The apartment was dark, an eerie silence settling into all the corners while the cold December wind whistled outside, knocking the snow that had begun to fall against the 5th story window. A woman, idly sitting in a chair facing the muted TV, was deep in thought, a glazed look taking over her soft brown eyes. Her brown hair was slightly disheveled and the bags under her eyes suggested she hadn't slept in days. The utter silence enveloping the room was broken suddenly by the sound of a key slowly turning in the lock. It clicked and the door swung open, revealing a man, no older then 25, dressed in a black jacket and a simple pair of blue jeans. The woman turned to face him, the look of deep thoughtfulness replaced by an angry glare.

"So he finally decided to come back. What a surprise!" she shot at him.

"Natalie don't be such a drama queen. I told you I was on a business trip." He'd used the same excuse the past three times he'd disappeared for days on end without a call. Natalie, who had risen at his remark, could smell the perfume wafting off of him from where she stood, some 5 feet away. She knew where he went on these "business trips" yet her heart, pounding in her chest as her anger rose, would not allow her to believe the man she called her boyfriend of a year could be cheating on her.

"You've been on a business trip twice this month Alex. I'm not stupid. What could a group of drunken idiots that call themselves artists be doing in the middle of nowhere?" He was taken aback by the statement, opening and closing his mouth like a flabbergasted fish. The silence began to take control of the room again as he contemplated his next move.

"I don't have to explain anything to you. It's not my fault someone has trust issues!" His voice was dripping with venom, something so unlike him it stunned her for a moment, a moment to long for he then disappeared into the small bedroom off of the living room and slammed the door. She heard drawers opening and slamming shut while his quiet, angry mutterings echoed off the walls. A few minutes ticked by, the woman staring at the door of the only bedroom in their small apartment, awaiting the man she loved to emerge from it and apologize for his sudden outburst and make everything okay again. But of course that wasn't going to happen. I wouldn't allow it. Or rather, I wasn't allowed to let this happen, it was against my orders as a spirit of fate. I was here for one thing and one thing alone: to ensure these two people were to never get back together.

The man emerged, carrying a large duffle bag in one hand and a cell phone in the other. The women opened her mouth, readying herself to plead with him to stay, as she had done so many times before. I, with a small wave of my hand, stopped her from speaking, the familiar feeling of paralysis enveloping her like fog. The man didn't turn around as he walked out the door, dropping his keys on a small dish sitting on the table beside the doorway as he left. I waited a few moments before allowing her to react, knowing full well her course of action would be to run after him. Only when I heard the start of a car engine and the screeching of tires did I release her from my hold and allow her to move freely again. She, having heard the same thing I did, sank down into her chair, heart wrenching sobs radiating from her chest. I was overcome by a feeling of intense sorrow for the poor women, for every women I had been forced to put through this emotional torture. The dealings of Fate were never clear and rarely just and I was just a pawn in his reckless game of cat and mouse with the mortal world. I didn't have much time to contemplate the unfairness of it all, as a familiar pull began to tug at my core. My job here was done and dear Fate himself was calling me back, ready to assign me my next job with a new victim . I sighed, sick of being under such strict rule, but obeyed, allowing myself to be pulled back to the place I called home:talamh dar na cinniuints, the land of the fates.

My arrival was premeditated, as I was dropped not at home where I usually was returned to after a completed mission, but to the halls of destiny, more commonly referred to by the spirits as ifreann. Only the most important spirits lived here, being directly beneath Fate himself in status. The building, a grand structure made out of a precious metal called scamall cloch, was built in a circle, symbolizing the never ending duties of the fates. The inside of the building was a labyrinth of halls and rooms, all serving their own purpose. An untrained spirit would easily be lost within its mazes and due to this no one was allowed out of the main hallway without a guide, often a spirit of age and wisdom who knew their way around the ancient building. The chambers of Fate and his family, the leaders of talamh dar na cinniuints, were located in the very center of the building. No one except for a trusted few advisors, who had been close family friends of Fate since the beginning of time, were sure the route to these chambers.

