'Practiced,' perhaps.) "Practice," he agrees, nodding. This posture isn't super comfortable for him, obviously, but he settles into it further as time goes on - like a stretching slowly loosening.

"Oh!" Something just occured to her. She wraps her arms around Zach and gives him a hug. This is not at all like greeting the sun in the norning but maybe shares some element for Alma of "hello, joy". That said, she continues.

"If you have a preference, let me know. I like a bunch of them but I don't know them all. Like, mind/body/spirit? I don't know? but 'Current situation/Challenges/Guidance', definitely that one. and for you, 'What helps/What hinders/What are your realized and unrealized potentials?' except to be honest I would like the guidance one for you. But, you pick? or suggest another. I'm learning and Tarot is more than one? I think?" She defocuses a little.

The hug is returned with a grin and calm ease. "It's your practice, not mine," he conditions his reply in advance, "but the Guidance one should be amusing, so sure - let's go for that." He gestures towards the space in front of her as he speaks, indicating a further green light of consent to whatever follows here.

She gives him an exasperated look. and starts a bunch of sentences but doesn't finish them. "I guess", "I don't", "Maybe", "I think I might end up at some point where I'm asking someone questions and they can guide? but I don't know what my practice is." She exasperates at herself too. gawd. language. so distracting.

Uh oh, she forgot the? what? Ok here goes, She takes the cloth and wraps the cards in it and profers it to Zach for him to hold. "here, you hold this for a bit while I do some stuff."

<<DICE>> Alma rolls arete, difficulty 5 to The Undisputed Truth
<<DICE>> 3 successes (8 10, Specialty: No, Willpower: Yes)
[POOL] Alma spends 1 points of Willpower. Reason: Automatic Success

Zach nods, acknowledging the request and taking possession of the offered cloth-wrapped deck. He holds it in both hands, an over-and-under carry as if the object in his hands held a lot more gravitas than he was acknowledging verbally or with the rest of his body language. Though it's not his jam, per se, he respects that it is hers enough to treat the thing with a measure of caution.

<<DICE>> Alma rolls intelligence + esoterica, difficulty 6
<<DICE>> 3 successes (2 4 6 6, Specialty: No, Willpower: Yes)
[POOL] Alma spends 1 points of Willpower. Reason: Automatic Success

Alma sits in contemplation for a while, and then asks Zach for the deck.

Silently, he hands the deck over to her with a nod. Nothing else needs said here, and he waits whatever comes next.

She remains quiet and calm. She goes through the steps of laying out a spread. She lays out each card. The first is the Devil, reversed. That is the current situation. Challenges come next. They get represented by Judgement, upright. For guidance, there is Temperance, upright. Alma remains quiet and studies this layout for a while before saying anything. When she is done, she has a final deep breath and looks over at Zach to see if he is done.

Zach observes the spread, not even flinching when the Devil lands, despite the trepidation that many people feel when seeing it. He watches the remainder of the spread happen and nods along. Whatever read he's taken away from it, he awaits her report - perhaps not wanting to pollute her practice with whatever's been going on in his head. When she looks to him, he looks to her in kind.

Alma and Zach are both aware that the Devil card (representing in this layout the current situation) is not so much about the literal Judeo-Christian concept, but about stuff like feeling constrained and without alternatives partly due to worldly concerns. In its reversed aspect, it's a better, though still difficult card, meaning some level of navigation between spiritual and material stuff.

Alma's brow furrows and she lays another card across Temperance. It is hte reversed Wheel of Fortune.

<<DICE>> Alma rolls int + esoterica, difficulty 6 to The Undisputed Truth
<<DICE>> 4 successes (4 6 8 9, Specialty: No, Willpower: Yes)
[POOL] Alma spends 1 points of Willpower. Reason: Automatic Success

Alma feels a lot of wobble in the wheel of fortune, especially reversed like this. In this current moment the wheel is fate, but chaos introduces a wobble. Teamed up like that up they could mean some roads are extra dangerous.

<<DICE>> Alma rolls arete, difficulty 6
<<DICE>> 3 successes (6 8, Specialty: No, Willpower: Yes)
[POOL] Alma spends 1 points of Willpower. Reason: Automatic Success

<<DICE>> Zach rolls willpower, difficulty 8
<<DICE>> 1 success (3 3 4 4 4 4 6 8, Specialty: No, Willpower: No)

<<DICE>> Alma rolls perception + empathy, difficulty 6
<<DICE>> 1 success (1 2 3 5 6, Specialty: No, Willpower: Yes)
[POOL] Alma spends 1 points of Willpower. Reason: Automatic Success

Zach sees the Wheel of Fortune land and does a pretty good job of keeping his poker face intact - but not completely. There's a twitch when it lands, a subtle fall of his shoulder. He's clearly got a notion of what that reading says, and it's probably not a good thing. All the same, he keeps close-lipped and the moment passes quickly where he marshalls his inner calm again.

