DISCLAIMERS: Like usual Xena and Gabrielle are under strict supervision by MCA/Universal/Renaissance who own them. But I've busted them out, and a couple others, for this story.
Warning~There is violence in this tale, but I'm trying to keep it to a minimum. The story does call for this, and as you read you'll understand why.
Warning~AltFic but is in no way explicit. If you can't handle the idea of two women that might care for each other beyond friendship, kiss my...err...sword hilt and read it anyway. Perhaps you will grow as a person and be more fun to hang around. If you still refuse to read it...your loss. Hope the rest of you enjoy this.;}~~~
This was the realm of the Fates, those three elder godly aspects that governed the past, present, and future of the lives of mortal..and gods. Atropos who spun the stuff of the cosmos into being and sang it into life. Klothos who held the distaff and watched over the lives in the present. Lachesis who's dreaded position it was to watch the future and end a thread. Born in a time before even Zeus himself had been conceived, these three were respected by all. Not even the King of Gods could order these three if they decided that his words were folly. Their work took precedent over the whims of pettiness and the constant warfare on the high reaches of Mt. Olympus.
In one far-flung part of this place these three women, who's ages seemed to change from moment to moment, were crowded around several threads. Tension fairly simmered in the air as the Fates studied each thread from beginning to end...and then beyond into the tapestry where the choices made by these mortals caused chaos.
"We must intervene." Klothos spoke to her sisters.
Atropos shrugged. "It matters not to me. What will happen has no bearing on what was."
"Not true. It is all tied together, but it is the future that is at stake here. The past might be changed, but the present is where the choice must be made. This one..." Lachesis pointed to a multi-hued strand that started out bright, then grew to black hue, and only just recently was growing steadily lighter again. "This one is the key to stopping that dreaded future. She must be given the choice...but carefully. I agree with Klothos. We must intervene...or..." Lachesis paused in thought. "Let us summon one who would be best suited to deliver the message."
"Who do you have in mind sister?" Atropos asked.
Klothos smiled. "Is it not obvious who she has in mind? Who has more knowledge of that choice..that emotion that plagues the mortal?"
"Ahh..yes. I agree. Ok...I will go along with this." Atropos murmured as her slim fingers caressed the beginnings of the threads. "I spent much time in spinning these ones...singing my heart deep within their essence. I would hate to have them..." Her voice trailed off.
"If that is the choice I shall not hesitate in doing my duty," commented Lachesis. "But I also would hate to see it happen," she admitted.
Klothos nodded in agreement. "I shall call our messenger. This must be taken care of as soon as possible."
* * * * *
The night wrapped cool arms around her as she stepped into the forest. The fresh crisp smell of pine and other fragrant trees and plants tickled her sense and the soft feel of rich healthy soil cushioned her steps. Through the thick canopy filtered the light of the full moon, to play and dance with the shadows.
It was a perfect night for hunting, but though Xena had promised to bring back meat for the stew pot, her mind wasn't totally on hunting.
Get a grip! The warrior silently berated herself as she again tried to bring her focus back to the task at hand. But it was to no avail, soft fire kissed golden hair and eyes the color of young apples invaded her mind with an ease that scared her. No enemy had ever gotten this far into her soul...let alone someone she considered her best friend.
It had been many months since the raven-haired woman had first realized that her dependence on Gabrielle had grown. Gone were the days that she felt always burdened by the young village girl who followed her. Steadily their relationship had grown until true friendship had blossomed. A partnership fully formed now with respect on both sides between the two women.
Was it Thessaly when I first realized the depth of my feelings? When I realized it wasn't the needs of a jaded ex-warlord, but the deep yearnings of just a woman? Xena asked herself as she continued to make her way silently through the woods.
What are you going to do, Xena? You can't tell her, you know you'd lose her...but... The insides of the warrior raged in turmoil and indecision as it had for several months now. It was complex. Just being near the bard brought comfort and built their friendship stronger, but it also brought pain. Oh gods...I'm...I'm scared. Me...the woman who rarely cared about anything or anyone except her own wants and desires.
Xena's thoughts were disrupted as a slight humming and a soft glowing ball of light appeared in front of her. The sphere grew, expanding towards both the heavens and the earth, quickly taking the form of a surprising visitor.
Xena sheathed her sword and raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Well, this is a new one. I can't say that I've been visited by you before."
