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Spartan Scoop

Spartan Scoop

Inform · Connect · Entertain

Spartan Scoop

Fates be Damned

-Harper Jontow

Part 1

At the instant of drowning he invoked the three sisters
it was a mistake, an aberration, to cry out for
Life everlasting

-Rosemary Dobson

In the beginning, the Moirai sisters were the epitome of ordinary. Three sisters living together, arguing over benign things, defending each other to other people and just barely social enough. As time went on they began to change. It started out simply: Clotho, the youngest, could guess what someone would say or do before they did; Lachesis, the middle sister, knew the age of everyone around her without being told; Atropos, the eldest of the three, was by far most morbid.  Everytime she went anywhere, someone would die. Eventually their abilities began to progress. When Clotho wanted something to happen, it did; as soon as Lachesis met someone, she knew their age to the millisecond and how long they had until they died; once again, Atropos had the morbid talent. If Atropos wished someone dead — they died. 

At first they were just cautious. Clotho stopped playing guessing games and wishing for things. Lachesis simply carried on as usual and didn’t mention ages to anyone. Atropos stopped leaving the house, if she wasn’t there when someone died there was no pattern and if she didn’t talk to anyone there would be no reason to wish them dead. For a while it worked and they continued on as if it were normal behavior. Eventually, their strategy failed, and they were found out.

The day started off with Clotho’s usual morning run. She didn’t expect to find a man drowning. When she came home, her sisters didn’t expect her to have a soaking wet man following behind her. 

“What were you thinking?”Atropos asked, horrified that Clotho would bring someone into their home when they were just barely keeping their secret as it was. 

“You’re being dramatic. We just have to be careful. It’s not like that’s new to us,” Clotho said indignantly.

“Clotho you’re being naïve! If he finds out about us we’ll have to kill him and relocate! There’s no avoiding it,” They continued to argue back and forth while Lachesis watched on in silence. “If he finds out we control people’s lives he will use it-” Atropos’ point, however valid it may have been, was cut off by a quiet gasp.

“You do what?” The man’s voice was raspy and he seemed to have trouble annunciating his words. “When you say you control lives, do you mean you can keep me alive?”

Lachesis finally broke her silence, “We know more about you than you know yourself. We know your name, Alexander; we know your age, the exact day you will die and how. We can change that at will. If we wanted to keep you alive we could, however there is no reason for us to, so we will not.” At that the man laughed. It was a brittle sound.

“You will grant me immortality, or I will tell everyone your secret and you can’t stop me,” There was a finality to his threat and the sisters were silent.

Part 2

He came up like a cork and back to the river-bank,
put ton his clothes in reverse order,
Went back to his house.

-Rosemary Dobson

“You’ll expose us?” Lachesis asked, a strain in her voice.

“Yes. I will,” Alexander said with no hesitation or uncertainty. He was completely confident in his ability to prevent fate and blackmail those who control it. Lachesis’ restraint snapped and she began to laugh.

“I believe that you will try, but you seem to forget that we can stop you whenever we please,” Atropos pointed out, ever the helpful sister. 

“Now now sister, don’t be so rash,” Clotho interjected. “I tried to help this man when I didn’t have to and now he has the audacity to threaten us in our own home? I think something must be done, don’t you agree?” At that all three sisters laughed and Alexander appeared to second guess himself. Clotho turned to leave, done with the conversation, she had offered kindness to a man in distress, and instead of being grateful, he used her family’s abilities to blackmail her.

“Hold on a second,” Atropos called out, a whisper of deception in her voice. Clotho stopped to hear what Atropos had to say. “Why shouldn’t we give him what he asks for? It would be no trouble for us and we won’t have to worry about him remembering and sharing something he shouldn’t because he’ll have what he wants.”

“Yes, exactly! It would be best if you did grant me eternal life,” Alexander had excitement in his voice as he spoke and it was clear he thought Atropos had something good in mind.

“You’re right my dear sister, we should certainly entertain the idea,” Clotho told Atropos before turning to Alexander with a gleam in her eyes.“You will remain here while we discuss how to grant your wish.” The three sisters turned and left the room, locking the study door behind them, leaving Alexander trapped.

