As The Fates Would Have It - Klaus
has a sequel/companion piece: As The Fates Would Have It - Dorian
Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than Marsipan wild boars from Eberbach. Corrections to my language are welcome. Ask if you want me to archive it anywhere. You may link to this story if you want or to my main page. 1600 words. Written in November 2008.
To Heather, Christmas 2008
Betaed by my three best helpers: Heather Sparrows (good as always), Maf (prompts me to write more) and Kadorienne (realiable and secure).
The sun slowly set over Schloss Eberbach on the 18th of May, 1952. Cristina von dem Eberbach, née Birchwast, was still wobbly on her legs after having given birth only three days prior. The delivery had been streneous. Her little mouse had taken 16 hours to make his appearance. Well, he had not been so little, actually: he had weighed in at a full 4 kilos, a healthy baby in every way and all that a mother could hope for. They had agreed that his middle name would be Heinz, after his about-to-burst-from-pride father, but no first name had yet been deemed worthy.
Normally Cristina would have stayed bed-bound for a few days longer, to regain her strength while the women of the house waited on her. The latter would also have arranged everything that must be done in preparation for this particular night. That was the custom in her native part of the land. Alas, South-western Germany didn't share the same traditions. Nor did she have any kin with her, as the war had left her stranded far from home. She had been exceptionally lucky with Heinz, kind man that he was, who had taken her in and later married her. He had handled all her problems expertly - except for this one, which she couldn't share with him. It was a woman thing. Back home the men were aware of the tradition, but wisely stayed away rather than to risk doing something wrong and bringing down the wrath of all females in the family on them.
So, left to her own devices, she had instructed the family butler - Conrad was more like a friend, she felt, always so eager to assist and simplify her life - to bring her the necessary objects. He hadn't questioned her requests. Not that they were all that demanding. In a household such as the very wealthy von dem Eberbach one, with the large castle and the old collection of art and furniture, it couldn't have been difficult to locate the objects she had asked for. That had been yesterday, when she had decided to go through with what the tradition demanded. Traditions were important. This morning the chef had baked according to her instructions and now, in the evening, she herself had arranged everything just like her great-grandmother had instructed her: the mirrors, the candy apples and the chairs, all in front of her little mouse's crib.
She stood above him, looking down. Her precious angel was blessedly asleep and simply the cutest thing she had ever seen. "Stay asleep," she whispered to him. "Mama must stay away from you for a few hours now, so please don't scream. Be a good boy, mama's good little mouse, and just sleep."
His tiny little fist twitched and his eyes moved beneath the thin eyelids. She stood there for a few seconds longer, before sighing in pleasure at the miracle before her. Then she pulled her heavy shawl tighter and left the nursery. She didn't go far, though, just to the little annex, where she would sit in wait for the break of dawn.
No noise had been heard, yet the baby's eyes - still a clear, vibrant blue so close to his birth - opened. They didn't focus, but they did happen to look in the right direction. The first sister laughed. Her chuckle wound around the room, seeming to bounce off any metallic object.
"See, it is as if he sensed our arrival. Hello, little one. What was it your mother called you?"
"Mouse," said the second sister. She smiled indulgently.
"Klaus," said the third, her stern tone indicating that she found the nickname previously used less than amusing. "They will name him Klaus."
"That's pretty," said the first. "Oooh - see! His mother left us pressies!" She flopped down on the white chair and lifted the gold-framed mirror, looking into it with obvious delight.
The second sister, slightly older than the first, sat down in a more mature fashion. She did look admiringly at the artfully decorated silver mirror, but instead lifted the apple-shaped candy that also lay before the red chair. The treat was lifted to her nose and she sniffed twice before nibbling. "Oh!" she then exclaimed. "It's tart, but not overwhelmingly sharp. Perfect, really."
Her younger sister snatched up her own apple candy and took a big bite. "Mine is sweet, like wild strawberries straight off the field. I love it!"
"Mine will be salty," said the third sister, who had yet to sit down in the black chair left to her. She sounded slightly disdainful.
