The Devil
Stage Fifteen

The Tower
Stage Sixteen

The Star
Stage Seventeen

The Moon
Stage Eighteen

The Sun
Stage Nineteen

Stage Twenty

The World
Stage Twenty-one
Part One
Part Two



The Lady was in his arms. When he awoke from the silken embrace he found he was hugging the pillow. He sat up and shivered. Listening to the howling wind outside and the rain beating upon his window he felt once again the attraction of the Castle and the desire to remain encased forever, safe within its walls.

But as the beams of the rising sun lit up his room, a small voice in his head grew louder and louder until the necessity of leaving thrust itself upon his consciousness. It was now or never!

He arose, skipping in the cold, to dress in his familiar costume, now freshly laundered and prepared. Once dressed he took in for the last time the details of the room, gathered his bag and crept as quietly as possible down the staircase. On reaching the doorway, a familiar voice softly spoke his name and a hand rested gently upon his shoulder.

"Your life will be forfeit, if you go," said the Lady, sadly. "The elements have combined against you. Outside there is no shelter and no friendship in adversity. I beg you to stay, if only for my sake alone."

"If I weaken now I judge you would soon tire of such a fickle man. Besides, the burden of my unfinished business grows heavier each moment I delay."

With that the Lady drew out, from beneath her gown, a silver chain from which hung a small amulet.

"If you must leave, then take this to protect yourself. This pendant was given me by my Lord for protection whenever I journey from these grounds. Upon the white horse, a symbol of love and of truth, ride the child-servants of love. This charm bears magic powers and will protect the wearer from harm, provided he travels with honest intent and a loving heart."

The charm was heavy for an object so small. On one side, engraved in the most ornate detail, was the image of a young boy and girl upon a horse. The reverse was covered completely by an impression of the radiant Sun.

"Dearest Lady," sighed the Fool, "I cannot take this gift, for it belongs with you, as intended by your Lord, to protect your household from the strange forces which surround you here."

But even as he spoke she was embracing him, and her sweet lips were speaking more persuasively then her words had done. Again enchanted, he allowed the talisman to be placed around his neck, and hidden under his clothing, it hung next to his skin, a secret sign of their unconsummated affair.

As if in a dream the embrace was broken and they walked together in silence to the reception hall to receive the blessing of the Lord.

"Good luck to you my son," the older man said sadly. "I see you leave as you arrived, and nought that I can offer would tempt you to change your mind. You will find your way back to the Tower with ease, since you will be retracing your steps by the light of this day. Once there, you will be truly alone, for the swelling tides outside this castle force us to remain within. We go with you, however, in spirit."

So saying he clasped the Fool warmly to his breast and soon the young man was once again on his way. The rain had ceased and as he walked past the lake the sun rose from behind the treetops to cast its early morning glow upon the rain-sodden ground.

The Fool passed easily through the wood which surrounded the Castle, crossing streams now swollen by the storms of the past days. The way back indeed was easier than his journey by the star's light, and he was almost glad that the road back to the Castle was rapidly closing behind him, for the possibility of faintheartedness was thereby removed.

The sun's image upon his breast gave him solace and the beauty of the day now dawned clear and bright, bringing a spring to his step. Nonetheless, as he neared the hill upon which the Tower had stood, he felt again the sombre atmosphere that marked this cursed spot.

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Copyright © 2000 by Jenny and Chris Gilders,
Tarot cards by Rider-Waite, U.S.Games, Inc.