The rest of the city, mostly spirits with a few seers here and there, was built around ifreann. The common spirits houses were built of nothing more then abhainn cloch, an abundant stone found all over the city. The houses often were two stories or higher and accommodated 2 to 3 generations of spirits each. The city was a spectacular display of color, each house being slightly different from the others. Every color of the rainbow was displayed in all different shades, which glittered gaily in the sunlight. Store fronts were brightly painted with elaborate symbols around the windows and doors, distinguishing them from the rest of the buildings. The younger members of the families lived in these brilliant houses, while the Elders lived in larger houses closer to the center of the city, which were all made of scamall cloch. Often more then one family of Elders inhabited these larger structures, causing for very few of the glittering buildings.

All spirits that lived in talamh dar na cinniuints were part of Fate the moment they were born, but more often then not many of them did not become official spirits of fate and led normal lives. As normal of a life someone could live in talamh dar na cinniuints anyways. The ones who did become spirits of Fate were required to live away from home for a year so they could be properly trained for the job at hand. During this year, they were taught how to manipulate someone's fate using the power bestowed on them by Fate himself. The power, formally given to the spirits in a ceremony known as an ag ardĂș dar cumhacht searmanas, or the rising of power ceremony, was granted to each spirit individually. Each spirit, having been closely monitored by the advisors of Fate, were granted the ability to ensure a person's fate and destiny by using physical, mental and emotional manipulation to turn their charges in the direction they were supposed to be going. Normal spirits, having completed the year of training and having gone through the ceremony, were assigned their first "subject", often young children that needed a course of direction. The spirits would be told their mission, which usually involved manipulating the children into making decisions that would have repercussions and teach them a lesson they would use later in life. The spirits were assigned to their charges from anywhere from 2 to 3 years before being allowed to move on to older mortals. Some spirits were better then others with their powers and these were the ones that were allowed to surpass the trial period that normal spirits were subjected to. These few were immediately assigned older humans, being the ones that could handle them. They were only assigned to their charges for a matter of days before being called back to talamh dar na cinniuints for their next assignment.

I, being one of these experienced spirits, had been assigned to many charges over the course of my 200 hundred year career. I was considered to be a younger spirit, only 220 years old. My mother was a seer while my father was a common spirit who had never done anything with his powers. He owned a store near ifreann while my mother stayed home caring for the young ones. I was the eldest child in my family and due to this my mother's power of foresight was passed on to me. I was named Aisling, dream in the ancient tongue, after my grandmother who was also a seer. Seers were not spirits of fate, but helped because of their abilities. My ability, a rare one that wasn't usually seen in spirits, gave me an advantage with my charges since I was able to predict their next move and decide how to act based on this vision. It gave me an upper hand and was the main reason why I had been one of the select few to move past the trial period and right into the adult mortal world. My most recent charge, who I had been assigned to for an abnormally long period of time, was a troubled girl with a lousy boyfriend who was holding her back from reaching her full potential. My job, having just been completed, was to manipulate her into following fates plan: letting go of her baggage and moving on with her life.

Now that I had returned to talamh dar na cinniuints, I was looking forward to going home for a little while before my next assignment; but as I looked around at ifreann, I realized I must not be going home anytime soon. I surveyed the room, taking in the spirits wandering around and listened closely to the voices that echoed off the smooth walls. Situated at desks dotted about the room were older spirits, scribbling away on pieces of parchment while others were disappearing down the hundreds of hallways leading off of the main room. The walls appeared to fluctuate under the elaborate lamps hanging from silver chains on the ceiling, each holding different colored flames. I had only been down one of these hallways, the one that led to the classrooms for the young spirits. The room had a rather mysterious look about it, and seemed to cast a drowsy spell over the inhabitants. As I continued to look around, I spotted a frazzled looking spirit, who looked to be about 500, hustling toward me with a stack of papers tucked under his arm. He was a bald man, tall and lean with peculiar blue-grey eyes that glittered in the torch light as if they held the greatest secret in the world. He dodged around the other spirits before arriving in front of me, smiling broadly and showing off a row of white teeth.

"You must be Aisling. My name is Aonghus and I am an advisor of Fate. I am quite positive that you are wondering why you are here instead of home but there will be time for explanations later. Until then, if you please follow me, Fate does not like to wait!" With that, he turned on his heel and briskly began to walk away as I struggled to keep up. The idea of Fate, the one that no one ever saw but had control over everyone's lives, wanting to speak to me rattled my nerves. As we passed into the first corridor on our journey to the center of ifreann, my heart began to race as I realized just how serious this meeting could be.