9 The Fates

They were the daughters of Ananke, the Primordial of Destiny, and Chronos, the Primordial of Time.

They were second-generation primordials, embodying the concept of Fate — an aspect of Destiny.

They were given many names and titles by gods and mortals throughout the long river of time: the Erinyes; the Three Witches; the Norns; the Moirai; the Graces; the Eumenides; the Shai; the Anunnaki; the Eumenides; the Parcae; the Charities.

They were ever-present throughout the divine pantheons of gods, taking on different forms and avatars to fulfil their responsibilities in an articulate way.

They were in charge of weaving the fates of all beings, while their mother Ananke oversaw and guided them.

Ultimately, they were the Fates—Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

The Maiden was a young lady with wavy blonde hair and a tight blue gown embroidered with faint golden lines. Her smile was as bright as the sun, and she carried a charm that could illuminate the dark side of the moon.

The Mother was a plump, middle-aged woman with spiky black hair. She wore a long, loose black gown with a belt around her waist. Her sapphire eyes, on the other hand, seemed to hold the warmth and care of every mother in the world.

The Crone was a scruffy old woman dressed in ragged, dusty robes and wielding a long, wooden staff. Her frowning expression was as judgmental as that of an old, conservative Christian.

And they descended upon the lands of Aryana, heeding the summons of the Primordial of Sleep.

Hypnos peered at the three Primordials, who were descending out waterfalls of starlight. The snake in his hand slithered out enthusiastically, mesmerised by their obscure aura.

The brilliant stars of the night lit an ethereal glow on the haunting face of the Maiden. "Hello, my dear cousin," she said sweetly. "It's wonderful to finally meet you."

The Mother looked at Hypnos with tender eyes. "You look thin, love," she inquired, concerned. "Has life been harsh on you?"

The irony of that question struck Hypnos. After all, Mother weaves everyone's lives together, deciding all of the events that occur in their lives.

Hypnos restrained his emotions totally. "The Moiria," he greeted them neutrally.

"He hates us," croaked the Crone, glaring at Hypnos.

"No," said Hypnos, pointedly. "I don't hate you."

"But you do hate," the Maiden said, her voice as sharp as a tack. "what we represent, don't you?"

Hypnos was unnerved by how much they knew about him. It was to be expected, given who they were and who their parents were, but it still didn't calm his chaotic heart. "Perhaps," he managed, unwilling to show vulnerability to them. "Perhaps not," he said quickly, seizing control of the conversation. "I've come as a seeker."

"Seeker?" said the Crone, her old grey eyes brimming with rage. "You want our help after everything you've done?!"

Hypnos was completely bemused by her sudden, raging words. And again, there was the same gut feeling as if everybody around him knew something about him that he himself didn't.

"Calm down, sister-self," soothed the Mother. "Let's hear him." she extended her hand to him. "He did bring us nice stuff."

Pressing his doubts, Hypnos allowed the green snake that had collided with his hand to slide into the palm of the Mother, where it arose and hissed excitedly at her face.

The Mother only opened her mouth. The green snake slithered into her, and she gulped as the last of its tail vanished into her.

"You may ask three questions," smiled the Maiden in satisfaction. "And get one answer from each of us."

Hypnos nodded. "My first question," he said, steeling himself for what was about to be revealed.

"What is my fate?"

A deafening silence filled the land. The air stopped flowing. The stars seized twinkling. The sky halted revolving. Time itself seemed to freeze.

In this infinitesimal moment, the Maiden revealed, her smile waning. "You are fate-less." with that, everything returned to normal. Time seemed to be able to flow again, released from whatever cosmic grip had held it.

A flood of relief flooded his mind and heart, almost short-circuiting his entire being. Much to his euphoria, the greatest worry he had since being reborn into this wonderful world had been settled. He was aware that his father had stated that the Primordials were not bound by Destiny and that their choices and will dictated themselves rather than the Fates, but it wasn't enough for him. He desired true freedom, and if the Fates had said he still had a fate, he would have done everything in his power to break it.

Hypnos didn't let his chaotic emotions show on his face since he was still facing the three witches, who were the embodiments of fate. At the very least, he understood why the Crone was upset with him. After all, his very existence contradicted everything that she signified and stood for.

But he wasn't worried that they'd attack him out of rage. He had the complete support of his mother and father, which was enough to make the Fates think twice about their actions. And they also have no hold over him, so even if they attacked him, he could stand against them with his power.

As he expected, the Maiden smiled again, more dazzling than before. "Mother Ananke bestowed some of her boundless kindness on you, fate-breaker."

"Praise Mother Ananke." The Fates immediately called out in unison, looking at him with rapt expectation as if they expected him to kneel and sing praises to their mother.

"Praise Lady Ananke." Hypnos followed. He was going to lose nothing by showing respect to the Primordial of Destiny. And he had a sneaking suspicion that Ananke was probably watching him right now.

With that thought, the exhilaration and elation that had been clouding his mind faded, and he returned to a state of calmness and rationality. Now comes the important question: Why was he fateless? Could it be because he was originally not from this world? Or did someone grant him freedom from Fate?

For once, he didn't believe it was Ananke who granted him his freedom, as the Fates had decreed. He didn't think Ananke would be so kind and generous as to willingly release someone from her domain. That was how the primordials were. When it came to their domains, they were even more sensitive than the gods.

Who else could it have been if not Ananke...?

Hypnos put a stop to his flying thoughts and concentrated on the Fates, who were now looking at him with a little disappointment for his obvious lack of piety for their mother. "My second question," he said straightaway.

