Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 2008

by Fernando Magnifico

Buongiorno my dearest friends! The Lady Asterisk is indisposed this month, she has been bitten by the butterfly. But do not worry, for it is I, Fernando, and I shall shoulder the burden of being your astrologer this month.

This month, Fernando will use the horoscopes to answer some of the many questions sent to him by his readers. But first, Fernando is very exciting to announce that he can surf the clacks, for he has the C-mail address now and will be happy to receive letters and questions from his fans who are too far away to visit Fernando personally. Fernando promises to reply to everybody, no matter how much time it takes, for Fernando is a willing martyr to his devoted public. You can c-mail Fernando on Magnifico@Astrochelonian.AM now!

Fernando also knows that he is very popular across many dimensions, and he is owed a favour or three by some of the student wizards at the High Energy Magic Department. For this reason, Fernando has arranged for Hex to forward the Roundworld e-mails to him. For Fernando's readers in Roundworld, you can send the messages to <magnifico at pearwood dot info> and, if the interdimensional portals stay open long enough, Fernando will be happy to reply. But please, do not send Fernando any offers to make his manly parts any bigger, for Fernando is magnificent just as he is now. Ciao bella!

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Fernando's first letter is signed "Willikins".

    "Dear Mr Magnifico,

    "I enjoy reading your monthly horoscopes and wanted to thank you. I also wish to take this opportunity to ask you about the predictions of the stars for this month. I am a 'Hogger', as they say. What do the stars hold for me?"

Fernando is very excited by this letter, for Fernando loves a challenge. And what a challenge! The letter says nothing about the writer, which makes casting the horoscopes molto difficile for Fernando. But never fear, for Fernando is very good at what he does, and he will rise to the occasion no matter whether Willikins is perhaps the fashionable gentleman of fine distinction, or one of the very exciting young avant-garde (if you excuse my Quirmian, grazie) ladies of the art district who use only the one name and maybe enjoys painting the fig leafs. The letter says little, but Fernando's imagination is very wild. So Fernando has consulted with the stars, and the stars make Fernando's imagination even more wild. The stars say that Willikins will be in contact with fine wines and good food, and that he or she will often wield a sharp blade. The stars even suggest that there will be dragons. Fernando is intrigued.

The Half-Eaten Sandwich 21 Apr - 21 May

This letter is from the notable dwarf grag, Bashfull Bashfullsson, who writes:

    "To Mr Fernando Magnifico,

    "As we approach the second decade of the Century of the Anchovy according to the Ankh-Morpork calendar, it seems to me that there is another way to be endarkened than only to burrow deep underground. It may always be dark below ground, but it is dark half the time above ground too. Tak wrote the stars to shine in the dark. And so it seems to me that it is time for dwarfs to learn what the stars have to say to us. Mr Magnifico, what do the stars say?"

Fernando salutes the wisdom of grag Bashfullsson, for Fernando knows that the stars speak to all peoples on the Disc, no matter their species and no matter whether the peoples are listening or not. The stars have this to say: remember that the truths of history are not always the history we know, and that words are like a double-edged axe. Especially, Fernando is certain, like a very old double-headed axe that has been mended many times but still can cut through... caramba, Fernando does not like to think of such things, for he believes in making the love, not the war.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Fernando has received a letter from the Hernian signorina who prefers to remain anonymous. The letter is too molto grande to publish it all, but here is a piccolo extract:

    "Dear Fernando, I hope you don't mind me calling you Fernando, I feel that you have touched me in a way that so few astrologers and spiritual advisors manage to do. Your horoscopes have made such a difference to my life in too many ways for me to list, especially late at night when all is dark and hopeless. Mamma does not understand the blackness that crushes my soul, and Pappa tries, but he is so busy and is rarely home. And my brother is simply beastly to me. Oh Fernando, what shall become of me? When shall the unrelenting pain of my existence cease?"

Cara mia, it is never hopeless while Fernando is here, for he has a lifetime's experience in touching people in ways that others do not. Do not worry, for your letter reminds me of my little sister Dulcetta, except that Fernando was never the beast to her. She ran away to marry a young Lieutenant in the Brindisi Cavalry, it was so romantic and tragic for they had to overcome much opposition, but he is a Captain now and they are happy with the little bambino and many great big cuddly dogs.

Fernando has looked carefully at the stars, and they say that this month you should visit the museums and art galleries and find the romantic artists who will understand you, and if not, you will at least find the paintings of Fernando to ease your pain.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

This seems to be the month for anonymous letters. This one was written on a bananananana skin and left in Fernando's mail box together with a handful of peanuts:

    "Ook ook OOK ook. Ook?"

