Feb 13 2019

Daughters of Fate (Chapter 1)

Posted by Mathias in Daughter of Fate, Fantasy, Novels, Projects

Diur brought forth three entities from the darkness. Daughters of the Great Dragon, the Fates, they were entrusted with the destiny of all upon Geiha. Sashna Keeper of Law and Good, Octeava, Keeper of the Dark and Chaos, and Sarina, Keeper of Neutrality and Balance. Their charge – to hold together the fabric of the universe for all time.

-Book of the Gods 2:16

Chapter 1 (3rd of Earonitan 6178)

Darkness. Everlasting darkness.  It stretched for as far as any of the senses could sense.   

The cold blackness of the cosmos was broken only by the flickering of distant stars. Its silence was lonely.  So terrifyingly lonely.   

Power coalesced. Ether began to churn.  It moved at its own pace, without a care of what others would desire of it.  The universe would not bend to the arbitrary will of the impatient.   

Where once only emptiness had been, twisting clouds contorted.  Their swirling motion molded and bent. When the cosmic dance finally ceased, they formed a tower extending downward to infinity.   

Its stone was plain, unassuming, and out of place.  But it filled the cosmos with an aura of power, control, and balance.  As though it was meant to be there.   

At its top, a shutter cracked open. A dim light flowed out into the universe.  It pushed back the darkness.   

Delicate fingers gripped the sill. A figure dressed in dull robes matching the gray stones stood. She waited, peering out from her sanctuary.   

Another dim light moved in the distance.  Its appearance answered her presence.  Sarina, Keeper of Neutrality, sensed the other, like her, growing nearer. 

As the light came up to the window, she moved aside.  The goddess waited, allowing it to enter through the opening unobstructed. 

The orb alighted on the floor. Flickering slowly at first, it began to pulse faster and faster.  Growing, it methodically transformed. As the light faded, the form of another woman became clear and replaced it. Her hair was of platinum white and her robes were of ivory.  

The new woman’s clothing fluttered in the ether, catching upon its invisible currents. She stretched long tired muscles.   

“Greetings, sister,” Sarina spoke pleasantly to the white-robed goddess now before her. “It is always a pleasure to see you, Sashna. Times do not call us together as often as they once had.”   

“As I am always delighted to see you as well, my sister,” Sashna responded.  “Time, it seems, has not been on our side with the growing needs of the mortal realm.”   

“Indeed. The mortal realm has grown to consume much of my time as well,” Sarina lamented.   

“Unfortunately, this is not a casual visit. I have come because you have a soul that I desire. The time for a savior of the mortal world has come. This child shall be the one I choose to imbue with the power necessary to fulfill that most important role.”   

Sarina folded her hands up into her sleeves.  “I suppose,” her words dripped with sorrow, “it was too much to hope that this should be a friendly visitation.  The name of this soul you seek?”   

“Stormband. I seek the soul of the child to be born of Eliza and Aurthur Stormband.”   

Sarina nodded and paced behind the table sitting in the center of her tower’s uppermost chamber.  Pulling her hands back out of her sleeves, she produced a glowing orb. It swirled with clouds of milky white.   

She released it from her hand and it hovered effortlessly over the table.   

“The soul of Stormband,” the Fate in gray robes stated bluntly.  “As you have requested, sister.”   

“No!” another woman’s loud voice crashed of thunder. Out of the nothingness, and in a roar like that of a thousand lions, she appeared. Her robes were black as a starless, midnight sky. Her hair dark as jet.  “I too have come to claim the soul of the child of Stormband.”   

It was evident that both sisters were surprised to see their other sister in the here and now. That surprise was not lessened for many moments after the cacophony passed to memory. 

“Octeava, a – a pleasant surprise to be sure,” the Keeper of Neutrality stammered. The awe at the unneeded abruptness of her sister’s entrance could not be forgotten so quickly.  

Sashna stepped forward.  “Stand aside, sister!” the Keeper of Law ordered.  “I have already come forth to claim this soul.”   

Octeava responded with a crooked half smile.  “You cannot claim sole right to this child, sister. The Laws of our Father say that any who have a claim to the souls of a mortal must be allowed to execute it. And I intend to put into this soul more darkness than any mortal has ever possessed.”   

There was a rush of power surrounding the platinum-haired goddess.  Bolts of blue energy climbed up her robes and then back down her arms to her hands.   

Sarina saw her sister’s hands ball up and cock back. The Keeper of Law and Order prepared to unleash the gathered power with the sole purpose of fending off her darker sister’s ambitions.  

“Sisters!” Sarina stepped between Sashna and their newly arrived third sister.  “There will be none of this within my domain!  Those are my laws.”   

The look in her eye was enough to stand down the Keeper of Law. But Sarina could sense she was still ready to lash out.  The power had simply been pushed aside but not relinquished.   

Octeava’s smile enhanced as she watched Sashna back down. The darkest of the Fates had not even so much as flinched. She knew the posturing of her sister was nothing but a fangless threat 

“Octeava,” Sarina said after she checked her gaze to both of her sisters; twice.  “Our sister has already laid claim to this soul. And while I understand the Laws, I have seen what you do to the souls that you claim. And you want to instill in this child more of your wickedness than ever before? I dare say that one soul could not possess such evil, and also that glory which Sashna would grant.”   

At those words, the Keeper of Chaos seemed to withdraw into her robes. But she only paused to choose her response wisely.   

“The Law is the law,” she replied. “I demand that I be given the rights to the soul of this child. The realm of men is ready for darkness to overcome it.  And I choose this child as the harbinger.”   

