On a windswept plaza three men have been dueling. The winner stands with his body facing the viewer, but he is looking over his right shoulder at the two losers in this contest. He holds two longswords over his left shoulder and is in the process of picking up a third off the ground. Two other swords lay on the ground by his feet. His demeanor is smug and belittling. One of the other men is walking away from the contest with his robe slung over his shoulder. Further in the distance, the second man is facing the sea with his face in his hands. His body posture implies he is sobbing bitterly. The waters are choppy as if windblown, an implication shared by the streaks of clouds in the sky.
The only thing worse than a sore loser, is a sore winner. Lack of sportsmanship, professionalism, and concern for his fellows turns the primary character of this card from merely victorious to That Fucking Guy. This negative card warns of degradation and unwarranted brutality at the hands of the victorious.
If the antics stopped at merely gloating and “improper speech”, this wouldn’t be so bad. But the person indicated by the 5 of Swords will often go past mere “shit-talk” and seek some sort of emotional or financial reprisal against the Querent as punishment for “being a loser”. If in a work environment, the Querent may be forced to take a lesser-paying position or accept undue sanctions. If in a relationship, the Querent may be forced to participate in (non-consensual) humiliating public actions meant to enforce the Querent’s lowered status.
Ill-dignified, a negative card becomes absolutely horrid. The Querent may be assaulted by the “winner” and have no assistance in fending off the attack. Slander and false witnesses spread the humiliation even further, to the point where there are few that know the truth of the matter. All the social rules are broken, and in the worst case scenario, the Querent can find themselves physically outcast from the affected community.
If the cards indicate that the Querent is the “sore winner”, then his triumph over his opponents will be short-lived. The repercussions of his actions will come upon his head in time. Not all victories are worth having.