My Ranking Points
The Zodiac RP
Co-Lab Tag List:
P.O.V. Marina Stratis
At one of the sleepovers I went to back in Leo, I remember one girl trying to get really philosophical and deep. She had asked if sleep could be human’s natural state, and our time awake was just used to collect material for our dreams. I had rolled my eyes at the time, all of us had, and if we hadn’t been ten I would have wondered if she was *****.
But I found myself thinking about it in the practice room.
There had been a tension all around the school, lately. Rose had left me for who knew what reason. One moment she was there, fainting for no reason, and then the next she was gone. I was torn between family drama (the most likely option; it could happen to anyone) and some great, epic quest. But why would she invite me? Unless she needed someone to stutter their way out of something, I was useless.
But my roommate’s absence wasn’t the only thing that felt…off. I had a feeling in my gut all the time now, something I could hardly describe. The school just felt off center. It was like when I was reading and would skim through something, and this feeling told me that I missed something, but when I went back I recognized every word on the page. It was probably nerves about performing for the teachers and the absence of most of my grade, but…
So I disappeared into music, as always. Like when mom and dad and Hunter would all fight, like when I had doubts or insecurities about myself, like when the men came for Hunter. I just sang and disappeared, hoping it would all go away.
That was why singing was like sleeping to me. Once I got back into the rhythm, I didn’t need to think. My body and mind just knew what to do. The words, the notes, when and where to move, how to look. It was like everything else was just me gaining experience, hurting and laughing and learning, so that the next time I sang, it would feel even more alright. If I could feel aright for ten or twenty minutes, why not the rest of my life?
Rose was gone, but I kept working on our show. Maybe she wouldn’t come back, and maybe the kids on the field trip now would forget all about it, but it was something to do. As much as I hated myself for it, I was growing bored with the Academy. I was just learning, singing, eating, sleeping, and waking up to do it all over again. Not that I didn’t love the professors and their advice. Not that I didn’t love Rose. Not that I didn’t love The Girl and her notes. Not that I didn’t love every single second away from home and every letter reminding me that my parents still loved me, no matter how many times the Old Hunter was mentioned.
So I found myself singing late one day, far past when most students were asleep. I worked on Rose’s songs as always, sliding almost into a trance I knew them so well. At this point I could practically doze off and come to for the last few notes. Hit those at the end and it would all be fine.
But I found something unusual was happening, this time. I let my mind slip as my body whispered the opening notes, and it felt almost like I was flying. The air was warm and buzzing, and I could hear myself in the background, like it was someone else. I could still see the practice room, but suddenly I was seated in a translucent room. A table under a silk cloth sat in front of me, and a woven mat was below me. The walls were hanging sheets, more like curtains than walls.
“Pick a card.”
I looked up, startled, from my surroundings, and gazed at the woman across from me. She had deep red hair and endless brown us, outlining a mature and whethered face. She radiated silent strength and power, but looked almost sad. Almost down to her Brown was a thin clothe, holding her head down to the dress she wore, that was the blue of a night sky.
She gave me a small smile, and gestures to the table. A stack of cards was in front of me on the table. They were face down and covered in good flecks on the back, weaving intricate designs I couldn’t make out.
“Who are you?”
“Pick a card.”
“What am I doing here?”
I could still hear my own voice soaring in the practice room. Through the room surrounding me now, I could see the sound-proof walls and music stands from my old surroundings.
“Am I really here?”
“Pick a card.”
I’d had nightmares before, but never this vivid. Grabbing the deck of cards, I hurled them all at the woman without looking at one.
They disappeared in the air, just before making contact with her. A moment later, without seeing it happen, I looked back at the table to see that they had appeared again, in the same neat stack with the same gold flecks.
“Pick a card.”
“I get it, okay!”
I reached out to the deck, and ran a finger along the stack. No particular card shocked me or just felt instinctively right, so I pulled one at random from the middle. Shifting my legs to the side and resting my weight on one arm, I glance casually at the card.
A woman in white with a crown of leaves on head head stands over a lion, with a gold sky in the background. An infinity sign overs over her head as the lion looks up at her with its tongue out, no signs of malice or violence showing on its face. The green ground beneath them rolls in hills but the lion and woman are entirely absorbed in one another.
“Inner strength.” The woman nods, accepting the results even though I haven’t shown her my card. “The lion is one’s animal-like passions and desires. See how the girl has tamed him? She whites white for naivety, yet has a strength few possess. Her left arm grips his jaw in an expression of physical strength, and her left arm soothes him to show mental strength. You could work, I suppose.”
Gaming passion and desires? That didn’t sound at all like me. All I wanted was to find something I was passionate about of desired. I didn’t have enough emotions. I just just portrayed other people’s emotions and tried to feel them myself. This was a crazy dream, if that’s what if even was. I glanced back at myself, belting out and barely looking at Rose’s sheet music.
Maybe if I cooperated she would explain, or let me out of here.
I didn’t even try to find which card ‘felt’ right this time, and just grabbed a card.
A man in battle armor stood on a chariot with a sphinx on either side, one black and one white. Castle turrets rose in the background and water flowed in a river just behind the chariot.
“Cancer’s card.” The woman smirked, this time.
“What does it mean, though?”
“The charioteer is steadfast and focused in his energy. The armor and sphinxes shield him and keep him hidden, as well as his feelings. Always moving forward, never letting others in…sound familiar?”
Who would have gotten in? Who was there in my life to let in besides a broken brother and an absent roommate and a girl I’d never met? It’s hard to push people away when no one is trying to get close to you.
“No.” I shook my head.
“Really? Because everything in this card should look familiar.”
“What do that mean? Why not the other card?”
“What does that mean? I’m a Leo.”
“No, you’re from Leo.”
“Wow, things really have gone downhill here. Don’t you get it? You’re from Cancer, but you are Leo. We are Leo, the two of us. Out of everyone here, in this school, in this world, I chose you. Please do your best, darling. Few know what time will bring, but a lot relies on you being the right decision.”
“Decision for what?”
“Hmm, maybe not as calm as I would have liked. Still not overly emotional, which is an advantage. Try to let others in, though. Like that mystery girl you’ve been talking to.”
I blushed immediately.
“See, you can open up! She’s pretty and talented, you could do worse.”
“Chosen for what?”
“I really like you, Marina Stratis.”
And then her eyes became distant. A startled expression passed over her face. “Well that’s very concerning.”
“What is? Can someone explain to me what is going on here?”
She rushed through her next words, ignoring my outburst. “There’s been a disturbance in the sea. I have to go there quickly. All I can say is I am Cancer, and you are my reincarnate. The other Zodiacs and I have our differences, and some day soon it will cause the world many problems. I have tried to stay neutral, but you will most likely need to take a side. I’m sorry I so short, and I have high hopes for you, Marina.”
The room, the table, and the woman who called herself Cancer disappeared all around me. I stopped midnote back in the practice room, my own singing echoing around me. Looking down, I could see the two tarot cards, the chariot and the lion tamer, clutched in my hand. So it wasn’t some weird dream or hallucination.
Then what was it?