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April Ficlet: Hand of Fate

Almost forgot about this today...

Hand of Fate
(Original Fic, Genre: Fantasy, 759 words)

Prompt: Foreseeing an event before it happens.

“If you are a man of prophecy, are you not the judge of your own fate?” Dove asked, staring up at the firelight dancing across the forest canopy.

“I’d like to think I am,” Nenver said, not turning his head. Dove stared at his profile. Nenver's broad shoulders cast a long shadow behind him, it fell across Dove’s legs, stretched out as they were behind Nenver.

“Who would have thought – my little human friend would be destined to deliver his people from evil,” Dove smiled. “Do you think we were destined to meet? Or were you really just a poor orphan boy who had never been told not to play with shadows?”

“If I were destined to be your friend, you’d think they’d be happier about it,” Nenver replied, his head turning to glare at their travel companions. They all sat at a different, larger fire. Dove didn’t look over. He had put up with disapproving glares all day – he did not want to see them in the night too. The night was his.

“Destined or not, I do not regret it,” Nenver said quietly, turning to smile at Dove over his shoulder.

“There’s something I don’t understand,” Dove whispered, looking back to where the smoke curled around the leaves. “If you are destined to be the judge of fate, yet you only follow the path because you are told it is destined, does that not make you fate’s hand and not it’s judge? And if you are only the hand of fate – well, then you are not the judge, and the prophecy is as wrong as it would be if you chose not to leave your home. Yet, if you chose not to leave your home, even though you are said to be fated to – would that not make you the judge of fate?”

Dove furrowed his brow, and then looked over at Nenver to find Nenver staring at him confusion.

“What?”

Dove sighed. What, indeed.

“I don’t like the idea that you are not in charge of your own actions,” Dove spoke plainly. “You should be Fate’s judge, not her hand.”

“I am here of my own accord,” Nenver said. “Besides, you’re a hand and you seem quite happy with it.”

“Aye,” Dove nodded.

“Do you miss it?” Nenver asked, turning so his body now faced Dove as much as the fire. “The city, your work...”

“I am sure there will be chance enough to take lives,” Dove huffed a laugh. “I have simply traded being the Assassins’ hand for being your hand. The work, I feel, will be much the same. I will kill those you wish me to.”

“I wish you wouldn’t kill anyone,” Nenver muttered.

“A kingdom cannot survive unless there are people to till the soil, people to work the forge, people to make the clothes, and people to do the killing,” Dove recited.

Nenver shook his head. Dove smiled.

“I’ll keep watch,” Dove said. “You should go to sleep, Nen.”

“They’ll keep watch,” Nenver nodded in the direction of the party of warriors, some already in their bedrolls, others still sitting by the fire – their blades close at hand. “You should try to sleep this night. We won’t always be able to stop during the day.”

“If the gods wanted me to sleep at night, they would not have made me a shadow, nor the sun so tiring,” Dove shook his head.

“You’ll regret it tomorrow,” Nenver insisted, “that much I can foresee.”

“Hmm, perhaps you are the judge of fate,” Dove said, sitting up, “If you can foresee events before they happen.”

“Shut up,” Nenver reached out to punch Dove on the shoulder, but Dove saw it coming. He dissolved into shadow, shifting around Nenver’s hand, tickling the knuckles as he moved to and through the heavier darkness behind Nenver’s back. He reformed on the other side of him.

“Sleep well,” Dove said into Nenver’s ear, before Nenver had even turned his head to see where Dove may have gone.

Nenver jumped, and swore at Dove – but Dove was already melting into darkness again, this time with his bow and quiver in hand. He’d spend the night keeping watch on the ridge, invisible in the shadows. If this night were like the previous, Nenver would be invited to join the larger fire, once they saw that Dove was no longer with him. Dove knew it was important for humans to have human friends, and if the prophecies were correct, Nenver would need more than a shadow by his side.



Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
monicawoe
Apr. 6th, 2013 05:06 am (UTC)
Interesting universe!
I love the idea of a living shadow.
hells_half_acre
Apr. 6th, 2013 05:20 am (UTC)
Thanks! It's an idea for a fantasy novel that I want to write. Right now I'm just playing around with characters, because I haven't actually thought of a plot yet. I'm toying with the idea of doing a traditional "man of prophecy must save the world somehow" (Nenver), but telling the whole story from the point of view of his living-shadow best friend (Dove).
borgmama1of5
Apr. 6th, 2013 08:12 am (UTC)
Cool teaser! Where has this universe been hiding?
hells_half_acre
Apr. 6th, 2013 08:22 am (UTC)
It's been hiding in my head for the past 10 years, almost exactly 10 years actually.

I recently became re-inspired about it though, and I'm thinking it might make for a good summer project. Weaving little vignettes of it into my April Ficlets is a way for me to test the waters, so to speak.

I'm glad you thought it was cool. I was worried just dropping in without any background information on the characters would be kind of confusing for everyone. :P
elliemurasaki
Apr. 6th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
Ooo. Intriguing.
hells_half_acre
Apr. 6th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks! This universe is currently the love of my mental life.
franztastisch
Apr. 6th, 2013 09:03 pm (UTC)
AAAAHHHH. That's amazing! I want mooooooore.
hells_half_acre
Apr. 6th, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
Today's ficlet is going to be more. ;) I'm working on it right now.

Glad you like it! If I could think of a goddamn plot, I'd write a novel this summer using these characters. Right now, all I can think of are tropes and cliches of the fantasy genre - which, you know, maybe I should just use since there's probably a reason everyone else uses them. :P
franztastisch
Apr. 6th, 2013 09:26 pm (UTC)
Oh man, if you want brainstorming help I am totally up for that. Writing for me is like getting blood from a stone but brainstorming and thinking stuff up makes me ridiculously happy. :D
hells_half_acre
Apr. 6th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)
I may just take you up on that. Expect an email later today (or tomorrow, if you go to sleep or something foolish like that.) ;)
franztastisch
Apr. 6th, 2013 09:39 pm (UTC)
Woohoo! :D I look forward to it. Though it'll probably be tomorrow for me, I'm like... seven hours ahead of you. :P
hells_half_acre
Apr. 6th, 2013 10:13 pm (UTC)
That's what I figured. I'm about to post today's ficlet. But then I probably want lunch, and THEN I'll write you an email. So... enjoy your sleep!
franztastisch
Apr. 6th, 2013 10:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm currently reading your SPN/Merlin xover and giggling like a loon. So I'll be writing you a comment for that, then for your ficlet and then sleeping. Yey! Sleep! Enjoy your lunch!

(Sorry, I've been listening to happy music and am ridiculously happy and keep giggling randomly and I think it's spilling over into my comments. Expect CAPSLOCKFUNS. :P)
hells_half_acre
Apr. 6th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
Cool! (Ficlet is up!)

I'm glad you're enjoying the SPN/Merlin xover, and I look forward to your comment. CAPS and all. ;)

Now, to decide what to have for lunch... I should also probably shower and take out of the garbage. I live a glorious life. Enjoy sleep!
fannishliss
Apr. 11th, 2013 01:00 pm (UTC)
awesome concept!

very cool characterizations in the ficlet. :)
hells_half_acre
Apr. 11th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )