chapter 22: THE ANGEL

this card, 20th of the Major Arcana, here signifies Final Judgment, Result, Outcome

Atop the Tower of Tarro Benutio embraced Luminata.  She was
trembling, but there were still no tears in her eyes.

"Something is happening to Wand right now, I can feel it--but I 
don't know what, good or bad."

"Clown will save her, I'm sure of it."

"Nothing is sure," she said, "and you are just as worried about 
him as I am for my daughter."

"He's been like one of my own children, but I have always felt 
that this was to be his destiny."

"Destinies are not always easy to define or accept."   

"I'm a gypsy."

"And I am a sorceress.  Yet I feel my faith slipping."

"You are also a mother.  And a magnificent one, I have seen how
brave you are, while others have only seen you as fearless."

"Do you see it now?"

"Especially now."

She looked down.  "I do not bare my soul to many people."

"Just to your gypsy lover?"

"Yes."  She looked to the north.  "I have to wonder what Otius 
is doing with her.  She is so young, so beautiful and so innocent."

"She's a sorceress.  She is the daughter of Luminata and will 
not break," Benutio assured her, tightening his arms around her.  
She accepted this comforting human contact.

A purple cloud came rushing out of the northern sky until it was
overhead.  It was so fast, so sudden, so unnatural that Luminata 
knew that it had to be the vehicle of a sorcerer and feared that it 
could only be Otius.

A white flash of lightning struck the tower platform beside the
two lovers, causing Benutio to see spots and Luminata to
activate her Powerstaff.

But she was the first to see that the two people who had
materialized in front of her were her own daughter and a 
handsome young man in a multicolored robe, himself bearing a 
Powerstaff in one hand and a metallic scroll under his other arm.

"You see?  I told you I could make it work!" the young sorcerer
was proudly telling Wand.

Benutio was first to recognize him.  "Clown!"

"Heyyy, Benutio!  They crashed together in a body-slapping 
man-hug. 

"Daughter!"  "Mother!"  Embracings. Kissings.  Joy.

"But it's Crown now, just as I've always called myself," he said 
when they came up for air, then bowed to Luminata.

"Tears in the eyes of sorceresses are a rare thing," Benutio
noted.

"A wonderful thing," said Luminata.


All was explained in time. It was announced to the entire City of Tarro that Wand had returned and that the evil Otius had been destroyed. The Emperor's son was restored his vitality and Emperor Aleister was so grateful that he offered Crown a place among his royal court. There was, of course, a great celebration. The City of Tarro once again rang with music and laughter and light. Wand finished her presentation of magic in the sky above the tower. Everyone danced, ate, drank, loved. What a party. Whee.
That night Benutio asked Crown, "What next?" "I have plans for Castle Darkstone. It's mine now so I may as well use it as a base of operations for some experiments." "Isn't it a rather gloomy place?" "It could be fixed up. Besides, there are many treasures and books, exotic equipment, and most important: a Powershaft. Also solitude when I need it, since I'm a sorcerer now--as I must be, now that I've been as far removed above the society of men as I was beneath it before." "Won't you be lonely living there?" Crown laughed. "Lonely? I'll be living with Wand here in happy Tarro, I'll commute to Darkstone by lightning-transport." "What of that spreading sea of acid mud?" "It's been neutralized, as has all of Otius' magic. The land can heal now, and should in fact be extremely fertile. In six months there will be a great green grassy lawn surrounding Darkstone."
Mother and daughter talked of other things: "Poor Elro, his life has been saved, but I fear he may yet perish yet for love of me," Wand said, "because I love only Crown." "That problem is already solved," Luminata told Wand, "for Leema, daughter of my...of our gypsy friend Benutio, assisted in nursing Elro through his weakness. He is quite enamored, and now that he has his vitality back I am sure he can woo her effectively." "And your gypsy friend?" "All right, my lover," Luminata confessed, "I think we will be happy together." Wand also smiled. "It's good they came to town. Just like in my vision."
Crown's reunion with his gypsy brothers Agra and Devo was good: gone their resentment against the little idiot brother who had so surpassed them, obvious now was their pride for their brother Crown, the hero sorcerer. Agra was even humble. "I've been practicing what you taught me of your martial art, and now others have asked me to teach them, if it's all right with you." "Certainly, Agra, but I have expanded it since then: I've learned much from Wand about channeling the energy within us, called the c'hi, that should also become part of the teaching." "If you will but teach me, guru brother." "We can learn it-- develop it-- together."
Devo asked, "Crown, how can you possibly travel by lightning?" "That was tricky to figure out. It has to do with there being no absolutes in a relative universe..." he looked at Agra with a question in his eyes. Devo nodded, "I'm listening. I may not understand it yet, but I've learned to listen to you." "All right: I had to ascertain how Otius' spells worked in order to control them--magical energy obeys the same rules as all energy, you know: cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed, etcetera. Just as the energy in oil, for example, transforms to heat and light when you burn it, which in turn could boil water, which makes steam and..." then Crown gasped, "...oh my..." and stopped, mouth open, lost into one of his thinking orgies. "What is it?" Agra asked. Devo laughed and rolled his eyes, "There he goes again!" Crown was mumbling, "...steam= pressure= contained thrust= motors= powered vehicles...static electricity..." Devo waved his hand in front of Crown, trying to get his attention. Crown was aware of him, but raised his own hand to stop Devo from interrupting his thought process, then closed his eyes for a long moment. When he finally opened them he sighed and smiled. "I just designed the future, thought I'd better think it through." "The future powered by steam?" Devo asked incredulously. "Oh no, too inefficient," Crown waved that idea away. "I rejected that for direct oil-fuel power, rejected that in turn for molecular combustion, and so on. They were all too messy and destructive and poisonous to the environment. Settled on a techno-logic based upon the tension between inert crystals and the coriolis effect generated by the rotation of the planet. So, if you'll excuse me, I have to go make some notes and experiments!" Crown left hurriedly. Agra looked confused. "He never did say how he actually got to travel by lightning..." "No," Devo agreed, "but I have a feeling that we're all in for a fantastic ride soon."
From the top of the shining silver Tower of Tarro our heroes looked down upon the celebrations shaking the streets of that fair city, with its newly repaired buildings and its crystal lights glowing in the sunset. That sounds like a real fade-into-the-sunset-happy-ending, doesn't it? And we've used up all the 22 chapters allowed because of the Tarot deck, so this must be The End... ...well, almost.
end of chapter 22

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