chapter 15: THE LOVERS
this card, 6th of the Major Arcana, here signifies Duality,
Choosing, Plans, Proof
Everyone noticed her enter the taverna: the stunning young woman
with long flowing red hair, beautiful face, voluptuous body, red
dress--a dream woman. But for Clown there was a special
attraction--she radiated an aura of intelligence.
When Clown saw her he froze, smitten with lust at first sight.
And she saw him too, no doubt about it, across the crowded room
there will be a stranger etc, their eyes locked for an instant and
then...then she looked away as some other man said something
He found himself on his way over to her. Maybe it was the wine
but he felt utterly confident about this woman. Of course, by now
he had also been assured that women did like him.
There were so many people dancing that it was hard to press
through but he finally arrived where she was sitting with a group
of men at the card table. She watched him come, an amused
little smile on her lips, and just as he arrived she turned away
to talk to another man and ignored Clown.
Clown understood that he was being challenged, led on, tempted,
teased, seduced, and his nostrils flared with desire.
He watched a round of the game. Absurdly simple, 2 sets of 14
cards in a deck, red and black 1 to 10 with king, queen, prince,
princess per set, as well as one wild card, the Jester (which
reminded Clown of himself), and one simply had to remember where
each card went, back and forth, across, up, down. Another round
and he knew that he could win this game. The players were
gambling for money, but they were mostly farmers, so the stakes
were not especially high.
When a chair was vacant he sat in it, directly over from the
redheaded beauty, laid a wager on the table for 1 Major, and
proceeded to win everything. She was watching his every move,
he liked that.
But one of the players did not like what was happening, a big
& tough guy, as usual, called Drund. "Hey, you must be
cheating!" he challenged, as Clown was scooping another pile of
money in, having won 78 Majors by now.
"No, I'm simply remembering where these cards are, that's all
one has to do. You could do the same." Clown spoke politely,
inoffensively, even meekly--he didn't really even want to take
their money, which he didn't need. And he certainly didn't
But the big & tough guy was offended anyway, and was
yearning for trouble anyway. He reached for Clown's shirt, and
Clown would have backed away, but for the press of people
surrounding the playing table, so he was caught and yanked
forward into range of the man's aggression.
Clown felt paralyzed with fear; he was going to be hurt! It all
seemed so slow that his mind had time to race ahead and consider
all the damage about to be done to him, helplessly watching
Drund's heavy fist coming at his face.
But he also had time to consider the alternatives available to
him; there were so many, but so little time to make a proper
decision. He had seen Agra fight well many times, there were
techniques for dealing with this...
With a heavy SLAM! Clown realized that his time was up
for cerebralizing this situation. He had instinctively turned
his head so that the blow missed solid contact, but even that
glancing blow was shockingly painful. He would have been fallen
by the blow, but he was being held ready for the next one.
Panic sent his mind into highest gear. Thinking fast, he caught
just one of Drund's fingers still clutching at his shirt,
reasoning that his whole hand was stronger than the one finger,
which he bent backwards and then Clown was in control.
He followed the continuation of his opponent's momentum, who
was out of balance from the blow that had not landed as planned,
applied leverage at the most logical point and the man would
have gone sprawling, but for Clown's grip on his finger. The
fight was over before it began, the big & tough guy was
screaming for mercy.
Clown was on his feet now, very much in balance, seemingly still,
but in his head were rolling endless possibilities for applying
leverage and momentum and striking points to deal with an opponent
to extreme effect. An entire science of physical combat was
invented in a revelation--of course some of the techniques would
require much training and physical discipline, even moral or
He looked with anger down upon this thug who had hurt him, now
totally superior, to decide how he should punish him. He could
experiment, so many possibilities; pain, crippling, death...
Then Agra was right there beside Clown, always ready for a fight.
He had always protected Clown from people picking upon the family
idiot who invariably got into trouble.
And now Clown remembered vaguely the harm he had seen Agra do to
his opponents, Agra was tough and enjoyed fighting, but could be
more brutal than necessary.
Clown decided what to do with this helplessly inferior big &
tough guy. Moral discipline must begin here, anger was destructive,
intelligence yearns to create. He let the man's
finger go and walked away.
"That's it? Just let him go?" Agra protested, "didn't you ever
learn anything from watching me fight?" Agra seemed surprised,
and in fact irritated, that Clown no longer needed his protection.
"More than you know, Agra."
However, the red headed woman was quite obviously impressed by
now, so Clown addressed her. "What's your name?"
"I'm Ryndah," she said, smiling only slightly; slightly
dangerously, slightly arrogantly, "and you?"