The Mother smiled as the disappointment in her eyes waned into warmth. "Go on, dear."

Hypnos took a moment of silence to contemplate, and then he asked. "Did my existence create the changes in Titanomachy?"

"Hypnos," The Mother whispered, "you dreamt of freedom for years, consciously and subconsciously. And it has begun to affect your domains." she paused. "Your existence as the only fateless would have no bearing on the grand scheme of things. You would have brought a little change, but nothing that we couldn't handle in the end."

"However, you are much more than the Fateless. You are the Dream King. The Prince of Stories. The Lord of the Subconscious. The Shaper." The Mother went on, her voice becoming deep and mythical. "Your ceaseless dreams of freedom and your existence as the fateless combined to impact the very pillar of Destiny."

"And reality began to slowly change to your will, wanting freedom from Destiny as well. Our threads began to fray and unwind on their own. But our great mother, Ananke, immediately recognised the dire situation and expelled your influence from her domain. However, there were still repercussions, Titanomachy being one of them. We are still dealing with all of them, bringing everything back to their destined path."

Hypnos blinked. He was surprised—extremely so. He knew that his dreams, emotions, and feelings would always affect his domains subconsciously. This was why he was attempting to control his mind in order to avoid wreaking havoc on reality. But he had to admit that when it comes to his dream of freedom, his control often escapes him.

Does his parents know about this? They could, especially since his father had been more subtle in their previous conversation and Ananke had not yet smitten him for his intrusion. He really needed to talk to them. He also noted the need to get his dreams under his absolute control.

Hypnos peered at the Crone. "Last question," he asked neutrally. "Will you obstruct my path?" He may be fateless, but there are still ways for the Fates to influence him indirectly.

"Shaper," the Crone grudgingly replied. "Your existence is bound to bring about change to the cosmos. It is impossible to prevent since you are as much a part of existence as we are. And we recognise that, so we will not obstruct your path as long as you do not blaspheme our stories."

Hypnos nodded, a wave of relief washing over him. Honestly, he didn't want to make enemies out of the Fates unless there were no other viable options considering who their parents were: Time and Destiny. It would be a literal nightmare to go against their family.

"And we are not your adversaries, far from it," the Crone continued, much to his surprise. Her scowling lips were raised to form a wistful smile. "Your true enemies lie beyond the stars, dormant and slumbering."

"What do you mean?" Hypnos immediately questioned.

"You have asked your questions!" The Fates roared as one. Thousands of streaks of cataclysmic lightning lit up the entire night sky, followed by ruinous thunder that rattled the entire planet.

And they were gone in blinding theatrics.

The night devoured the lightnings in the sky, and the earth swallowed the rumbling of the world. Everything returned to serenity, with little to no change visible other than the gobsmacked expressions on the faces of many gods nearby.

Hypnos looked at the night sky. Millions of stars glistened in a haunting way.

'Your true enemies lies behind the stars, dormant and slumbering.'

The ominous words of the Crone reverberated in his mind indefinitely as he tried to make sense of it all, but all he was left with were endless questions and mysteries.

Hypnos was confident that the old bitch revelaed that information on purpose to take away his happiness and excitement at hearing the answers.

Though the words of Crone may be true or not, he had an eternity to worry about that, but not tonight. He wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of revenge.

Hypnos continued to gaze at the stars in silence for a moment, and then he teleported away from central Asia through dreams before his veil of concealment could break under thousands of prying gazes.


The Underworld.

Hypnos materialised in front of Hecate's abode. The Goddess of Magic was waiting for him, sitting on one of the black, even rocks near the river Lethe. "Have you...?" she asked as soon as she saw him.

"Yes," Hypnos said softly.

"My duty ends here, Lord Hypnos," Hecate said coolly, seeing his smile.

"Thank you," Hypnos said gratefully.

Hecate nodded and rose from the rock. She then strode towards her home.

Hypnos looked at her receding figure with a slight hesitation. "Hecate," he finally called.

"Lord Hypnos?" Hecate turned.

"I want to," Hypnos said, clearing his throat. "Give you an offer."

A flicker of surprise flashed past her dark eyes as if she didn't expect that at all, like him. He just made up his mind right then and there.

Hecate walked back to him. "I am all ears."

"Dream and Magic." Hypnos said, "We use them to bend reality to our will. To let our fantasies and desires come true. They are in many ways related to one another."

"So, I offer you the position of my attendant," he continued, his gaze fixed on her. "You could move into my realm. There, I make the laws and rules. So the limitations and restrictions on you will immensely loosen, and you could delve into the mysteries of magic more freely. And all I ask in return is your undying loyalty."

Hypnos always wanted to build his own force. After receiving the Fates' answers and seeing Hecate's limitless potential, he felt now was the best time to begin than ever.

Hearing his offer, something intense stirred in the dark eyes of Hecate, especially at the word "freely." Her demeanour, on the other hand, was as calm and serene as ever.

"I'm not forcing you. You are free to turn down my offer." Hypnos clarified with a light chuckle. "I won't curse you or do anything like that for rejecting me. I'm not that petty, but I'll still be disappointed."

Hecate finally cracked a smile. "Lord Hypnos—"

Hypnos cut her off. "Take your time and carefully consider my offer before responding," he said as he passed her a vial of starry sand that would allow her to enter his realm. "Since you are at the most important crossroads of your path, Hecate,"

Hypnos relished seeing her ever-so-serene face collapse in shock at his final words. It was completely worthwhile. Then he teleported away to Tartarus, leaving her stunned in silence.


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