Despite some confusion about the Judgement card--Alma's focus first jumps on Temperance because of what it could mean. After laying the Wheel of Fortune, reversed. She sits composed for a while, and then finally comes back to Judgement. Power pours out of her again. This time Deatha comes out, upright. It feels potentially literal to her.

<<DICE>> Zach rolls willpower, difficulty 8
<<DICE>> 2 successes (2 3 3 4 4 7 8 10, Specialty: No, Willpower: No)

Zach nods very faintly when death lands, and he remains quiet, observing the proceedings happening in front of him, focused on them. Again, a lot of people would be disturbed by the Death card. Others who would be famliar with Death's kinder meanings would be worried by just how many Majors have somehow come off the deck all at once. All the same, Zach calmly waits, turning to Alma again.

Alma looks a little tired and a little disturbed. She looks Zach in the eye and tells him, "I know most of the time someone will explain that Death doesn't mean a literal death... in this case, I'm telling you it is potentially literal. That's the first thing. Uh... next? Uh, I wasn't expecting only major arcana to show up? ok? what is up with that?" If someone had the writing chops to describe her expression it might convey: what the? did this happen? what did I get myself in to? hello fate? you rang? all combined in to an I love my friend there and want things to go well for him urgency.

"Judgement. It's external. Like, the problem with resolving the situation comes from without the querent or subject. and even outside us three entirely. I didn't know what that meant, which is why I layed another card over it." She's tired. She stretches her head from side to side and sighs.

"The Tempereance card. It can mean a lot of things, and one aspect of meaning has to do with combining forces and creating synthesis. That carries a lot of meaning for me, and I wanted to know if that fit here. So that's when the Wheel of Fortune came out. All this time, I've been wondering what you should do to help. So here's your answers as far the cards say. I put a lot of will in to this. It's for you. I know you didn't ask for it, but it's a gift. I'm only telling you because I want you to know how much went in to this. It's more than the left turn."

She queries his face all the while. "Are you ok?" She looks from his face to the Wheel of Fortune. "Do you need the cards?"

"I... if I. This was a lot. if I remember something, I'll text you. I can't do another spread for you. I'm exhausted."

Zach nods, when she mentions that the Death card is literal. He knows it. He's not happy with it. Time will tell if he's accepted it or not. The external nature of Judgement, he knows about that too, and knows how he reads it. "It means there's probably a Quaesitor coming to town." Again, old hat to Zach. "Part of why I don't want other people getting mixed up in this. You're likely to get censured, at the very least." He nods at that last, too. "I'm doing what I can to do right by her. Maybe it's not enough. Maybe it is. But it's a far sight more than most would do." There's some measure of resignation in there, not a thing he's happy about, but he's at least made peace with the fact that he has limits. Speaking of, she also has limits. "You need anything? Water? Tea?" He doesn't reach a hand out to her, but his hand twitches like the thought might've occurred to him.

Alma looks at his hand and reaches towards it. Her hand is shaking. "Tea. yes."

Zach gives her hand a squeeze, lingering there a bit before he starts to rise. "Coming up," he promises. He's good to his word too, but there's a kettle that has to boil between here and there.

Alma accepts a tea cup from Zach and looks at it. "It's like being in a conversation with everyone else who ever used those cards. I never used them that way before. Talking to people is valuable. I wasn't talking to them all this time." She looks up from the teacup at Zach. "Are you ever afraid you'll lose insight by accepting what other people do? That kept me from accepting anything like this." She looks back down at the cup and holds it close to her face so that steam condensates on her cheek.

Zach settles down next to her. "Me? No. Do I worry that other people will do that if they don't have a chance to find themselves first? Sure. I've had plenty of time to figure myself out, though. What other people do doesn't have that power over me anymore - if anything I'd lose insight by trying to blind myself to what other people do." He brought a cup for himself too, because taxation. "You okay?"

"Yeah," she nods. "My mind is just blown. I feel like something changed. Maybe it's trust that I won't be smothered if I use a tool that's already been made? I don't have to do it all by hand or from first principles. I was afraid of being boxed in." She takes a sip finally. Her cheek is cool. "I was ignorng hundreds of years of people's experiences with finding meaning in randomness. but," she slaps the ground, "I'm not giving up my way. I'm always going to be exploring that."

After a couple of more sips, maybe even a few more, she looks back up at Zach. "I don't know what being censured is. Is a Quaesitor like an Inquisitor? Can I call my teacher to defend me?" She looks afraid.

Twirling the water around in her cup and watches the swirl of green calms her. "And if I'm going to be censured anyway, does this mean I can help you more?

Zach sighs, patient under the bombadment of questions. He answers, when it seems the well has run dry. "Censure means you're basically cut off from the Council for a period of time, it's basically a lesser form of being outright disbarred. House Quaesitor's basically the Order's police force. They're the people who come knocking when you've been messing in things they consider evil - to be fair, some of that shit is pretty heinous stuff, but like most cops they grossly exceed their charge. Before the Chakravanti joined the Council, it was House Quaesitor that had dominion over passing judgement, exclusively. Your teacher might speak up for you, maybe they won't. Who knows. It's complicated once the Quaesitori are involved."