Chapter 1: THE MAGICIAN

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Mastery of special knowledge. Focused energy, ability to harness creative forces, problem solving ability. The time is right to initiate projects because you are master of your destiny; you are able to manipulate the forces of nature to achieve your goals. Take positive action and focus your attention to realize your potential.

"I'd like to know something more significant about this area," Marlena Christie's well-manicured finger indicated an inverted Two of Wands in the Hopes and Fears position of her reading.

While Vatche recognized Miss Christie's readings were always complete, and her own psychic strengths considerable, he hesitated for a half-dozen heartbeats before reaching for the tarot deck, surprised she'd ignore major arcana that screamed for attention. Why not clarify an inverted Death card that crowned this spread and suggested an outcome of unwelcome nature, or the also inverted Hierophant of her Immediate Future?

Revealing the image of a Tower being struck by lightning brought a subtle yet definite spectral shift, each card's coloration immediately more vivid and alive. His reputation was built on quality of direction and warnings provided, so this change in information essential to her prospects for Success was akin to a trapped mining crew's breakthrough into breezy, cool, brilliant sunshine.  

An undeniable warmth from the red bandana in his hand, a personal item this special lady always brought, and a physical pressure at his left elbow and thigh indicated Madame Brittalia was also in attendance.

"The Tower represents a momentous event, an extraordinary bolt from the blue which often heralds swift, shocking, dramatic changes. Perhaps there is a moment of truth, an illuminating flash that sets you free and you say, 'I see the light!' 

"There is havoc, and this coming upheaval will force you to rid yourself of false, or even established life structures. You may find yourself altering important relationships in order to learn an important truth about matters you value dearly. Believe in all actions taken accordingly, they will provide strong, satisfying results," he finished, touching his forehead and mustache with the cloth.

He tilted a flowing mane of raven black hair forward in acceptance of the Tower card's significance, understood the emotional message that registered in Marlena's defiant golden-green eyes.

"I see interesting and complex, very likely unique, experiences approaching my dear Miss Christie, events I suspect will not surprise you as completely as they might others. I trust these answers were of assistance in lighting your pathway. Please, give my sincere regards to Silas Randson, and dear Ruby, if you see her soon."

Returning the cloth to Marlena as she rose, he accepted an envelope's placement to one side without needing to examine its contents; Miss Christie was always generous.

Although he'd serviced an array of significant patrons these past four years, listening to Marlena Christie's future was always an incomparable treat, a privilege he truly relished. While his well-regarded abilities provided access and choices among desirable women of all ages, races, and backgrounds, he admired every aspect of her honorable beauty most highly.

Her breasts, not overly large but firm and well displayed, were of course impossible to ignore unless one was sightless. Her face was beyond "pretty," and conveyed considerable intelligence atop a seamless picture, from wonderfully upright carriage, impressively square shoulders, those electrifying eyes! and legs so sensuously ideal, even the most jaded skirt watcher's eye would twinkle in appreciation.

While utterly tangential to any description of her intelligence and inner capabilities, he'd never heard her respected position within the fierce and rumor-laden world of art derided as either luck or a result of sexual misconduct. Her voice, heard in warm conversation with guests in perhaps seven languages, was a fluid and intriguingly complex one.

The reading had begun with Four Wands, speaking of romance, foundations, happy achievement and inspiring results. Despite several cards that signified less advantageous tidings, there was nothing unusual about the message of prosperity, happiness, and success in a major life transition promised by the Ten of Pentacles as her Destiny card - Miss Christie's readings inevitably revealed positive endings.

The Moon card that Crossed this array, and a Judgment card which spoke to her view of Self, were clear: Nothing would be denied this woman. If the Moon card spoke of uncertainty and this Tower of confusion or disarray, she would still control more than her own future while steering a blazing trail across a Universe that continued to smile on her endeavors.

Whatever negative influences usually attached to the inverted wands she'd wanted clarified - or even the potentially upsetting nature of La Muerte - he conceded powerful problem-solving abilities and skill in manipulating the world to the Magician card she'd allowed to slip loose while shuffling. Misgivings or doubts about committing to an important circumstance, those were merely challenges to wield her extraordinary abilities against.

Yes, whatever Next came, events would shape themselves around this woman who combined great inner harmony and personal attributes in abundance. Whichever God truly reigned in the heavens, he imagined a singularly blessed man now stood on the cusp of learning what the magnificent Marlena Christie was willing to modify her truly electrifying life arc for. 

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