This story coincides with
The Call of Magic, Book One of The Fool’s Journey,
a Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy for New Adults, available now on Kindle Unlimited.
New, novel-length books in the series are published every month.
Free, daily stories can be found here.
May 20, 2020
Fate draws together from the ether. Eternity breeds boredom for immortals. A minor argument between the sisters ensues over how to pass the season. They settle on games, as they are wont to do, as they always will. The question arises over what game they should play. An old favorite? A new competition? A bitter, aged contest or a fresh challenge? Which?
The eldest, wise and fair, shows simplicity. She produces a deck of reading cards.
The others accept with glee. The sport is ancient by millennia. They were there when it started, were those who began it, and they will exist long after this business has finished. But for those miniscule moments that it bridges their existence, the amusement remains beloved.
Ten cards, no, no, a hundred. In full spread? No. A single card, drawn. On that, they agree. The dark cards? Harbinger of doom? No. The deck shall rest. And resolution of this course of drawing? As with Fate, the end falls with Judgment. It is a kinder action than many of their games, becomes the sweeter for it.
They rush to begin, gnashing teeth in frustration. Excitement fills them with crazed energy. They must warm the deck before they can play. But they must find a focus first. The three Fates fly through the arcane arts, judging the Sun, the stars, and the planets. They determine the auspicious moment, a summer solstice. It is perfect in every way, and it is almost upon them. They cannot afford to wait.
How very fateful.
And so, they scour the world at their feet. Their attention takes them twirling downward toward a mountain peak, overlooking a tiny village where many men and women stand huddled in strange robes. The Fates pay little mind to these persons. They were part of the last game and have now stopped playing. The black stone post they cluster over is ancient, engraved with runes, stained rusty by old blood, and as the elder players move past, they add to that stain. A bloody thumbprint pressed here; a crimson hand slapped there.
Something curious happens as they mark the rock. An expurgation of power, a palpable mantle of enchantment lifting from their shoulders, visible to the Sisters Fate and one other faction. From deep inside the Well, a dark nation with dark magic watches, biding time on the other side of the Seal. The sisters heed them not.
The magic, having come off clean, collects itself and stands a time before it renews its purpose. It divides once more, splitting into glistening forms and individual darts. Many and yet one. A luminous flock of starlings. The ordained time arrives. The magic races from the mountaintop, flung to the wind like so many arrows.
Off they go. Reaching. Searching. And when they find what they seek, the magic sets to branding.
Dozens they strike within moments, those that are closest, but they must seek others out. The missiles whistle, unseen, past violent crime lords and greedy, reaching corporations. Past black and deep-buried secrets. They hunt.
As the markers dwindle, the sisters’ watch turns to a single arrow, looking on as it slips beyond the coastline, across broad swathes of salty sea to a new land. Ethereal. Invisible. It wings its way over tall mountains and rich forests, long farmland, and noisy cities. It draws ever closer.
Up and over the town water tower. Flitting by a municipal sign that offers a simple “Welcome.” Over a sleeping policeman in his cruiser, and through a hotel where a man with silver glasses sits, preparing his handgun.
Through a window and it collides with a girl of eighteen, wrapping around her arm in the prescribed place. Branding her, waking her from the darkness of her dreams with a sharp and searing pain. Perhaps waking her in many more ways than she will understand.
Only time and fate can tell.
The Sisters have found their focus.
Return to the Timeline
© A.R.C. and Quick and Animus, LLC, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to A.R.C. and Quick and Animus, LLC with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.