February 20, 2006 at 9:56 pm #1767EzahninParticipant
(Thanks and XP to Egeria Fellows)
She insisted that the carriage be left blocks away from the Pall Mall and Waterloo intersect. The rest of the way they would take to the footpaths and alleys she learned to get into the back way of the Crimson Petal. These great lengths taken to their intended destination was worth the small measure of privacy they would receive as there would have already been scandal enough to share of them for the observant. When the room was reached, Egeria extracted a small metal key from her purse-pouch and slipped inside, “Come in, but watch your step,” the room was pitch dark, though the blind woman could not find it the least bit distressing or cumbersome. She moved towards the gas lantern for him.
“Thank you,” he said, stepping carefully into the dark room. He couldn't see at all as it was, so closing the door behind them did little to change that. Once the door was closed, he stood near it, unsure of the room's layout, and unable to distinguish any shapes in the dark, so he waited until the lantern was lit.
When the little flame spit itself into being from the wick, a warm glow was cast within the boarding room. The scent of old sex and fresh flowers were left to the halls, or to the washroom, giving way to the pleasant tidings of sandalwood or patchouli incense sticks and ash settled in small clay dishes. There was a small bed off to the side, piled with sateen cushions that spilled to the floor in providing accommodations for sitting, waiting, or resting. The shelves lining the back walls carried some tools of this trade: card decks, candles, dried bits of herbs and a sewing kit. To the center of the room, four chairs and a velveteen covered table with a few symbols set upon it in gold-threaded embroidery, “Please, find what comfort you can here.”
He took a look around the room, and then turned back to her, smiling. “It's very cozy, Egeria. It must be a pleasant escape from the widow.” He made his way further into the room, settling himself upon one of the cushions on the floor. He took another look around the room at all the various trinkets and tools used in her trades, interested but unsure of the significance held by most, if not all, of them.
“It serves its purpose. Though, I have not been here more than a fortnight.” Her cane was hung between two tacks stuck in the wall. Egeria reached upwards, over her head, to pull down a tapestry down over aid. She then passed a coatrack and closet which hung and housed dresses of the bordello's residents, simple dressings of her own, and a veil or two for divination. Once satisfied that the room was left as she had last remembered, she settled down to a cushion near to him, and smiled. “I am certain it is nothing you are accustomed to, but I find my peace here.”
“There is nothing wrong with being in a place unlike what I'm used to. Right now, that's part of its appeal.” He chuckled. “In time, I'm certain I'll become more accustomed to it, but not in the same way I am to most places.” His smile remained. “As it brings you peace, I already have a certain fondness for it.”
“How are you accustomed to most places?” Egeria questioned while busying herself in the arrangement of her skirts so that they would not wrinkle where she sat.
“Being accustomed to a place by no means equates to liking it very much. Most places are simply tolerable, while others are less so. Yet I am accustomed to them.” Another little chuckle. “For instance, apart from my rooms at the townhouse, it is a place where I am easily frustrated by my children and their ever-present bickering and scheming.”
“Then perhaps you will find your peace here as well. You may if you so choose,” her fingers lifted to the upholstered walls, testing them lightly with the tips of her fingers before resting her cheek over her palm. From there, she studied him with a small smile, “I have not spent much time here apart from work.”
“Really?” Her smile was returned, as his fingers echoed hers, running lightly along the upholstered walls, and then down towards her. “Then perhaps we should both attempt to see how restful this place could be whilst not used merely for work.”
“We are right now, aren't we?” A question rose up along her brow, though her eyes were serenely closed.
“Indeed, we are. Just suggesting there be more than this occasion to do so. Although,” he grinned, “I do believe I was also promised a reading of sorts. Though I'm certainly in no rush for that,” he added, as his hand closed upon hers.
“If you will retrieve my deck for me, atop the shelf there. I will be more than obliged to give you that reading.” Her freed hand lifted in indication of the third shelf from the bottom, “There in the box with the crescent atop it, those are my cards.”
He followed the direction of her hand, and stood, moving to the shelves and lifting the indicated box. He lifted the lid and peeked in to the box, then carried it back over to where he'd sat before, handing the box to her. “Thank you, Egeria.”
