The pipes droned in the tavern, mercifully far from the cloistered, darkened booth in the back. A single candle illuminated the two figures hunched across the table. Sparlane drew a card from the Oracle deck with a practiced flourish, and her client, some bearded, wealthy seafaring trader, gave a gasp as the card's face turned up to reveal the Tower. "The cards tell only what may come to pass," she purred, and leaned over the table to bring her slight face closer to his. "Do as you will, armed with the sense of the possible." She pointed to the cards. "Here- the three of cups. Here- the seven of wands. You are truly the captain of your destiny. Give, and fate will reward you in the manner most suitable." The trader's face softened into a look of contemplation, and then cupidity.
Later, counting the coins out of the purse the captain had left behind absentmindedly on the table, Sparlane chuckled to herself at her little joke. But the burgeoning laugh caught in her throat as, for whatever reason, the letter she had received rose in her memory. What could the summons mean? There had been whispers for months of things to come- whispers that had drawn her here, to Haven among men, chasing in vain after...she wasn't sure what.
Any talk of it at home amongst the Qualinesti of her upbringing was frowned down. Her uncle, departed from Qualinesti some years before- had he heard something of these rumors? He had been vitually chased out from the weight of the elders disapproval of his ways, but his were the stories that had sparked Sparlane's curiosity.
And why was she chosen? Surely she had not made so great a name in Haven yet. She had swindled and cozened- from those who could afford it, to be sure- but after all, she was only just learning the ways of the younger races, their urgency in all their doings, fading so quickly from the world.
The noise of the tavern dwindled, and she knew that men must sleep. She bided her time on the balcony of the room she had arranged for herself, a cool summer night's breeze wafting across her face, her thoughts turning over the letter and its words again and again. Her mind turned to the approach, and she heard her father's stern voice through the decades, cautioning her a hundred times over against naked dealings with any but the Qualinesti. Vito, she mused. He would aid her travels to Solace, and perhaps he would help her sniff things out. He had served her well so far- or had she served him? She was never sure. And as Sparlane's thoughts steered themselves toward her meditative trance, she resolved to book passage for Solace the next day. She would blend in well amongst the Von Hofrenhauer Trade Caravan, merely another colorful figure in a crowd. What would she give, she wondered, and how would fate reward her?