The Sugar Quill
Author: Seldes Katne (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Fortunes Favor the Bold  Chapter: Chapter Four: The Three of Cups
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Part IV: The Three of Cups

A seventh-year Hufflepuff girl flagged Haviland down as he entered the library and told him that Ashanti Myers would meet him outside the entrance to the Prefect's Bathroom on the fourth floor. Though not himself a Prefect, Haviland knew perfectly well where the bathroom was; over the past three years it had become one of the few places the trio of mismatched students could meet.

Within minutes of his arrival, Ashanti appeared at the door to let him in. Her dark face was grim. "Come on. We're in here." She led him into one of the "powder rooms" on the girls' side of the bathroom suite.

Leanora Summerlee sat on a long couch, a tissue held to her face. Her red eyes and nose showed plainly that she had been crying.

"What happened?" Haviland asked, settling onto the couch next to her while Ashanti knelt on the floor.

"I -- I did the reading for Professor Snape," Leanora began, and then swallowed hard and stopped.

Haviland leaned forward and peered at her intently. "Are you all right? Did he hurt you? If he did, I'll --"

Ashanti snorted. "You'll do what, Roddy? Charge into his office and challenge him to a duel? He'll make mincemeat out of you, mate."

At the same time, Leanora shook her head. "No. He didn't hurt me. It's just -- the reading -- it was so dark! And what came out of it was just -- so personal!"

Haviland shrugged. "Well, readings are supposed to be personal, aren't they?"

"This was -- this wasn't like any of the other readings I've ever done," Leanora said. "There were things... I can't. I can't turn this in to Professor Trelawney. It would be wrong."

"But --"

"No!" Leanora insisted. She drew in a deep, rather shaky breath. "I can't. I know you don't like him, Roddy. Sometimes I don't really like him, either, but I respect him and I'm not going to put this reading on display for Professor Trelawney."

Haviland opened his mouth, but Ashanti spoke first. "Okay, Leanora. If you don't want to, it's all right. Look, we've got 'til the end of the week to finish this, right? Tell you what -- I'm going to go into the other rooms and see how many of the prefects are around. I'm pretty sure I can get a couple of them to agree to let us do some readings on them, and we'll turn those in as our assignments. Trelawney didn't say we had to read for teachers; that was our choice." Seeing the look on Haviland's face, she added, "I'm not turning in my reading from Professor McGonagall, either. I think she agreed to let me do the reading because I've been a good students and a decent Prefect, but I also think she'd really rather have refused. You know what she thinks about Divination."

"The same thing a lot of folks think about it," Haviland remarked. "Well, if it's all the same to you, I'm keeping my reading. I got two for the price of one."

Ashanti shrugged. "It's okay with me."

Leanora sighed; then her mouth tightened. "When I get back to the Ravenclaw common room, I'm going to burn this parchment." She had the paper crumpled up in her hand.

"Wait. I think we should hold onto them." Haviland looked back and forth between his two friends. "Haven't you noticed all the strange stuff that's been happening this year? Something happened at the end of the TriWizard Tournament that everyone's trying to keep secret. But we know that Cedric Diggory's dead, and Harry Potter came back injured. And we know that the guy who's been teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts wasn't really Professor Moody." He added as an aside, "Which is really too bad. I did really well in that class this year. I could have used a job reference."

Ashanti rolled her eyes. "You're all heart, Haviland."

Haviland shrugged. "I have to make comments like that every once in a while, or they won't let me stay in Slytherin House." He sobered. "Anyway, I think we should keep our copies of our readings. Aren't you curious about whether or not our future predictions will come true? I'm willing to bet five Galleons that Leanora's reading is dead on. Trelawney swears Lee has the Gift."

"Professor Snape said so, too," Leanora said in a low voice.

Haviland rolled his eyes. "Oh, yeah, like he's an expert." He saw Leanora's expression. "Look. One of the Slytherin prefects owes me a couple of favors. I can get him to let you do a reading tomorrow, okay? Just promise that you'll keep the reading you did for Snape. Just out of curiosity. In a year from now, I'd like to look over our readings and see how well we did. Agreed?"