Aphrodite smiled softly. "You never needed me before and besides...you were more in tune with Ares than me." The voluptuous goddess rested her hands on her hips and looked Xena up and down thoroughly.
The warrior grimaced at the thought. "I don't think I need you now either. I'm not real...fond of the gods in general, as I'm sure you've heard?"
"My dear, Xena. We aren't all like Ares."
"Conniving." Xena pointed out. "Using us mortals for your games, just to pass the time."
Aphrodite chuckled. "Well we have to have some fun."
Xena sighed and rolled her eyes. "What do you want, Aphrodite? I've got dinner to catch."
The blond goddess walked up to the warrior and placed a slim finger on her shoulder, then slowly circled her, the finger tailing along leather, bronze, and flesh.
Xena's eyes narrowed as she fought back the intense urge to reach out, grab the offending finger and break it off.
Aphrodite noticed the muscles under her hand grow impossibly tense, then slowly relax. Coming full circle she looked up into the woman's cold blue eyes. "Such strength. Such control. Don't you ever tire of control?"
"Without control I'm back where I started almost two years ago," Xena snarled. "I won't go back to that."
"Not true." The goddess shook her head sadly. "Even as one of the most brutal warlords in the known world you controlled yourself. Sure you butchered," Xena flinched at the word, but held herself still. "Terrorized countless innocents." Aphrodite eyes were as hard as granite chips. "Pillaged. Looted, and much much more...and enjoyed it for a long time."
Xena was frozen, flayed the words, struggling not to walk away. She's only speaking the truth. It's what I did...and I can't run from it...no matter how much I'd like to.
Aphrodite continued on. "Sure you did all those things..but you still controlled your feelings, not letting others get close or letting anyone inside that fortress that you call a heart. You controlled your emotions as ruthlessly as your controlled your army." She paused, her eyes softening with sympathy. "And you still do...but someone's found a chink in that impassable wall haven't they?"
The warrior turned her eyes away in denial. "She's gotten to you." The goddess stated, her voice a whisper barely heard over the rustling leaves.
"I don't know what you're talking about." Xena growled.
Xena spun back to the blond goddess, anger rushing through her veins, her hand twitching as she held back from the vision of her fingers wrapped around Aphrodite's throat. "What did you call me?" she hissed.
Aphrodite saw the predator come alive in the ice blue eyes and marveled at how such a creature could also harbor such deep feelings of love within her. Her lip curled up in a wry grin.
"Xena. I'm not called the Goddess of Love just because of the costume. I can feel it inside you. I can see it." She closed her eyes, seeing with her inner vision the colors tones within the vast ocean of emotions that was the warrior woman. Deep blood red for anger, that as she watched, knowing that Xena was thinking about someone else, turned into warm pale shades of red and pink. She opened her eyes again, glad to see the ferocity dampened.
"Your love is why I'm here actually," the goddess sighed.
"I told you...I don't need your help," Xena repeated softly.
"You've reached a crossroads, Xena. A very important one," Aphrodite said seriously. "So important that the Fates are involved."
"More gods? Why am I not surprised." She rolled her eyes.
The blond goddess chuckled, Xena was right...it was almost a legend on Mt. Olympus how the warrior almost despised the gods, but that hadn't deterred the gods one bit from interfering anyway. She grew serious again. "They sent me actually to speak for them. Give them their due Xena, even Zeus respects them."
"You mean fears them..one snip.." the woman snapped her fingers. "And poof..Zeus is a has-been."
"Fear. Respect. Call it what you will, it's not important. Why I'm here is."
"Ok, why did they send you?" Xena asked curiously.
"Only the Fates know the future and not even we inhabitants of Mt. Olympus are allowed to glimpse it without their permission. Supposedly there are two choices you can make tonight," the goddess instructed.
"And they are?"
"You can tell Gabrielle your deepest feelings. You can tell her you love her more than just as a friend. Or...or you can keep your silence."
"That's it?" Xena asked in disbelief. "Well let me bust that bubble you call a braincell. I knew this already. To tell her or not to tell her. Wow. You came all this way to tell me that?"
Aphrodite's eyes narrowed and she grimaced in annoyance. "Xena. The Fates don't get involved over just any ex-warlord who falls in love. There's something important here."
"Then tell me what it is." The warrior sighed in exasperation.
