Friday, February 17, 2017

Playing the old deck

Alex Santiago was a man who enjoyed the challenge of playing the same game, like solitaire, day in day out. His enjoyment came from seeing how the old deck turned the corner every time he laid the grid. The idea of sacrifice wasn't an easy one, he'd never liked the word and was having to retool the steel grip of his thinking. But, he was a welder after all the element of fire and the properties of metal were known to him. Between the soldering he had found the spiral of magic, the spin that brought soft to hard, and counter to the usual tick of clockworks. His wizardry called for practice, and rigidity? Things break when they're brittle. "Hmm," mumbling to himself, and using his feet to push himself up from the blue corduroy couch his wit chinked into a groove with his sense of humor. He saw a new angle on this game.

"If this is my old welding shop, there ought to be a deck of cards a few paces from this spot," swinging his long limbs so his freshly restored feet found solid ground the welder headed for the stairwell that led to his former domicile in the loft. The wooden stairs and custom brass railing raised memories sweet and long tucked in some safe and out of the way location. Alex reached his right arm toward the carved wooden box stowed shoulder high behind a spring-loaded hinge then  he remembered he had no hands. The light at the end of his arms pulsed a pale glow of a beeswax candle. Soft, warm but not something to hold an old wooden box. "How 'bout a hand?" Alex turned to Skeena and laughed at the pun, then laughed some more when he saw the Raven fly over his head to wait at the top of the stairs.

"To be of service from this point on old master," the Raven started, "you must know what you are giving up. It doesn't need to be something you're ready to give up. In fact if you cling to a thing, a belief like one of those lies Iktumi taunts us with at the point of Initiation? Well, if you feel you cannot do with out it ... then, you can be sure THAT is precisely the sacrifice to be made."

"The thing, the things I most cling to. Geez Raven Child! You know the answer to that," Alex was very uncomfortable with this edge. Irritable didn't come close. He exhaled and continued, "You know how I cling to those old paws of mine. Shuffling those old cards. Shuffled them till the marks and color made the game one of guessing."

"Right," Skeena remembered the game and the deck of cards, and remembered also the big magic the rest of the world attached to him. "Signs were your calling card. Funny how the curve of a rune, the shadow inside a letter could cause it to switch and reshape itself." The Raven paused that pregnant silence that all good musicians and comedians knew to be the essential difference. Alex recalled the day Camilia's girls had been enchanted by the glamour from his shop sign. Mend Metal Magic or ... was it Mend, Meddle, Magic? * " With that one transforming bit Alex Santiago had changed his fortune and his destiny from solitary man to stepfather and mate. Now that, was legion.

"A whole 'nother game old master." Skeena the man was very careful not to read another's thought without permission. Raven on the other hand did what Tricksters do. With a pluck as quick as this the spirit being snipped the memory of the sign from the old welder. From his perch on the stairs the Raven's golden eyes shone bright. What sunlight had been streaming through the wavy windows and leaks from the weathered cedar walls blinked out. All that shone were Skeena's golden eyes glowing brighter and warmer as though the sun was present in the old welding shop. "How will you turn a guessing game onto its head and make your magic live again?"

Keep on here.

* Click on the sign  Mend, Meddle, Magic to read just what happened that fateful day, or return to "Playing the old deck" once you've followed this tale to its end.

No comments:

Post a Comment