Real or Fake
“Does it really work? Humans love to argue about that, but you’d know for sure, right?”
The archangel Gabriel placed the card she’d most recently drawn from the deck face-down, forming a five-card cross directly in front of her. Before she started to flip them over, she tented her fingers, bracing her chin upon her hands as she first smiled in response to Xana’s question, then spoke.
“Would you say that it worked if it called upon the knowledge of an unknown demon? The predictions of a tarot deck are accurate, yes, to the extent that the force you’ve called upon is honest.”
“Hmm, so tarot decks have ulterior motives?” Xana put a finger to the side of her lip, pensive, as she looked down at the cards arranged before them. “But you can’t even find out whose motives they are.”
“No, or not easily,” Gabriel explained, “even for my exalted self. A poltergeist might make itself better known to the spiritual sensitive, or its fellow demons, by tossing objects about. But answering a querent’s questions is a far subtler art. Thus, even true magicians can only believe in the spirit behind the cards — or not.”
Xana set her hands back down, giving Gabriel as stern a look as Xana ever did — which was to say, not particularly. “I’d be really disappointed in you if you couldn’t handle this yourself,” she remarked. “So you must be the spirit manipulating the cards right now.”
Gabriel giggled. “I will admit that even among the archangels, I’m privy to a level of insight that does allow me to ensure the cards we draw today tell an accurate fortune. Admittedly, we are not always interested in such things. Michael, for example, concerns himself with the present, not the future.”
Xana hmmed as she adjusted her sitting posture, though Gabriel noted that she had not really made it any better for her back. She peered down at the cards again, then looked back up at Gabriel.
“Hmm,” Xana said. “That’s kind of annoying. It’d be way more reliable if the cards had their own power.”
“Would it?” Gabriel wondered aloud, only about ninety percent confident in her own answer. “Once an object gains its own power, it tends to gain its own motivations, as well. We have seen many demons that were once humble scraps of paper or adorned hand mirrors. Were it myself, I think that I would trust a tarot deck with its own predictions even less.”
Xana blinked. “So you’re saying that crowdsourcing is better,” she summarized, in a way Gabriel only vaguely understood. “Anyway, even if the cards say something I don’t like I’ll just ignore them, so you should start flipping them over.”
Gabriel laughed, and reached for the first card, that which represented Xana’s current circumstances.