The beating heart of Death

A story unrelated to Aeyuu, but a short story all the same!

Please enjoy 😀

* * *

He only saw the stars in her eyes.

She was as night incarnate; clad in black, long dark hair flowing upon absent winds, and deep black eyes twinkling like small galaxies on the nightsky. For the first time in his immemorial life, Marwi felt. He wanted to get closer to this woman and study her features, or so he thought; what he felt, however, was the desire to lose himself in the sense of familiarity conjured by her darkness.

But the nightlady was not as night. She was not peaceful, nor did she obey the laws of nature. She was angry; an artificial anger induced by Fate, whose twisting mark shone blood red on the nightlady’s cleavage. Her face, contorted by emotion, seemed nonetheless to betray a certain reluctance. Defiance. He noticed how her fists shook, how her stance swayed.

When he stood close, near enough to touch her face if he’d so wished, the nightlady crossed the gap herself. He suddenly felt a sort of cold weight penetrate his abdomen.

He was surprised to discover the nightlady’s knife-sharp fingers had dug deep through skin and whatever else his mortal-shaped body was made of. And Marwi felt discomfort, and something akin to what he imagined mortal pain to be like, when the nightlady twisted her knife-fingers in his wounds. A thick, light-purple liquid stained his immaculate tunic. Marwi was too stunned to react.

How could night incarnate, a bearer of natural tranquility, show such contempt for the cycle’s finality that he represented? Had Fate’s influence disrupted this woman’s common sense? Or, perhaps, did she not know…

“I,” he began, flooding his desertic mouth with seas of saliva while his mind deployed the correct linguistics, “I am Thanatos. These lands are mine. Wh—”

Marwi winced; the nightlady had twisted her fingers again, cold metallic nails ripping through his innards. Her face contorted with disgust; black eyes shone with red slivers of enslavement.

“Lies! Thanatos abdicated his throne and departed! We stand as the mortals’ fate – and I, Atropos, am the sole arbiter of death!”

Ah. This name, Marwi had heard among the Greek before – Atropos, one of the three Moirai who presided over matters of fate, or so mortal storytelling had shaped. She was the eldest of three sisters who, according to tradition, spun the thread of man’s life; she was the one who cut said thread and ended the mortals’ lives.

This, he thought, would explain why her face displayed such abhorrence towards him.

He glanced down at her skin-piercing fingers and thought; then, he placed his hand on hers and lifted his gaze to meet her frowning disgust. Crimson stars flickered in her eyes; inner nature, fear perhaps, struggling against conditioning.

“You are far too young to pose a threat to me. Desist now.”

She bore her teeth and twisted her fingers again, bringing Marwi to his knees. He could feel it now, seeping along the natural coldness of her blade-like nails: Fate’s boiling rage flailing at his insides like a many-tailed whip stripping man’s back of its flesh. Yet he still held onto Atropos’ hand, tightly, and through the white-outs in his sight he noticed how unstable she stood,…

… how her dress, a black velvet carpet of stardust, shone with every curve of her quivering legs…

He could have easily conjured a weapon from the surrounding darkness and ended this immortal’s life – if, and only if, she had sought to dethrone him, as Thanatos once had. But he could not rationalize his thinking further. In truth, whether she had sought to depose him was irrelevant in his star-filled eyes. He simply did not wish her dead.

If anything, he wished to see her again.

He said, “Atropos.”

She responded with a scowl and another twist of her deadly fingers. Marwi gritted his teeth.

Now, he knew what was to come, and he chose this fate for the both of them.

His hand flicked; bones snapped in his grasp. Color drained from Atropos stricken face and she drew deep breath to scream out in multitonal agony. Red veins pulsed along her chest, framed the edges of her delicate face, and faded from her eyes.

As she collapsed, so did Marwi rise. Already the throbbing in his wounded shell had all but waned to nothingness – and none too soon. In the distance, beyond the blackness of death, a cavernous roar announced the coming of a second and far more dangerous contestant. Yet he did not worry for himself, nor did he worry for the hateful woman writhing at his feet. She would recover soon; he had ensured it be so.

And, incomprehensibly, he looked forward to the time when,
“We will meet again.”

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