The Twenty-two Painted Cards of Magic Tarot from the Universe
0. The Fool
A man wearing an inky black suit and hat visited the mountainside everyday for ten days counting today. Together with a certain animal, yesterday a goat and the other day a cat, he would walk to the foot of Mulberry Mountain and climb its steep slope. Up at the peak was a ritualistic sanctuary-like place. A wide disk of cobblestone was in the centre of four posts on which a gargoyle sat. Their faces were somehow the same but at the same time different. The townspeople living in a village at the foot of the mountain see the all-black man everyday since the dark monarch, a disease in which the ill will acquire red spots all-over the body, will hallucinate and sooner or later die, spread around West County, a few yards from the forest surrounding the old windmill at the town's edge. He climbed at early morn and he would usually return at dusk or night.
In curiosity on what he was doing up the mountain, I followed him. Today, it seems that he brought a donkey-like deer-faced animal. Like the other days, he also brought his cart of tomatoes which, as well, carries the animal. He grabbed the physically weird cretin by bracing his rough arms around its belly and pulling it out of the cart. He brought it down the yellow soil, and he brushed away its shed fur on his black teed coat. I waited and watched him from behind a tall rock near the back of the coach. That's when I saw his face. I thought, at first, that he was an old hermit living alone, but when I saw that grand face of his, I found out he was actually a young and fine man, like a lost minstrel or a romantic. He wrapped a rope around the animal's neck. The donkey-like creature rants and raved as the man wraps the rough rope around its delicate neck.
When it was finished, he started scaling the mountainside. He stepped on the stones which, for him, resembled stairs. He didn't need to jump or hop, the stones and rocks and grubby steps seemed easy to climb and are close to each other, making it easier to scale that part of the mountain.
When he reached almost the half of the mountain, I started to follow. It was long and winding. Climbing Mulberry Mountain looked easy when you look at him, but in very other way, it was hard. We reached the top at about an hour before sundown. It was quiet and I nonchalant about it. When I thought of watching him on what he will do next, I noticed the bloody, dismembered bodies of different animals, almost all are animals. One of the, from what I saw, was a body of a woman, a head with ruffled braids and bloody human feet. They seemed to belong to one person.
I almost gasped in astonishment but luckily, I covered my mouth. I stood silently behind one of the four gargoyle posts. I stared at him and, after a while, I finally realised he was doing absolutely nothing, he looked like he was praying or eating, but no, he's just quiet.
The day got darker and when I finally had the guts to talk to him and ask him what he was doing at the peak of a short mountain on this time of night, a voice emanated from the inert air that surrounds us.
"Did you bring the offering, the donkey?" said the voice. I was right, it was a donkey. The tone was vociferous and vulgar, it was deep and cragged.
"Y-yes." The man said. Despite the fact that his face was serious and very masculine, his voice was raspy but weak, like a weeping child. "Please! It's the tenth day already. You said you will bring her back." He shouted, now with confidence. "You killed her, so you can bring her back to life!"
"You fool! Do you think I can do that? You're like a clown. You make me laugh" He did laugh, it was so hard that I almost realised his voice was becoming lighter. He laughed like he was a clown himself. "Now that you already served me so much, I will grant your desire, you may see your lover now, in my stomach!" The voice bellowed. The man was in shock. We were both in shock. In the midst of the still atmosphere, a large hand appeared from nowhere, it was gigantic and muscular. In one swift move, it swiped the black man, blurry because of the night, into the air. He struggled and shrieked, he moaned, he cried for help. I was sure that the hand was gripping harder; blood was oozing out of his mouth. I tried to help. I rushed to the stone disk and I reached out my hand. "Grab my hand!" I shouted, he tried to reach me hand, but he lost his breath, his body dangled in the titanic hand. Suddenly, the hand was gone. All was gone. The statues, the disk, the animal parts, the donkey and the air were gone. I just went back home.
Within a few years, records of people going to that very mountain became more sinister, mystifying. It sums up that every tenth day that the person climbed the mountain, he will never climb down, never return. But for me, well, I have no intension of coming back to that place, not in a million years.
