Logs:Tur, Tarot, and Tale

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Tur, Tarot, and Tale
Dramatis Personae

Keith and Seraphine

17 June, 2016

In the Backroom, two meet. A possible future is glimped, and the First Flame is told of. This Story Is True.


The Crosscut

It's still early yet, afternoon just starting to crawl along. As such, the front room of the Crosscut is quiet, and the backroom more so. In fact, all it currently holds is one woman. Seraphine is seated towards the back of the room, a pen clasped between her lips as she looks at one book, and makes notes in another with a pencil. There's a thoughtful furrow to the blooded's brows, a tilt of head every now and then as she tries to puzzle something out. To her left is a large mug, coffee warm enough to be sending steam into the air still.

Sound proof as the room is there's not really any warning before the door into the back is pushed open and Keith wanders on inside, a beer in one hand, even at this early hour and currently digging through a satchel bag at his side absentmindedly with the other. Looking a little bit worse for the wear, probably hasn't slept or showered for a few days. He does notice the fair single inhabitant, of course, and a smile is given her way "Hey you." with a vaguely middle eastern accent.

It's a combination of the sound of the door closing and the shiver that travels down her spine that has Seraphine's head lifting, her gaze turning towards it. The figure is unfamiliar, but the knowledge of what he is isn't. Those dark eyes give him a once-over, and the birdskull gets a longer glance than his clothing, before his face is studied. Finally, her lips curve into a smile, welcoming. "Hello, yourself." Even those two words are thick with her own accent, heavy as a summer night on the bayou. "I don't believe we've crossed paths, yet."

There's no hesitation from Keith as he makes his over to the one occupied table at the back, shifting into a seat across from Sera even as he produces what he sought in his satchel bag, a small wooden box, soon followed by an abused package of cigarettes and a lighter. "You'd have remembered." he agrees "So would I, probably." he takes a drink from his beer "Name's Keith." he introduces with the air filled with expectation after, meanwhile he reaches out to for the book she's reading to spin it around over to his side and look at it.

"I sometimes forget faces, but rarely accents," the Swamp Witch muses, as she watches the man move. There's no attempt to keep him from turning the book around so that he can look at it - the page that she's on goes through elaborate steps that lead to a warding ritual, glyphs and sigils drawn out along with the printed font. "Seraphine," she gives en return, putting her pencil down so that she can offer a hand proper. And then, a gesture to her own throat, as if to signify his necklace. "Delicate things, and yet strong and lovely."

Dark eyes idly look over the page, turning to another and back back before he nods and pushes it back across the table. At her offered hand, it is taken but rather than shaken he turns it over to face the sealing, palm reading most likely far from alien to the witch as he runs a calloused thumb over hers with his attention lowered to it. "It's just a charm, useful things." he comments.

Seraphine's right hand, as smooth as it is, as well tended as those nails are, has a faint scar running across the palm, bisecting the heart line. It's probably not the best of signs. And while it's not a completely unusual thing to happen, it does have her head tilting, has her studying him anew. "What sort of charm?" A pause, no more than a pair of heartbeats, "Do I get the more formal introduction? Consider me curious as to how right my instinct is."

There's a slight wrinkling of his nose as Keith runs his index finger along the scar, rubbing the point of it against where it breaks the heart line briefly. "Gris-gris, ward, talisman, luck charm. - It's a simple fetish." bringing up her hand briefly he infact sniffs it briefly before he lets it go. "What do they tell you then, Seraphine?" leaning back into his seat lazily while he bussies himself with producing a cigarette and lighting it.

Eyes half lid briefly as that scar is toyed with, before she quirks another grin. "I know, I make things less than sunshine," she muses, before her left hand is held up. The tip of her pinkie is missing, there. And that palm has seven heavier scars on it. He sniffs her hand, and there's the scent of her soap there, and a faint perfume of night blooming flowers, earth. "A little gris-gris, keep you safe from harm." Hand released, she reaches for her coffee, raises it towards her lips. "One of the Bone Shadows," she says with a lift of her brow, and maybe just a bit of hope. "Not sure on what face Luna was showing, yet."

