What is this place? Cearki asked
‘It is called the void, it is the source of the yarns of life, only the fates are allowed in here, or just one aspect so it was decided that an exceptional case be brought here until the gods could undo her wrong’ replied Sharma.
‘No one envisaged that her desperation and rage would bring about such disaster’ said Clotho, ‘her thread held such promise and followed its path in the total fabric quite strongly, but…’
‘But what?’ Cearki asked again
‘Ssssh, someone is here’ whispered Clotho as she looked sternly at the surrounding area. The three figures were immersed waist high in a pool of rainbow colours, each colour signifying a mood or character of man, surrounding them was foliage of grey moss glittering against the reflection of the pool.
All seemed still but Clotho sensed a presence besides those of her fellow sisters and her guests, something sinister, something very evil. ‘Shield her’ Clotho mentally whispered to Sharma who immediately held unto Cearki and they both disappeared. Clotho held up her weaving staff, which emanated a bright light illuminating the world before them.
‘Do not move’ she said aloud seeming to speak to the intruder but Sharma knew better.
‘Clotho’ replied a male voice ‘I come in the name of the one that I love more than my own life’
‘Show yourself’ replied Clotho
‘Only if you give me your word that you will cause me no harm’
‘And why should I do that, you have no right to be here?’
‘I am looking for someone and this is the only place except from the heavens left to search’
‘Who are you? How did you gain access to this place?’
‘I am known by many names ’
‘Come out and no harm shall come to you, you have my word’ she said lowering her staff.
He slipped out from behind one of the larger lumps of grey foliage. He was tall and handsome, his piercing green eyes so much like his fathers looking straight at Clotho who stared back at him
‘What are you doing here?’ she asked
‘Where is she? He replied with a question
‘Please enough, I beg you. I have endured too much to come this far, only to have you lying to my face, just release her and I will gladly give myself to you to do with me as you wish, but let me see her.’
‘Do you know what she did; do you know what you are?’
‘What I am is …’
‘What you are is an abomination created out of desperation! That life which you seek is gone; your past life, all of that ended long ago. You cannot relive it no matter how hard you try’
‘I will be the judge of that not you, and whatever I have become is as a result of your incompetence with that of your sisters and the gods’
‘You dare to insult me, you …’
‘I dare to say what none of you has had the courage to say to yourselves!’
‘What you seek is not here so go look somewhere else’
‘Tell me where she is Clotho, you must understand why I have to see her, my torment will not end until she is found’
‘It can end now, you can end all of this’
‘Trust me …’
‘Trust you! I am what I am because of you, I am no more than a vessel occupied by a foul creature, allowed only thirty days of control in three hundred and sixty five, and for century’s, I have endured to get to see her again. She is not in the dead gates she is not in the heavens and she is not reincarnated- I know because she would have found me. Someone is holding her, I simply want to know who and where.’
‘And when you do find her what will you do, that is if you do, what do you think will occur? You will both live happily ever after?’
‘Where is she?’
‘I do not know, why not ask the gods, they have all the answers’
‘The gods are as dead to me as I am damned to them.’
‘We are all trying to help you Jei, but you have to tell us how.’
‘How do I know I trust can you?’
‘I know who you really are; I know how much your mother loves you and how much she longs for you and I wish to help you for her.’
‘My mother is dead; everyone I once knew and loved is dead.’
‘To you but not to me, I can help you find them but I need to know how to help you’
‘If I tell you what you need to know, will you tell me where Rahun is?’
‘I cannot say what I do not know, but I make this solemn oath that if she is found upon the threads, your threads will be woven to meet once again, the rest will be left to you and her.’
‘I am a vessel holding an entity; we share a body but are as oil and water, fluid but immiscible.’
‘He owns you?’
‘My body but not my mind, he takes pride in his evil and I have to take responsibility because to the world and the heavens we are the same.’
‘It is you that releases the souls upon the oceans?’
‘Slaves, whose souls he has stolen to feed upon, when he is done with them he tortures them in ways beyond imagination. I here them crying to your gods who are deaf to their cries. So I release them to sail the seas until they find the dead gates.’
‘Why do you not release yourself from him?’
‘To do that will be to give to him the very thing he wants, access to my soul and that must never happen.’
‘He keeps mentioning that his greatest treasures are body and my soul and that is why he guards my body himself. I have always known that there was something different about me but he thinks I know what it is but I do not and I am afraid that if he should find out things would be a lot worse.
