Humans have long argued over the existence of preordained destinies. It's been hard-wired into our genetic code to find purpose in our chaotic lives. Like children testing boundaries, we collectively push for a semblance of order. After a million years of human existence, what we know for certain: with Free Will comes responsibility, and with Destiny comes the shackles of our limitations. So we struggle to find an optimum balance.
The word "fate" brought to mind the story I started that got me involved with this whole "I'm a writer" business. Within the script of a movie I watched was the line: "My moral compass doesn't exactly point north..." and I thought an actual Moral Compass would be an interesting find. Think of it: an object that can actually point one to doing the right thing. I wrote a few pages that never fit together, so I moved on to other things. However, I'm still in love with the Prologue, written from the perspective of a narrator retelling a fairytale. Fairytales, after all, are initially stories that teach our young morals. Jack and the Beanstalk spoke of the dangers of lying, stealing, and swindling. Beauty and the Beast taught the dangers of treating unfortunate strangers with malice and indifference. And Rapunzel taught us that defying a strict mother and smuggling boys into one's room could get one banished to the desert to birth twins. (At least, that's what I walked away with)
Eventually, I'll be inspired to return to this piece. As always, I welcome any brainstorming you would like to share.
I offer the following in response: The Broken Compass: Prologue
One bright summer day, a curious lad named William Torvaldi frolicked unsupervised in a meadow just outside his village of Ithylwich. He chased butterflies and nearsighted beetles, tossed stones in the creek, and climbed the giant willow tree to the loftiest branches. This is how he spent his summers as his mother died when he was a baby, and his father was far too important to take an afternoon off to teach his young son to play cricket or build a proper clubhouse. William chased away so many servants by hiding frogs in bed linens or adding inks to tea that the only domestic remaining in his father’s employ was a housemaid, Esmeralda. She, too, was far too busy with the keeping of their house that she did not have time to look after the growing boy. William however, was hardly bothered by being ignored. He never knew his mother, so he never knew how to miss her.
Fate, some have said, is a fickle creature, only gazing favorably upon those willing to embrace her.
As the day wore on, William became curious about anthills and the colonies that built them. He poked about in the ground for signs of armies and their activities. One hole in particular was rather large, too large he thought, for an ant colony, but he proceeded to investigate by prodding the opening with a long stick.
Poke. Poke. Thud.
His stick struck something small and solid. He dropped to his knees to dig out the unknown object. Free of its cave, a tiny brass compass, dulled from exposure to the elements, rested in his earth dusted hand. It was an odd artifact, and obviously broken, because William noticed the compass did not point to magnetic north like proper compasses should. Instead, it pointed slightly east to the community churchyard, where protective earth cradled the plain pine box containing the bones of his mother. He ignored this directive, for surely compasses knew nothing of mothers or graves, or even anthills. Since shaking the object did nothing to help its function, William discarded the compass by tossing it at the willow, where it bounced off and found a new hiding place amongst the tall grasses of the meadow.
It should be mentioned that had William decided to keep the trinket, the following tale might have had a very different outcome indeed.