The Sugar Quill
Author: Seldes Katne (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Fortunes Favor the Bold  Chapter: Chapter One: The Hierophant and the Page of Swords
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Part I: The Hierophant and the Page of Swords

"And what can I do for you, Mr. Haviland?" Albus Dumbledore set the cup of hot cocoa on the table in the Great Hall and turned his attention to the student standing before him. Roderick Haviland was a seventh-year member of Slytherin House. At eighteen he was already sporting a thin beard and mustache. Despite the turnover of Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers at Hogwarts in the past few years, Haviland's grades in that class had remained high; common consensus among the Hogwarts staff was that Haviland would have no trouble getting himself hired on at the Ministry as a junior member of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

"Sir, Professor Trelawney assigned us the last part of our finals this morning," Haviland said. "We're working with the cards now, and she asked us to do a reading for someone. Other than our own dorm mates, of course, since we've been practicing on them for the past couple of months."

"That's right. Tarot cards come at the end of one's study of Divination, don't they?" Dumbledore smiled. "Did Professor Trelawney specifically tell you to read for staff members?"

Haviland didn't even blink. "No, Professor, she just said we should read for someone we haven't practiced on." He paused. "Leanora, Ashanti and I talked it over. We thought it would look more impressive if we could get teachers to agree to have a reading done. So Ashanti is asking Professor McGonagall, and I wanted to ask you."

"And Miss Summerlee?"

Haviland looked a little uneasy. "She's decided to tackle Professor Snape, sir."

"Figuratively speaking, one would hope," Dumbledore remarked. He leaned back in his chair, steepled the tips of his fingers together in front of his mouth, and studied Haviland thoughtfully. Haviland was part of an unusual trio; Ashanti Myers was a seventh year in Gryffindor, and Leonora Summerlee was a Ravenclaw. "Is there some particular reason that you did not chose to ask Professor Snape, Mr. Haviland? He is, after all, your Head of House."

Haviland gazed down at the floor. "Well, Leanora is one of the top Potions students in our year, even if she is in Ravenclaw." Then he looked up at Dumbledore with a mischievous look in his eye. "She's also better looking than I am, sir."

"I doubt very much that that will matter to Professor Snape."

"Yes, sir." Haviland appeared to think for a moment. "Besides, I thought it would look more impressive on my final if I could say I read for the Headmaster. You know, the most important man in the school...."

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "I can think of a number of people who might argue that opinion of my importance, but...." He waved a hand. "Ambition isn't necessarily a bad thing. Very well, Mr. Haviland, sit down."

Haviland settled himself in a chair across the table from Dumbledore. Reaching into his bag, he produced a scroll, a quill, an ink bottle, and a deck of Tarot cards, which he passed across to the Headmaster. Dumbledore thumbed through the cards without shuffling.

"An interesting deck, Mr. Haviland. Some very fanciful depictions of dragons here." He flipped the deck over so the cards faced away from him and began to shuffle.

"I found the pictures had enough visual cues so I could remember the meanings of the cards more easily," Haviland replied. "Professor Trelawney said we should chose a deck that 'spoke' to us, and this one," here he grinned, "practically shouted in my ear."

Smiling, Dumbledore finished shuffling the cards and passed the deck back across the table. Haviland laid the scroll to his right, along with the quill and ink bottle, and laid the first card in the middle of the table. "This card represents the present." The second card was laid across the first. "This represents the immediate future." The third went above the first two. "This is the goal or destination." Haviland laid the fourth card to the right of the first two. "This is the distant past." The next card went below the original card. "This represents the recent past." The next card went to the right of the original card, completing a circle around it. "This is the future."

Haviland began laying the next set of cards in a column beside the circle. "The seventh card represents the Querent, or the Questioner." He laid that card furthest away from him, and the next card went directly under it. "This is the environment in which the Querent is working." The ninth card went below the eighth. "This shows the inner emotional state." He laid the final card at the bottom of the column, closest to him. "And this is the final outcome."