Fernando has consulted the stars and has a prediction for the writer of this letter: when the UU Librarian reads this, the writer will very quickly learn what happens when student wizards try to play silly pranks on orangutans.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Fernando's letter is from the very famous Captain Blouse of Borogravia, who is visiting Ankh-Morpork as liaison to Lord Selachii's Dragoons.

    "Dear Mr Fernando Magnifico,

    "Just a few years ago, who would have thought that I would be writing a 'fan' letter to an 'astrologer', for astrology was an Abomination onto Nuggan? But things have changed, and I have wondered what the stars have 'in store' for my men and I. Borogravia (may the Duchess rule forever) is looking to modernize our army, and I have quite a few ideas myself, one of which is to 'investigate' the possibility of each regiment having an 'in-house' astrologer. As the great Tacticus once wrote, a general should use all sources of information available to him, except of course he wrote it in the 'old Latinium'. I also have a young man named Simon Fish who wants permission to study our records looking for mathematical patterns in the rate of accidents amongst my officers. What do the stars suggest?"

As Fernando has mentioned before, Fernando is not a fighting man and does not approve of the warring, but he knows that there will be no shortage of astrologers who would be happy to cast the horoscopes for the regiments. None of them are as magnificent as Fernando, but Fernando is sure that they will be mostly adequate.

As for your young mathematician, the stars are doubtful that anyone would learn anything of consequence by studying the number of accidents among the bravissimo cavalry officers, and even if they did, credit would surely go to someone else.

The Celestial Parsnip 24 Aug - 23 Sept

This letter is from Mrs Confluence:

    "Dear Mr Magnifico,

    "Your horoscopes have been a great comfort to me since Mr Confluence passed away of chives six months ago. Mr Confluence was a good man and he has left me well provided for in my dotage, and a little left over for frivolities. What should I do? I was thinking of going away on a holiday. What do the stars suggest would be a nice place to visit?"

Fernando is glad to have brought some happiness into the life of a poor widow, and the stars say that a visit to Brindisi cannot go wrong. The food! The drink! The friendly people, apart from Fernando's Aunt Peppita! The sun, the sea, who would not love Brindisi? If you are looking for something a little closer to home, the lace works in Sto Helit are nice at this time of year. The stars also say the riverboats on the Vieux (Masculine) River are relaxing, but they warn against playing any friendly games of Cripple Mister Onion unless you can outstare a gargoyle.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Assistant Postmaster Stanley Howler writes to Fernando:

    "To Whom It May Concern, c/o Mr Fernando Magnifico,

    "Dear Mr Magnifico I am, born under the Sign of the Small Boring Group of Faint Stars and I am writing to you to find out what, The Stars have in mind for me for this month. Will this be a Good Month to cross-reference my Stamp Collection by number and, size of perforations? Also, one of the Ladies in the POST OFFICE has been bringing me, Small Cakes or Other Treats which she makes herself and sometimes she asks me if I would Like To meet her Parents. When I ask Mister Groat about this he just turns Red and won't, talk About It except to make Dire Warnings that No Good Will Come Of It and when I ask, the Post Master Mr Von Lipwig he winks at me and his Lady Friend with the cigarettes just Laughs. Does this mean that Mary for, this is the Name, of the Lady who brings me Treats wants to see my Stamp Collection?"

Fernando does not need to be an astrologer to answer this question, but Fernando is very thorough and always takes his time to do things right, and so he has cast the horoscope to be sure. The stars say that this is a good month for cross-referencing stamp collections, but that it is an even better month for the romance, and that the young lady is interested in more than just the stamps, although she is perhaps interested in licking.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Fernando is a great lover of many things, and one of those things is the opera, so Fernando is very exited to receive a letter from the prima diva Christine from the Ankh-Morpork Opera House:

    "To my dearest Fernando,

    "Your roses last week were just a tiny bit smaller than usual, you naughty boy you!!! I should be offended!!! I was so looking forward to a holiday in Genua, but now I have been offered the lead in "Da crepuscolo fino alla prima luce"!!! What should I do?! I owe it to my many fans to take the role! And my understudy, poor thing, she tries hard and has good hair! How could I inflict her on my fans?! What do the stars say about this?! Should I take the role?!"

Fernando feels sympathy for Signorina Christine, for he too knows what it is like to give of your talents until it hurts. Fernando has not had a holiday for many weeks, for he has a duty to his readers.

Fernando is especially fond of this opera, especially the Wedding Aria: "Quem ha liberato i cani fuori? Abbaio! Abbaio!" Who can fail to be moved to tears by such beauty, nearly as much beauty as the diva herself? For the sake of the opera fans, Fernando is very pleased that the stars say that this is an excellent month for the diva to put her personal feelings aside and take the role.

