NB: Welcome to my new Pellinor fic! This is a 'what if' fic – what if Cadvan and Maerad had never met in the beginning of The Gift? I'm not sure how long this fic will run, or where it's going exactly, but thought I'd put it up anyway. Any suggestions will be cheerfully noted!

I do not own these characters, they belong to Alison Croggon.

"Fate is like gravity. You can jump up and down until your heart's content, but the earth still falls into the sun, and the sun still courses through the galaxy, both indifferent to your short-lived and insignificant defiance."

Prologue – The Twist in the Threads

The web of Fate has shifted. There has been a twist in the threads of gold, the threads of life, and the world has momentarily blinked into a parallel universe. Two fates have changed, two lives have blurred in the Great Vision, and the destiny of the whole of Edil-Amarandh is now at stake.

Not to mention love.

Gilman's Cot. Cadvan remembered, in the back of his wearied mind, as he trudged through its grounds in the early morning air, that this was what the place was called. Gilman's Cot. A tiny settlement wrapped in the heart of the mountains, hidden from that great world beyond it, the world that Cadvan belonged to, the world that he had been separated from for far too long.

Gilman's Cot. This is where it starts, little man. This is where it starts…

He was weary, weary in the very core of his being, in the very core of his powers. And sick. Sick to his stomach. So sick…

The images that the Landrost had shown him once more flashed through his mind; great cities falling, loved people dying, the whole of Edil-Amarandh perishing in fire and ice. All of it gone, without a trace, all of them dead, without hope, without salvation, without love. Just dust and ashes, that was what the Landrost had shown him. Beauty melting into dust and blood. Before its time.

You are all nothing but dust. All you create, all that you cherish, sooner or later, it all becomes dust. Everything has its time and everything dies.

He needed to sleep. He needed to sleep more than anything, to fall into that welcoming, warm darkness, to release himself from this pain, from those images. To succumb to the ultimate weakness of mankind and simply…sleep.

When he woke, he would find a way out of this freezing, grey blank settlement and back into his bright, loving, doomed world. But for now he would sleep.

He had reached a line of barns and cowbyres, the area around which was abandoned to the early spring daylight. The emptiness of the place relieved him; he had his glimmerspell, but he could not be certain of its strength, so he was even more wary than he would usually be in a situation like this. He crept to the first barn; it was shut and locked, as was the second.

I am locking you into your fate, little man. You shall go to the cowbyre. You shall listen to my command. You cannot resist. Look into your fate, little man…

He looked into the third. This was open, but occupied. A dark haired, painfully thin girl was sitting inside it with her back to him, busily milking a cow, half asleep and silent. Cadvan hesitated, remembered his glimmerspell, stepped forward, then hesitated again.

He was not certain of his magic. It could fail him at any time. And the girl would most definitely run for the guards if he popped up out of nowhere in front of her. He should go somewhere else, somewhere abandoned. He could not take any risks, not now.

Besides, the girl seemed on the brink of sleep. He felt oddly loathe to disturb her.

And even if she did not see him, even if his power did not fail him, the cow would see him and would make a fuss…

No. Best to go somewhere else. Best for both of them.

No! No! This is not…

He turned away from the barn and walked on.

how it should be…

And the grey morning clouds grumbled with approaching thunder, and the air changed in flavour, and the world grew cold.

The threads of Fate fell apart.

It has changed.

Read and review, you know how much I like them! If I get 10 reviews, chapter 1 goes up! (Yes, this is blackmail...oh dear...)