A Pack of White Lies

One night on the cold road towards Kelsguard, Athebryn, warm with the breath of a firebreather, stumbles back in a happy stupor to the hippy cabin that he and Koya share.

He clambers up the stairs and sees a single dot of light reflect out of their cabin. As he approaches the doorway Koya quickly sits herself upright, wiping her face. He looks to the ground and sees a tarot spread…

“That doesn’t look good…” his mood quickly changing, “What did you ask?”

Koya looks down, she thinks for a moment. There’s a sense of shame that Athebryn never expected from Koya.

“I… hrm, well, you know the other night with the Lion Head clan?” her eyes start to fill.

“Yes, ofcourse I remember, it was not a good night for people-kind. But at least we are safe.”

“I just wonder, I’ve spent my life wishing and asking Desna for a great journey, to see things anew, and now I’m here…. I love it… but… what have my dreams cost?”

Stunned Athebryn is lost for words, Koya continues on.

“I appreciate that you and the others were protecting us, but… it just feels wrong. You my funny little bard, have taken up blade and tell stories of not just victory, but now blood. Ameiko is trapped by her destiny, grasping at a life she once had. Luthien returns from fights with the face of an emotionless porcelain doll, Theibar and Shalelu seem to be finding less reason to trust and love humankind… I just feel my desires are somewhat to blame for this; adventure comes at a cost.”

“… so, what did you ask the cards?”

“I just wanted to know if the bloodshed that the Lion Head clan experienced were to happen again soon, I just hope it was not common occurrence… I was just hoping…”

Koya starts to tear up again, her posture shrinks and her age begins to show. Athebryn is struggling to find the right words; normally Koya is the one with the wisdom, but this situation needed Athebryn to show the little he had.

“I’ve travelled a long way from home, and led a very different upbringing to those about us. Adventure is not unknown to me, but I can’t say I’ve ever been on one like this before, at least not with this much bloodshed and danger.”

Koya starts sobbing quite loudly.

“Ah… um… what I mean… The difference. The difference between the adventures I had previously and this one isn’t just the, downs, but this time I need to stand and fight for who I believe in, and to protect those I am with. My other adventures I could easily skip out, hide away, and escape the danger, but now that there are others, I cannot avoid the danger, and I’ve changed, partly for the worse, but mostly for the best, because I have a family to protect now.”

Koya’s sobbing calms down a bit, now that Athebryn has the swing he continues on with his thought.

“I don’t think I am the only one who is this way. Luthien is reconnecting with her sister, Ameiko is finding in herself the dignity she never wore, and while there are so many poor humans, the relationships Theibar and Shay are forming in the caravan will far outweigh the brief glimpses they see of the scum of mankind.

I think you should take some of the blame of this adventure, Koya. I’ll blame you for somewhere safe to return to, for the increased wisdom some of us lack, and for the best darn muffins across this vast land.”

Koya smiles, Athebryn’s words have lightened the mood, but hardly cut the pain.
“Thankyou Athebryn. I appreciate you didn’t trivialise the lives of those lost, and I will work harder to bear this pain and keep sight of the joys that come with Desna’s mixed Blessing.”

Athebryn rummages under his bed and pulls out a vibrant pack of cards.

“I think this is a good time; I got this for you from the Gnomish village in the forest.”
Koya takes the cards in her hand, “These are very special aren’t they?” she says with a cheeky smile.

“They are very special, and whenever you have a question of doubt, you should ask these cards. Ask them what you just asked the other cards.” Athebryn says with a strong twinkle in his eye.

Koya opens the pack and starts to lay out her cards… the first one brings a smile to her face, and by the third card she’s starting to chuckle.

The cards on the floor have no up nor down; they are mirrored images. The cards are unbelievably happy and full of bright colours. Some of the usually dark cards of the tarot deck have been replaced altogether with “Rainbow cards” and the like. This deck looks as though it will never bring bad news.

Koya has quickly cottoned onto the cards, “Let me guess, there’s not a single bad card in this deck, and you can never get an inverted card?”

Athebryn smiles, “Maybe, or maybe they just have a more optimistic outlook on the world.”

A Pack of White Lies

Adelaide Jade Regent Wildhunt78 Ribeena