The Greater and Lesser Spoons, 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Fernando has received this letter from the perfectly respectable troll businessman Chrysoprase:

    "To Mr Magnifico,

    "My associates have brung to my attention dat some of our younger troll brothers have been making der nuisance of demselves by following you down da street draped in red blankets and with black wool on dere heads and gener'ly pouncing about. You just say da word and I'll see to it dat you receive a nice new rock garden. As a gesture of my personal respec', I'd be grateful if you would cast a horoscope for Da Spoons and tell me what da past holds for my business dealings with dem dwarf alchemists in Cabbage Street. Should I trust dem to hold up dere end of our deal?"

Fernando knows very well that many people wish to look like Fernando, with his thick black hair and red velvet jacket, so Fernando is not offended that even trolls sometimes try to imitate him. For as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Fernando is sure they meant no offence.

The stars warn that business deals never last forever, but that they can last long enough if precautions are taken, like guarantees, promissory notes or hostages. I must admit that Fernando is a stranger to the world of finance, and so it is possible that he has misunderstood that last term.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

This letter is from Mr Nealey Dun, of the Shades.

    "To Mr Fernando the Horroscoper,

    "I am writing to you for my dear Mother, who is heart-broken because of the Cruel and Unfair travesty of what passes for Justice in this City under the cruel rule of the Tyrant Vetinari and his terrier Vimes, for my dear Mother's brother, my Uncle Carcer who what never hurt not even a fly, well maybe a fly but certainly never done what terrible crimes he was stitched up for by the corrupt constabulary of this City and then hanged despite being innocent as what a lamb is but we will never stop fighting to clear his name and get compensation paid but how can you put a price on the life of a man? Well the Assassins Guild do everyday so Vimes and Vetinari should pay and pay lots not that money can bring my Uncle back but it will soothe the aching heart of my dear Mother what do the stars say about this?"

Fernando is deeply moved by your family tragedy, and has studied hard the stars for this month, taking special care to interpret the interesting bloodstains on your letter, and Fernando can give good news and bad news. The bad news is that the stars do not say that you will succeed in your quest for compensation this month, but the good news is that justice will come some day, and that your Uncle, mayherestinpeace, will surely be getting everything he deserves in the afterlife.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

This letter is from Fernando's personal friend, the renowned Blackribboner artist the Baroness Evangelika Lugubria Arroganta Barbina Solfami von Fledermausen, who runs the eccellente art gallery in Broadway:

    "Dear dahlink Fernando, how I haf missed you! It haf been weeks since you've come around with your fig leaf for a portrait! I hope you hafen't forgotten your Vicki for another artist, I vould be so jealous. I have many young men with figleafs to paint, but you will always be my favourite. But tell me dahlink, what do the stars say this month? Perhaps you could come over and give your Vicki a personal reading, ja?"

Forget you? Never! Fernando is a slave to his art, but Fernando has many arts, and he must work hard on the horoscopes as well as the fig leaf art. For now, Fernando will cast the ... public horoscope. The stars say that this is a good month for the exhibitions, and of course it is always a good month for a portrait of Fernando with fig leaf.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Sometimes even the astrologers as magnificent as Fernando make the wrong predictions. This letter from Done It Duncan explains why:

    "Dear Mister Fernando, I am writing to you to make a confession what is heavy on my heart for I have been causing you problems what you might not have even known was happening.

    "I have been casting a 'fluence on you and the stars to make your predictions go all doolally. Do you remember that story in the A-M Times about when you predicted to that lady that Dibbler's Catering Service would be good for her wedding and then everybody got food poisoning from the bad sausages? You said that it was because that star was obscured by Great A'Tuin's flipper, but what you didn't know is that the flipper was in the way because of me. I done that. And when you told that school teacher that he should take his class to see the Ruins at The Tump, and they got caught in a rain of tinned cabbage and half the class were concussed. I done that too. I've turned myself in to the Watch, but they said they can't take any action without a formal complaint from you. Mister Fernando, I am a menace to society, won't you please put me away before I can done it again?"

Fernando wishes to set the record straight. Not everybody got food poisoning, it was only the bridal party and a few of the guests and the family of the bride and the groom's dad and sister and the priest and a passing dog.

Fernando has looked carefully at the stars, and the stars say that Mr Duncan has learned his lesson and will not repeat his mistakes. Fernando is very forgiving, and in good conscience he cannot find it in him to blame Mr Duncan or complain to the Watch.


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