• Published 9th Oct 2013
  • 10,817 Views, 60 Comments

Twixinkilda - Gabriel LaVedier

Sweet, sometimes turbulent, vigniettes about two couples: Twilight and Pinkie; and Trixie and Gilda.

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Trixda- Pisha Pasha

On the outskirts of the little Kleinpferd-designed town of Schwarzwald sat the cozy house of Gilda and Trixie, with its found-object obstacle and training course outside, vast collection of wind-chimes hanging from the roof eaves and rather eclectic exterior painting job. It was no longer the griffin-approved shack it had been, it had become a properly Roani structure, with all the color and accent which that implied.

Gilda was perfectly fine with that. In most segments of her life there existed a subtle or not-so-subtle resentment for the nation of her family origin, for a variety of reasons. The overbearing patriarchy, the clan dominance hierarchy (even if she was at the top), the polygyny, the contempt for those who loved members of the same gender. She might have learned to appreciate the inoffensive parts of what she was but there was lots of offensive stuff to hate.

By contrast, the Roa were born and bred Equestrian to the core, Principality stalwarts who embraced love and equality. She had been promised the moon and stars, because the Roa venerated Princess Luna slightly more than her sister, but never with an exclusive eye. They wanted her to marry Trixie, for love, when her own family would have wanted her to marry some pre-arranged jerk for status. They wanted her to be a Filly Fooler, while her own kind spat the term 'Egg Grabber' at her if they thought the Equestrians wouldn't hear.

Gilda was a high-energy creature, in the bursts required by performance, but the other side of that was the need to rest and recreate when she wasn't training or working. She had come to feel slightly guilty about that, as the Roani penchant for wandering made them a constantly-active folk that worked on themselves and their environment to make it better and more beautiful. She wasn't going to actually stop relaxing, she just resolved to feel slightly guilty about it.

As she snuggled in her large, central nest on the pile of second-hoof pillows in a riot of colors she was content and cheerful, feeling that all was right with the world. The day was warm, the house was quiet, her belly was full of fake steaks and pine cones, in all it was a treat.

The peace was shattered by Trixie crying out from the spare room down the hall, the guest room that had never held a guest. “I've already repainted this twice since the incident,” she shouted, strolling out into the main room and setting herself down by the nest. “It's starting to get foolish. I thought having a large property would reduce boredom. There's more to decorate than there is on a caravan.”

“But it's anchored in the ground,” Gilda mumbled, used to the histrionics her marefriend would occasionally toss about. “You don't have a new town to gush over every day.”

“This is very true. It falls upon you, then, to keep me entertained. As long as you don't seem to be suffering from boredom, it's your place to do the same for me,” Trixie said succinctly.

“Explain to me how that one works,” Gilda said, opening one eye, pupil focusing sharply on Trixie.

“It's very simple. If two Roa are bored they will entertain one another and thus relieve both. If two are not bored they need do nothing, they have found ways to keep the mind occupied. If one is bored and the other not it falls on the other to share the secret of their fixed interest or to entertain the other. It is only kind and maintains peace, and nothing is more important than that.”

“Not even letting your relaxed and happy hen rest?” Gilda asked, rolling over on the pillow pile and sprawling out a bit.

“Not even that,” Trixie said, with some playfulness in her voice. She carefully crawled into the nest and settled herself on Gilda's back, dipping her head down to nibble and kiss at the griffiness' feathery neck. “Now come along, entertain and indulge your sweet, beautiful mare, who lines up jobs and massages your paws, even though you fly.”

“You also massage my wings because I need it...” Gilda noted, laughing as a pillow softly hit her on the head.

“Come on, get up. We have games we can play,” Trixie said, getting off of Gilda and hopping out of the nest.

“Ugh... it's too nice a day to get into all that rolling around. Besides, I don't feel like playing the High Queen right now, no matter how good you look dressed as a Canterlot ambassador...” Gilda said, slowly rising and stretching herself out.

“Not those kinds of games, lascivious creature! Not right now, anyway,” Trixie said with a flick of her tail, which flipped her shimmering ribbon about. “I mean that we have board games, dice games, games with lots of books that were donated to the second-hoof store...”

Gilda watched as Trixie set out their collection of games, considering each one as it was set down. She noticed an oblong block of cards and pointed at them. “Hey, aren't those the cards... the tarot cards? The ones with the pictures on them?”

Trixie levitated the deck up and gave it a quick shuffle. “Ahh yes, the great legacy of the Roa. The means of prognostication! It adds wonderful color to a carnival,” she said, looking over the images on the cards.

“Why don't you try using that around town, or at our shows? Might be a few more bits,”” Gilda suggested.

Trixie bobbled the deck in her magical grip and coughed into her hoof. “Ah, yes... well... while the great and powerful Trixie is a grand mistress of magic and so many other talents... she is not... skilled with the cards.”

Gilda laughed softly and grinned at her marefriend. “Really? There's something you can't do? I've never heard you say that before. Why not just give it a go?”

“Confession of limitation is a sign of the truly superior!” Trixie insisted, sticking her snout in the air. She then looked down at the cards again and shuffled them slowly. “But... in our culture it is greatly preferred that only a trained and skilled drabani use the cards for fortunetelling. It helps to keep from diluting the power of the cards in the minds of the Gadje. I do not wish to break tradition.”

“Huh. I guess that makes sense. So... is there some kind of multiple-choice test for all this stuff when I try to join your clan?” Gilda asked.