1. The Prestidigitator
Presenting the great Arturo! Magician of many tricks, prestidigitator of sorts and illusionist of the unseen. He can transform a person into a vampire, he can shove his head into a lion's mouth, he can eat doves alive and much more! See Arturo at his only show tonight at Grandeur, London!
The sign indicates that Arturo is great and he has many tricks, well, all of those are lies. First, how can he transform someone to a vampire if he is not one? You need to transfer a vampire essence, its blood, to a person's veins where no red blood flows.
Second, a lion won't eat a human head because it is against their nature, their picky at what they eat and only opens their head if a lioness offered them food from the animal the lioness had caught.
Third, he is not great. I knew this because when I went to his only show at Grandeur. I brought my pet lion and a cage of doves. When he went to the centre stage, I came to him with my pets and shoved doves into his mouth, he can't eat them. I bit his neck and I sucked all of his blood and life. When he was dead, the crowd gasped, I cut his head and showed it to my lion, my pet wouldn't eat it.
Since then, I stopped believing in magic. I detested all prestidigitator and magicians. I'm better than them.
2. The Lady Cleric
She was indeed a beautiful liar. I liked her. Her hair, white and soft, her lips, red as blood and her body, smooth and hot. Not hot as in attractive, hot as in living, the opposite of my body, cold and distant.
I went to her small mansion and asked for her hand. At first she was in shock, but in a while, she let me enter. She ordered one of her maids to bring us a cup tea, one for me and another for her.
"Doesn't this disturb you, your condition?" She asked.
"No." I simply said.
"Have you been human?"
"I was born human, but the death monarch turned me into this." The maid came and handed us both our cups.
"Are you not cured? You look like a corpse, you smell like one too." What she said was true but hurtful. Out of all the people in that village, I thought a person like her would understand.
"I'm already the walking dead, nothing can cure death. But I like you. Even though I'm no human." I said, smitten.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I need to go." She pinched her nose and waved her hand like she smells a dead rat. She went outside her small, heavy-built mansion and ran away to the church. I went for the door.
"Does this mean yes?" I shouted. My left hand fell on the doormat. Blood stained everywhere.
3. The Empress
"She will be the heir to the throne." Said the man.
"There's no throne in an empire. The next ruler is the next from place. In other words, the General." Said the other man.
"But the emperor decreed that her daughter will be the next empress, the tsarina!"
"Just look at her," The other explained. "She stares into the horizon, she rarely leaves her room, usually only to play, her eyes are red and above all, she's an orphan." She was an orphan. The emperor just brought her form a family in a village he wiped out. The girl was the only survivor.
"Let's just wait for the emperor's judgement." Said the first man.
They waited. As the days went by, the emperor's condition worsens. His judging and decreeing seemed hazy and unjust. He's only listened to one side in a trial, usually those who were wrong and obviously did the crime.
The girl, the next tsarina or empress, watched over them behind their back. She listened on their conversations. "The emperor is dying. We need to inform the General about the next ruler." Said the other man. The first man nodded. As they speak, the girl with the red eyes listened.
After some days, the doctor of the emperor announced that the emperor will die in a day. If he is lucky, he might survive till tomorrow midnight. And when the two men, the consuls, finally had talked to the general, thieves went to the palace and killed the General. The two men knew what was happening.
But when the two men ran to their ruler and tried to inform him about what was happening, they witnessed the little girl taking oath as the next empress. The two watched in awe. And coincidently, the emperor lost his breath on the tsarina's final word from the oath.
When she looked at the two men, she shouted "My first decree," Her voice seemed loud for a little girl, and the two men heard her speak for the first time. "Is to execute, by beheading, the two consuls standing in my front."
Everybody looked at them. Without hesitation, the consuls ran away to the palace door and promised never to come back.
* * *
The guards still follows them till this day, some says. But still, no one is sure about that. All I know is that I still hear cries of torture and laughs of evil from the halls and outside borders of Eastern palace. And I'm not absolutely sure that they're dead, but it was a thousand years ago. No one can be sure these days.
4. The Emperor
The emperor wiped out cities
And he killed people with much ease
But there is one girl who survived
Full of evil, the ruler died
5. The Hierophant
It was still a mystery.