"I am." Keith reveals his hand much too soon, cigarette lit he takes a drag from it as he leans back, a hand is tugged back through his coarse curly hair. "What gave it off? The skulls and air of mystery?" his smile isn't a particulary pretty one, a hand raised to idly toy with said skull settled around his neck. "My moon will come to you eventually."

"In part. And the words you used. Words have meaning, and can reveal much, if you listen to them." Her dark eyes move over him, following motions made by his hands. It's a quiet study, before her gaze flicks up to meet his once more. And while there are certainly lovelier women out there, Seraphine does have a good smile. "Good. There are far too few of us, here. Just my brothers. Myself, if you count the blooded that the Hirfathra Hissu claim. And I'm sure that it will, with time."

"I do grunt less than your average blood talon, it's true." Keith allows easily, he drums his fingers against the edge of the table before he leans forward again, reaching for the small box. Sliding off the lid it is revealed to have a deck of cards within, quite finely crafted the back of each carrying a strange glyph, First Tongue. He begins to shuffle them with nimble fingers "Only two? Well, are there many of the People here? It isn't a large city."

"And you're not coming off with the chill of one of the Iminir," Sera replies with her own amusement. A few sips of coffee, and she finally puts the mug down. Closes those two books, and pushes them off to her right, as the cards come out. The glyph brings no immediate recognition, but there's once more a furrow of brows as she tries to place it. "They come and go. It is not an easy place. I've been told that things are a bit of a mess, when it comes to the Hisil. And too many were keeping to themselves, until recently. Have you met any of the other wolves?"

"The pack is what we keep to Seraphine, always." Keith remarks, the cigarette is stuck into the corner of his mouth as he shuffles, once he seems content he spreads them out along the table "Under what moon were you born?" he taps some ash off down into the bottle of beer, only half empty.

"That's all well and good, when the pack is doing more than sitting on their thumbs." There's a shrug of shoulder from Seraphine, and her eyes meet his once more. Only for a moment, before that amber-flecked gaze looks to the cards once more. "Gibbous," is replied easily. "Luna's touch settled heavily enough on me, to mark it."

There's a moment where Keith regards Sera, some lingering scrutiny at her words "You do not understand." he says simply "Nor could you, I suppose." at the revelation of her birth she nods "Four." he simply notes, a hand vaguely gesturing for the cards.

Seraphine gives a small scrunch of her nose, but gives no comment more than that. The drawing of cards seems a familiar enough movement, the long fingers of her right hand reaching out. Four, pulled from the shuffled pile. Absently, there is a tug of lower lip through teeth, before she leans back into her chair a touch deeper.

"You don't like it." Keith remarks, his tone seemingly vaguely amused as he takes another drag from his cigarette "You think yourself one of the People?" it's curious more than mocking, but the tinge of amusement never the less marks it as more than harmless. The four cards are chosen, and he turns the first. The image is not one of traditional tarot, a fox chasing a hound in a circle creating an unending circle. Soon after he draws it though, he taps his finger against it. The fox is changed into a woman, a crude representation of Seraphine, indistinct yet clearly her. She's chased by a grinning wolf, one moment it protects her, the other another, is it the same? Hunts her.

"I don't like inaction, especially when it has a ripple effect. I don't like when Duty is forgotten." Seraphine's fingers fold together, rest atop the table, as she speaks. "The blooded are part of the People, in our way. We're here to remind you." She wets her lips with the tip of her tongue, and when the card is revealed, she leans forward a touch to see the image on it. They are not traditional, and that has one brow lifting slightly. And, then, higher when the image shifts. Well. That's something new.