"I don't know, they wouldn't show me the future or tell me anything besides the fact that you have two choices. But do you want my opinion?" she offered.
Xena threw her hands up into the air. "Do I have a choice?"
The simple answer made Xena look at Aphrodite silently, accessing the goddess and her motives for several long tense moments.
"Fine," she said finally.
"The Fates sent me. Me, Xena. I think I'm here to help you make the choice of love."
Xena's shoulders collapsed as if in emotional surrender. "You're right. I am a coward. I can't live without her...but at the same time...what if....what if she says no?"
"Oh, Xena. You're no coward if you admit your love, even if it's to yourself. But do you have the courage to tell her? Even with knowing she might leave you? Which, by the way I don't think she'll do," the goddess of love pointed out.
"She loves me?" Xena asked.
"You have to asked her. Even if I said no...I think you should tell her anyway. She is a strong woman. But if I said yes...would it make your decision easier?"
Xena thought about the question, then shook her head. "No. Not really. I'm not good at expressing myself."
"You're much better than you used to be, Xena. Lao Ma showed you the way once. You walked that path briefly, but it stayed with you regardless." Aphrodite pointed out. "You have a great capacity in you for far more than just loyalty. I see such great love in you for her...tell her, Xena. I don't know if that is what the Fates want you do chose, but if it was me...there would be no choice."
Aphrodite smiled sadly as soft light radiated from her, transforming her into a sphere of glowing light and then disappearing altogether, leaving the warrior woman to her thoughts and feelings and with a choice in her hands to make.
* * * *
Through the trees Xena could see the soft glow of their campsite. Taking more care than usual, she carefully and silently went from tree to tree, coming up to their camp unseen. Picking a well sheltered spot that offered her a good view, Xena gazed upon her companion, her thoughts and emotions immediately in turmoil just at the sight of her.
Courage? I can kill ten men and not even hesitate, just to protect her. I would die to keep her alive if I had to, but can I speak my heart? Xena asked herself silently, as her eyes warmed at the small smile that played on the bard's lips. I'd give anything just to be able to reach out and touch those lips.
Xena closed her eyes a moment steeling herself, then stepped on a twig purposefully.
Gabrielle smiled brightly as her friend stepped out of the shadows, seeing the rabbits she held out a hand, taking them and quickly preparing them for the waiting stew.
"What took you so long? I was getting worried," the young woman commented as she added the last rabbit part to the pot.
Xena shrugged and folded herself down on a fallen log set close to the fire. "Not much out there I guess."
The bard raised an eyebrow at the warrior's tone. "Something wrong?"
Gabrielle frowned slightly, suddenly concerned. "Xena?"
The dark-haired woman closed her eyes, her brow furrowing tensely. Her pulse was racing, as if she'd ran back to the camp instead of taking her time, and her shoulders knotted up with stress. Gods what I'd give for five bandits to come rushing into our camp right now...better yet, five bandits and a Cyclops. Anything! Come on, Aphrodite..please? She opened her eyes and peered into the night.
No Cyclops. No bandits. Nothing entered the campsite except a moth attracted to the firelight. Xena watched as the insect got too close to the flames and erupted into a ball of fire that dropped out of the air to lie crisped and blackened on the coals below.
Will that be me if I don't tell her? I'm going crazy keeping this in, but I know I'd shrivel up and die inside if I do tell her and she runs away in disgust or fear. Xena sighed, then nearly jumped a foot into the air as a warm hand touched her knee and soft green eyes came close to gaze in concern into her own.
"Xena?" Gabrielle whispered. "What is going on in there? Did something happen?" She leaned back a little and looked the warrior from crown to foot for injury. "Was there a fight?"
"No." Xena assured her hurriedly, touched the smooth hand briefly. The slight touch was like fire and burned its way up from her fingertips to explode in her brain. "No, Gabrielle. There's no one out there."
"Then what's bothering you?" the bard asked gently.
"I..." the sentence trailed off.
"Xena, you're starting to scare me."
"No more than I scare myself," Xena said wryly, then sighed and plunged on. "Gabrielle. I value your friendship over everything, I want you to know that. You're the only thing that keeps me from going over the edge sometimes. But..."
"But?" Gabrielle raised an eyebrow in curiosity.
"But...my feelings run even deeper now," came the whisper.