The box was received into her waiting palms, there was a gentle way about her at times. Tender, with cards and garments. This was on such occasion to observe this as she slipped her hands into the box to extract her tarot deck. The backs of the cards were ornately printed with the cosmos and orbital tracks forming pentacles and crescents. Egeria smiled up to him while shuffling the deck, “to start, I will do a simple reading. A five card spread, so keep your thoughts as your own and we shall see where you have been and where you may be going.”
He smiled back, nodding. He kept his thoughts in his head, watching her shuffle with interest and curiosity.
With one hand the deck was spread to the floorspace before her, and she began the choosing of cards, starting, as one would expect, with the first. “I move my hands, and the cards that come to me always seem to call with a bit of warmth to my fingertips as I pass them,” the first was chosen and placed to the empty space of floor below the arch, “The princess of swords…” Her hand lifted away, resting on her folded lap as she turned to him, smiling. There was no notch or bump to mark one card from the next, “This card represents the present. She stands for forceful communication. This card relates to direct, unambiguous interactions between people,” she looked more fully to him then, “you will need a direct approach in order to defuse an awkward situation. Someone may enter, or make use of themselves to express your own ability to speak your truth. May I continue?”
He was fascinated by the entire process, and listened carefully to her description of the card's meaning. “Please do, by all means, Egeria.”
“Very well,” she repeated the process with the drawing of cards, and chose the second. “The two of cups. This card represents the past,” she said as she placed the card with two lovers printed upon it, “This card represents friendship. It shows what love could flow between two compatible people. But it may also speak to disruptions in your relationships, causing discord. Great strife…”
“And it represents only the past in this case?” That one certainly hit rather close to home, then. He looked up from the cards to her, and back down again.
“Only the past,” Egeria nodded and chose the third, arranging it in the cross like spread. “The Ace of Cups. This card represents the future. It embodies new friendships. The symbols within this card signify the beginning of a new relationship of love, empathy, and openness. The water you see spilling from the golden chalice in this card shows light and joy expanding to both parties,” she smiled before continuing on with a tip and bow of her head, “there is the opportunity offered for both parties to open their hearts to each other. It also means that you are ready to allow new social contacts into your life and will benefit from them – a new person or experience in your life can help you achieve and express deeper levels of intimacy than your own trust allowed you before…shall I go on now?”
He couldn't help but grin broadly at her with the drawing of that card and her explanation of it. “Hmm, I wonder what that card could possibly be referring to. Yes, please go on.”
“The seven of pentacles. The fourth card of reason. This signifies new business perspectives.” It was placed within the arrangement with the others. She soon straightened herself to turn to him, “look to the man in the card, he carries two whole pentacles through a field of damaged and broken ones, Abraham. He feels discouraged and fatigue but only because so much time has been spent and effort – and it is time to reevaluate business goals. Without new goals and fresh ideas, the business will suffer, wilt, and die. It will become as barren as the landscape the man walks through in the print. It is time for you to re-evaluate things, Abraham. Look to your financial progress, new trades and lucrative things. Be objective about things that have paid off and those that have not. Do not be afraid to make bold moves in future plans, be confident in yourself.”
He stared at the card for a long moment, and tore his eyes from it up towards hers. All he could do was nod quietly and say, “Please, go on…”
“One more, the fifth. The card of development.” Drawn and placed among the spread, she smiled as fingers slipped away, “The ace of swords. It is the card of courage. It means that keen intellect can shed light on any given situation. It is a card of will and of strength. It tells us that the greater path to take is that of intellect rather than physical force. Strong convictions lead to resolutions without violence. The time is right, and it is now, to assert your will. Even if others threaten your leadership…when you communicate forcefully, there will be no question as to the boundaries of your will. Those that envy you will turn this conviction into an accusation that you are too intense or forceful.” She settled back onto her seat, looking down to the spread thoughtfully, “take what I have told you, of each card, and keep them all to mind.”
He nodded to Egeria. “I will make sure to do so, Egeria. Though for the moment, it is the third card that I wish to pay the most attention to at present.” He smiled, though the fourth and fifth rang a little too loudly.
In her quiet, Egeria collected her cards, shuffled them once more, and restored them to the wooden box. “I hope you found them helpful in their own way. Now you understand why I try to keep my trade to this one room.”
