My eyes were drawn to the cards in her hands, as she shuffled them purposefully, but elegantly. Hers were hands to admire- long, dainty and white, nails that gleamed under a dark layer of pain- more talons than nail they were so long. She tossed her head, her long dark hair shimmering in the light cast by the pale candles.
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The two others looked the same, nearly, apart from a few telltale features I could never quite pinpoint. They lounged on low couches around a small table, the entire room was done in dark woods and dark red velvets- it reminded me of blood and shadow.
"Please," one of the others yawned, and I remember thinking how false the gesture seemed. "Hurry and deal them. Must it always take so long?" the first regarded her coldly, but said nothing. The third replied, instead.
"The waiting always takes much longer than the doing, sister." The second frowned irratably, and smoothed the large piece of cloth over the table. It was triangular, i suppose because there were three of them. I never had much opportunity to observe them, or any others of their kind at work, so I really could not say. There were markings on it- patterns, words, symbols- I remember straining to glimpse them, and failing, my post being too far away, in the shadows by the door.
I often wondered why they did not send me away during their secret meetings- but after all, i was only a lowly page, and they...well. It was only my job the make sure that no one came in the door- that they were disturbed. I had quickly learnt how dangerous it was to move or make a sound while they were busy, and now i stood stock still.
"They are ready." the third sister said abruptly- how she knew this or what she spoke of I am not sure- the cards? I assume so, because as soon as she said so, the first sister with the slim hands began to lay them out.
When the pack was gone, they each picked up their own pile and sorted through them, the second with the lazy, almost nonchalant gestures she used, the others with almost no hint at what they were thinking.
"You first." The second withdrew a card from her hand, and lay it face up on the cloth. The cards always fell in similar places. The first frowned, obviously thinking, but the other two gave nothing away. The third lay her card, and then the first, and around it went, as sometimes they withdrew cards and other times they placed them. I knew not the game they played.
"Sister," the second inquired. "You have not yet told us how it will be done..." she was ever a curious soul- if, indeed, they had what could be termed a soul.
"A simple spell." the third seemed surprised and vaguely annoyed by the question.
"But how will it come to be? The King has many guards around his chambers, walls around his castle." she smiled.
"Ah." she smiled, and lay her next card down, removing two others. "Sisters, have our studies taught you nothing? There are ways one may conceal themself."
"We have not yet perfected that art!" the first, placed her card upon the board.
"But the three of us can conceal the one."
"The one?" the second spluttered. "One of us go alone? Who?"
"Me, of course." the third's smile was a tad triumphant.
"And it is not always so easy..."
"Tonight is a black moon. it will be no trouble. you know this."
"They say the King has spells to protect him from those such us ourselves. How do you plan to..." she stopped as she placed her card down- in fact, they all fell silent, staring at it.
"And how will you..." she stopped again as the next card was placed.
"Why do you think i chose this night to look at the cards? See? It all becomes clear. The How, the When..." she placed her last card down, and the second sister gave a little shreik, as the first sister stared wide eyed at the third. "And the deed."
"So it all becomes apparent!" they studied the cards with delight.
"And so will he die by my hand," the last sister crowed, then scooped the cards off the cloth.
"Do it again! See what else it will tell us!"
"No." the third sister disagreed. "It is enough. Any more would be daring too much."
"Too much? Do we care? Tonight he dies!" They all froze as the sister dropped a card. It tumbled down and down, seemingly in slowmotion through the air, and landed face up in the center of the triangle. The sisters froze. I strained harder than ever to see what it was. They were all silent.
"There you have it." the third sister said so softly i could barely hear her. "Either he will die... or we will..."