Keith takes another drag from his cigarette as he too looks down at the shifting images "You've a mercurial guardian or enemy, a loved one or a hated one." pause "Or both really. You will run from something, and they'll be there." he deduces with a distinct lack of mystery, although there's clearly something more than mere tarot at work here. He pulls another, this card depicts a great wall, not unlike the Tower but wider. The woman from the first flees from the grinning wolf into the next card, and the wolf doesn't follow. Here instead she beats her fists against the wall, and one can almost hear her scream, faint but eerie.

What Seraphine has is definitely not a poker face. That shift of lips, the movement of her brows, give away that the card may have hit the nail on the head. She makes a gesture with her hand, as if to say yes, please, go on. The presence of the Tower has her lips quirking, and it's not entirely pleasant.

Scratching his throat idly Keith continues to deduce his cards "You'll cross a barrier, a wall or escape a prison. And you will be alone, no one to help you, not even your mercurial friend. And there will be no way out with the aid of others." another card is turned, even as the eerie shouts of the woman within the cards can be just heard. The next is a large field with a blood red moon rising over it, the woman flees into the next card, running towards the moon.

There's a continued silence from Seraphine - now not the time to interrupt. But she's clearly pondering something in that silence, as her thumbpad is used to twist the ring on the finger beside it, little notches making for an easy slow spin. A tiny shiver goes down her spine, and she lets out a held breath, watching her-not-her go through the cards.

"The blood moon is death." Keith elaborates "It is the hunter's moon, you will hunt or be hunted, and there will be death. Your own or someone else's, someone you know." the woman in the cards continues to run towards the leering crimson moon. And then finally he picks up the card and flicks over the last with it. The fourth and final shows the Gibbous Moon hanging on a field of stars. "And She will call for you, in the end. You will know her madness and she will show you the way, through it all."

As he speaks the words there's the woman again, howling up at the gibbous moon hanging in the sky. She looks downtrotten and in shambles, filthy and covered in blood.

The revelation of the blood moon being equivalent to death does not unsettle Seraphine. It comes for them all, in the end, and there's a grave sort of acceptance there. Blame it on the voodoo. It's that fourth and final card that has her scowling a touch, as Luna's face shines down. It pleases her less than the rest, but in the end she nods. Watching the woman as she howls, blood-covered and a wreck. It's a far cry from where she is now. "Well then," she murmurs, to herself as much as him, and lifts her gaze. Well what, she doesn't clarify.

Sucking on his teeth Keith rolls his shoulders into a shrug, he collects the cards and stacks them together before they are placed back into the small wooden box from whence they came. "Not unusual." he comments "Many of you have similar fates in store, your mercurial companion, you know them?" he taps some ash off into the bottle of beer again.

There's a roll of shoulder, and Seraphine reaches for her coffee once more, now significantly cooler than her last go at it. A sip, and she gives a nod. "I could. I have some theories, at the least. Which one of you isn't a double edged blade, though? But yes. I have an idea." A faint smile, and she continues, "We share a moon, perhaps? I could be wrong, you could be the other side of it, Ithaeur, but I don't think that I am. You thread together a story too well. But so does my brother, the one that isn't a Cahalith. I think Laurent and I rubbed off on him too much."

"I was Changed under the gibbous, yes." Keith nods once, taking a final drag from his cigarette before he drops it into the bottle with the rest of the ash. "That was hardly a story, but there are many of them." he sucks on his teeth again considering, the lid slipped back onto the box. "Do you have a favourite?"

Seraphine's fingers stay wrapped around that mug, and she rests it against her lower lip thoughtfully. "Mmm," she intones, before taking yet another sip. It gives her something to do between words. "A world full of them. A favorite story? Oh, I'm sure. But my own ability to weave them falls short at times. You, Keith? Perhaps sometime you will tell me it."

"One can't play favourites with ones own children." Keith notes simply "But I could tell you one." he considers for a moment, a hand going to idly finger on the bird skull hanging around his neck. "The Coyote and the First Flame, do you know it?"