Haviland reached for the quill and scroll, and began noting the cards in order:

First card (The Present): Ace of Wands

Second card (Immediate Future): Page of Swords

Third card (Goal/Destination): Seven of Cups (reversed)

Fourth card (Distant Past): The Fool

At that point he looked up at Dumbledore and smiled apologetically. "Sorry about that, sir."

Dumbledore nodded and smiled back. "Not at all, Mr. Haviland. I find a little foolishness can be quite instructive. Besides, I will freely admit to having once been young and foolish, as difficult as I'm sure you find that to believe."

"Yes, sir," Haviland said diplomatically, and continued writing:

Fifth card (Recent Past): Six of Wands

Sixth card (The Future): Five of Wands

Seventh card (Querent): The Star (reversed)

Eighth card (Environment): Judgment (reversed)

Ninth card (Inner Emotion): Queen of Coins

Tenth card (Final Outcome): Two of Swords

Both of them studied the cards for a few minutes as Haviland's quill scratched on the parchment. "Very well, Mr. Haviland," Dumbledore said finally. "What sort of future am I facing?"

Haviland moved his ink bottle out of harm's way and looked over the reading. "Well, the Ace of Wands suggests that you've just started a new project or initiative. The Page of Swords, in the position of the immediate future, could stand for someone, possibly a young man, who is able to separate truth from falsehood and who will be helping you soon.

"The Seven of Cups usually means fantasy or wishful thinking, but since it's reversed, in this case it probably means that the goal or outcome of this project is to get priorities in order or to clear away confusion.

"The Fool suggests that in the distant past you started something, a journey or a project of some sort, possibly related to the new initiative mentioned in the first card of the reading. The Six of Wands, in the near past, means that something has been successfully finished or achieved.

"The Five of Wands suggests that the future will bring a challenge that can be met and overcome if you hold fast to your convictions. The Star, which represents the Questioner, is reversed, could mean that you're existing in a false sense of security, or maybe that you're experiencing the calm before the storm.

"The Judgment card, also reversed, means that an injustice has been or is being done. It may be that you're being treated unfairly, or that someone around you is biased and that bias is having an effect on you.

"The Queen of Coins." Here Haviland paused thoughtfully. "Well, it's in the position of Inner Emotions. Usually it would stand for a woman who wants to get ahead in business or who has a good mind for business, but that doesn't seem right in this case. I'm going to suggests that it stands for a woman close to you who is supportive.

"The Two of Swords, which indicates the final outcome of the reading, suggests a balance. It may mean that you will have to balance two opposite forces or possibilities to achieve your aim, or that a balance will be the best you'll be able to achieve in the end."

Dumbledore was nodding. "A most insightful reading, Mr. Haviland. I trust you haven't been listening outside my office door?"

"No, sir," Haviland replied. "I just call them as I see them." He indicated the reading. "It's right there." He finished scribbling his notes, then gathered up the cards.

"Yes, indeed. Very interesting." Dumbledore peered thoughtfully at the young man across the table. "Do you have everything you need for your assignment, Mr. Haviland?"

"Yes, Professor." Haviland reached for the silk wrapping in which he kept his cards.

"Good." Dumbledore settled back into his chair. "Now it's my turn. Shuffle the cards yourself, and then pass me the deck."

A startled looked flitted across Haviland's face. "Sir?"

"You heard me, Roderick. I want to do a reading for you. Turnabout is fair play, after all. Now, shuffle."

For a moment, Haviland sat there, blinking in surprise, but he quickly recovered. "Well, maybe I can get extra credit for this," he suggesting, with a hint of mischief in his grin. Then he shuffled and cut the deck several times, and passed the cards to Dumbledore.

Following the same layout that Haviland had used before, Dumbledore began flipping the cards upright with quick, skilled fingers.

