Nine of Cups: Happiness

I have written a few hundred words of Destiny over the weekend. It’s not a brilliant start, but it’s something, and I’m proud of it.

I wanted to give myself a chance to try something else. A little diversion that could become a regular way of practicing without necessarily adding to a long-term project.

I have a deck of Tarot cards (the Thoth deck) and I enjoy the imagery of the cards and the meanings behind them. Tonight, I decided to pull one and use it as a writing prompt. I drew the Nine of Cups: Happiness. I went with this line of the meaning: Happiness almost perfect but perhaps temporary.

nine of cups

Here’s what I came up with:

Vera raised the champagne flute to her lips and sipped delicately as the crowd burst into applause all around her, then raised their own flutes in a toast of her victory. She lowered the glass and took her seat next to Edmund, patting his knee. He replied with a warm smile and leaned to whisper in her ear, “They all love you, you know.”

She brushed her lips over his cheek and whispered back, “Only so long as the drinks keep flowing. I should go check–”

Edmund clapped a hand to her back, swiftly but gently. “Dear, you have done enough work. Sit back and enjoy your celebration, please. You deserve it.”

Vera frowned, but acknowledged his point. “Shall we dance, love?”

He rose and took her hands in his. “Anything you like, dear. It’s your night.”

They spun and whirled about the dance floor, exchanging pleasantries with couples as they passed. They swayed to the strings, letting the melodies carry them across the checkered marble.

“What next?” he asked her as they shuffled their feet to a more jaunty tune. “What new conquests lie in store for you?”

“Oh, Edmund,” she said, “do you honestly think I’m already plotting my next move?”

He took her hand and they spun around one another. “Not at all. You’re always three moves ahead, my love.”

She smiled beatifically at him as they turned, back-to-back, performing mirrored movements out of sight of one another. When they turned to face one another again, she gave him a quick peck, barely breaking the rhythm of the dance.

“Wait and see,” she said, “and you’ll be as surprised as everyone else.”

“No one will be surprised if you take another enemy down.”

“An alliance, then,” she replied blithely, “or a resignation.”

Edmund laughed heartily. “You would never,” he declared.

“Sometimes I dream up radical moves and imagine the look on everyone’s faces,” she whispered, leaning close before rushing away again. Then, the players reached the end of their song, the last notes echoing through the hall before dissipating into the corners.

“Worry not,” she said as Edmund took her arm and led her back to their table. “I would not do anything to shock you too terribly. Surprises are meant to be fun, for you at least. My opponents less so.”

They gazed out over the crowd as the next song began, amusing one another with anecdotes and stories, Edmund always rewarded with the clear sound of her bright laughter, Vera by his light touches on her hand or shoulder or knee. They took to the floor a few times more, retiring after several pieces to sip more champagne and nibble at delicacies. The drink flowed on, the trays passed by, and the floor was a sea of smiles.

Until the stranger appeared.

The doors at the other end of the hall opened as the strings died down. A tall man, immaculate in a tuxedo and leaning on an ebon cane, limped into the hall. His pale eyes were fierce, his jaw held at a proud angle, as he made his slow way through the crowd, the partygoers shuffling to make way for him.

“Vera,” he called as he approached the table, “we must talk. Alone.”

Edmund squeezed her hand as the color drained from her face.

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5 thoughts on “Nine of Cups: Happiness

  1. Exciting to see someone else using tarot in their writing craft! As a tarot practitioner, the symbology often influences my work on a subconscious level. Earlier this year, I filled an entire beat-sheet for a novel using tarot spreads (a card for each scene/section), which was extremely fun to do, but also a bit overwhelming.

    I feel as if the excerpt you wrote symbolizes the nine of cups very well. Nine of cups can portray an essence of completion on an emotional level (thus happiness arising out from satisfaction of feeling completed, which is a temporary emotion).

    Thoth deck is nice, I use a goddess deck currently. It serves me well.

    • Tarot kind of dominated my weekend. I copied meanings into a personal notebook, reflecting on which cards’ meanings fit with recent events in my life as I went.

      I imagine assigning a card to each scene would be a lot of work! It would be less trouble to tie cards to characters, or perhaps use them to establish a backstory.

      • Tarot can be astonishingly layered sometimes with meaning, especially when it draws from the subconscious.

        Oh yes, I agree, a card for each character or backstory would be much simpler. It was fun to see the progression of the story from the spread though and figuring out how the cards would tie in to one another in the way that they presented themselves.

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