AN: I don't own the Never Ending Story

Based on the account from the book, not the movie.

The Three Gates

The First Gate

Riddles. Riddles. Riddles.

Eons have they sat, stoic, silent, and austerer: guardians two. Pure hearted heroes attempted to pass, only to become frozen in an endless stream of meaningless questions. Playful turns of intellect became the snares that held them until at last they expired. Hateful men, slaves to their desires, passed the bones of those who had fallen before, unscathed.

What lead these two creatures to choose who would pass and who would become frozen in an eternity of questions? What lead the great Sphinxes out of their slumber to bother a mere mortal with questions not even gods could resolve?

Surely it was not honor. No, not those without honor passed as often as without. Surely it as not heroism, as cowards were allowed to pass as often as the brave. And the cruel fell as often as the just, and the innocent as frequently as the worldly-wise.

Perhaps fate, that irrevocable force, drove them.

Here comes a boy. Small and insignificant he now stands before them. Skin of olive hue glistens with the cold sweat of a mortal with fear. Hair of violet and red lays flat upon his head as there is no wind to ruffle his long locks. Eyes as deep as wells, gaze at the immortals with awe. Fate, the hand that guides all mortals unseen and seen, now stands behind him.

These blind goddess cannot see him as he walks forward, one slow step at a time, glancing nervously at their eyes. His breath deepens and his heart begins to constrict. Panic almost compels him to flee. Did one pair of eyes open just slightly? Did he just hear a whispered question dance in the heavy, stale air?

Light his footfalls sound. A slight echo could be heard with every step, making the silence that smothered him all the more deafening. Would they let him pass? He pauses, only for a moment, between the living stone. To die here. To know the world he once loved was consumed by Nothing while their outward seeing eyes compelled him to answer all the questions of the universe. Would that be his fate?

He thinks of the plains. The endless wave upon wave of tall grass that nestled him in his childhood compelled him forward. He could feel the warmth of the fire, the thrill of the hunt, and the freedom underneath the expansive skies above.

The blind sisters sleep on as he passes,although he does not dare breathe a sigh of relief.

It is only the first gate that is complete.

The Second Gate

What could be more horrible than truth?

Those who think they are wise, may be fools at heart. Those who think they're good may harbor selfishness unawares. More often than not, it is willful ignorance that keeps the illusion from shattering.

Yet this mirror is not concerned with the outward trappings of a fool, the selfish, or the cruel. It will see the demon in the prince, the pauper in the rich man, and the idiot in the scholar. But it is not always so harsh, this tool of forceful self-reflection. Perhaps it reflect a goodness that is nestled within, unawares.

The mirror forces all, both maid and gorgon, to pass through.

And yet the boy stands confused. What is this he sees? It is not the monster he was warned about. It is nothing he has ever seen, although there is something familiar about it. Who was that boy he saw, pasty and fat, reading with such vigor? Could it be him?

Yet he was not one for self-reflection. He passed through without concern.

The Third Gate

All is forgotten.

What was the purpose of the door that stood straight without aid of a wall?

The valley around him was empty, dry and devoid of life. The boy did not know its significance. He could not speak, for speech had been forgotten. There was no awareness of memory lost, for he was once again an infant without a name, a home, or a past.

He was tired, this infant, so he lay upon the cracked earth and closed his eyes.

In a few moments he will find himself in a hall of pillars, its ceiling the endless sky. He will wake and speak to a voice that drifts to and fro, unable to escape the same invisible hand of fate that lead him to her. Nothing approaches, and yet he is not concerned.

Sleep, infant sleep.

You have yet a long way to go.