Gabrielle stilled, then pulled her hand away slowly from Xena's knee. "What are you trying to say?"
"I love you." Ok, I said it. Satisfied, Aphrodite?
"Ok...well I love you too," Gabrielle said in a friendly tone.
Xena sighed and forced herself to look into those green eyes that affected her so. "No, Gabrielle. I mean... I love you. I have for a while now. I can't help it. I..." She trailed off the sentence as she watched in dismay as the bard abruptly stood and paced across to the other side of their campsite.
I knew it. I've lost her. This hurts worse then not telling her. Xena ached inside as her heart, her very soul cried out in agony. A solitary tear ran down her cheek, then she took rigid control over herself, ordering the tears to stop and shoving the pain away into a dark corner of herself.
Long moments passed as Xena stared at the bards back, then in a low voice that Xena barely heard over the cracking of the fire, Gabrielle spoke.
is your heart mine
can I hold it tenderly
am I in your thoughts
driving you to insanity
your lips I must touch
against my eager own
eyes so blue I drown
willingly I die there
your soul catches mine
holds it tenderly
protects from all harm
and yet is so blind
a random touch
sends my senses reeling
my heart aching
from just being so near
I tremble slightly
in my dreams of you
my moans of desire
you mistake as nightmares
hold me closer
protect me from the night
I shall be patient
and hold your heart soon
The words of the poem sent shivers through the warrior, and as the last word was spoken she dropped her mouth in shock. Me? I don't believe...I can't. Her eyes watched the woman hungrily, waiting for her to turn, to speak, to do anything but just stand there.
Finally Gabrielle moved. Wrapping her arms tightly around herself she turned slightly, peering at the warrior out of the corner of her eye.
Xena gasped involuntarily as their eyes met, the coolness of the night suddenly almost unbearably hot against her skin. Smoothly she stood and took a step forward hesitantly, her eyes showing the pain of the moment, but also love and desire.
Another step and another. Each one harder then the last, the air seemingly so thick that she felt she was fighting her way through it. Finally a last step and Xena stopped only a short armslength away from Gabrielle.
The bard turned fully towards her and dropped her arms to her side, her fingers nervously plucking at her skirt.
"Was that for me?" Xena gently asked, hoping.
Gabrielle blushed, but didn't lower her gaze from the sparkling blue eyes that held hers entrapped. "Yes. I wrote it a few months ago. It's called 'Drowning in Blue'."
Xena shivered as the darkness that she had built to imprisoned her love for this woman, ceased to exist in a moment of blazing fire as her emotions burst free. Slowly she raised her hand, her eyes questioning. First a lean gentle finger brushing an errant tear away from the bard's cheek, than her whole hand softly caressing.
"Xena?" Gabrielle whispered.
"Yes?" the warrior replied, barely listening, entranced by the skin of the woman's face under her fingertips.
"I love you too. I have for a long time. I just never had the courage to tell you. I was a coward I guess." Another tear fell and Xena's fingers lovingly intercepted it.
The warrior chuckled. "Someone once told me that you're not a coward if you at least admit your feelings to yourself. I'm glad we both admitted it to ourselves...but I'm even happier to hear it...and say it." Her eyes twinkled. "I love you."
Gabrielle's lips curled into a soft smile. "Smart person."
"Yeah...a lot smarter than people give her credit for," Xena admitted.
The bard leaned into the still caressing fingers, then stepped forward closer to the bronze body before her. Her eyes still pierced by endless ice blue, she stood on the tips of her toes, keeping her balance with a hand on Xena's shoulders.
Xena trembled as the touch of the woman she loved branded her skin with its warmth. But all thought of that searing touch flew out of her mind as the bard's lips drew so close to her own, but didn't touch.
Gabrielle's eyes sparkled as she felt the warrior shudder just from a single touch. Her lips stopped from Xena's own, the air between them warmed by both of their breaths.
"I love you...and I want to show you," the bard whispered daringly.
Stunned only momentarily by the forwardness of the young woman, Xena threw all control to the winds of fate and whispered back, "Show me...please." her eyes begged.
Soft lips brushed her own for an instant, then drew away. Xena groaned and looked at the woman before her in dismay. Then seeing the impish grin on the bard's face, she chuckled and looked down at her hungrily. "Are you teasing me, Gabrielle?"
