Let's check up on the Fates in the Cave...

P.S. Big thanks to @angel193 for sending me the link to this epic song! I thought it'd be a perfect soundtrack for this scene :)


Scene 11: Undone

2020 B.C.

She stared into the hollow space, the walls of stone, here in her cold immortal home. Somehow she had returned; just how, she wasn't sure. All she remembered was the world fading to black, after her last visit to earth. All she remembered was the worst. Whatever happened afterward was of no matter. Whether she'd simply fainted, or been knocked unconscious in the midst of all the violent crowds surrounding the deceased, the multitudes descending on the former king who had so treacherously slain the newly risen champion... whatever had happened, she now found herself back in the Cave, a Fate again. But not even that mattered, for — whether in her mortal or immortal form, in this realm or on earth — her heart was dead.

Her eldest sister saw this, from across the Cave, and straightaway she sensed just what had happened. Atropos understood the look on Clotho's pale face all too well: the lifeless look she feared would fall across her own face if the worst of fates were to befall Akhel. And she knew that her sister's heart was far better and deeper than hers, which of course meant that whatever love she harbored was much stronger; she could only imagine Clotho's pain, all the worse because the work of these accursed shears was what had brought this pain upon her.

Atropos had no way of recognizing threads of souls she'd never met on earth. Aside from the few mortals whom she deemed deserving of death after meeting them firsthand, she would snip all the rest at random. All the many souls who had to die each day. She was never fond of this, but had resigned to it. For unless she could somehow encounter and acquaint herself with hundreds of thousands of mortals each day, there was no other way.

Once already, an arbitrary snip of hers had brought grief upon one of her sisters. Unintentional though it had been, she would always feel sorry for the pain that she had caused Lachesis. But Lachesis's pain had been nothing like this. Atropos looked upon her youngest sister — the Fate of birth, a shadow of herself now, dead and gone — and she, the fatal shearer, would have given anything right then to have the gift of giving life, the power to undo what she had done.

The Fate of death set down her lethal instrument, wishing in vain that she would never have to take it up again. The shears were too heavy to bear. Yet even they were not as heavy as her heart, as she now crossed the shadowed Cave toward her sister.

"Clotho, I..." she whispered, "...I am so sorry. More so than you could ever know. I never met the man, but whoever he was, I can see that you loved him, and..."

From her station by the Loom, Lachesis overheard her sister's words. Why was she speaking of Rider? What was she so sorry for? The last time Lachesis had seen her dear husband on earth, he had set off to trounce his father. She had been taking a brief nap while awaiting his return. The champion he was, Rider could not possibly have failed in that endeavor, the weaver reassured herself. Surely she was just a paranoid fool to imagine the worst. Yet she could not muster the courage now to look upon his thread — to confirm that he wasn't...

Atropos proceeded. "...and I am so, so sorry."

Clotho sat still, silent for a moment; her mind was so absent, her soul so distant, that she was barely present enough to register her sister's apology. When she replied, it was with empty eyes, and a voice that bespoke worlds of fathomless misery. "You don't have to be. He is dead because of me."

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