What do you think you are destined for in this life?
The Oracle was never wrong. The destinies she foretold were often vague and not understood for years, but they always came to light one way or another. For Luka, there was nothing vague about his Keys.
She had recoiled upon touching his hands, her wizened face turning frighteningly pale. In the harshest voice he had ever heard her speak, she uttered “The World Destroyer stirs. The Gate will open. Woe to the ones who love you.” Tears streaked her cheeks and she did not take her eyes from him as her acolytes escorted him back to the entrance.
His name rose from the village gathered outside, hundreds of voices speaking as one. They were waiting to welcome him into their ranks. Would they still embrace him if they knew the truth?
He saw Lydia still kneeling where he had left her moments before. Worry creased her brow and he realized his own eyes were still wide with shock. He took the steps slowly, breathing deeply with each one to calm himself. He could not project his fears onto her. She needed to be clear of mind when the Oracle returned for her. He was sure his face was smooth by the time he passed her, but he could not look at her while she was still awaiting her summons.
Their father clapped him on the shoulder with a hand firm from tending fields. Their mother wrapped him in her gentle arms, weeping tears of joy. Woe to the ones who love you. How long until her tears turned sorrowful? Behind them, his friends clapped and laughed. Priya and Josif, Alana and Mat. He was finally one of them.
Mat. What would he think of Luka if he knew?
His thoughts were interrupted as a hush fell over the village again. The Oracle had returned to her stoop and beckoned Lydia. Luka prayed her fortune would be simple and pleasant. Let one of them have an easy life.
When she exited the hut a few minutes later, there was a fire in her eyes. Whatever the Oracle had told her, it displeased her. She was always stubborn as a mule and Luka didn’t doubt she was already planning to take fate into her own hands.
Her name erupted from all around him as she glided down the steps. He kept his gaze on the ground so she wouldn’t see his own fear. She must have known, though. She always knew his feelings. She grasped his hand as soon as she was close enough and squeezed it tightly. The crowd was chanting both of their names now, singing and cheering and dancing through the streets as they escorted the twins to the Fortune Day Feast.
He had no appetite, but Lydia was not shy about her own dish. She seemed to be eating enough for the both of them anyway. He wanted to ask her what had her so fired up, but that meant asking her about her Keys, and he couldn’t bring himself to do that. He had no doubts she would tell him if he asked. After all, they had promised they would never have secrets from each other.
He held his secret in his heart as he watched his village celebrate. One day he would bring about their doom. It was his destiny after all. The Oracle was never wrong.
Notes: Destiny is a huge part of a lot of genre fiction, especially fantasy. Between the Chosen One trope and fate as a plot device, destiny sometimes becomes a character in its own right. It drives the conflict for sure. I love figuring out my characters’ destinies and seeing which ones go with it and which ones try to fight it. And then, of those, which actually succeed at making their own destiny.
I introduced these characters almost exactly one year ago for another prompt. In this world, people already know their destinies, or at least they know a few key parts about their future. My mom (hi mom!) has been begging me to go back to them and write more their story. This probably isn’t quite what she hoped for, but I did want to get Luka’s side of it. I do wonder now though how many other doom filled prophecies this Oracle has told. This got me to explore a little bit more of this world and I think a longer story is taking shape. So, sorry it’s still not done yet mom, but here’s a snippet more to hold you over? Haha!
Well, it’s Friday night, the weekend is here, and it’s supposed to rain the whole time. I’m going to see Endgame tomorrow. RIP me. My husband is very excited to see it for a second time. Mostly I think to watch me watch it for the first time. I’m sure Sunday’s post will just be a wall of tears. Anyway. I’ll see you then. Have a great weekend!
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