Eyes dancing merrily, Gabrielle shook her head. "No, just savoring every touch...every moment. Searing it into my brain."
Another soft chuckle. "Oh...I don't think either one of us will forget this."
Words were silenced as two hearts met, as two threads on the Tapestry of Life joined happily.
* * * * *
Xena crested the hill as gasped as she saw that she was too late. Callisto had arrived already and was already standing over the unconscious form of the bard. Urging Argo into an even faster gallop, she grabbed her chakram and threw with all her might, aiming for the blond warriors head.
Xena watched helplessly as Callisto parried the chakram, sending it flying off into the woods to dig deeply into a tree. The blond warrior grinned maniacally as her sword continued through the parry and drove downwards.
Time seemed to slow, the sword inching towards the helpless woman at Callisto's feet. There was no chance to get there in time, but Xena urged Argo on, hoping against all hope.
As the sharp blade bit through the bard's skin and plunged on, Xena screamed mindlessly, her vision turning red with a wave of pure anger and despair.
Gabrielle's eyes flew open as the sword entered her chest, her body arching in reflex from the pain, driving the blade even deeper into her body. Her eyes wide with anguish and blood exploding from her lips, she then collapsed back to the earth, her eyes now sightlessly staring up at her killer.
Callisto withdrew the blood drenched blade and saluted Xena. "There goes your soul, Xena, just like I promised!" she shouted, then turned and ran into the woods betting that the warrior wouldn't follow immediately.
Xena flew off Argo, not even waiting for her to stop, and landed next to the still body. Her knees collapsed under her as she looked down at the form of her love, her arms gathering up the bard gently. With a gentle hand she caressed Gabrielle's cheek.
"No," she whispered. "No."
She pulled the woman closer, her raven black hair falling around her, shrouding the blond tresses.
There was no thought, no emotion to describe what she was feeling. Disbelief. Sadness. Anger. Anguish. All of these were nothing in comparison. All of them a single drop of rain combined, drowned in the flood of rawness that threatened her soul...her sanity.
Tears fell, unstoppable from her eyes, blurring all sight and mixing with the bright blood on Gabrielle's face. Unable to stand the pain Xena suddenly threw back her head, her eyes piercing the heavens and screamed. On and on the primal sound came, torn from the depths of her soul and ripping through the woods surrounding her. Like an animal...like a demon in pain she howled, her emotions roaring through her, expressed in the only way she knew at that moment.
Long moments passed as she screamed, until finally the sound trailed off hoarsely and she gulped in great lungfulls of air. Turning away from the heavens that had betrayed her, she brought her head back down and gazed into the willow green eyes she loved. Now sightless. Now dead. With a trembling hand Xena gently brushed her fingertips across her love's eyelids, closing them forever. Then, still weeping, she brushed her lips against the bard's own.
"Oh, Gabrielle," she breathed, the words the faintest of hoarsened whispers.
"Warrior," came a soft voice in front of her.
Xena blearily raised her head, not surprised that she had been snuck up on, and not caring. Three women of indeterminate ages stood before her, dressed similar and looking to be sisters.
"Warrior, your choice is upon you."
"Who are you?" Xena asked, her hand absently caressing Gabrielle's hair.
"I am Athropos," said one.
"Klothos," replied another.
"And I am Lachesis," answered the last.
"We are the Fates," they spoke in unison, looking down at Xena expressionlessly.
The chaotic flood of emotions in the warrior sharpened and focused on one particular dark feeling. "You! If it hadn't been for your meddling, she'd be alive!" Xena snarled, her eyes a contrast, brimming with tears, but hard as ice covered stone with anger.
"It is regrettable that this has happened, but it is fate...or could be. Either way, you must still choose," Lachesis replied.
"Choose?! I chose to tell her my love for her, and look what it has done! She's dead! DEAD!" Xena shouted, fury seeping from her like a aura.
"You were to make a choice that night, warrior, but it wasn't at that time we were to intervene. Aphrodite carried our words to you, but she was not informed of what was to be," Atropos gave her sisters a wry look." That was perhaps a mistake, but it has brought you here to the crossroads as planned."
"Aphrodite," Xena snarled, visions of what she would do to the goddess of love after she was done with Callisto, flashed through her mind. More than control was being lost...sanity itself was losing it's grip on Xena.
