The house of Cadmus is cursed, that is what it is, they say and he said too many times. Hiding in the corners he told you keep your eyes peeled, your eyes peeled. They can come at any time he said, and barking at the barkeep, he waited on his elbows for some new kind of news to pull him out from the ditch.
He never said that was where he was, especially not to the ladies. His blood boiled he said and it was hard to reign it in. Take them home after too many drinks well milady you are looking ravishing tonight. But they never thought and he never thought either.
You can tell he is in the house of Cadmus first by his name and second by the way that his feet were too big for every pair of boots he tried on. His money sparsely earned (he tells you too much) he spent on the tailor-made and he wore holes in the sides all too quickly. But there is nothing you can do when your feet are fated to be fat and your blood is fated to be boiled and you are fated to doom yourself and save yourself all at once.
Fat feet lead to nimble hands; Cadmus crafted stone and sand. Rings and hourglass and silver and gold cluttered the tables of his old work home.
But of course, Cadmus would tell you that he doesn't believe in fate, but only because he thought that he escaped it. He found a love he said and this love was—this love was beyond his fate and would save him. It would, it would save him, he said.
And I have escaped once Death, look'd it straight in the face, Cadmus said hanging onto the stirrup as his horse dragged him along. And I said to the beast you give to me something that I can use to defeat you, I said. And Death let me pass he did, and I defeated Death that day.
The house of Cadmus is cursed, and Cadmus brought about his own curse, the same one that he escaped, by taunting Death. One day he was down at the town hall and as he plucked your hands from the throat of another man—take that, Death, take that, fate—he saw his love come tumbling into town. Tumbling was not her usual way of moving and Cadmus thought he ought to go investigate. (You left, feeling robbed.)
Shifting his cloak from his shoulders and shooing his followers from his wake, Cadmus ran to the girl with the flaxen hair and knelt to her side. Her eyes wide, he said he would never forget the way her eyes were wide.
And Death's delay.
It took her twenty-seven turns of the moon to die but die she did and Cadmus, once the Conquerer of Death, the Generalisimo of Fate, felt cheated and robbed and torn apart from the inside: his galleon, his boon, his love was lost to the forces he failed to lampoon.
The house of Cadmus is cursed but the hands of Cadmus are gifts, and Cadmus turned a stone from the bank of the Great River, the River upon which Death had failed and Cadmus had won, into a smooth, faceted surface over the course of many weeks. The power of Death is nothing to the power of three, and so three times Cadmus turned the stone in his hand, eagerly, once again, escaping his fate.
I have done it at last! he told you, over and over again, taking her into his arms and he would never tell you what he came to fear: that her body could retain no warmth, and she despaired to be with him here.
You were dead within a month of the fair maiden's return, and didn't see Cadmus make the turn towards the worse, but I followed him down through the towns and watched him settle back down into the corners, with his eyes peeled, waiting to arise from the ditch.
You were dead because of your rage, and the thirst in your blood, and Cadmus was in the corner waiting for you to revenge him Death. You didn't see the way that he muttered and tossed and fell into trances that lasted for days. And you never came, because you were dead, to punish what took from Cadmus the thing that gave him strength to master his fate.
He grew tired after so many days and the turn of many moons, dragging himself to the village mage, who mixed him a most potent potion. Cadmus walked on his swollen feet back to his manor and fell to the ground with the weight of the truth of his weakness in his strength, the Fate that had him by the throat. He cast the stone from his finger and tapped an essence of powder; he took the cup with misery, defeat, and desperation, to be with the flaxen-haired lass once again.
The house of Cadmus is cursed. You died, I hide, and Cadmus became.