Tag Archives: fate

Life Along The Kārvān, Part I

“That is enough!” shouted Mother. “Jakob! Vinsent! Stop fighting this instant!”

The two brothers sullenly receded from their clinch, neither daring to throw another punch, but casting fierce glares between them.

“He started it!” shouted Vinsent, jabbing his thumb at his older brother.

“I do not care who started it!” said Mother. “We are in a difficult situation as it is and you boys are not making life any easier, so I am going to do something about it!”

At these words, silence fell upon the brothers and their frowns dropped from their faces, the reason for their fight forgotten. Mother had long threatened… had they pushed her too far?

“Tomorrow morning,” said Mother, who had tears welling up in her eyes, “you will leave the camp. Jakob, you will travel to the front of the kārvān, and take up the vanguard alongside your father.” Jakob’s mouth fell open and a protest swelled in his chest, but Mother turned and continued. “Vinsent, you will travel to the rearguard and be with your uncle Quentin. Both of you, pack tonight.”

Both boys leapt forward to protest, but Mother silenced them with a raised palm.

“Do not argue, do not. There is no place for you here in the middle. I have to spend my energy taking care of your sister. You are old enough to look after yourselves, and if you are not, you must learn, and quickly. Pack your things.”

They knew she was right, they knew this moment had been approaching fast, and now it was here. They packed. She cried.

In the morning, after hugs and floods of tears from all, the two boys and Mother parted ways. Each had a journey of some distance to complete, in opposite directions. Many days of walking and running lay ahead, travelling past the thousands upon thousands of people, with their tents, pack animals, hopes and fears.

These were their people, once mighty, now nomads. Stretched out into a line, one expedition, stretching far across the landscape: the kārvān. Behind this exodus of survivors lay a burning city and salted soil. Ahead, the unknown.

To be continued…


Cursed Roll

She found him in his workshop, hunched over a vice with small chisel in hand. She set a cup of tea down on a workbench and peered at the objects his fingers were prising carefully from the vice.

“What are you making?” she asked.

“It’s a wedding present for Ricky and Anjia,” he said. He extracted a small wooden cube from the vice and held it up to the light. “Three handmade dice.”

It was made from dark birch. Rounded edges, numbers of tiny holes drilled into each side. She took it carefully from his fingers, and set it gently down on the workbench.

“Did you test it?” she asked.

He looked surprised.

“I didn’t mean them to be played,” he said. “It’s just for decoration.”

She shook her head.

“If you give someone a die, they are going to roll it. Let me have the others.”

He extracted the other two and placed them next to the first. She picked them up, rolled them around, and let them fall gently onto the workbench. Three fours. She tried again. Three fours. It happened the third time, and the fourth.

“That’s very clever,” he said. “How are you doing it?”

She shrugged. “I’m not doing anything.” She tried again, and again, and yet again. Three fours each time. “Where did you get the wood from?”

“Out in the woods, near the old temple.”

Suddenly she felt very uneasy. Her skin prickled.

Something, somewhere, was watching them.

“We’re in trouble,” she said.

The Heavens of the World Beyond

The three Dancers of Fate fell from the sky onto the edge of a square pane of glass. Their feet touched the hard, shiny surface and cracks appeared beneath them. The cracks circled gently around where the Dancers had landed and then roared outwards across the pane in jagged lines, splitting the entire square into angry patterns, which took on the dazzling reflections of the iridescent heavens above.

The Dancers’ parachutes floated slowly down behind them, falling beneath the edge of the pane and then pulled and folded towards the Dancers’ backs by the strings that attached them. In seconds the parachutes had become small pouches between the Dancers’ shoulder blades, with a few small folds of material left billowing in the breeze.

The spirit of the Book Mistress sprung forth from the Dancer’s shoes. The spirit sang in soft voice, the tones reminding them once more of the chimes that had swayed in the wind above their cradles many hours before. It congratulated the Dancers, complemented them, praised their efforts so far, reminded them of their mother, recommended that they steel their souls against the trials ahead, and finally welcomed them to this pane of glass upon which they had landed.

This pane, it said, was called the Godlock. Without it, all the terrifying powers imaginable would pour forth. It should now be either strengthened or destroyed. The choice lay in the expression of Fate that was about to take shape through their movements.

The music started.

They danced.