The sisters sat in their living room in silence as they contemplated how to give Alexander what he wanted, while still punishing him for threatening them and abusing their kindness. No obvious solution came to the forefront and it seemed that Atropos may have been a bit preemptive in promising their prisoner eternal life, and her sisters his punishment. The only sound for hours was their quiet breaths and the occasional shout from the locked room. It went on like this for days, Atropos and Clotho watching over Alexander and brainstorming possible solutions to their problem, Lachesis leaving often enough for those who knew them to think everything was normal. 

Alexander finally grew impatient and began to ask questions the sisters couldn’t answer, “Why is this taking so long, can’t you just snap your fingers and give me what I wish for?”

“It is not that simple. We do not simply grant you life,” Clotho answered after a long pause. “Lachesis must readjust the length she gave you, Atropos must find a way to make your life unbreakable, and I need to find a way to fill it. We aren’t simply cutting it short, instead of letting it progress as originally planned, we must write an eternity of events to it.” As she spoke, it hit her. There was no need to add to it when he could live forever without a new life. At last the sisters had a semblance of a plan.

Part 3

He suffered the enormous agonies of passion
Writing poems from the end backwards
Brushing away tears that had not yet fallen.
-Rosemary Dobson

In theory, Clotho’s plan was simple. Grant Alexander immortality, but instead of  stopping his aging and designing a new fate, she would loop it. She would erase her rescue and allow him to drown. This time, when Alexander drowns, time will reset and he’ll begin to age backwards in a continuing cycle. The problem, however, lay in the execution. Clotho and her sisters had figured out how to kill, how to keep alive, and how to change a life. Bringing someone back to life and trapping them in an eternal loop was a completely different story. They had ideas and possible solutions, but there was no manual, no set guide on how to handle their abilities and manipulate people’s futures to this extent. 

Lachesis may be able to make someone’s age infinite, but she couldn’t decide that they’ll awaken from death and then age backward. Atropos’s job was simple, all she had to do was decide that Alexander would drown and then he would. Beyond that the plan seemed impossible. Despite Clotho originally coming up with the plan, she had no clue how to proceed. The fact that her sisters were also unsure could very well mean they were back at the drawing board.

“Why can’t we just try?” Lachesis asked. “We’ve never done this before, but what’s to stop us from trying? Our goal is to punish him, so even if we fail and he is dead forever, why should we care?”

“It’s about honor. We promised him this and to let him die would be going back on our word,” Atropos argued.

“Did we really promise? We told him we would discuss the means to grant him his wish, but not that we would succeed or even try for that matter. We’ve already put more effort into this than we ever had reason to,” Lachesis insisted, secretly thinking that they should have just killed him immediately. 

“No,” Clotho finally spoke up. “We’ve spent this time to ensure that he suffers. Yes, we never promised anything, but he deserves to be punished for threatening us. He must learn that immortality isn’t always what would be expected. He should have been more careful of what he was wishing for.”

“Perhaps you’re both correct,” Atropos chimed, her voice thoughtful when she spoke. “We  want him to suffer, and if this plays out and we do grant him immortality in a loop, then he’ll do just that,” she paused. “If we fail, however, why should we care? Either way, he will have been punished. Whether that be because his wish backfired or he is simply dead.”

All the sisters agreed, and so their planning began in detail. Atropos would find the day that Clotho saved Alexander from drowning and let him die. Lachesis would decide that his age would never progress. Then Clotho would plan out exactly how his life would proceed, and finally the plan was put into motion.

Part 4

Loving her wildly as the day regressed towards morning
He watched her swinging in the garden, growing younger,
Bare-foot, straw-hatted.
-Rosemary Dobson

“Alexander,” Clotho’s voice was sharp as she called to the prisoner. “We have a plan for your future, follow me.” The two exited the locked room and entered the living room where the other sisters were gathered.  The sisters turned and looked at Alexander and he stared back waiting for his immortality to be granted.

“Well?” Alexander finally broke the silence. “Get on with it will you?” The sisters did not answer him, but rather watched him grow steadily more anxious. His discomfort brought them a strange sort of pleasure and the sisters didn’t want it to end. Finally, Lachesis spoke with a sigh.

