Fortunes of Babel

Morgan Ravenfoot and her lover (at that time) had a profitable hobby, to tell fortunes for people who had no Craft of their own. Morgan Ravenfoot was not her true name; the week before, her name was Raven Wolfstar. A month before that, she was recognized by the name Tara Stardust. Her true name was not known even by her parents, for she had wished them out of existence because they wouldn't let her dance in the moonlight on the Sabbath.

The parents came back into incarnation as Morgan Ravenfoot's ravens, who could squawk all they wanted to, but they couldn't stop Morgan, or tell her what to do. They also couldn't make her stick to the same name.

As for Morgan Ravenfoot's lover, his name was handed down from Morgan Ravenfoot's list of names she'd already used and discarded. The lover's name is not important; the name (and the lover) will be different next week.

Morgan Ravenfoot and her lover had a quiet hut on the edge of the forest. On Craft Holy Days (copied and bastardized from the Druids, who kept their names through entire lifetimes) Morgan Ravenfoot and her lover would go deep into the forest until they reached a clearing, and there would chant, play music on unharmonious instruments and sing off-key, and sometimes they would dance. Eventually they would shuck their clothes and hit the hay, and they would convince themselves that the Goddess was pleased with their sacrifice.

This bohemian lifestyle afforded much joy to Morgan Ravenfoot and her lover; they could aspire to religious ecstasy without the hang-ups and oppressions of so-called moral societies. Also, it gave them a chance to wear exotic clothing made almost exclusively of lace and velvet.

Day followed night, and Morgan Ravenfoot and her lover would have to earn a living. Thus, Morgan Ravenfoot earned her daily bread, and the lover set appointments, brought drinks and cleaned the ashtrays.

They were happy.

One day, a young man came to the hut. He was not introduced by name; he was known to Morgan Ravenfoot only as "The seventh guy today to ask that question."

The-seventh-guy-today-to-ask-that-question wanted Morgan Ravenfoot to tell him what she saw in his future, and specifically, whether he would ever be rich or powerful. Morgan Ravenfoot was not surprised by that question; she had found that most people, when seeking their fortunes, usually asked about money or love. They seldom asked about their health unless they were already sick, or feeling age. In those cases, they felt that money or love would probably cure them of being sick, or old, and wanted Morgan Ravenfoot to assure them they would indeed experience wealth in one or the other, and that they would be troubled by infirmity for only a short while longer.

It was at those times that Morgan Ravenfoot used her greatest powers of intuition, to help her discern with clarity what it was the client wanted to hear. It also gave her a chance to cast through her mind for new names.

The-seventh-guy-today-to-ask-that-question was not remarkable in any way, except that he was The-seventh-guy-today-to-ask-that-question. Morgan Ravenfoot was superstitious, and very much believed in omens and patterns in numbers and symbols, especially when she was in artificially-induced states of ecstasy, or when face to face with The-seventh-guy-today-to-ask-that-question, which happened fairly often, though not as often as The-third-guy-today-to-ask-that-question.

The only psychic connection that Morgan Ravenfoot had been able to deduce between The-third-guy-today-to-ask-that-question and The-seventh-guy-today-to-ask-that-question is that when they were multiplied they equalled 21, and were therefore of age to drink legally and have consentual sex not questioned by any court or parent in the land.

Morgan Ravenfoot set to her deck of Tarot cards, and with white hands emphasized by the contrast of black lace with green trim, spread the cards in a pattern of her own design. Overshadowing the spread was the 16th card of the Tarot, known as the Tower. Morgan Ravenfoot considered this in relation to The-seventh-guy-today-to-ask-that-question, and told him that he must seek his fortune in yonder tower, where a beautiful blonde princess was living upstairs with an ugly old witch, and that he must have sex with the witch in order to be able to get the vision of his dreams.

The seventh-guy-today-to-ask-that-question asked Morgan Ravenfoot if she was SURE about that? Thus, he became known as The-fifth-guy-this-week-to-ask-me-that. Morgan Ravenfoot knew, then, her Magick was working — The-seventh-guy-today-to-ask-that-question had already transformed into a new identity.

Morgan Ravenfoot felt a sense of pride that she had initiated an Outsider into her cultural pantheon.

Thus, inspired by her sense of spiritual kinship with The-fifth-guy-this-week-to-ask-me-that, she reaffirmed her appraisal. The-fifth-guy-this-week-to-ask-me-that shook his head and sighed, but he paid Morgan Ravenfoot her fee, and took his leave to embark on the quest she had assigned him. Morgan Ravenfoot's reputation was known far and wide in that land, and some of it was based on her prophetic abilities. The-fifth-guy-this-week-to-ask-me-that believed that to sleep with a witch was a small price to pay for riches and power. Greed gave him moral strength.

