Takes place significantly before Session 21, fyi

Keeping to the Shadows

A long-fingered, langorous hand reaches out from the gloom, takes the cup of wine and draws it back into the shadows.

"Clockworks, pocketwatches, patterns and discs. The compass rose. The world seems full of round things..."

The dark-haired man looks up from the arrow-head he is tipping with silver. "To you, perhaps. A female perspective." He picks up the shaft of an arrow, and flexes it slightly. "Arrows. Swords. All kinds of piercing weapons. It's a man's world."

"Is it, now?" The female voice in the shadows is genuinely amused. She puts a dainty, slippered foot onto the fender of the fireplace. "I hadn't noticed."

The man gives her a sideways glance. "You're less amusing than you think, my dear."

"Hm..." she says, taking a swallow of wine. The clock ticks.

The door opens with a bang. The arrow shaft snaps in the man's hands; he spins, dagger drawn, and then relaxes when he sees the figure in the doorway. The woman in the shadows titters slightly.

"Let's get on with it," the newcomer says gruffly.

"All right then," the woman says, her warm and husky voice grown cold. She leans to the side, towards a small table. "It works better with the questioner's trumps." The newcomer frowns deeply, and pulls a deck of cards from his shirt, and thumps them onto the table. The woman picks them up and begins to shuffle them. "Here begins the scrying."

The newcomer stands a certain distance from them, arms crossed. He nods sharply.

She deals the first card. "Your position: Benedict. The King of Staves," she adds, with a smirk.

"In the Amber bower: Justin. I'd call him the Fool."

"There's no need to draw these correlations, thank you," the newcomer says.

"Suit yourself. In the Chaos bower: Gerard." She cannot hide the note of surprise.

"In the crossing position: hm. I don't know her." She flips the card over, scrutinizing the back. "A Chaosite, perhaps? What does she mean to you?"

"I know what she means to me," the newcomer growls. "Continue."

"All right." She flips the next card. "The Mirrored Moment: Joaquim, the Prince of Colors. Of course, do you even have a trump of his new fashion trend?"

"Yes," the questioner bites out.

"Then you know it's significant. Next: The Ally: Julian." There's a note of incredulity in her voice.

"The Enemy: Brand.

"The Unholy: Christoph.

"The Open Door: Sorcha.

"The Dog Star: Harlan.

"The Traitor's Gate: Desiré .

"The Sacrifice: Elaine.

"The Endgame: Eve--." She deals the last card, and her final statement ends on a questioning note.

"Thank you," the newcomer says, walking forward and gathering up the cards.

"Do you need any...."

"No, I don't. I've known about scrying since before your mother was born. Let's leave it at that." He turns smartly and walks out the door.

The woman in the shadows sinks back into her chair. "In-ter-esting..." she says, seeming to taste the syllables. "And yet he's never learned how to do it himself?"

The man throws the sticks of his broken arrow into the fire, and shrugs. "We'll never know."

She shrugs as well, and draw her chair closer to the fire. "I suppose not." She sips her wine. The clock ticks. Outside, a storm brews.