Trixie stuck out her tongue and smiled. “You make fun of it but you wish to be one with us. In truth, the Roa Baro will judge you and see if you can demonstrate enough understanding. You will pass, because I have been your tutor and that guarantees success.”

Gilda traced a talon slowly along Trixie's chin and grinned. “With my amazing intelligence I'm sure you're right.”

Trixie blushed softly, and looked at the deck once more. “You know... there is something we can do. Have you ever played the card game Pisha Pasha?”

“'Pisha Pasha'? That sounds more like some kind of dessert or an outfit,” Gilda said, stroking at her chin.

“Oh you impudent griffin,” Trixie said with a scolding tone. “The game is highly traditional, one of the more popular games among my kind. And there are two ways to play, the normal way and the way that takes much longer. But when playing a game taking longer does not harm anything, it only allows time to pass more freely.”

“I'm guessing you want to play the long one. Sounds good. From what you say I've gotta learn this too,” Gilda said with a nod.

“The only difference is cards. The regular game uses the regular cards, but the longer version uses these,” Trixie said, indicating the tarot deck. “That is an extra challenge, as it adds what amounts to a nearly double-sized extra suit. It makes for a most interesting experience.”

“Wanna clear off one of the tables and play there, or just have a laying down game in the nest?” Gilda asked, looking at the small collection of mismatched small tables in the main room, most piled with small objects or second-hoof books.

Trixie used her magic to move the pillows around in the nest, creating a soft ring around the edge and a bare space in the center. “Let's get comfortable. The rules sound simple, but the strategy comes from knowing best how they work and remembering what you've held.”

“I'll be picking this thing up in a snap. One step closer to marriage,” Gilda said with great confidence, flopping heavily into the pillow ring.

“We'll see...” Trixie said, shuffling up the tarot deck and beginning to deal out the cards, two at first and then three at a time after. “This is your stock. The way to win is simple, just get rid of it.”

“This should be easier than I thought...” Gilda said, picking up her stock pile. She dropped it into Trixie's magical grip as Trixie swatted her talon with a hoof. “Ow! Hey!”

“Leave the pile down there. You flip it one card at a time. If you find an ace, or The Fool, you must place it between us and turn again. Otherwise you start a discard pile and it's my turn. There's more but that will start you for now.”

Gilda flipped her first card and squawked happily, setting the Ace of Swords down between herself and Trixie. “How's that? Even luck wants me to be good at this.”

“Don't get too ahead of yourself. There's four more to lay down,” Trixie noted. “After this if you find the next card up you must put it down on a center pile. And your discards must also be played on the center when it becomes possible. Violating the rules and getting caught ends your turn.”

“I'm too talented to need to cheat,” Gilda said with a puff of her feathers. She turned over The Magus, number one in the Major Arcana. “Fine, guess it's your turn.”

“There's one other thing, you can play your discard card on the other discard pile if it's one above or one below. A good way to empty your own cards and lay extra headaches on your opponent,” Trixie said, turning over the Queen of Swords.

They went back and forth, flipping cards and trading turns, noting with some romantic pleasure that the first few rounds of trading turns they both turned over the same suits. It was deep into the first stock turning when Trixie called a halt to the game.

“What? What? I was just turning a card,” Gilda said. She had laid the two of Staves down, not noticing the three was in her discard pile.

Trixie flipped over the turned card to show the error. “It's my right to make you skip your turn. Now it's buried until you turn your discard pile over and start again. That should teach you to pay attention,” she said with a wink.

Gilda huffed and turned up her beak. “I'll catch you at something. Just you wait.”

Play proceeded for a long while, both of them trading discard pile drops, and Gilda actually catching Trixie dropping a card into her discard pile rather than onto an open central pile. After a lot of concentration and silence they began to talk, as Gilda got into the flow of things.

“Now do you see the appeal of this game?” Trixie asked as she flipped a card and nodded to Gilda.

“I'll admit, it's better than the griffin games I know. They're fast, and kinda dumb. There's not much need for thinking in the Kingdom most of the time,” Gilda confessed, turning a card, laying it in the center and turning again.

“This is what you will see all the time in Roani communities, the settled ones or the caravan-riding clans. The old bibis, the phuri dajs, the daki dajs, they all like to spend days playing Pisha Pasha. Younger folks have more options and they work hard but once an age has been reached where working is done... there is this.”

Gilda took a few turns of turning and placing to mull over the information. She finally said, “This is for those old seanmháthairs I used to see sitting in around with the other hens their age, or near enough to it. This is for old folk, isn't it?”

“You figured out the secret,” Trixie said, with a small smile on her face.

“It's not a bad thing, it's kinda fun but... is the only reason we're playing this because I have to know about it?” Gilda asked with a raptorish tilt of her head.

“It's because old mares play it. The old wives who have been together for decades sit down after their day of watching over grandchildren and great-grandchildren sit down and play it for hours and hours,” Trixie replied, with a somewhat dreamy tone. “I want you to be good at it.”

Realization struck Gilda. This was a game for old folks, and Trixie was expecting them to be playing it when they were old enough to be great-grandmothers. She saw herself wizened and faded in color, her feathers drooping, her wings arthritic, her eyes rheumy. She was sitting in a rocking chair outside of the very house she was in, playing the game against a similarly shriveled and grayed Trixie, while little hippogriffs gamboled on the lawn or flapped awkwardly in the air. She turned her card, set it down in a center pile and turned another one. “Tá grá agam duit, a chroi... I mean, lachhi tjiri rat...”

“Lachhi tjiri rat, my love...” Trixie said, laying a card from her discard pile onto Gilda's discard pile with a small grin.

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