Present: Knight of Wands

Immediate Future: Queen of Cups

Goal/Destination: King of Wands

Distant Past: Eight of Wands

Recent Past: Three of Wands

Future: Seven of Cups (reversed)

Querent/Questioner: Queen of Wands

Environment: The Fool

At this point, Dumbledore looked up at Haviland and smiled, eyes laughing as well. "Well, there's our friend the Fool again."

Haviland tilted his head to look at the card's position. "That's in the area of environment, right? Looks like a Ministry job for sure.

Dumbledore shook his head. "If you do indeed end up there, Mr. Haviland, I suggest you refrain from making jokes of that nature."

"Yes, sir."

Dumbledore continued turning cards:

 

Inner Emotions: King of Cups

Final Outcome: Ten of Swords (reversed)

"Well, that's quite the set," the Headmaster remarked dryly. "But not terribly surprising.... The Knight of Wands could well stand for male energy, which you seem to have in abundance. It's usually represents someone who is no longer a youth, and you're certainly moving in that direction. He can also symbolize change or movement, and since you'll presumably be leaving Hogwarts in a two short weeks, I'd say that one's a true representative of your present state.

"The Queen of Cups represents an older woman, in an emotional relationship with the Querent...." He eyed Haviland thoughtfully. "On good terms with your mother?"

Haviland's mouth twisted. "At the moment, although that could change any second now." His mother, who was in business for herself, was known for being a strict and sometimes opinionated woman.

Dumbledore nodded, amused. "This suggests that she'll have an impact on your immediate future."

"Since I'll be moving back home at the end of school for a while, I don't doubt that." Haviland's voice was dry.

"The King of Wands represents a man in a leadership role, possibly your father or another male advisor. However, since this card is in the position of the reading's goal or destination, it could represent you at a later date.

"The Eight of Wands stands for a rapid change, and that card is in the position of the distant past." He glanced up at Haviland, who shrugged.

"Maybe it means I've had too short a time to get prepared to leave Hogwarts?"

"Possibly." Dumbledore looked down at the cards. "Three of Wands... standing perhaps for the ability to lead by example, which would describe you, of course.... although it could also mean that you need to watch carefully for an opportunity which you are actually equipped to handle.

"The Seven of Cups, here reversed, suggests that you need to get priorities in order, and avoid acting on a fantasy vision of what's coming." He glanced up again. "The future may not be what you envision, or, having achieved your ends, you may find that having isn't the same as wanting.

"The Queen of Wands, a woman in an authority position...."

"My boss is going to be a woman, maybe?"

"Perhaps, although I would suggest this merely means you're seeking an authority position, since the card's gender doesn't describe you. Or it may stand for your mother."

Haviland rolled his eyes. "Tell me I'm not going into business with her."

"I suppose that's a possibility. Or she may have some influence in getting you a job." Dumbledore smiled. "Now. The next card, the Fool, suggests a new beginning or a life's choice at hand. Probably underscoring the fact that you're about to embark on a new journey as an adult.

"The King of Cups, an emotionally mature man or a father figure. Hm. This could suggest what you're striving for, or possibly someone who has influenced the young man you are becoming.

"And the Ten of Swords, reversed, suggests influence and control." He smiled. "I suspect that would be considered a most auspicious final outcome card for a Slytherin House graduate."

Haviland was scribbling the cards' positions and meanings further down his sheet of parchment. "Ambition isn't necessarily a bad thing," he remarked, echoing Dumbledore's earlier comment.

"As long as you don't get carried away by it," Dumbledore warned. He leaned back in his chair. "Let me give you one personal interpretation, which I doubt very much you'll ever hear from Professor Trelawney. Irregardless of what cards you draw or what influences are at work, one thing I've noticed is that fortune favors the bold." Dumbledore made a quick gesture with his hand; the cards in the reading, along with the rest of the deck, suddenly swirled into the air and settled themselves into his hand, already reshuffled. He rapped the cards smartly on the table and handed the deck to Haviland. "Thank you for the practice, Mr. Haviland. And the best of luck to you."

"Thank you, sir."

 

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