Friday, September 30, 2011

SFFSat: a glance at the life of an Aradian Priestess

(Crossposted here.)

In this chapter, High Priestess Sarai has just given her younger brother Jules a reading from the Deck of Aradia -- the Aradian Order's main divination tool. She is discussing the results of the reading, which trouble her deeply, with her spouse Kara.

The cards were hardly ever wrong. But my interpretation could be, her mental voice reminded her. Somehow, her heart doubted it. 

“The cards speak true — darkness has taken the Sceptre — but more so that Jules is central to Kore banishing Her dark twin again.

“And though it sounds as if I am giving myself airs, I believe strongly that Zameera herself is speaking through these cards.” At Kara’s sharp intake of breath, Sarai stopped.

“Underworld’s Queen in the fifth card position means only one thing, Sarai. That’s not giving yourself airs.” Kara’s face was earnest — as a Fire Priestess, her specialty was prophecy. Sarai could always count on her husband to give an honest critique of her readings.

Small note: in Athering, male spouses are called wives, and female spouses are called husbands. So Sarai and Kara are both husbands. And Zameera is the dead Queen, mother to both Yarrow and Zardria.

Remember to check out the other awesome writers participating here, and thanks for reading!


  1. I'm a little bit confused by this as to who is who (and what). Sarai and Kara are both female and married to each other? Have I got that right?
    Overall the snippet is very ominous. I take it this is a similar method to tarot card readings, something I'm more familiar with. A very intriguing world! :)

  2. I *think* I'm right in saying that Sarai and Kara are married to one another. :-)

    I like the foreshadowing that this snippet gives about what may happen later in the story. Interesting piece!

  3. I assume the marriage arrangements are touched on earlier in the story? Otherwise "spouse" might make it easier to follow.

  4. Pippa -- yes! I switched things around with the wording of husband and wife, because the original meaning of the word husband is to control, to be in charge of the household -- and this is a matriarchal society. So I experimented with calling men wives and women husbands.

    There will be a glossary in the book, at the beginning, because there are a few other things that are way different.

    The deck they use I developed myself, based on my own familiarity with Tarot. It's a smaller deck (only 30 cards), but it does have a major and minor arcana (though that's not what they're called). There are three suits -- Heavens, Earth, and Underworld, with 7 cards each, each a symbol important in the cultural mythos of Athering, and 9 Signifiers, which are all Goddesses.

    The interpretation of the card varies depending on the position it's in in the reading.

    Anyway. I'm glad you're intrigued, even if it's a little confusing. ^_^ It's hard to keep things straightforward in snippets like these, because I've made so many changes in this world.

    Gayle -- thank you. :) Yay foreshadowing! I love foreshadowing. I use it a lot. Sometimes unintentionally. ^_^

  5. Sue Ann -- yep. I touch on it in the chapter directly beforehand, and two chapters later (these are early chapters in the book), and I have an explanation in the glossary.

  6. There are three suits -- Heavens, Earth, and Underworld, with 7 cards each, each a symbol important in the cultural mythos of Athering, and 9 Signifiers, which are all Goddesses.

    Small correction, as I was looking at my older notes by accident -- the Signifiers are called The Pantheon, and the three suits are called The Realms.

  7. What an interesting world you are building here :)