The young women exchanged glances. Finally Leanora nodded. "All right."

"Deal," Ashanti agreed.

As they stood up, Haviland remarked thoughtfully, "You know, whatever's coming, those three teachers are probably going to be right in the thick of it. I guess we'll see if Professor Dumbledore was right about fortunes favoring the bold."

"Let's hope so," Ashanti responded, and she shepherded the other two toward the exit.



Author's note: Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Sibyll Trelawney, Cedric Diggory, Rubeus Hagrid, and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (along with its prefects and various rooms) belong to author J.K. Rowling. No money or other form of payment was received for this story. I already have a full-time job, anyway, and I write strictly for enjoyment.

Many thanks to my beta reader Zsenya who, despite my assurances that there was no deadline for this story, insisted on reading it right away because "I feel like reading something good before work". As if my ego wasn't big enough already…. <*laughs*>

In the spring of 2001, I took a four-evening course on the Tarot. After doing readings for my classmates, my mother, and a few other folks, I thought it might be interesting to do Tarot readings for some of the Harry Potter characters. If nothing else, it would be good practice.

I did not go through the decks and choose certain cards as plot devices; the readings contained in this story were actual readings done for each of the characters listed. These are the cards that really turned up. The "section headings" for parts I, II, III, and IV are cards that would describe the people for whom the reading is being done, or, in section IV, the three students discussing the readings.  The card used to stand for the Querent in a reading is sometimes called a signifier.  

The Celtic Cross, which is the spread (or layout) that I used for the readings, is probably one of the best-known spreads in the practice of Tarot. Any good Tarot book will mention it, and many give an actual diagram of the layout. A Tarot book will also describe the four suits of wands, coins (or pentacles), swords and cups. Briefly, wands stand for activities or projects, swords stand for actions, cups stand for emotions and relationships, and coins stand for money, jobs, or other things relating to the material world. Cards with these four suits belong to the Minor Arcana; the picture cards that have none (or in some cases all) of the suits belong to the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana cards are supposed to represent significant events in a person's life, while the Minor Arcana supposedly deals with day-to-day details.

I really do own each of the decks mentioned in this story; the deck described for each reading was indeed the deck I used. Roderick Haviland's deck is The Dragon Tarot; Ashanti Myers's deck is the Hanson-Roberts Tarot Deck; and Leanora Summerlee used the Tarot of the Cat People deck. For anyone interested in seeing depictions of the Tarot decks mentioned in the story (along with a number of others), you might want to try . Over 75 different decks are displayed and reviewed at this site.

At the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, great changes are taking place in the magical world. The readings in this story were done to offer a glimpse into the background of the teachers mentioned, but also an experiment in foretelling their futures as well. I'll be interested in seeing how close my readings come to the truth as laid out by Rowling in her next three books. I don't pretend to be an expert in Tarot readings, and all three readings may turn out to be completely off the mark by the time we reach the seventh and final book (or even by the time we reach chapter two of Book 5....)

I thought it was worth noting that in three of the four readings, the one common card was the King of Cups, which presumably represents Professor Dumbledore. We know that he has already given Professor Snape a "second chance", and that Professor McGonagall has referred to him as "too noble" to use certain spells against his enemies (suggesting that she respects him); the fact that his card appeared in Roderick Haviland's reading suggests that he's had an influence on Haviland as well.

Personally, my opinion of "fortune telling" more closely resembles McGonagall's than anyone else's. I don't believe that many of the people who claim to be psychic are indeed psychic, and I tell people to take all forms of fortune telling with a grain (or six) of salt. Irregardless, I do agree with Professor Dumbledore's advice to Roderick Haviland: no matter what the cards or the horoscope or the tea leaves or the astrology chart says, fortunes favor the bold -- or, if not the bold, at least the ones who keep working toward their goals.

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