“It should be relatively easy, we simply need to go back to before Clotho rescued you and alter the end result so that you are not saved, yet you do not die.”

“What on earth does that mean?” Alexander’s voice was coloured with rage as he continued, “This was all some kind of trick? You expect me to believe this plan when it is clear you are just sending me back to the river and allowing me to die? I would think that for people who can control time you would be better liars.”

Rather than correct him the three sisters laughed. “You are right,” Atropos said. “It would be so easy to manipulate and trick a mortal like you, however that is not our plan. We do not go back on our word, you truly will live forever, we simply must erase ourselves from the narrative first.”

“Why is that needed?” Although his anger was gone, Alexander still seemed sceptical, “If you honor your end of the deal as you say you are, then I will honor mine and not tell a soul of your existence.”

Clotho had been silent the entire conversation despite the fact that the plan had been hers. However, at this she finally seemed to find her voice, “It is more complicated than that. Knowing of our existence means that you could come back at any time to ask us for something more, it means that you could use your knowledge of our existence to manipulate fates outside of your own and that is something we simply cannot risk.”

Although it took much longer than they expected, the sisters finally convinced Alexander that they weren’t just going to kill him. The longer he argued the stronger the temptation to do just that grew.

The sisters circled around Alexander and summoned their powers together to turn back time to the day of Alexander’s almost drowning. As they do so they also look throughout his entire life to learn everything there is to know about him: his first love, his childhood — the low points, the highlights and every moment in between — they learn about his job and the people he hates. The sisters see everything about him and by the time they have reached the date, time and place of the near drowning there is not a single secret in Alexander’s life. It was time for them to begin.

Part 5

And when she was gone and the house and the swing and daylight
There was an instant’s pause before it began all over,
The reel unrolling towards the river.
-Rosemary Dobson

The spell started off simply enough; it wasn’t even a spell at all. They stood by as he began to drown rather than go after him and pull him. That was when it got more complicated. Atropos felt his death pull at her and yet she did nothing, she did not release him from life but simply held him tighter. While Atropos focused solely on keeping him alive, Lachesis stopped his aging, he would never reach a day older than he was in that precise moment. The final step was left to Clotho, she found his path as it had been predetermined, but rather than let it end where it should have, she pulled one end to the other and connected them permanently. Finally, the sisters were done and they watched as Alexander drowned, then, they watched him rise again. Their plan had worked.

Despite all the doubts that the sisters had harboured, the satisfaction of watching Alexander suffer from his own wish was a greater reward than they could have ever hoped. They watched as, slowly, he digressed in age. They laughed as everyone he cared for slowly grew older and yet he did the reverse, and the gap between those he loved and himself grew steadily wider. The greatest joy they felt however, was watching as he grew up again and again. He knew that any connections he made, he would lose, and yet he could never seem to resist the pull of those around him. It was a cycle he could never escape for he had no control over it, the sisters pulled his strings and left him to live his life as their own marinette. Alexander fell in love again and again, and he lost it all again and again. Not once did anyone stick around in his life, when he reached 30 and he slowly lost all progress, his hopes dashed repeatedly for the rest of time. Never again did he meet the sisters, he held no memory of them. All Alexander knew was the pain of losing everyone he would ever love. 

The sisters however remembered him for the rest of their infinite lives. They used his suffering as a reminder as to what they were capable of, and they used the memory of his blackmail as evidence they could never help another mortal soul again. The sisters were forever haunted by their actions, in spite of the joy they took from his pain and loss. They tried to justify it to themselves. They tried to play innocent and rid themselves of their guilt, yet not once did they ever consider undoing what they had done. The agony they felt at knowing the evil that darkened their souls was never enough to convince them that perhaps forgiveness of Alexander’s misdeeds toward them was possible, or even something Alexander deserved. For the rest of time, Alexander’s life cycled for him, the brief joy he felt overshadowed by the neverending fear of love, and the sisters forever chose vengeance over lifting the weight that hung over them. The day Clotho first saved Alexander from the rapids, was the day that changed the sisters forever, removing any hope they had of ignoring the curse of holding life itself in their hands. It was the day the sisters truly became the three damned fates.