Dannae, Fallen Fortune-Teller and Seeress, Speaks
"Come in, come in. Don't let my youth confuse you. Look into my eyes for a moment, and see that my soul is old, very old. With such soul-age comes wisdom; a different wisdom comes from my youth, as well, so just think: by coming here and listening to me you receive both the wisdom of youth as well as age. Isn't that what you came for? Have a seat -- nevermind the slight tilt of the wagon -- and we will get started.
"This is my Destiny Deck. I brought it with me when I left Baba Yaga and the other Deaths behind. It is a long story; one for another time. Suffice to say that the cards in this deck are no longer exactly the same as the cards that came over the Fallen bridge. I've made amendments, additions and deletions, since I've come to understand the great Lie that the Deaths have used to enslave the Nation. The Destiny Deck of Mortuary is not the Destiny Deck of Hom, and certainly not that of Dannae of Hom.
Origins of the Destiny Deck
The Destiny Deck had its genesis in the days after the Liberation -- Baba Yaga was not summoned with the first Destiny Deck, no matter who tells you -- just as the Tribes of the Nation were formalized and set, organized by temperment and loyalty, and the people of the Nation began looking further ahead than the next day's meal. As we started planning for the future, we began to desire a means to look into the future, so we might make more informed decisions. We asked questions: will this settlement thrive, will this field yield bounty or starvation, will this road bring trade or attacks? The Tribes turned to the followers of Baba Yaga, for they were the ones who scried the future, and who might be able to peek into the fate of humankind.
The first Destiny Deck had only eight leather cards: one for each of the Seven Deaths, and one for the fallen Joshua. A Yagan would perform a short ritual, an atrophied version of which I will perform later, and draw one card. If the Yagan drew Eva's card while standing before a field, it would be fertile. If the Magdalen card was drawn before a newly-married couple, they would have a blessed union. If the Joanite card was drawn before roads, the village built at its side would be protected. If, however, the Joshua card was ever drawn, it spelled certain death and destruction; old stories say that a Yagan could clear a room by simply displaying the Joshua card.
As time progressed, the Destiny Deck was expanded as Yagan artists added attendants and followers to trail after their Fatima, representing the aspects of the Fatima or the emerging tribes. The exception, of course, was Joshua, who had no living followers. Instead, Tibor joined Joshua as his mirror; later more cards were added: the Camps, the Fold, the World Before. Initially all of these cards, called 'Trump' cards, possessed negative connotations. As the Trump ranks increased, however, they began to tell a story. As the Traveller, the Nation, and the One Goddess were added, the Trump suit became a history of the Nation, including the future they hoped to attain.
When the Deaths decided to start disowning anyone who disagreed with them, a new practice was introduced: whenever the card was drawn upside-down, it was 'Fallen' and the meaning was twisted inside-out and perverted; everything that it was not supposed to be. The Caravan card, instead of representing travel to new vistas, came to stand for the chronic homelessness of the caravan life. It was yet another way to underscore that the Fallen were the most debased, wretched, and perverted abberations to ever crawl out of Vimary.
You might understand my own confusion, then, when I first cast a reading in Hom. I drew an Evan -- Winter, which is bad enough Upright -- Fallen. Now that I myself was Fallen, how could I say that this card was Fallen and therefore a bastardization? The reading went unfinished and became nagging problem that would not let me be. The Upright cards mocked me, as well: how were these cards correct when they represented men and women deluded by the Seven Deaths?
I nearly destroyed my Destiny Deck then, but eventually, my mind worked around an alternate solution. To my eyes, an Upright card represented everything that should be -- Faith, Honor, Purity and Hope. A Fallen card represented everything that should not be -- Lies, Treachery, Dishonor and Despair. It is not so simple as Upright Good, Fallen Bad, however. Sometimes the Fallen meaning, that which should not be, is the only thing that will save you. Much like the Fallen, in fact: we are the cast-offs, the arrogant, the unmanageable, the violent, and yet we are the best hope of humanity; we are the Eighth Tribe.
I began to revise my Destiny Deck. Upon hearing the Prophecy of Joshua, I added the Betrayal and the Blood and Sacrifice cards. When Deus spoke to defend a man and offer him sanctuary, the Hom card was born. Meanings began to change: no longer was the Joshua card an evil to be avoided; it was the painful and violent destruction, a potent rage that would save mankind. Even if I haven't made great changes for quite some time, now, I still make minor alterations day to day, always focusing and improving my Deck, making it a sharper tool to pierce the future. Perhaps one day I will be able to scry exactly what Joshua's 'Blood and Sacrifice' entails.
Organization of the Destiny Deck
My Destiny Deck has eight suits: the seven Tribe suits and the Trump suit for a little extra 'umph'. Each Tribe has five cards, one for the Fatima and then the Solitary, the Pair, the Trey and the Tribe. For example, the Agnites progress as: Agnes the Child, An Agnite, Pair of Agnites, Three Agnites, and the Agnites.
The Solitary is the Tribe and what it stands for in its most simplest form, in the body and soul of one tribe member. The Joanite Warrior, for instance, is dedicated and motivated by orders which direct her force; alternately, when Fallen the card represents a dependancy on orders from above which hamper the actions of the individual.
The Pair displays the standards of the Tribe in a little more complex form when more than just the individual is involved. The Terasheban Argument, for instance, shows what the Solitary Archivist cannot acheive on his own: a conversation.
The Trey is more complex yet, as multiple members of the Tribe interact with eachother. These are some of the most complex cards in the deck, for the interrelations between all three figures on the card must be taken into account. Take the Three Magdalites, for instance: the two lovers are complicated by the third, the Alchemist, who offers the two a vial to increase their pleasure.
The Tribe card represents the whole of the Tribe, as in The Evans, also known as the Plantation. This card stands for both the interdependancies of the tribe, the preparedness and strength they possess as well as the gossiping and parochialism that runs rife within their settlements.
The Fatima card is either the first or the last in the sequence of a Tribe's cards, depending on how you are looking at it at the time. I usually place it at the start, but I mention it now at the end to highlight the distinction between the motives and values of the Fatima, that which this card stands for, and the motives and values of the Tribe as a whole -- they are rarely the same.
The Trumps take us from the World Before, through the Camps, the Liberation, and the founding of the Nation, to the creation of Hom, the Fallen, and finally into the enigmatic Blood and Sacrifice card. The sequence of Trumps is mostly historical, although it can as easily represent the lifetime of a person, an idea, a plan of action or a love affair as it does the lifetime of a Nation.