‘So does he know you are here?’
‘He knows what I want him to know and he does the same, only he is more generous with his information of what he has done and in doing so I am able to learn certain skills to my advantage. One of which has led to my finding this place.’
‘He has been here’
‘Apparently several times, yes’
‘Do you know why?’
‘Only that he measures flax to know how much time he has’
‘Oh no he knows!’ whispered Clotho, ‘Where is he now?’
‘I do not know, I know only that it is a place where all demons must assemble for a period of thirty days. I do not know where or why?’
‘Why do you not seal your body from his entrance?’
‘It is as much his as it is mine.’
Clotho looked at him understanding clearly what until today no one else did. She was happy that she had detached herself from her sisters, which would have complicated this already complex web with this lad in the centre binding them all together. She had to inform Sharma. Sharma!
‘You must leave now’
‘You said you will help me’
‘And I shall but, this is not the place or the time, trust me that is all that I ask and speak of this to no one.’
He had a defeated look on his face much like his mothers only more manly before he finally said ‘Is there nothing you can do?’
‘Nothing that will help your quest at this moment, I am sorry’
‘Do not be sorry for me; be sorry for yourselves and the innocent who suffer because of me.’
He raised a finger of his and spun it anti clockwise until it opened a vortex, he looked at Clotho and says to her ‘when you find Rahun because I know you will, tell her to follow the sunset, there will she find me’, and he stepped into it. Clotho took over at this point raising her staff and lowering it quickly causing the vortex to rip into two separate halves and varnish.
Cearki re-appeared first then Sharma. Cearki looked startled while Sharma though try as she may to hold a bold face was clearly troubled. ‘Sharma are you alright?’
‘Yes Clotho I am fine.’
‘Things are definitely not what they seem anymore, I fear the worst if we do not thread softly’
Clotho I am so sorry for everything you have had to put up with to this point’ said Sharma.
‘There is nothing to be sorry for’ Clotho replied ‘I chose to help but we will need to talk when we are done’
‘Did you mean what you said about helping him because of his mother?’
‘Was that the demon king?’ asked Cearki
‘I don’t know’ replied Clotho as she moved forward ‘But whoever he was his presence here spells trouble’
‘You talked to him as if you knew him and he certainly knew you well enough to know the existence of this place’
‘And you know just how to irritate by concerning yourself with issues you should not.’ Clotho spat out as she turned around to face Cearki who was surprised at the outburst.
‘Did his presence disturb the pool?’ asked Sharma
‘No, but I sensed you were clearly disturbed and that was the quickest thing I could think of to get him out.’
‘Thank you’ Sharma whispered
‘Quickly, this way’ Clotho ordered leading them through the marshes of colours until they came upon a mesh woven from silk in an intricate, impenetrable pattern. Clotho closed her eyes and focused, and then suddenly the mesh began to stir as the designs began to move themselves in form of silk sheets in both vertical and horizontal axis, until a doorway was created.
‘Quite impressive’ said Sharma
‘No time for compliments my queen’ replied Clotho entering the doorway.
‘She has quite a temper’ whispered Cearki.
‘Ssshhh’ whispered Sharma, ‘you should have seen what was like before’ following Clotho, then followed Cearki.
‘Make no sudden movements, whispered Clotho, ‘we don’t want to startle her. She has not come in contact with any living soul before today’.
‘How will we know the demon lord has not met her before now?’ asked Cearki.
‘I would have sensed him, but the real question is why he is desperate to come in contact with her or at least a part of him is?’ replied Clotho
‘Only one person can tell us the answer’ said Sharma
‘Then it is time to find out’ said Clotho raising her staff once more which rose higher illuminating the cavern.
The structure before them was a cage designed from silk threads projecting from the ceiling fifteen feet above stretching down to the ground below with adjacent strands projecting from the sides of the room interlocking and intersecting, creating a basket looking cocoon. It was a beautiful sight yet terrifying to behold. Cearki’s lower jaw dropped at the sight, even the queen of the heavens could not hide her amazement at the creation before her.
‘How did you accomplish such a feat Clotho?’ she asked
Clotho simply turned around smiling at both women, then transformed before them into a large spider and crawled upon the webbings. Immediately the entire cocoon shifted as if it had a life of its own. Clotho crept higher towards the centre of the cocoon and methodically crept in.
‘What do we do now my lady?’
‘We wait’ replied Sharma
‘Will what we find out change our plans?’