Clown suddenly realized that he really had no name. He didn't
want to be a "clown" to this woman, nor was he that creature
he had been, and that name no longer fit. No, wait, perhaps
he did have a name...
"Hey, Clown," Agra called, a little drunk perhaps, a little
envious for sure, "introduce me to your bea-uti-ful girl friend!"
Agra draped his arm over Clown's shoulder as well as he could,
being shorter. "Clown, clown, clown, what will Wanda--your
other girl friend--say? "
"Clown? An odd name," Ryndah said, "you look more like a...a
"Oh, he IS!" announced Agra, "A hero on a quest! Only
"Agra!" Benutio's voice was stern as he threaded through
Agra shut up with a snap. He also sobered up, quite aware that he
was about to say too much in a crowd of strangers. They were on a
secret mission. Or had been. Agra left the room.
Benutio, who had been enjoying playing music, was not so enjoying
being tempted by these friendly women; his mind was too full of
another woman. Luminata, of course. And now Agra was becoming
envious of the new Clown, which could be trouble, better control
that. And Clown: enchanted by that devilishly seductive red
haired woman, was apparently about to be seduced from his mission
to rescue what's-her-name.
Benutio looked for Devo, who was flirting with an attractive woman
in a blue dress, much older than Devo's own 16 years. Benutio
chuckled, that's my boy. When he looked back for Clown, Clown was
gone, and so was that red haired woman.
end of chapter 15
They were walking in Tundtown, holding hands. It was dark but for
torchlight every 50 paces, there were few people out in the night,
the worn old buildings were looming shapes and ominous shadows:
all a blend of scary and romantic.
They walked through the center of town, past City Hall and the
Police House. It was a town made of rough-hewn wood, primitive
compared to Tarro, but full of potential. Clown stopped for a
moment and memorized details.
"I can tell that you're a foreigner by the way that you're looking
at our town instead of me," Ryndah told him.
"I see so much here I would like to redesign."
"You're a carpenter?"
"No...but I could be an architect. I can see how to make this
town into a better place...most of these buildings are classic
examples of inefficient utilization of materials...those open
sewers really should be covered and the methane gasses used as
an energy source... in fact, there are several resources here
with which I could start an entirely new technology if
I was staying here...it could be fun." Clown sounded excited,
and he looked back at Ryndah, "And you could be fun too."
She smiled teasingly, "To redesign?"
Clown had to laugh. "No, I don't think so. You might just be
"Oh? Might be? Well most men think I AM perfect,"
she bragged with a tough little smirk. "But you have
reservations about me, maybe?"
"Reservations...well, perhaps I do, but not about you. How
could I?--I don't even know you. Just that you're extremely
"I don't know much about you either," she said, "except that
you're pretty too. And obviously intelligent, although it's not
easy to understand everything you say: what does tech-no-logee
mean, for example?"
"Oh, a science of technical processes--sorry, I tend to
make up words if those I need don't exist."
"One uses words to express ideas. New ideas, new words," Clown
She stopped and looked at Clown close-up, studying his face,
his eyes. "You know, you simply radiate potential like no
one I've ever met-- I could like you too, Clown--but there's
something about you that feels almost...Mythical to me, just
so...vast, overwhelming, magical...so come on, what are
"I'm...uh...I may not say, just now and I don't want to lie to
you. I'm just a guy falling for a girl when I'm not really
supposed to be."
"So what are you supposed to be doing?"
"That's what I may not tell, sorry."
"So who is Wand?" asked Ryndah, with maybe a little tinge
"I hardly know myself," Clown said honestly, "a girl they say I
that I... loved, when I was... a child.
"Pretty, I suppose: pretty as me?"
"Probably, but I can't really remember her face."
Ryndah, "How about her body?"
"I never knew it," Clown said quickly, suddenly embarrassed
"So let me guess: you're riding off to rescue some childhood
sweetheart--hero on quest--probably imbued with some magical
talent or talisman, as heroes usually are. In company with a
band of gypsies, of course--you know, this is classic adventure."
"You are a perceptive woman, Ryndah, I like that."
"Yes, I'll bet that you like everything about me--I fit into
this little myth too, you know--it was destined that you meet
your Temptress. Right?"
Clown was puzzled, "I haven't read any mythologies yet, but I
assume that you're referring to some...symbolic patterns that
keep showing up?"
"Never mind. Clown, do you want me to tempt you? I'm perfectly
willing, we can go to my place and...well, you can see what I
have to offer."
"Uh...well, all right."
Chapter 16: FORCE
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