A/N: I removed all but this first part of the story. So, I'm sorry to anyone who wanted to read more! I'm focusing on other projects now and considering my options for publication. Most of the stuff I have left on fictionpress is very old. I wrote several novels when I was a teenager and ultimately it was a very good experience to write for people on this site and get feedback, but I can't say I'm perfectly happy with any of these stories any longer. I may reboot some of these stories, or reuse ideas here and there, but I wouldn't feel comfortable soliciting publication for any of these texts.

Castle Mirrors

Chapter One: Bastian

When compared to other miraculous and enchanted kingdoms, The Kingdom of Bastion was not particularly wealthy, or powerful. But and the same, they were renowned in their world as being possibly the oldest empire in existence. The royal family of Ollin had been ruling unquestioned for a thousand generations before Cundry decided to interfere. They had been blessed with undeserved good luck, obviously. The next generation was already in the making, for the King had a son, Arturo, who was looking for a woman to be called a Queen one day. His small sister, Princess Bronwyn, was also a reassuring figure in the castle, as she could reign in her brother's place if anything tragic should happen.

The people were generally sleepy and simple, quaint types; lots of farmers and soldiers and magicians who made their own way of life and managed to stomp out trouble before it got too difficult. There had not even been a proper war or rebellion in at least seven generations.

But in a world where magic and the unexpected were expected, no one could really be terribly surprised when Bastion suffered under the worse curse that any Kingdom had ever seen.

~*~

Arturo, the crown prince was in the garden with his little sister Bronwyn, watching her brush her tiny fingers through the fountain, while bandaging an injury on his wrist that he'd managed to sustain during battle practice with his brutal combat trainer, Fenrir.

Fenrir was marching down to the dungeons, helping to restrain a criminal named Fredrik who had been convicted of attempted poisoning. Fredrik himself, was in shackles. The aforementioned evil-chef was brooding about an argument he'd had with his patroness magician, Cundry the Enchantress. She was the woman who had put him up to poisoning the VisCount… Fredrik alone, knew what was coming, he knew that Cundry was out gathering the items she would need to curse the entire kingdom. She had cursed him during their fight, and taken his tongue, so he couldn't even speak to warn anyone about what was to come.

All his physical attempts to procure ink and parchment had been taken to be violent attacks. Having a bad reputation really did have its disadvantages sometimes. So Fredrik allowed Fenrir to throw him roughly into the cold cramped cell, and watched him slam the door, vindicated with the thought that they would all be very sorry soon enough.

Cundry, Fredrik's patroness, had finished gathering all the items she would need for this complicated curse and was arranging them in the proper order in her cauldron. The last items she added were three hairs. One from her, one from her baby daughter who lay sleeping in her crib nearby and one from the head of the crown prince. She had tied this last one in knots. The tall, green-eyed witch concentrated hard on her own power, concealed deep inside herself and she slowly let the invisible power flow from her fingertips into the bubbling mess.

It was done. All at once the little cottage where Cundry lived was filled with thick black smog. It fought desperately to escape the walls until it filled up every crease and crevice and escaped through the windows, startling a few people on the road who had been unfortunate enough to pass by the cottage. Not that they would have been spared from the curse, even if they had been miles away. Anyone who was within the borders of Bastion, would suffer the same curse.

Torrence, the faery, was next to notice the smog, she was lounging in her favorite tree, letting her wings fan her and her male companion in the hot summer sun, "So… tell me more about my eyes?" she cooed and the boy grinned stupidly.

Torrence frowned when she saw the mist. She sensed the magic immediately and tried to escape.

"Hey, what's your hurray?" the boy caught her by the arm.

"Run, you fool!" Torrence scrambled to get away from the tree.

"Just a bit of fog…" he was rather put-out before they were both abruptly swallowed in the darkness.

It passed by quickly, in horror Torrence felt her vision swim as she had to adjust. Her friend had disappeared and in his place was a large angry looking alligator.

"Torrence!? Torrence, where did you go? What's happened to me?!" the alligator demanded.

Torrence fluttered backwards, dumbfounded and very much aware that something was very wrong. Her wings were moving so fast and everything was so big.

Half a mile away in Cundry's cottage, the witch watched from her window and sighed happily as the curse caught up with the closest townspeople, making its way toward the palace at a steady pace. "It's very simple… my dear," she cradled her child in her arms, a tuft of red hair poked out from under the cloth, "One day, little Rose… I'll teach you magic. Perhaps you'll be like me, I have always had a knack for transforming people into animals and plants into rocks… air to water and water to snow, you'll see one day, how extraordinary I am."

The screaming was turning to barking and growling and squawking as everyone who touched the black mist turned into beasts.

"Ouch!" cried Cundry as a bee stung her hard on the hand. She swatted at it viciously and was just about to send out a small spell to kill the stupid insect when it started yelling at her.

"CUNDRY!" the bee hollered at her in Torrence's voice, "WHAT DID YOU DO?!"

Cundry laughed, "I had no idea I'd turn you into something so small, I promise," she stumbled backwards and laid the baby back in her crib clutching her sides, "I thought for sure you'd be something more… dignified,"

"Change me back, you evil HAG!" Torrence ordered with as much authority as a bee could command.

Cundry snarled, "I'll change back, who I want, when I want, depending on how useful they can be... not you though, never you, you're too dangerous my old friend, the last thing I need is some meddlesome little faery…"

"I'll figure something out, and then I'm coming back to kill you," Torrence promised seriously before flying away as fast as she could, while Cundry sent spell after spell zooming after her.

The mist had reached the palace now. The Princess saw it touch the servants and heard them cry out. In fear the small girl sprinted down the hall, "ARTURO!" Bronwyn called to her brother, wondering where he'd gone off to, since they were playing in the garden, "ARTURO!" she shouted, again, the mist gaining on her as her eyes welled up, "Has anyone seen the Prince?!" she demanded of a maid-servant who took one look at the enchanted mist and dropped her stack of towels to run.

