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 For genprompt_bingo: the Eyes Are the Window of the Soul

Cleo knew very well that she should have stopped looking people in the eyes. There were futures there, pasts there, things she shouldn't have touched. Still, she did it anyways.

First, there were the people she met when she was still Clotho the Weaver, people who would ask about their futures and never get the answers they wanted. She can still see some of the people from back then now, with their dark eyes and dark pasts and dark futures.

Then there was Clio, the first immortal she had ever met that wasn't her sister. To be fair,  Clio had sisters of her own, eight of them, but they weren't tied together the same way the Fates were. Clio was a soft kind of person, shy and sweet with amber eyes too big for her face. Cleo never told her that she was going to die in the smoke and fire of a future going up in flames as the Third Gate was permanently destroyed. It still happened, and Cleo cried for the first time in years and the last time for centuries.

When she had been Queen of Spring and the Wife of Midsummer, she had looked into countless infant's eyes and told their parents of their futures in the most positive way possible. She had learned how to say "your son will be a serial killer" politely and "your daughter will die before she turns eighteen" with a smile on her face. It still felt like lying.

When she was nothing, few people asked her about the future. There had been a snobby little princess when she went by Cassandra the Witch who eventually got what was coming to her and a girl named Cass, barely old enough to sit on her mother's knee. That had been a sad encounter; forty years after moving in her time, she heard that River's Keep had been destroyed and the little girl with sky-blue eyes and her little sister had been the only survivors.

Last, there were her students: happy and sad and brave and nervous. Their futures had less blood in them, at least. Well, except for Alexandria. Alexandria, the one with the glowing gray eyes, had a long, dark future ahead of her. Miri, whose pale eyes reminded her of North Point, had a dark past that reminded her of the rumors she had heard, even in the Outside, of what had happened there. She wasn't surprised when it turned out that Miri was adopted. She was surprised that the darkness ended (or maybe started) with the mask of a King's Legion assassin, the infamous Dark Star herself if the cloak was any indication.

Still, when she got one glimpse into Dark Star's eyes, she nearly laughed. The king had no clue what was coming for him, with his favorite toy and the bubbling black mess of her life. It was just a shame she would never see it. Keep on, child, she had asped as the cursed blade slid out of her side and she felt herself finally dying, you have an interesting path ahead of you. Don't you remember me telling you that much, all those years ago? As her eyes closed for the last time, she swore she saw Dark Star cry.
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 for genprompt_bingo: Journeys and Quests

“Where are you going?” The building is empty, an abandoned temple with bloodstains on the  floor. Still, the voice is there, echoing around the room as Cass looks for its source.

“Who are you?” Cass asks. This is not normal, not even the usual not normal.

“Why are you here?” the voice demands to know.

“What’s going on?”

“You have reached a crossroads,” another girl who Cass is positive wasn’t there the minute before explains. She’s younger than Cass, maybe eight, and looks washed-out; her only color is her emerald green eyes. “I cannot let you go further.”

“Why not?”

“I am the guardian of this gate, kid. I’m not having another massacre on my watch.”

“I need to get through.”


“I need to find my sister.”


“She’s all I have left.”


“My entire village is gone.”


“The king demanded it.”

“Then how are you and your sister still alive?”

“We were out gathering food when they came. We hid. We ran. I need to find her. Please let me through.” The girl sighed.

“What is your name?”

“Cass of River’s Keep.”

“What is your quest?”

“To find my sister.”

“Do you swear to stick fast to this quest and leave once it is done?”


“Fine. Jane of the Fourth Gate grants you passage to the Outside. Best of luck, Cass Riverkeep.” Cass thanked her as she walked through the glowing doorway into a new world.

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 For genprompt_bingo: May you live in interesting times.

Some days, Cleo thinks about dying. She thinks she’s figured out how to do it, finally. She’s tried before, back when she was the Weaver of Greece and then as Queen of Spring and after that as the Wife of Midsummer and in those long years where she was nothing. She’s Cleo now, Cleo the Teacher in Silent Sound, and she hasn’t found a reason to die yet.

The dreams still come, bright and horrifying. She dreams of cities turned to ash and stars falling from the sky. The visions still come whenever she looks people in the eyes, futures that may come to pass for children barely old enough to read and tired, worn adults. Sometimes, she makes suggestions, things that sound like normal advice but with a precognition no one else will ever know about.

When she first meets Alexandria Smith, she’s six and part of her seventy-eighth second-grade class. Cleo still looks twenty-seven, like she has since before the library burned. That night still comes back to haunt her some nights, with first the taste of ashes and sand in her mouth and the knowledge that humanity had finally destroyed a gate and then the horror of realizing that Clio was still inside. Alexandria knows how to read already, so Cleo pays her little mind until, in one way or another, they lock eyes.

Cleo sees fire and blood, cities in ruin and streets filled with shattered glass, drawn swords and words made weapons. She wants to scream, to tell the little girl to run away, but she can’t. The words stick in her throat as she sees the sun setting for the last time over a ruined world instead of a ruined city. She can’t tell Alexandria just what her future holds; she would out herself and doom the world.

So, when asked what she would become by the little girl with glowing eyes and choppy hair, Cleo just smiles and says, “you will live in interesting times,” and doesn’t mention that it’s a famous curse. She’ll figure it out soon enough.


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July 2017

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