"It is now that your choice must be made, Xena. With full knowledge of both paths," Klothos spoke softly, feeling deeply for this life she had helped create.
"Both paths? This can change? Is that what you're saying?" Xena said in disbelief, her voice cracked and harsh.
"It depends on your choice. Shall we show you the other path that could be taken?" Athropos asked.
Xena gazed down at her love's still face, then back up to the fates. "Show me," she commanded the goddesses.
Lachesis drew closer and swept her arm through the air trailing a thin multicolored thread behind, then grabbing it gently, she knelt before the warrior and showed her the thread. Her sisters come up beside her.
"For this moment we grant you the gift to see the future of this thread only, and only what we wish you to see. Look at it, Xena. See it's colors?" the low hypnotic voice of the Fate asked.
Xena nodded simply, her attention on the thread of life before her.
Atropos gently touched the thread at one of its ends. "Look closer. See the life itself. Here at the beginning, see the birth of a girl child to two proud and happy parents. Move on and watch as the golden-haired child grows slowly into a young woman. This place here...this is where it touches and runs alongside a darker thread. Together they walked, growing in friendship and love for each other."
The goddess withdrew her hand at this point and Klothos replaced it with her own, taking over the tale of life. "See here? This is where the thread splits into two. Choices made. Love's Choice or Heart's Choice. One you live now and which I will not show you of, because you know it. Lachesis has ended it, snipped it cleanly. But this one..." Klothos pointed to the other, much longer thread. "This is the other choice you have." She removed her finger and let Lachesis take her place.
"Look carefully, Xena. You came out of those woods and never told her your love that night, and so you created a different set of events. All life is like this...choices made...threads split into countless possibilities. But this one is important. Several nights later a young man comes to your camp. Perdicus."
Xena recognized the scene before her, almost identical to what had happened to the duo just a couple nights before, when Perdicus had found them camping. He was almost dispondent, hating himself and the blood that he had shed as a warrior. He had asked Gabrielle to marry him, but the bard had declined, telling him that she loved another. He had left, wishing her happiness, but Gabrielle had gone after him in concern, with Xena's knowledge. The warrior had been told of Callisto being in the area and had wanted Gabrielle safe in Poteidaia. It had ended up being the place where Callisto had found her, chasing her to this place and destroying Xena's soul.
Lachesis continued on, "He will ask her to marry him. She will say no, but not because of your love. This is where the consequences of what you say start to change the Tapestry."
"Another thread comes near...a dark one."
"Callisto," Xena spoke the name as she saw the blond warrior fighting alongside her men in battle, the vision of the thread before her eyes the same as what had happened only days ago. Only in this one, there was no Perdicus and no Gabrielle fighting the enemy with her.
"Yes. Perdicus kills and is in despair, and asks yet again the bard to marry him. She knows not of your love, only that though she does not care for him as she does you, that perhaps she cares for him enough, and that he needs her. She will say yes." Lachesis' eyes bored into Xena's own.
Xena gasped, her hands still caressing Gabrielle's head. "No."
"Yes, Xena. They will marry and you will tell her good-bye, wishing her happiness, then you will go after Callisto."
Xena watched as Gabrielle and Perdicus rested under a tall oak, the very same that she knelt under now, she realized. Watched as Callisto came upon the happy couple. Watched, her heart in anguish, as again she couldn't get there in time to save a life. Watched herself save the life of her bard. Watched with clear detail, as Gabrielle struggled with herself and her obvious deep sadness at her husband's death. Watched herself come back and say that Callisto had been taken care of, and watched the days and long weeks pass as the deep loss she'd suffered forever change their relationship.
The vision faded as Lachesis took the thread away from before her, but she knew from its length that the life would be long.
Klothos stepped forward again, "You understand your choices now?"
Xena nodded. To tell her my love and to lose her in death, or to hide it away. Love's Choice and Heart's Choice, by the Fate's own words. To let her die too young or marry another. To watch her mourn and struggle with her hatred for Callisto. To have her die or to have her in pain and misery.
"I won't remember any of this will I? No matter which I choose?"
"No. In fact, no memory of Aphrodite will remain either," answered Klothos. "It shall be as if you never knew."
"Then I choose... Heart's Choice, for Love is too painful to bear." Xena gave her answer and watched sadly as Athropos, the spinner, step forward and sing of the past, changing a single thread on the Tapestry of Life.
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