"One can't?" This is clearly a surprise to Sera, though the gleam in her eyes speaks of a returned amusement. She leans back into her chair, that posture relaxing once more, legs stretching under the table, though she is careful not to bump his own. "I don't believe that I've heard that one, before."

"It's never been in my nature to decline a request for a story." Keith notes simply, he meanwhile straightens as he takes a deep breath before he begins. As all tales of the People it starts as he speaks with "This story is true." the words themselves seem to draw a faint smile to his lips. "Nevada has not always been a dry wasteland, once it was a lush forest that seemingly grew on forever. As all of Pangea it was a hunter's paraide, where man, beast and spirit co-existed in a strained harmony kept by Father Wolf and his pack. Here did the great spirit Coyote dwell, finding itself weak compared to Father Wolf it grew into a jealous spirit, convincing itself it was all due to the relationship Father Wolf shared with Luna."

The sort of woman that enjoys a good story, Seraphine settles in to do just that. She pays attention to the man, as well as the words that he weaves. Curving lips as he starts out with those four familiar words, inclining her head as if to accept them. "Coyote is clever, but not near as strong," she opines, though softly, as so not interrupt the tale too much.

"Coyote is clever, much too clever for many. Perhaps even himself." Keith agrees, answering with a smile without missing as beat in the pace of storytelling however as he continues. "And so Coyote sought to get it too, but it had never been a spirit of the mad mother, no instead the Coyote sought out the mighty Helion, searing god of light and fire." he gestures for the sealing, a useless gesture as they are not below a sky. Never the less it is there, perhaps he has told this one before. "But he was thrown out, the great helion not having patience for a spirit with a coward's heart. And Coyote did not take this insult well, scorched and hurt he returned. But not empty handed no." a dramatic pause is given "From great Helion he had stolen the First Flame."

Agreeing with that assessment of Coyote, Seraphine inclines her head once more. She doesn't comment on it this time, though, beyond that gesture. No, her lips are kept silent, at least through this portion of the story - if you don't count that tsk she makes for the Coyote going to the Sun, and stealing flame.

"Helion searched the forest for days, but not even his bright light was able to find Coyote, the spirit was a great deal too cunning and quick." Keith continues, and he echoes the word both of them spoke before. "And so it was that Helion set the forest ablaze, and it burned for days, weeks, months and years. Til nothing but a barren wasteland remained, but still Coyote was not to be found." a sweeping gesture is given with an arm, as if to mirror the search of great Helion "And so the wasteland now called Nevada was created, and to this day Helion's deadly gaze never truly leaves it, always searching for The First Flame." for those familiar the story is clearly coming to an end here, the pacing having slowed down.

Words listened to, gestures watched. Seraphine cannot help but give a smile when Keith gives that sweep of arm, as he gives evidence to how the Hellion searched for Coyote. Her head cants, as she looks to him, gaze on gaze. The story ends, but her question begins, "And Coyote? Where did that clever bastard hide the First Flame? Or is that another story, for another day?"

"It's still out there, Seraphine." Michael notes "Should you ever travel to Nevada to meet the People, they still believe it. Every summer the Helions descend from the heavens to scorch the earth. Looking for it." he smiles a bit "Millenia and still Coyote is much too cunning, and much too quick."

Seraphine's grin flashes then, the bright full of it. "Next time I travel to Nevada," she muses, as if this is not an unlikely thing at all, "I'll have to ask them of it. Or see if a coyote crosses my path." The grin simmers down into a smile, and she inclines her head. "Thank you for the story, Keith. And the company. I should be headed off, though. Put some study into practice."

"There's always many more." Keith notes, he just nods though as he himself settled back into the chair. Seemingly having no plans on going anywhere. "May your stars be blessings, not curses, Seraphine."

"I'll look forward to the next one, then." Seraphine gathers up those books, and slides them into a black satchel that hung off the back of her chair. Now, it's on her shoulder. "And may yours line up in the way you find most pleasing, Keith." She gives one last smile, with friendly warmth, and heads for the door."