A Moribund Hero
"I'm a Tarot Reader. A messenger sister for the Ancient Order of Gaia. We give love and protection to all who embrace Our Mother. As good children, we must respect and uphold her will." The Tarot Reader stated to Leon, who nodded, accepting her words as truth.
"Now, to the cards and your way forward."
Her gray eyes lingered on a card's image of a young boy dressed in adventure gear. He stood on a cliff, looking out to blue skies over uncharted rolling fields and mountains beyond. She explained that the card represented the start of his purpose for Gaia. The outlook was bright, but he would face many trials and intentions to diverge him from his promise.
"If you hold true to your purpose, you shall succeed."
Leon felt uplifted as she said these words, but his heart felt troubled by the next.
Her voice held foreboding when she stated that the world was changing around him. What was set in motion he couldn't change, but there could be chances for him to alter the flow of events to shape a new future.
"Little actions make big outcomes. You will be wise to remember this."
She paused her reading and stared into his eyes. "You have questions?"
He frowned. "I don't understand. If all is set in motion, how can changing the flow make much difference to the future."
An example of cause and effect was explained to him. A stone stops a trickle of water from flowing into a stream, but if the stone was removed, the water would flow. Should the stone be placed further down the flow, the water would congest into a pool until it floods its surroundings. The one stone had the power to change the water's momentum. The water's purpose and its path were fixed, but the stone's placement wasn't, so it could move anywhere along the water path to aid its movements or stop it.
Leon's frown deepened. "But that would mean choice was involved."
"Correct. You do have choices, Leon." The Tarot Reader nodded.
He stared at the Tower card's depiction of a crumbling tower with lightning bolts splitting its crown and children falling from the top. A dark river was beneath it. On the riverbank were mangled pieces of technology, slipping into the waters.
His eyes moved to the card for The Lovers. Two naked people; a man and woman beneath rays of a glorious sun like it was embracing them. Everywhere surrounding them was nature and the skies of the heavens. There were no machines or anything to depict man-made technology. Rather, flora, fauna, and rock were the people's world. The card's image was peaceful, yet it felt incomplete.
"This is your choice."
Leon stared into the Tarot Reader's wise eyes, but she didn't explain further, rather gathered the cards to pack them away.
"Continue to walk with Our Mother's grace and guidance, my child." She rose and motherly stroked his cheek; turned, walked away from the desk and was gone.
He stood alone with the girl.
"Happy to finally meet you, I am." She gathered Leon's hands and cupped them with welcome.
"So, you believe in Our Mother, Gaia, too?" He politely asked.
"Saved, I was, from dark-hand's cruel fate. A black knight. A thief. A stealer of dreams. Those things I was and more. But my heart failed like yours. I could not be those things, no more." She smiled heartily. "Glad I am. For I could not be Rabbit, the girl, in the land of the free if otherwise."
"The woman just now?"
"Our Mother's sister. Amulet is proof of the Ancient Order of Gaia. We carry the proof against our hearts and uphold her will." She fumbled through her cloak to reveal a similar amulet from beneath her gray t-shirt collar. Her amulet was silver to match her chain.
He was able to identify more of who she was. Beneath her white cloak, she wore a plain gray t-shirt and khaki shorts with the same fishnet stockings that Lucy wore. Knee-high tanned buckle boots covered her slender legs. Against her hip were sheathed daggers, and to her waist, a belt holding small pouches sheathed lockpicks and tiny filled test tubes in a vial holder. Her long ash-blond hair was held in twin ponytails, which could almost pass for rabbit ears. A wisp of fringe balanced her smooth forehead and shapely eyebrows.
He felt at ease by the gentle expression from her cute, round, red eyes subdued with soft pink and brown eyeshadow. Her features were adorable to behold, gentle and soft of smooth white skin with lush pink lips.
An unsuspecting person would consider her harmless and someone to protect. Indeed, he felt that way, especially now that he knew she was a sister in the fold.
"Special, you are, Leon. I, Rabbit, will protect you, brother." She hugged his arm as a doting little sister would.
Leon felt strange. He hadn't felt this sibling affection for a long time. The last time was when he was eight years old. ACE2 would hug his arm that way. It stopped when they turned nine, and his brother decided to be the older and stronger of them.
The strange feeling was a good one. He tenderly patted her head and smiled when she appeared to want more pats.
Running footsteps came up behind him. He turned and saw Lucy and Wolf approaching them.
"By Eleutheria! I'm gonna electrify your brains until they're soup for dinner!" She bellowed with outrage at the sight of him.
Her outrage eased into pleasant surprise when she saw Rabbit clinging to his arm.
"Rabbit!" Lucy rushed for her and pushed Leon aside to pull the girl into a chesty hug.
Rabbit accepted her hug with apologies. "Sorry, sister. Back I am. Kind Leon finds me."
Lucy eyed them both suspiciously, but she dropped her expression. Being cranky and suspicious was giving her a headache. Not to mention that she was starving.
"We can't go back to base on an empty stomach."
Wolf bellowed with frustration. These kids were too troublesome for his liking at times.
"Fine. Could down a keg of ale right now."