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The seed of an unknown idea
Oh what fun it can be to start writing with no plans at all.

Mary and Sally had absolutely nothing in common, except that they both had one blue eye and one brown. But even in that, they parted ways, as Mary's right eye was a deep ocean blue, while Sally's left was a ghostly pale azure. Where Mary had dark brown curls that hung tight against her head, Sally's straw-yellow locks fell far past her waist. Mary studied geography, Sally took to acupuncture. Mary preferred sour cherries, and Sally loved salted cantaloupe. Mary saw the future, and Sally saw the past.

Because of an epic slight some two-hundred years ago, they refused to be seated in the same room together. They were prone to violence if they passed within thirty feet of the other even in a darkened hallway. The palace staff was well trained in their rounds, making sure to never approach one until they had washed themselves of the scent of the other - Mary's faintly green odor or Sally’s cloying ambergris. They moved the two about the many rooms of the Accordant Palace like sliding pieces of a grand puzzle, this one to the Crimson Salon while that one to the Errant's Garden. They ushered guests about in a whirlwind of efficiency that left many confused if the palace had a thousand rooms, or merely two that were constantly refurnished when eyes were diverted.

Adding to the complexity of Mary and Sally's residence in Accordia was of course their mother, Beldame Astrid Pallenox. The half-sisters both despised their mother even more than each other, yet it was a hatred that never formed an alliance. Instead, they barred their teeth and masked their faces with unattractive sneers whenever they felt her move in the bowels of the palace, deep where she dwelt with the other members of the Apostate Court. These moods were much less predictable, and many a palace page or cook had fallen before the ill temper as it seized one of the seeresses.

It was said that only three figures in the Palace knew the details of the familial drama. The first was Moi'moi, the kitsune-blooded monk who kept to the upper rooms of the Ashen Tower. Moi'moi knew the stories and songs of a thousand thousand heroes, and the Beldame and her daughters were threaded through those stories back to before the rise of Accordia. But to ask for a story from Moi'moi was to never get what one expected. His trickster nature prevented him from answering any question outright, even though it always resulted in the answer that the supplicant never knew they truly needed.

The second was Navo Tal, known throughout the lands as the greatest of lovers and most unfortunate of princes. But he would not speak to anyone who sought him in the Accordant Palace, having taken a vow of silence upon his refuge in its resplendent halls. Some might assume that he had been the Beldame's lover, perhaps even the father of one of the seeresses, but such was not the case. It was an idea quickly dismissed by seeing Mary or Sally pass Navo Tal in the hall. The way such ladies blushed and cooed after him wiped all thoughts that he had any familiar connection to any of the females of the family. Still, in their own manners and unintentional comments, it was clear Navo Tal had played a part in their story.

The third was said to be Lessity, right-hand retainer to Ix the Accordant Eminence. As the human face of those seeking asylum within the walls of the Accordia, it seemed likely that Lessity knew the reasons for the Beldame's arrival and eventual confinement, as well as the histories of the two daughters who arrived seeking her out. But Lessity was not known for sharing information. She ruled over the logistics of the palace with an iron grip. She was supplicant only to Ix and equal only to Want, Ix's left-hand. No king or emperor or sage who had entered through the Gates of the Theotokos had yet the authority to ask any information of Lessity, and she would never give such knowledge up willingly.

And so the true stories of Mary and Sally were unknown to the world. But that did not stop the whispers of their powers sneaking out through the Gates and down into the valleys of humanity. All of Accordia's 1,001 residents waxed and waned in the folklore of the lands of man, but Mary and Sally remained always. They promised an answer from the past and an answer to the future, but be warned that they should never know that you spoke to the other one, or they would eat you on the spot.

(This of course was not true. It was the way of man's stories to become embellished with ridiculous details that did not resemble actuality. The sisters had never eaten a person who let it slip that they had traveled to consult both of them. Such persons were simply killed, and then left for the palace staff to clean up.)

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