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An earlier version of this article was published on Tumblr in August 2023.
In the decades after the Godsfall the survivors began building new civilizations and with those came artifacts from the before times that people adapted for the new world. One of those was the Tarot deck, essentially the well-known Rider Waite Tarot deck. In time it became known as a Fate or Moira deck and the original cards transformed as people looked at the world in new ways. Each entry in this series describes one or more cards.
We start with the Fools. Tarot had a single fool, the young man about to walk off a cliff while carrying tools and knowledge. In the days of reconstruction, the philosophical movement of Stewardism became popular as new rulers strove to legitimize new political structures. Stewardism’s three pillars of power became common symbols for the idealized leader, often represented in art as a figure with three faces and six arms. One figure traditionally holds a tome or sword, one has empty hands but wears a crown, and finally one holds a telescope.
The single Fool of the Tarot deck became three fools, each failing at one of the pillars for being effective.
The first is the Unlettered, represented by a young woman sleeping in a library. She has refused to learn. Variant Moira decks sometimes label this card the Unarmed and show someone having left their weapon behind. Whether represented as physical or mental the card always represents the failure to have the capacity to act, the knowledge or strength to commit to a course of action.
The second is the Misguided which shows a man about to take steps into nothingness, this is the reverse of the leader with the telescope and closely mirrors the original Fool of the Tarot. They do not know where to act or where to apply their power. Variant decks call this card the Misguided and show the champion Harod attacking the waves at the shore.
The third fool is the Indolent, showing a person drinking wine while the city burns behind them. Some variants show a man playing a fiddle instead. The Indolent lacks the will to act and parallels the leader bearing the crown, who has taken up a mantle.
ABOUT LETO ARMITAGE
Leto Armitage was born in America under a set of circumstances that prophesied that he would one day unite the lost tribes and return the Ever Summer. Somewhere around twelve, he realized he had been left unsupervised and binged too many Arthurian movies in his formative years and that he was just another kid who accidentally got an education while reading above his age level.
By the time he turned old enough to get a passport, he started finding excuses to travel determined to find out what culture, food and women there were to experience. After learning to grill in Oaxaca, do kinbaku in Japan, and being banned from several former Soviet block countries, he returned home to settle down and see what damage he could do locally.
After working jobs including being a short order cook, bodyguarding strippers and professionally doing reader’s advisory for erotica he realized the most reasonable path forward was to become a writer. Today he lives with cats, dogs, and humans who seem to like him despite actually knowing him. He prefers to sit on his back deck, listening to the birds and Barry the Bumblebear bee, while he writes cozy, uplit romance and raunchy erotica.