Chapter VII. The Seven of Pentacles
The Page of Pentacles provided the mystic and her assistant with a state of the art laboratory, though it quickly became obvious that the animation of scarecrows relied primarily on magical arts. Still the mystic seemed to appreciate the privacy that the laboratory, located deep within the Tower of Pentacles, afforded her. The mystic was known to take leave of the laboratory sporadically, leaving her assistant behind to diligently draft reports of their work on the super scarecrow. While the royal family of Pentacles has to this day never disclosed the purpose of the mystic’s absence in these early trials, reliable yet anonymous divulgences indicate that she returned from this unknown place with the gourds that would be used in scarecrow animation as well as a pumpkin juice that, when applied to the sticks and straw of an inanimate scarecrow, imbued it with life.
The incredible results yielded to the mystic instilled faith in the King and Queen of Pentacles who, until that point, had allowed the Page of Pentacles to employ the mystic as a learning experience. However, as the new Knight of Pentacles neared completion, the King of Pentacles decided upon a risky proposal of his own that ultimately won the war against the Kingdom of Swords.
While the mystic’s work with scarecrows introduced the King of Pentacles to her talents, he recognized that a scarecrow, no matter how agile and intelligent, would not win the war. However, he was made aware through his observant wife, the Queen of Pentacles, that the mystic and her assistant had been using the lab in their free time to explore work that merged genetics and magic. The royal family of Pentacles could only speculate as to the intended outcome of such curiosity, but it almost immediately gave the King of Pentacles an idea that, due to its ethically sensitive nature, he kept from the innocent Page of Pentacles.
The story goes that the King of Pentacles presented the secret offer to the mystic as her assistant was busy lowering the golden mask and red helmet of the Knight of Pentacles onto his newly stirring body. The King of Pentacles disclosed that he was aware of the apparent leaps and bounds achieved in genetic experimentation through the mystic’s magical arts and her assistant’s scientific mastery. Knowing this, he proposed that the mystic manufacture a clone army in the hopes that the Kingdom of Pentacles could crush the Kingdom of Swords. In return, the royal family of Pentacles guaranteed a lifetime of wealth for the mystic.
It can only be speculated that the mystic felt conflicted by the offer. Though she had the knowledge and skill to create the clone army that House Pentacles so strongly desired, it would come at the cost of betraying her previous brief benefactors to a potentially mortal degree. Whether this left the mystic in a moral quandary or not will forever be questioned but never confirmed. However, not a full day passed before the mystic agreed to the terms. Before the Knight of Pentacles had even taken his first nimble step, the mystic was hard at work on the first stage of an army of clones.
The Seven of Pentacles finds our dear mystic in yet another situation filled with opportunity although this one may come tied to a difficult decision. We find the King of Pentacles having a clandestine discussion with the mystic, emphasized by his hand being used to cover his mouth. He is proposing that the mystic use her magical prowess and research to create an army of clones to sway the ongoing war against the Kingdom of Swords in the favor of the Kingdom of Pentacles. The King of Pentacles is a rather amiable character, smiling confidently as he puts forth the proposal that will undoubtedly lead his kingdom to victory.
The Price of Ambition
While the King of Pentacles may have no qualms in dealing a fatal blow to his rivals in House Swords, the mystic has no such luxury and instead is burdened with a choice weighed down by feelings of treachery. While the royal family of Swords dismissed her following the failure of Scarecrow Agriculture, they also offered her opportunities that propelled her forward in her research and allowed for her advancement, even if their contributions were temporary. The mystic still understands the power of gratitude for those moments early on in her relationship with House Swords as well as her business relationship with the people who inhabited the village near September Hollow. Beyond this, the mystic has also seen the humanity in the people of the village. Therefore, there is an obvious moral quandary to the opportunity that the King of Pentacles is offering the mystic. The Seven of Pentacles often comes with a choice and it’s not always an easy one. It may call for a sacrifice or a compromise of morality, but it is completely up to you which path you ultimately follow. We can see the ponderous and possibly anxious look on the mystic’s face. All of the wealth she’d need to see her passion projects through to the end is in a pentacle-emblazoned bag inches away.
The Seven of Pentacles Beyond Morality
Ultimately, she will accept the King of Pentacles’ offer and begin the manufacturing of a clone army, despite her moral and ethical misgivings. Though we can acknowledge the moral compromise in her situation, the mystic’s decision to pursue her life goals at the cost of betraying her former employer is neither right nor wrong but simply the trajectory of her life. We are instead observing the moral aspects of the mystic’s decision from a place beyond right and wrong; as disassociated voyeurs.
Boldly Stepping Forward Onto Uncertain Ground
Beyond the moral challenge the proposal presents, a challenge of skill also looms over the mystic. Her foray into genetics is relatively new, relying heavily on information that her assistant knows better than her. In the back of the mystic's mind, she is accepting the proposal with a lack of certainty that she actually has the knowledge and skill to complete the task at hand.
The mystic could rest on her laurels with a secure standing in House Pentacles for her successes with Scarecrow Agriculture and the Knight of Pentacles, or she could risk failure for the chance to see her combination of magic and science to its ultimate conclusion.