‘We cannot know for sure until we hear from Clotho’ she replied again staring at Cearki who looked so innocent with her brown hair tied in a ponytail with no embellishments and slight strands falling to her face, her skin shimmered like honey while her dark brown eyes stared earnestly back at Sharma.
‘Cearki’ Sharma called
‘Yes your grace’ the girl replied
‘You do not have to do this if you truly do not want to’
‘Why do you say that?’
‘I say it because I know how a life ruled by obligation is Cearki and it is not a burden I would wish upon anyone. If your only driving force is your sense of duty or loyalty towards Dremon or myself then I beg you to think again and walk away while there is still time.’
‘I do not deny the fact that I am scared your highness because I never lived a totally human life before and I do not know what awaits me but I have asked myself the question why I am doing this and I found my answer. It is because I found something worth defending’
‘And what is that Cearki’
She walked towards one of the walls and placed her weight upon it.
‘I will not fail you your highness’
‘No Cearki, what is important is that you do not fail your self.’
The inner chamber of the cocoon seemed empty but Clotho knew what she was looking for and after a few more paces, she reached it. It was the centre of the cocoon, the heart of it where a lie would be detected when told by the vibrations of the webbings. The time had come.
She was about to summon the spirit when the cocoon vibrated.
‘Who’s there?’ a very soft voice asked, Clotho gasped with surprise.
‘I know you are there, speak’ she said again, ‘Please talk to me’
‘Rahun’ Clotho called
‘Who are you?’ she replied
‘Do you know where you are?’
She did not reply
‘Do you know why you are here?’
‘Judgement’ Rahun replied
‘Judgement’ snorted Clotho, ‘my girl your crime demands the total destruction of your soul. This is merely a sanctuary compared to what you should face.’
‘And what was my crime!’ spat Rahun, ‘why wont anyone understand that it had to be done, I did …’
‘What you did was upset the very balance of life, you opened a doorway to a world seen only to the very worst of all things created, ruined the tapestry to a point of almost shredding it. Even now four hundred years after your deed, we are yet to fully disengage the tangles, constantly working out emergency surgeries to keep the fabric of life from shredding!’ replied Clotho in the same tone. ‘Years of guarding, guiding, teaching lost; and for what, for you to achieve your selfish aim. The world of man suffers because of you and because…..’
‘Because I love him’ said Rahun in a voice that sounded like she was sobbing but instead of tears several strands snapped causing the cocoon to shift. Outside of the cocoon, Cearki moved at the sound of the snapping strands away from the wall that she stood towards Sharma.
‘What is happening?’ she asked
Sharma looked at the cocoon ‘What should happen’
Clotho’s mood changed from anger to remorse. She began to realise that the agony of these two lovers was not in death but their separation from each other. They were not evil by nature only foolishly and dangerously in love. Was it therefore wise to go ahead with this?
‘Why are you here?’ Rahun asked
‘To give you a second chance at life and undergo a task which you must perform’
‘Which is to be revealed to you in due time’, but first I need you to close your eyes’
‘I see nothing, I only sense your presence, and I cannot see you.’
‘Then I need you to dull your senses’
‘Because I said so’ snapped Clotho
‘Are you going to kill me?’
At that Clotho pierced her feet into the mesh shutting her eyes trying to concentrate, the cocoon rocked violently flinging Clotho to hit the wall and slide down, she quickly she shot a silk thread at an adjacent wall which broke her fall.
‘Next time simply ask politely’ said Rahun, ‘that was painful’. The cocoon stooped rocking and the mesh above relaxed. ‘I am ready’ she said. Clotho was torn between the emotions of anger and amusement. She knew the girl did not mean her any harm, yet she did not fathom that in this state she was vulnerable. She scampered up the thread and landed once more upon the central axis.
‘For the former intrusion, I apologise, said Clotho
‘Accepted’ replied Rahun
‘Are you ready?’ said Clotho
Once again, Clotho pierced her feet into the mesh but this time the cocoon only shifted slightly.
‘Show me’ Clotho said, ‘show me everything you have encountered’, and slowly shut her eyes. She found herself in her human form surrounded by mist, hearing footsteps behind her she turned around and beheld the most beautiful being she had ever seen. Black hair that fell to the lower back, her skin glowed spotlessly without a speck. She was tall an lean but fleshy in the right places and proportions with eyes like polished marbles stones and a nose and mouth well proportioned to her face. Even Sharma was a milkmaid compared to this. Would it be wrong to think of her as perfection personified.
