Doctor Fate: Children of Fate, Prologue: An Unexpected Birth

by Libbylawrence

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In his life as a doctor, Kent Nelson had witnessed many medical miracles. As an archeologist, he had uncovered astonishing secrets. As Doctor Fate, the very secrets of the cosmos had been opened up to him.

Yet as a man, he still believed the most wonderful sight in the world was his sleeping wife, Inza Nelson. He gazed down on her with love and awe that she was truly his partner in life. She had the same reddish gold hair of her early youth, when she had been Columbia University student Inza Cramer, and he had been a young man.

She stirred, and as she tossed back the heavy covers, both received a shock that made Kent question just how immune to shock he truly had become: Inza was lovely — and very pregnant.

“Kent!” she shrieked. “What in the world is this? I’m… pregnant! Six months pregnant, by a glance! Enormous as a house! And last night I was a size four!”

Kent touched her and said, “Inza, I can vouch for your diagnosis. You must be at least six or seven months along in pregnancy, and last night you were not. This is magic of a kind I can only properly investigate as Doctor Fate.”

She stood up in a teddy and slippers as her husband quickly donned the gleaming golden helm without her. She had dozens or hundreds of thoughts about what could be behind her condition. In Fate’s world, she had seen talking birds, demons, and returns from wonderful realms of the mind. Yet now, as she touched her large and transformed body, she was torn between terror and hope that perhaps she was going to be a mother after so many long years alone with Kent in the doorless Tower of Fate.

Kent Nelson now became Doctor Fate without merging with her in her delicate condition; he gestured, and his glowing amulet bathed the beauty in golden light. “Osiris, tell me what this omen means. Speak of Inza’s altered state!” He listened as if to an unheard voice, and then seconds passed in agony of suspense for Inza.

“Tell me! What is it? What is it?” she begged.

He removed the helmet with one swift gesture and took her in his arms. The all-too-human face of Kent Nelson smiled at her. “You’re pregnant with triplets! The same magic that Nabu used to keep me vital and alive for twenty years locked in a tomb is working within you! Remember, I once sent my very magic into you during a fight with Wotan. Now, in some way, perhaps due to Odin’s boon, you are carrying rapidly maturing lives within that beautiful body of yours!”

They embraced, and Inza smiled tearfully.

Inza had never been able to live a normal life, since so much of her time had been spent alone in the mystical tower outside Salem. She had also had to share her husband’s very body with the other-dimensional being known as Nabu up until a few months ago, and Nabu had been a very demanding master who did not share very willingly or well.

The method by which Nabu the Lord of Order dominated Kent Nelson had been through the gleaming golden helmet that once carried Nabu’s essence, and which enabled Kent to assume the role of Doctor Fate. Once Kent would put on the helmet, his facial features were concealed, as was his very humanity often enough. The slow erosion of Kent Nelson and the gradually emergence of Nabu as master had begun to work a painful blow to their relationship decades before.

Back in June, 1941, things came to a head during a battle with Ian Karkull, forcing Kent to afterward take the step of surrendering the helmet completely, replacing it with an ordinary half-helmet. (*) The half-helmet, which showed his mouth and emotions like a smile or frown, essentially allowed the human to be Fate instead of Fate controlling the man. It was true that Doctor Fate was now less powerful than he had been under Nabu’s control, but Kent had changed immediately for the better after refusing to wear the original helm, discovering a new occupation in medicine. Most adults selected a career after years of study following a choice made after thought and trial during the teenage years. But Kent had never gone through any kind of teenage years. True, the term of teen-ager had not existed when Kent was a twelve-year-old boy in 1920, but the idea remained valid.

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Justice Society Adventure the World’s Not Ready to Learn About Yet,” All-Star Squadron Annual #3 (1984).]

Kent had been thrust by Nabu’s magic into the role of mystical defender of all that was holy and good. The magical Nabu had been awakened from a sleep in 1920 by Kent and his archeologist dad Sven Nelson at ruins dating back to ancient Sumeria, and the result had been death for Sven and a forced vocation for Kent. It was true that Kent had been a true hero and champion as Doctor Fate, but he had only been free to exercise his own preferences after he discarded the helmet, later losing the Helm of Nabu altogether during a battle with Kulak. (*) From then on he was less powerful, but he also spent more time as Kent, to Inza’s delight. He used his magic to gain mastery of medical skills, and in the span of months he rose to full doctor. Inza had been thrilled and so proud. Yet even this vocation only held his interest for a couple of decades. He was drawn back into the archeological efforts he had witnessed as a child alongside his father Sven. He had never fully reconciled what his career of choice truly was.

[(*) Editor’s note: See “By Hatred Possessed,” All-Star Squadron #28 (December, 1983).]

Yet now Nabu was gone, having passed on to the realm of the unliving, and Kent and Inza together wore the mantle of Fate, one being merged from the union of the two, as it had always been intended from the beginning. (*) And Inza felt new hope for their future. He could be a father, and they could experience new life together like other young couples. Fate’s magic had kept them as young as they had been back in 1940, so this was not a problem. Yet, three babies — their births would be soon, for in the hours that passed, Inza grew, and indeed that night Kent Nelson delivered three healthy babies, two boys and a girl. He had never done a better night’s work, and yet as he would see, he also had never made a greater error.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Doctor Fate: Fate Revealed.]

Inza also recovered with a rapidity born of magic. As she held them, she said, “We should name the girl Celeste after your mother, the first boy should be Sven, and the final boy Henry after my dad.”

Kent had grinned. “I’d like to use Alan as a middle name for Henry. Perhaps we could name our daughter Isis!”

“You better be joking about that name!” said Inza.

They hugged, and all was blissful for the moment in the Tower of Fate.

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