"Prince!" Bronwyn collided with her brother down the next hallway and wrapped her arms tight around his waist.

He was staring at the mist in shock, slowly edging away. In one swift movement the Prince pulled his sister up into his arms and bolted down the nearest hall. The mist still caught them, just like it would catch everyone and as the darkness settled around them, Arturo felt his sister's beaded dress fall from his hands, leaving him with a furry white rabbit against his chest.

The mist cleared and Bronwyn was crying, "I feel so strange Arturo! What's wrong with me?! Something is so different, where has my dress gone?"

The Prince held his sister close, trying not to seem alarmed as he rounded the hallway and saw a parade of squealing, squawking, growling and shouting animals, everyone was panicking.

"Has everyone…?" Bronwyn stared around with her big purple eyes wide and her ears back, "Arturo? Why aren't you like us? Why are you still a man?"

"I don't know!" the Prince exclaimed truthfully, stroking his sister because that's all he could think to do.

Cundry watched the whole scene through her magic mirror, chuckled to herself darkly and draining a bottle of wine all the while. She paused for a moment and grew serious. She still had work to do… Curses like this, always came with a potentially hazardous but admittedly appropriate counter-curse; a way to break Cundry's spell and her magic in the process. She needed to find out what it was and put her best efforts into making sure that nothing unfortunate could happen to ruin her latest scheme.

She stood above the scorch marks where she'd left the cauldron boiling and searched deep inside her chest for that spark of magic that burned and flickered with its power. She called on the magic and it obeyed her instantly, displaying itself this time, as a small flame of purple fire that danced across her palm. She watched the smoke and tried to make sense of the magical message hidden inside.

Her frown became more pronounced as the signs became clear, "Surely not," she complained vocally to no one, "How bothersome…" she closed her hand and the flames vanished, then she turned to her baby-girl, "Well darling," she lifted the child up into her arms one last time, "Looks like I've got two options… Let's just hope this first one works out, for your sake." She kissed the girl's forehead and then groped around inside the pocket of her robes for a piece of purple chalk.

She drew a door on the far wall. It was not the real gate, but the gatekeeper would not let Cundry pass through anyway, this would only last for a few precious moments, but it was enough to let Cundry pass through to another world. Cundry propped her baby on one hip and reached down to catch a white rat that had wandered into the house through the open door, she broke its neck with a jerk and laid it before the door, then let her magic do the rest.

Roughly, Cundry shoved the door open and walked right through, to find herself in a very new place. The witch barely had enough time to register the hard, cold, iron look of everything, the screeching and piercing bright lights that stood every few feet, but still this world was draped in darkness… it would do. She set the girl down on the ground, and glanced up at the monstrous towers that these strange people had created, raised her eyebrows skeptically and looked back down at her baby.

"Well, maybe we'll meet again, one day," she spoke softly as some people approached. They were at the wrong angle to see the door which Cundry still had one foot through so she could sense when the spell would be spent, "If not… take care of yourself," the witched back into the door and let it shut.

Back in her world, back in her cottage, the chalk door she had drawn was smeared and the purple chalk ran down the walls to pool in front of the dead rat.

Cundry sighed and sat back down… that had been serious dark magic she had performed today. Not just the curse, but having to create another doorway to hide her daughter. She would not be able to avoid some cosmic negative consequences. It was highly appropriate that something bad would happen to her in a day or too, involving magic… But how serious could it be?

She was Cundry the Enchantress, the great magician who had managed to curse whomever she wanted for hundreds of years without ever being suspected of treachery… until recently, that is. She could steal your tongue, eyes, heart, mind, body and soul. No one could ever hurt her, unless, heaven forbid, they found a way to turn one of her own spells against her.

And she was not afraid of a rabid pack of wild animals, and a vain, insufferable, arrogant royal brat, like that Prince.

The witch smiled to herself. He would get what he deserved… just like everyone else who had ever crossed her.

Meanwhile, baby Rose lay, still sleeping, but shivering in a gutter located somewhere in Southern California. As her wrappings came loose and her skin was exposed to the air, she cried out and woke up. The world that greeted her was dark and quiet, but cars passed by, feet away, their lights glaring through the darkness, and illuminating the hard, grey, poorly constructed world around her; damp and ugly in spite of all its strength and wealth. There was nothing green in sight, unless you counted the lime colored monstrous vehicle, accented with chrome and blaring some horrible popular song through oversized speakers.

A girl gasped, "Julie… there's a baby lying by that storm drain!" the sound of stiletto heels and the strong scent of cheap perfume did nothing to calm Rose down.

Long fingernails curled around the dirty blanket as the girl brought the baby up and held her at arm's length, as to not let the dirty water form the gutter stain her lycra top.

"Eww, it's all wet! Don't give it to me!" said the other woman.

"We can't just leave her here, who would just leave her here?!" the woman held Rose a little closer and cringed, but the baby's crying faded to more of an agitated whine.

"What are we supposed to do with it? Maybe they're coming right back…"

"We could take it to the police station?"

"I'm not going to the police station!" said the other girl firmly.

"Well… we can't keep it…" the woman bit her lip.

"There's a convent down the road a couple blocks," she shrugged, "Someone told me once that the nuns will take care of babies if people leave them there." The woman fiddled with a fake eyelash as she talked.

"Come on," she held the dirty brown blanket tight against the baby's soft flesh and the two woman started down the road toward the convent.

Rose was not found by the nuns for another seven hours. Mary Catherine heard her crying, made sure she was feed, washed her up, and rocked the girl to sleep before anyone gave her a new name.

Nakita.