‘Rahun’ she called
The girl smiled at her ‘You are the first person that I have seen in so long’
‘This can all come to an end Rahun’
‘Who are you?’
‘I am Clotho’
‘You are fate’
‘Only an aspect, we are three’
‘I came to you to beg for Jei’s life but was refused audience’
‘Humans do not understand how complex our jobs as guardians of life are Rahun. They see life as simple issues of love and hate, day and night, life and death but it is beyond that. An issue in need of final resolve required that Jei had to die Rahun. You may see it as callous but his death was simply a means to an end which would justify…’
Justify! What is the justification for the death of a good man?’
‘In Jei’s case there are two. The first may be revealed to you, the other will not.’
‘Will you take me to him?’ asked Rahun
‘No Rahun, you will find him.’
‘Alright, what do you want me to do?’ asked Rahun
‘Just hold my hand, I’ll do the rest’ replied Clotho.
Their fingers locked and light diffused through the mist. Clotho merged into Rahun, taking control of her mind. ‘Be still child this will not be pleasant for the both of us’ Clotho said as she began to probe the mind of the younger maiden. She began to see the events of Rahun’s life through her eyes, began to feel the same emotions of those moments both subconscious and conscious alike. The discomfort of her birth, the trials and frustrations of learning to crawl and walk, the security and love in her mothers embrace, the curiosity in her first magic, the pains of physical combat and discipline that comes after, the joy in her fathers story’s, the rare but excessive display of her anger. Clotho stirred forward towards her adolescence, she was thirteen. The sight of her first flow, her pride in her initiation into the ravier school of mages and naturals. Her first encounter with Jei, the embarrassment of seeing him staring at her nude and the rush of anger that followed. Her concern when she hit him with her staff and he blacked out, a concern that grew into fondness when he recuperated in her home. The fear she felt when Reinsted challenged him to a sword fight, her surprise at his skill and finally pride when he won. The confusion when the Royal guards came for him and the loneliness that followed his exit in her life.
The following year was filled with heart wrenching anguish. First, the death of her father in a hunting expedition. Followed by the mysterious passage of her mother. Too painful to bear Clotho stirred further ahead, she was sixteen lonely, depressed and a grand mistress of the dark arts. Jei returns, he is nineteen, tall and handsome. He stays with her and totally adores her. She falls in love and joy returns with his presence. She is seventeen and he teaches her the art of combat, she feels the aches in her joints and the pleasure of his embrace afterwards and at that moment, she feels the rapture of their first kiss and the many kisses that come after. Clotho steers further still, she is eighteen and feels concern at Jei’s constant nightmares and his refusal at her offer to help him. Their more frequent visits to the riverbed where they first met. Her elation at his proposal but fear at the discovery of his return. The agony that comes with the news of his death, an agony that paved way to rage, an uncontrollable rage that developed into a madness with one aim only- his return, a feat which lead her to the very gates of the dead.
Clotho in her six hundred years in office had never been there, and could not imagine how a mortal could stand the discomfort. With the pain she was undergoing came a greater determination to find him and free him, which she did, but at a price so great, she could not have imagined the cost. Her salvation and that of all humankind.
Suddenly she felt a sharp pain so wrenching it was almost unbearable and every moment she spent made it worse. Clotho knew this was the moment that Rahun was transformed into the cocoon. Unable to bear anymore she disengaged from the girl and pulled from her.
Clotho felt drained when she came out and stumbled slightly but Rahun caught her and set her to the floor gently. She looked up and saw Rahun staring back at her with tears falling down her face and a sad smile.
‘I may not understand the way of the gods Clotho but I know what we had was real and was worth fighting for and dieing for. I did not mean harm to anyone else.’
‘I know that now’
‘What will happen now?’
‘You will return to the world of men Rahun, if the sacrifice you made was worth the risk and the eventuality you will find in the new world, I leave to you to decide. I will leave you now’ Clotho said rising from the ground.
‘Will I see you again?’
‘Perhaps, but you must prepare for the tasks that lay ahead’
‘A ravier is always prepared’
‘For all our sakes I hope so’
Clotho opened her eyes and scrambled out of the cocoon, she pushed out until she was outside and she jumped attaching a silk thread to one end of the cocoon and fell to the ground with a loud thud. She immediately changed to her human form as she began walking towards the entrance where Cearki and Sharma stood awaiting her return.
‘We really need to talk’ she said to Sharma who only nodded her response.