Original Flash Fiction created for the S'More Stories Podcast.
To listen to it read by me, click here.
Prompt: Tattoo Magic & “Then it’s on me. Your fate is in my hands.”
Word Count: 1,000
To say it was raining was an understatement. The sky was blanketed in dark thunderous clouds and the rain obscured anything more than a foot away. The scattered stones, creating altar ruins, had lost their lustrous grays and became inky black and featureless. The statue of Fate cried somewhere close by, her silhouette barely visible.
The only things I could see clearly was magic, glowing yellow, looping around my wrists and threatening to lash out like a cobra if I moved. And of course I saw her. She wielded her scorn with the same ferocity as her magic.
It reminded me of the day we got these gifts. I accepted them with what I would consider dignity and grace, as any knight would. Yet she accepted them with a fire and passion that I had never witnessed before. We were told by the goddess herself to protect what was hers. We promised. She promised.
…Naomi, why didn’t you keep your promise?
Despite the roaring rain, her voice was clear enough for me to hear just how baffled she sounded. “How can you choose to be good - to be this- when you can’t even feel it?”
Her magic responded like a snake to its charmer. It coiled from my wrists to my neck, but I remained steady. “How could you choose to be-” Evil wasn’t the right word. Naomi was hurt. She was better than that. “How could you choose this path when you can?” For all of my lack of feeling, it felt like looking into a mirror when I saw the surprise and betrayal in her eyes.
It was funny how that worked. Feeling. She may have been right, but I couldn’t help but think that I started to feel a lot more ever since I met her. And now she hovered over me with an intent to kill. All of this talk about feeling seemed a bit overrated if this is where you ended up.
“Fate herself gave us these gifts. We are to protect her heart. Not break it.”
“She broke mine.” Her voice was like glass shattering. Lightning flashed and in the brief light I could see every emotion coloring her face. “I gave my life for her,” Naomi continued. “But what would an empty husk like you know about life. You have nothing besides your devotion while Fate continues to take from me. Does it mean anything to you, seeing her take my sister - letting her die?”
I was a knight, forged by Fate, but something told me that Naomi was not searching for accuracy in titles. Beyond it, I did not have a defense to stand on. I was forged but Naomi was pulled from her life into something more extraordinary.
“I never asked to bear the weight of Fate’s heart or her responsibility.” She answered as if she heard my thoughts. “She took away my choice and you think she cares about any of us? We’re just strings woven in her tapestry. She knows what happens to us and she still chooses to let us suffer. Well, no more.”
She responded to my silence with magic and even now it was fascinating to watch how it flowed so fluidly as it decorated her skin. Even now, as the altar responded to her, causing strings of light to appear from the stones and connect to the statue of Fate, Naomi was… beautiful. But I had lived long enough to know that even beauty could be dangerous.
The strings of lights attached to Fate’s open hands began to weave into an ever growing tapestry, the shapes and designs constantly moving and changing.
My gift was etched in metal, scratched and worn over time. It was a tool, strict and confined to the weaponry drawn onto me. And as I drew upon it, my own magic glowed purple breaking the binds, while acting as a defense for the statue. First a shield. Then a sword. Then a polearm. We danced as light crashed into each other just like our days sparring. The only difference now was that each strike from Naomi was more dangerous than the first. Rage consumed her and I tried to ease her into reason. “This is not the way, Naomi. If you destroy the tapestry you will damage more than you’ll fix.”
“If Fate has written my failure, I will at least give her a good fight!”
We had sparred before, but I had never lost an arm. It was fixable. Probably.
We had sparred before, but I had never drawn blood. I paused when she started to bleed and I nearly lost my arm for it.
We had sparred before, but I had always bested her and this was no different. She was good, but I was born for this. And as I pointed a sword at her, I caught my reflection in it.
It was… odd. It looked like I was crying, but I was sure it was just the rain. Maybe this is what it felt like though.
“Were we ever… friends?” I don’t know why I asked, but when she broke eye contact, I felt… heavier. Of course it’d be foolish to think something like that. She was chosen, but I was forged and choice made all the difference. I shouldn’t have assumed our relationship was anything more than cordial. We were Guards of Fate, though, as of recently our goals weren’t aligned.
“Go on then.” Naomi severed the tense silence. “Do as you are puppetted to do.” Even though she collapsed, the dignity remained in her eyes as she stared at the sky. The dark clouds drifted to reveal specks of stars to break up the night’s monotony. The peacefulness was haunting.
Without faith, we would cease to exist and yet my magic wavered. “Then…” A breath. Hers or mine I wasn’t quite sure. “It’s on me then. Your fate… is in my hands.”
I just… didn’t expect Naomi to be the first choice I ever had.