“I admit that while I had already believed in your abilities, it is even more impressive to bear witness to in person. I will take the cards and your advice to heart.” Once the cards had been put into their box once again, he moved to her side, and took her hand. “I would like to have a deeper reading some time, but I'm glad you began with this five card spread…I don't know that I could handle much more than this right now.”
“I told you, when I spoke to you before on the reactions of others. I knew I hinted a small measure of disbelief in your words.” His hand was taken between the press of both of her own, “and these are but card games to what some do seek. A time from now, maybe I will show you what it is I mean.”
“I would very much appreciate that, Egeria. In the meantime, I will do my best to become accustomed to this, and to follow the cards. Given the worries I've already had about my business and family, this reading only strengthens those and my conviction that something need be done.” He looked down at their hands, and then up to her face again. “Will you help me, Egeria, where you may? I trust your advice.”
“I will if it is your want, Abraham. But, just as you have convinced me once before – please do not be nervous….” A small squeeze of his hand held him closer within her own. She admitted the clarity of the reading seemed spot on even to her, though what comfort would she have given to him if she seemed nerved in her own way.
He chuckled softly. “I won't be, Egeria, I promise. And yes, I would very much like your help and advice on matters. A fresh perspective, particularly coming from you, would do worlds of good, I think.”
“I will, but understand as things change, so will the path of your future. While I wish to bring you nothing but promise of good news and fortune, know that it simply does not always happen that way. Our fates are as easily changed with the shuffle of cards.”
“Of course they are. Which is why I will endeavor to do things that will make this reading remain true, or perhaps even improved. But regardless of your abilities reading the cards, I do believe you've a level head and that any advice you give would come from a place of honesty and a desire to truly help, not to satisfy your own ends, as most of the voices I receive would like for themselves.”
“As I have told you before, Abraham – there is only one true thing I desire, and no collection of riches, not even the greatest one, will ever purchase me that. This is what I do, as I have done for others before. Even then, I have led the simple life I do now.”
“I know, Egeria, and I fervently wish there was something I could do to help you achieve that desire. You should know, however, that anything that I do have the power to give to you, I will gladly do so.”
“Thank you Abraham, but I am satisfied with the way things have turned. Now moreso than a week from our current moment. I seek your company and I have been given it. I feel as though I can breathe a bit easier at times for it as well.”
His smile returned, and he tugged her gently towards him. “I'm glad to hear so, Egeria, and I, too, am very grateful for your company and the peace and happiness you bring to me.”
“Where am I going?” She inquired to the tug, and let out a little laughter to it. “Oh, I should tell you that today I have taken on Ms. Mor as an apprentice. That should comfort you slightly.”
“Nowhere in particular,” he replied, joining in the quiet laughter. “Just closer to me. Really? You managed to steal her away from the Bishop? I only met her briefly that one evening, but Silas seems to have taken quite an interest in her, as I told you before.”
“She knit for him a scarf,” she smirked a bit to that, “and as for the bishop, her time will be shared between the shoppe and his residence. It should prove to be most interesting all around. Though I'd pray you not allow others to know of the goings on of this room. My clients are select, and equally as secretive. I must be careful in my choosing of who is to know. It is bad enough that the Bishop thinks I am a witch or devil's imp – just think what he would make of any of this.”
“Why would I tell anyone about any of this, Egeria? I've no desire for any harm to come to you, or any of your clients. Besides,” he smirked slightly, himself, “were I to tell anyone about any of this, I would be implicating myself at the same time, wouldn't I?” He settled back into more of the cushions, pulling her along with him.
She went with him as she had before, laughing the entirety of the way, “This is true, the disclaimer has etched itself on my tongue. Pardons I beg for my recital of it to you.”
“A difficult habit to break? Well, perhaps as I become accustomed to this place, we'll also become more accustomed to each other.”
“Perhaps then, we shall.”February 20, 2006 at 10:38 pm #2313asseropenParticipant
Sigh. Not only does Li have to keep an eye on Silas, Clarence and the absent Luther… But it seems she'll have to keep a more watchful eye on Old Man Hughes as well. And this Fellows woman. Double sigh.
( Wonderful scene, you two. Thank you for sharing. )
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.