|The Black Mirror
Author: echonymph PM
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Snow White and she…wait, you know this story. Well, how about what happed after? When the mirror is found in modern day, four siblings unravel the secrets of the Grimm tale that never made it into the storybooks.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Chapters: 4 - Words: 7,632 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 10-11-08 - Published: 02-03-08 - id: 2471235
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The castle was overrun with bandits. Ehren Heinrich strode through them in disgust, his brown wizard's robes fluttering about his calves as he walked. Finally, he reached his destination; Queen Gesine Edda's bedroom. How the sorceress had managed to infiltrate the palace and marry the king without the Church finding out was unknown to most, but the young stepdaughter who was now the only living heir to this province had given them a vital clue.
A Slave of the Mirror. Somehow, that witch had managed to ensnare a being with enough power to sacrifice and use it to bind a demon to a Black Mirror. He had an idea who, too. Lynde Medwin Wendell, a friend of his son's, who had once been her suitor before she set her sights on the king. Ehren shook his head, for the man had been but twenty, and already an Adept at his magic, very nearly a prodigy. Someone with his talent, his power, was usually born only once in every four generations. What a shame. His death would be added to the witch's sins, of which the murder of her husband and the attempted murder of her beautiful young stepdaughter would only be the beginning.
Lifting his staff, Ehren blasted the spell-hidden doors to the Queen's chambers, charring the doors and terrifying the peasants around him. Crossing the threshold, he broke the barriers of dark magic surrounding the chamber, eyes scanning the walls. From the murderess' bed her familiar, a sleek black cat with a pure white mark on her chest, hissed and ran. He ignored it. Without its mistress it had no power. There. One corner of the room was curtained off in black velvet. Behind those curtains would be the Mirror.
"Father?" asked his son and apprentice, holding the box. Intricately carved with runes and inset with gold, silver, and jade talismans and protective amulets on the outside, inside it was lined in plush black velvet similar to that of the curtains, with a heavy blanket of black silk folded inside.
"Karl, put down the box and unfold the silk," he commanded. His son obeyed, shakingly handing Ehren the cloth. "When I tell you, pull the drapes." Karl yanked open the cloth so hard the pole almost came down, but Ehren threw the black silk over the Mirror, preventing the Mirror Slave from trying to ensnare him. Carefully, he lifted the Black Mirror and black silk from the wall, wrapping the object inside more securely. Striding quickly over to the box, he placed it snug inside and closed the lid, binding the entire thing with a spell of sealing and preservation, so that the cloth inside would not rot away, leaving the keeper unprotected.
Ehren sighed in relief, leaning over the sealed box. He was getting too old for this. Turning, he looked at his son, who gazed at him with worried and questioning eyes. "Let us go." He turned to the door and stopped. The young princess Adelaide stood there, her red lips standing out like blood against her porcelain skin.
"Do you have it?" she asked, fear in her dark eyes.
Ehren nodded. "Yes, Your Highness, it is sealed away."
"Good," Coen said, coming up behind his fiancé and putting a hand on her shoulder. "Any sign of Gesine Edda?"
"No, my lord, she has vanished. It seems likely that she is dead," he replied, keeping his head bowed. "The villagers say that the Dwarfs were most displeased with her trying to kill their ward." He didn't need to see their faces to know that Adelaide flinched. She was such a gentle, beautiful girl. It was a shame all this had happened to her.
Coen gestured towards the box, "What do you plan to do with that?"
"I will guard it my lord, and make sure that no one uses the unholy thing ever again," Ehren declared, looking up into the prince's eyes for the first time.
Prince Coen Emil, son of Waldron's eyes were hard, but his hand around his young betrothed was as gentle as anyone could wish. Ehren wondered if the girl knew that, like her, Gesine Edda, her stepmother, had also been the fairest in the land. And had shared the attentions of the prince.
Prince Coen led his fiancé away from the room of her murdered stepmother, and she put her head on his shoulder. Ehren looked over at his son, surprised to find his eyes narrowed.
"What is it, Karl?"
Karl looked over at him sheepishly, then looked down. "It is nothing I would worry you with, Father."
Ehren barked a laugh, motioning for his son to lift the box, "What's one more worry on this day?"
Still, Karl hesitated. "I am loosing my friends, Father."
Startled, Ehren asked, "Whatever do you mean?"
His son looked him soberly in the eyes. "Although I did not know her as well as some, Gesine was always kind to me at the academy, and even I could tell she was very fond of Lynde, even though she was supposedly having an affair with Coen."
"What is your point, Karl?"
"I just find it hard to believe all this happened. Coen broke Gesine's heart, so she turned to Lynde for comfort, and then broke his heart in return by marring the King. Why would she sacrifice him to trap a Mirror Slave? And if she truly wanted to be fairest in the land, why put a curse on Princess Adelaide? Why not just kill her? And…" he hesitated, then whispered, "why did Coen fall suddenly in love with the Snow White Princess after he had already declared his love for Gesine?"
"That is many questions, son," Ehren said, climbing into their carriage. "I suppose you have an answer to all this that you do not wish to tell me."
Karl looked away. "I do not wish to besmirch the prince's honor, Father. He is still my friend but…it seems as though it is not the woman that he loves, but the title of the fairest." He looked back at his astonished father and teacher. "I just wonder how wise it is to let him marry the Snow White Princess."
Ehren leaned forward intently, "Never voice these thoughts again, my son. This is treachery if your words ever get out. I will ask the Council to send in a female mage to keep an eye on Adelaide, but only to keep the prince from the temptation of the fairest before they are joined by God. Will that satisfy you?"
Karl hesitated, but nodded. "I only worry, Father, because I fear my friend is not the boy I grew up with any longer."
"And it is right that he should not be. He is a man now, destined to be king. It is well past time for him to put away childish notions and lead his people."
The carriage arrived at the Heinrich Manor well after midnight. Karl carried the sealed box to his father's room and left without a word. "Karl," Ehren called down the hall, "It is near time for you to be courting maidens yourself."
Karl looked startled and blushed, but gave no other response but a curt nod before taking himself to his chambers. Ehren sighed; he was angry with him. Grimly, he turned to look at the box that was now in his charge and jumped. "How did you get in here?" he asked.
Gesine Edda's former familiar cried piteously from where she lay atop the box. Ehren was about to shoo her away when he noticed that the pure white mark on her chest was streaked with red. He softened. "So, they persecuted you to, eh?" he asked, sitting down beside the box and taking the injured cat in his arms. Lighting a lamp, he examined her critically. "Nothing too serious, my dear. You are a beautiful creature, it is a shame that your partner turned to the side of jealousy and hatred while you had to suffer the consequences."
The cat mewed again, as if crying. Jumping out of his grasp, she hopped back atop the sealed box and cried as if her heart had broken.
Ehren watched her and wondered. "I will keep you here," he said quietly. "None of this was your fault, little one. Live out your days in peace."
For years after, the box that contained the Black Mirror stayed in the room of Ehren Heinrich, its contents dormant. Only he and his son knew what it contained, and when Ehren died, Karl took over its protection, for the spell was such that the firstborn son of each generation—and the spell ensured that there would be a son—would be bound to the protection and preservation of the Black Mirror. For centuries the line continued, with each generation passing on their magic and lore, until the world began to disbelieve the legends of magic and those of the Heinrich family had to flee their native Germany, to the wilds of America.
And still the box remained unopened, and the occupant asleep.