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Postcards from the Edge of Reason

♣ King of Clubs ♣ | Elisha Kagan
15 October
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FULL NAME: Elisha Ariel Kagan
NICKNAMES: Elisha; Lisha
DATE OF BIRTH: 15/10/1978
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York

RANK: King of Clubs


Elisha is 5’11 and 185 pounds. He appears lean, with almost a swimmer’s build, but his weight is packed on in solid muscle. Elisha’s hair is dark brown edging towards black, cut short to tame its tendency to curl, and his eyes are nearly as dark. They can be unreadable when he wants them to be, which is most of the time, or alight with laughter. Elisha dresses almost entirely in dark colors, particularly black. He likes having a uniform, and having eschewed the Israeli one he’d worn for years, he’s found himself a new one that works just as well. He likes buttondowns and turtleneck sweaters, pants in hardy cottons and wools, and boots. He is carrying at all times at least four weapons, mostly blades.

Elisha is Club Castle’s head of intelligence and security, working closely with Lancelot, but this is a very recent development. Prior to Andrew’s death, Elisha was a Six and one of the suit’s artists. He worked on commission as well as producing his own work, though his commissions and personal preferences tended to vary wildly. He still paints, but almost entirely for his own pleasure at this point, with the exception of giving Eileen art lessons.


On the surface, Elisha appears to be a very calm and serious man, and he is, in fact, a very calm and serious man. But he’s also got a wickedly charming streak that he turns on people he likes and people he’s trying to manipulate (and people who fall into both categories), and he has a dry, sarcastic wit that comes out almost unexpectedly, in a deadpan sense of humor that takes a little while to get used to. His years of military service have left their mark on him, and he finds it difficult to be as charming and at-ease with his own Face cards as he is with nearly everyone else in the Deck - including the other Royals. Instead, with Alexander, Argine, and Lancelot, he’s varying degrees of deferential and soldier-like, behaving more like an officer in their service. He’s managed to drop some of this with Lancelot, but is still extremely formal with the king and queen. He does, however, have a much more personal relationship with Eileen, who he loves like he would his own daughter, if he had one.

His closest colleague and friend is Dafydd, a current Five of Clubs who he recruited into a life of espionage shortly after Andrew’s death. He’s also currently dating Anastasia, the Ace of Hearts, and formerly was embroiled in a relationship with Sieben Dietrich, a Seven of Spades that defines the term “it’s complicated.” He and Victor, Nine of Spades, have a complicated near-friendship that started before Elisha arrived in the Deck.


Elisha Kagan was born on October 15, 1981 in Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan, New York to Jonah and Reina Kagan. They were as wealthy as they sound, and Elisha spent the first six years of his life in the rarefied atmosphere of the Upper East Side as the only child of one of New York’s most ruthless real estate moguls and his socialite artist wife. Even as young as he was, Elisha was set on a path to follow in Jonah’s footsteps, attending the best kindergarten and primary school money could by, with his father having plans for Harvard, Yale or Princeton later on. All of Jonah’s plans were cut short on a rainy January night four months after his son turned six, when the entire family was out for a dinner, and an enraged former tenant charged on Jonah. He stabbed him six times before Reina’s screams managed to attract enough attention.

Elisha saw all of it.

Almost directly after Jonah’s funeral, his grief-stricken widow pulled up all their stakes in New York - the ones she could touch, at least - and moved as far away as she could manage, taking her son out of the United States and all the way to Israel, where they qualified for citizenship and settled in a wealthy section of Tel Aviv. Elisha was sent back to school and instructed not to mention his father. Reina began to drink.

She approached drinking with the same fervor and passion she’d approached art, and other than a precious few dry periods - when she painted again, and taught her son to paint, when she took him out of school to tear down the roads of their new country in her roadster - Reina only drank. She began when she woke up in the morning and only stopped when she passed out at night, and by the time Elisha had turned twelve their roles had irrevocably reversed: he was the parent, Reina was the child, and he woke up three hours before school everyday to make sure his mother made it through the day without endangering herself and anyone else, and he embarked on his first campaign of subterfuge. With Reina almost entirely useless as a parent, it was Elisha’s job to make sure no one knew that.

If they found out, after all, he’d be taken away from her, and while that might have been the best for him, what was going to happen to her? He couldn’t allow it. He didn’t allow it, and he controlled both of their lives with a quietly firm hand until he was sixteen and Reina slipped his hold long enough to get into her car drunk and die when she collided with another vehicle.

The funeral was perfunctional and sparsely attended, and directly afterwards Elisha enlisted in the army. His mother never wanted that.

He was the sort of soldier for whom the term “service with distinction” was intended, approaching his military career with the same single-minded focus that he’d approached holding his small family together. Elisha began in explosives and munitions, assigned the job of both preventing bombs and planting them in targets. From there he was quickly shifted to intelligence - having shown an early aptitude for analysis and subterfuge that the IDF was constantly on the lookout for. He was always calm in a crisis, always thinking and analyzing and working himself out of situations that no one should be able to survive, and by the time he was twenty, Mossad was routinely recruiting him to leave the military. Elisha stuck right where he was, but he wasn’t averse to a contract job or two, and that’s what he was doing in Syria.

He was the only man on his team to make it out of Syria, and directly after he arrived back in Israel limping and hollow-eyed, he left the IDF entirely. And then he left the country. Then he found the Deck.

Elisha was half-shattered when he walked up to Club Castle, and he merely nodded when the Seven in charge of arrivals gave him a rank of Three. This, he thought then, was a place where he could not be a spy, a place where he could instead use the art school education he’d gotten between tours in Israel, and where he could be just what he wanted to be.

Elisha quickly found his place as an extremely talented artist, and was given studio space where he could work when not seeing to his chores. He advanced to Four quickly, and to Five and Six less quickly, and there he sat for five years, painting and keeping to himself. Elisha earned the reputation of a quiet, shy man, unassuming but always willing to lend a hand, and he held that place until the Spade Ball six years after he first stumbled onto the Deck.

Then Andrew was dead, and Elisha stopped burying his head in the sand. He’d won his previous challenges with chess matches and foot races, but now he challenged one of the Eights to hand-to-hand combat, taking him more easily than a quiet artist should have been able to. After that, he challenged one of the Tens to a knife-fight, and he was ensconced where he needed to be.

Former Seren Elisha Kagan went back to work.

Card by pay_the_piper