A week later, The-fifth-guy-this-week-to-ask-me-that returned to Morgan Ravenfoot's hut — only now she was known as Raven Windlilly... but her reputation was still known far and wide in the land, and some of it was based on her prophetic abilities. The-fifth-guy-this-week-to-ask-me-that asked Raven Windlilly who her new lover was, and inquired the wherabouts of her previous lover, and thus became known as The-ninth-guy-this-month-to-butt-in. Raven Windlilly ignored the question, as she always did, and asked The-ninth-guy-this-month-to-butt-in how his quest had faired.

The-ninth-guy-this-month-to-butt-in told Raven Windlilly that he was very angry with her, because he'd climbed a beautiful ladder of golden hair into the top of the tower, and had barely had a chance to pinch the beautiful blonde's butt and make a date for later before the ugly old witch seized him by the britches and proceeded to thrash him in the sack. Further, The-ninth-guy-this-month-to-butt-in received no decent visions for his troubles; instead of an image of gold or other tokens of wealth, he only envisioned the witch as she was in full daylight, and The-ninth-guy-this-month-to-butt-in recoiled from the memory. He never wanted to close his eyes again, lest he be haunted by visions of the old witch as she was in the throes of ecstasy.

Raven Windlilly offered to do a second reading, complimentary, of course. She blamed the Spirits, and said that they must not have liked the incense she'd been burning at their last meeting, or, more likely, that they had not liked her last lover anymore than she did, and that the misunderstanding was surely all his fault, and then Raven Windlilly thanked the Goddess for guiding her to make the decision to throw the loser out before she lost any more business; for clearly, the ex-loser's energies were not compatible with Raven Windlilly's.

Raven Windlilly's new loser was practically interchangeable with the old loser; he wore lace and velvet, couldn't play a musical instrument, thought he was better in bed than he actually was, and he worshipped Raven Windlilly's body freely and often, and compared her to the Goddess, freely and often. He was also very good at setting appointments, bringing drinks and cleaning ashtrays.

They were happy.

Morgan Ravenfoot set to her deck of Tarot cards, and with white hands emphasized by the contrast of black lace with purple trim, spread the cards in a pattern of her own design. Again, the 16th card of the Tarot, known as the Tower, overshadowed the spread. Raven Windlilly considered this in relation to The-ninth-guy-this-month-to-butt-in, and told him that he must seek his fortune in a tower far away, a tower that was so tall it reached the heavens. At the top of the Tower, he would surely find the Lord and Lady, and The-ninth-guy-this-month-to-butt-in must ask for their Blessings, and perhaps make a small sacrifice of homemade wine and incense, and surely the power and riches he sought would materialize before he could even get back to the bottom of the tower. She also gave him a special incantation to use that would surely invite the Blessings of the Lord and Lady.

The-ninth-guy-this-month-to-butt-in considered this new quest, and asked Raven Windlilly if she was SURE, this time, and thus his name changed to You-people-are-all-alike. He paid the fee and left to begin his new quest.

You-people-are-all-alike travelled far and wide until he found the tallest tower he'd ever seen — surely it reached the heavens. You-people-are-all-alike could see clouds, but could not see the top of the tower. This must be the tower that Raven Windlilly had directed him to climb. Fortunately, there were stairs (though not very wide), and You-people-are-all-alike began his ascent, one step at a time, and in the middle of the stairway so that people could not easily pass him on their way up or down. Soon, all the people on the stairs began to recognize him as You-people-are-all-alike, and they grumbled or cursed under their breath as they squeezed sideways to get around him.

Hours — perhaps days — passed, as You-people-are-all-alike steadily trudged up the stairs, resolutely in the middle, and not thinking at all about where he'd been or where he was going, or how many people he was inconveniencing by forcing them to keep to the rails to get around him. Nay, all You-people-are-all-alike could think about was meeting the Lord and Lady, and giving them some cheap homemade wine and some sticks of incense, and how they would surely reward him with power and riches that he deserved for taking a long walk to meet them.

At last, You-people-are-all-alike reached the top of the stairs, and lo! he was humbled by a vision of the Lord and Lady. As they approached him, to take the homemade wine and incense that All-you-people-are-alike offered, he remembered the words of the sage Raven Windlilly, and he stammered the incantation she had given him:

"Merry we Meet and Merry we Part, and Merry we Meet again."

The Lord and Lady turned and looked at each other, and — as if by signal — their eyes reflected recognition, and they reached out their hands to You-people-are-all-alike, picked him up, and threw him down the stairs. They threw the homemade wine and the incense after him, and then they washed their hands.

Weeks later, You-people-are-all-alike returned to Raven Windlilly — now known as Lace Lady, because no one could remember her latest title, and asked her if she'd like to go out with him for a drink.

Thus, You-people-are-all-alike transformed yet again, and was then known as Flavor-of-the-Month, who finally found his riches and power by sleeping with the Lace Lady, who earned her bread by writing Fate for those that had no Craft of their own.

The End.

Love, Galadriel