Swamped Chapter 7 Page 18

“A big risk, in a fight with the Marshguards,” you muse. “That’s the first thing that comes to mind.”

“Doesn’t really account for the Scholar, though, does it?”

“Right, hang on… so we have a risky idea for fighting the Marshguards, it goes wrong, but we learn something from the process?”

“That’s a reasonable interpretation. Except, we have the Four of Leaves. That suggests we come out of this with a stable foundation – in short, that we may take losses, but they won’t be enough to break us. A significant difference, I think you’ll agree.”

“So how’s that different in the other system you mentioned?”

“Well, first I should note that order still makes a bit of a difference here. Roughly speaking, the first card matters the least and the fourth card matters the most, but that’s more about emphasis than anything. In this case, the first card is a face card. What that means is that the whole fortune is very important, as a face card is never a small event. And yet, here it matters less than what’s to come.”

“So, the lesson we’re going to learn is maybe not worth the risk?”

“If we’d stopped at two, we could say that. Even at three, we learn that a recurring conflict is the catalyst and it doesn’t tell us anything either way. But then we have the leaf card fourth, and it tells us that we’ll still be on our feet at the end of the day. Say we switched the last two, though… then the leaf would be less significant. The overall message is the same, but what’s most significant now is the conflict itself.”

“Which would mean… that something’s already happening with the conflict?”

“That’s what the ordering implies, yes. The overall message is the same, but now we have a different cause for concern. Which brings us to the Venton system, where order is extremely important. There are also a few minor differences in interpretation of the individual cards, but of course minor differences can create entirely new meanings. Hmm, where do I start…”

“Hey, you two!” someone shouts. It’s the fellow who doesn’t like Mark Conchway for some reason. You think his name was Bernard, perhaps? “Curfew’s in ten minutes unless you’re on a night shift. You need to be getting to your rooms.”

You suddenly realize you’ve been talking longer than you thought. You ask Dean for a time when you can find him in the lounge tomorrow to continue the conversation.

“I’ve got a break just at noon,” he says. “I’ll see you then… unless there’s anything else you’d like me to clear up now?”

Well, you don’t have a lot of time, but maybe there’s something you can get a quick answer about.

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Hm,, considering what you’ve heard about Dean getting sidetracked with new topics, definitely nothing right now!!!!


Do the systems always focus on future events, or is it possible that some events have already occurred?

…you haven’t quite adjusted to your missing arm, losing it was certainly harsh but you’re not sure if there was a lesson to be learned in that…maybe we’re giving too much thought to this fortune thing.