There were three beautiful identical sisters. No, I lie. They were neither identical nor beautiful, but they were sisters.
Except, that is a lie, too.
Once upon a time, there were three fair maidens... but no. While their skin could certainly be considered fair, in certain light, by no means was even one of them a maiden.
Once upon a time, there were three women who were, and were not sisters, who were and were not women at all...
Their names were... No. No, there shall be no names for this. Names have power. Names can heal, but they can also corrupt and destroy. And anyway, their names were false.
We shall call the first one Violetta, for she was delicate and small, a perfect flower of womanhood. In the end, she fell the furtherest, through pain and darkness, to emerge on the other side of fiery death with a soul singed, but intact. Her trials were many and her pain great, but so, too, was her reward, and that reward was the love of a man -- who was no man at all, really -- who set her above the moon and the stars and the very world itself in importance in his eyes.
This not-man, he had two identical brothers, too, but that is another story...
The second one we shall call Pearl, for it is ironic. A single grain of sand, an irritant, growing into something lovely. It is ironic and perfect. In the end, she was exalted the highest, but she lost the most. Her pains were fewer than Violetta's, but her trials were harder and they broke her, again and again and again. Pearl did not emerge from her trials with her soul intact. But something that is broken can often be reforged into something even stronger than it had been. Stronger, but not precisely human anymore.
The third one we shall call Patience, for she had it in great quantity, if not in quality. Patience was neither debased nor exalted. Of the three not-quite-sisters, Patience faced the least pain, the easiest test. But then, too, Patience was the only one to fail.
Three people on three paths that started in the same place, but went very different ways.