"Oh, do sit down," said the second sister and pulled at the third's gown.
The third sister sat. She glanced into the bronze mirror, just once, then pocketed both it and the third treat.
For a moment, the three sat in silence as they watched the baby. The little boy appeared to stare defiantly back at them. Then the first sister sighed. "It was many years since the last time we were called."
"Called correctly, anyway," said the second sister. "His mother's father would have been the last one, I think. What did we give him, again? I gave him charm, I believe."
"Ease of joy," said the first.
"Logical thinking," said the third.
"Good gifts, yes ... And before him it was well over 30 years since the last one. I do fear that sweet little mousie here might be our last visit." She looked slyly towards the third sister, who merely shrugged.
"Oh, no, that would be so sad!" said the first sister. "I do so enjoy these visits and to keep track of our boys and see what the world makes of them."
The third sister leaned forward and - while the two others watched her in tense silence - studied the baby in the crib. Eternity could have passed, but finally she leaned back again and turned towards her siblings. "Yes," she said.
"Yes?" the second sister repeated, not quite daring to hope. "You mean ...?"
The third sister nodded. "I am willing," she said. "Since this will be one of our last visits, we shall make the most of it."
"Yes!" said the first sister and clapped her hands. "Oh yes, please!"
"Yes," the third sister said again, her voice serious. "Let us do the three times three invocation. Let us strengthen him and bless him and curse him. Let us make one more hero, like the heros of old: a man who will walk unbent and who instead will bend the earth to his will."
"Yes," said the second sister, confirming that all three were in agreement.
As was their custom, the first sister, the youngest one, started. She reached into the cradle and gently pushed down the blankets to give them access to the small body within. The baby grumbled at the change in temperature, but he didn't scream, not even when she placed her hands on his feet and lightly ran her palms up and down his short legs to prepare them for strength.
"Though you will face great difficulties, little one, you will succeed in everything you put your mind to."
Once the first had sat back the second sister leaned forwards. She chucked the young gentleman under his chin, causing him to make the first loud noise they had heard from him so far, a distinct grump of dissatisfaction over having been touched with such impudence. The second sister laughed merrily. Then she touched his hands and rubbed up and down his arms. "Though you will never get along easily with people, mouse, you will be a great leader of men."
Finally it was the third sister's turn. She looked at the baby for a few seconds, then touched his temples before dragging her fingers, spider light, over his eyes and nose and mouth - and then down to rest briefly over his chest and heart. "You will have good reason not to trust lightly, Klaus, but the love between you and your soul mate will be legend."
Intrigued, the other sisters hummed at this. They were not used to their sterner third giving such blessings concerning matters of the heart. Tragedy and ruin were usually more to her liking.
Then the third sister leaned back as well. All three sat, waiting with endless patience for the threads they had just spun into existence to be entered into the loom. When reality had changed accordingly, they simultanously rose.
"It's a shame, though," Urd said slowly, "that whoever his beloved is, she won't be in his league. It was many centuries since we had ourselves a love couple."
"I think," said Verdandi, who was wiser in the ways of the heart, "that we would have looked at an Alexander/Hephaistion-type of love match, my dear. Apart from that trifling detail, I couldn't agree with you more. Nothing warms this world as a love couple on the loose to scorch the pages of history with their passion."
Skuld snorted. "I said that their love will be legend, did I not? Do you doubt my power after all these years? And did I say that this would be our last visit? No. We will be called at least once more. By accident rather than by design might be, but call us the mother will, nevertheless, on a summer night's eve in Britannia. Our Klaus will walk this earth a hero - but he will not walk it alone."
"My" norns are based on the Norse mythology Norns. However, I've been told that some might be more familiar with a manga, "Oh My Goddess!" might be more familiar with the name from this manga. I leave this up to the reader, if you prefer the "Oh My Goddess!" version I certainly don't mind!
die_heitere did lovely images of Klaus and Dorian as babies - not to my story, though by coincidence she posted it just before I posted this story. Do have a look at them, as they are lovely!
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