Sarina balked, but now it was Octeava who gathered her power. The room grew cold and dark.   

Octeava then reminded once again, “The Law is the law.”   

Sarina sighed.  “You are right, dear sister. Please forgive me.  Father’s will must be kept.”   

At the concession, Octeava pulled back her power and the ether calmed.   

“You would let her destroy this child?” Sashna roared.  “We cannot both claim the soul of this child!  The conflict would rip her apart!”   

“True,” Sarina returned to the table and the hovering orb.  “That is why I am also placing a claim upon this soul.”   

Sarina took a moment.  The single breath she inhaled and then exhaled in that time spoke to the seriousness of what she was about to do.  Something she had never contemplated doing before.  But it was the only way.   

With a wave of her hands, Sarina caused a slight crack to form in the soul before her. The Keeper of Neutrality closed her eyes, hearing the soul cry out to her in her mind as she caused it pain.  But this pain was the only way to save the child yet to be born.   

Pulling her hands apart, the orb stretched and shrieked as the milky white clouds warped. It sundered.  And where once there was one, there were now two orbs before the goddess.   

Sarina bowed and spoke softly to one of the souls, comforting it from the pain that she had caused.  Erasing the hurt from its memory.   

But before she was able to turn her attention to the other, Octeava reached out and took it up. She stared into it, feeling the tormented soul twisting inside.  It still reeled from being torn apart.   

“Perfect,” the dark sister smiled.  “This soul will do nicely.” It was darker than the other and in so much pain.  Perfect indeed for her to use.   

“Octeava, you must let me finish. The soul is not yet comforted. It is restless; unstable. It cannot be allowed to enter the world like this.”   

“Oh? I disagree, sister.”  Octeava cupped the soul in her hands.  “Entering the world like this is exactly the way that it must.”   

Sashna stepped forward to block her sister from claiming the other half of the soul.   

The Keeper of Chaos smiled again.  “Don’t worry.  In accordance with the Law, that soul is yours.  I have no desire for its pathetic weakness.”   

“You’ve caused enough trouble this day,” Sashna warned as Sarina finished her prayer on the other. “Your interference with this child has been quite enough.”   

When the Keeper of Neutrality had finished, Sashna claimed the other soul for her own. In her hands, Sashna could feel that this soul had been properly soothed and healed from its trauma.     

“Quite enough? Oh, dear sister, I promise you my interference to this point has been nothing compared to what is to come.”   

Sarina watched as her dark sister pored over book after book. The Fate of Balance’s sanctuary library consumed all the floors below the topmost one. The endless books contained here chronicled countless moments in the lives of mortals.

Each was painstakingly transcribed by servants of the gods; The Lilwandi. The Lilwandi flittered on the edge of reality. Stewards whose sole duty was to watch over mortals when the gods themselves could not.   

The Lilwandi even recorded the very words and deeds of the gods themselves. And Sarina knew all that was happening now would be put down.   

Uncountable volumes of history filled the library.  It was history, not as seen through distorted eyes, but as it actually occurred.  Without opinion or judgment.  Only cold, unforgiving facts.   

Octeava watched her sister watching her, although she was careful to never make it so obvious. She thumbed through a volume some 700 of the mortal’s years old. Her eyes traced the crisp, clean words. It was as if they had been penned yesterday.   

“What is so important that you have been down here for so long?” Sarina decided she had lingered in silence long enough.  “Ever since Sashna departed, you’ve been hidden away with those books.”   

Octeava smiled her same crooked half smile.  “It would be good for you to read through these from time to time, dear sister. There is a wealth of knowledge in them concerning these mortals that we so strive to maintain in check.”   

“And if I did that? I would have no time to tend to my duties. There is so much here.”  Sashna pulled a volume off the shelf and read from any page that opened to her. She squinted at the words.  “Besides, I don’t really care what Lord Argito of Rendwood had for breakfast on the 25th of Alshu in the 45th year of the First Dark Age.” She scoffed, pointing to a line of text.  “These books are nothing but boring facts. And our duty is to keep mortals in check as you say, not learn everything that they do. These books are so organized it is almost…”   

“Chaotic?” her sister chimed in. Octeava chose not to rub her sister’s nose in the fact that this was indeed her own library.  And that the Keeper of Neutrality had never learned how to use it as she had.  “Do not become so obsessed with the details that you overlook what is really important.”   

“Your fascination with the mortal world is beyond my comprehension.”   

“Much as are my assertions that we do not truly control the hearts of men?”   

Sarina returned her chosen volume to its place.  “I do not believe in your theories of free will if that is what you mean. It is a silly concept. If the mortals did whatever they so choose, then we would not be needed. Our role would be pointless.”   

“Sister, sister. Free will is not about the obsoleteness of our kind. What we do guides the mortals. Like a simple nudge, attempting to point them in the direction we wish them to take. But in the end, they must make the final choices. If it were not that way, then everything would always happen as perfectly and as orderly as we would plan it. There would be perfect order. I would be the one who was obsolete. But we don’t even attempt to plan the complete lives of men, for we know that it would be impossible.”  

“And why do I think that all this has something to do with your strange request? What are you trying to ‘nudge’ the daughter of Stormband towards?”   

“No matter how much our dear sister fights it, chaos is the true order the universe strives for.”  Octeava closed her current volume and opened the next lying beside her. She smiled.  “The mortals like to have their fortunes and futures foretold through the prophecy of their own sages. They think themselves gods. I am simply giving her a push in the right direction towards the chaos even mortals desire.” 

Forward to Chapter 2 >>

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