Olice and the Red Crystal Realm Part Two

Chapter 1: On the handling of magic mirrors

The room was filled with many wondrous magical artefacts, mainly telescopes, chests, wardrobes and mirrors. It was rare for there to be more than one type of an artefact. Most were made in a different way or from different materials. Some of the artefacts were made from quite fanciful things, like for example a thin telescope made from the smugness of a cat with lenses made from tears of regret. There was a wardrobe made from planks of foreboding it looked well… just about as you might imagine from such ominous material.

Such a collection of things should have looked magnificent, enchanting even, and generally just splendiferous. As it was it looked dirty, dusty, disorganized, and generally an abject uninspiring mess. Things were just haphazardly dumped around, there was even one mirror that was beneath three wardrobes on their sides. It was perhaps not really that surprising that a room of stuff belonging to the Witch of Dimensions was a bit of a mess.

After all, she could effortlessly move things around by manipulating what they were in, or even just make them small. Dimensions was a broad area to be a singular mage of and with the mastery of magic focused on dimensions came a power perfectly suited to enabling lazy habits. Though a bit of fairness must be given to Ira Kiopla, the Witch of Dimensions. She couldn’t actually use magic to clean her stuff.

Some time ago when she had been but a mere witch of many that mucked around with dimensional magic, she had made someone very displeased with her. This mage set about casting a curse that would prevent any object owned by Ira from being cleaned except by hand. It turned out to be the best curse the mage ever cast. Ira being a prideful sort was planning on just outliving the curse maker, even though a simple apology would have broken the curse, it wasn’t just pride however, Ira and this mage had many more falling outs on Ira’s path to becoming the Exemplar of Dimensional magic.

This was how Olice found herself with a broom several sizes too big for her little body. She was lying on the floor looking up at a ceiling that was so high that the end of it was hidden from sight. She was wearing her usual ribbon of spun moonlight, tied up to look vaguely like rabbit ears, along with this she was wearing an embroidered pale green dress with a short cape collar that looked more like a brown leaf than a cape. On her feet was a pair of black soft scaly pointed boots. The other thing that she was wearing was a thoroughly unpleasant look on her face, a look of such profound dissatisfaction that only children seem to truly manage to show.

Normally Ira simply summoned servants to clean her stuff, Olice wasn’t even allowed to touch any of the artefacts. She still wasn’t. No, Ira had handed her the dust eating magic broom to sweep all the floors while she was away, and had dismissed all the servants apart from a few that seemed to appear from nowhere to give food and drink to Olice. Olice had started suspect that Ira had added extra rooms just for the occasion, as she was sure that the tower didn’t have so many rooms before.

Olice particularly despised the rooms that twisted in on themselves. They were fun the first few times, but then they just started to hurt her head.

This was the first time that Ira had left for so long. Olice was not really coping.

Olice looked longingly at a few of the magic artefacts. Ira hadn’t actually taught her that much magic. A few basic spells that she wasn’t even allowed to cast without supervision, and pouring magic into a crystal every night. The rest of the time was spent doing menial tasks, fetching things for Ira, studying musty old tomes that she barely understood and reading stories that began or ended in magical mishap, which got quite old after the first twenty.

Ira didn’t dare complain about the menial tasks or the insanity of physically fetching things for someone who could just make things appear next to her. She both admired and feared the Witch of Dimensions too much for that. It helped that although she was a princess she had never been spoilt and her father instilled in her a healthy respect for common work.

“Ooooh Gander, I’m sooo bored!” She called out, flailing a little bit on the ground.

Her shadow stirred and a serpentine form raised itself up from it and loomed over her. It was Gander, a shadesnake spirit with a head that was an unholy combination of snake and shark and a body that was completely covered in shadowy fur. He was a strong familiar that had been given to her by her father via the court mage, who she viewed as a kind of odd uncle. She viewed all her father’s inner council as an odd collection of aunts and uncles. She missed them all, though most of all she missed her mother and father.

“Well misstresss, perhapsss you wouldn’t be ssso bored if you tried not being bored” Gander hissed.

Olice felt Gander had a bit of an attitude problem. The spirit was always playing tricks on her, and making clear how much smarter he was. Olice felt that a bit mean, she was only a child after all.

Gander smiled at her, displaying that he really had way too many teeth.

“Why don’t you do something amusing or interesting for once?” Olice asked.

“My, what a sssuggessstion, I’m alwayssss amusssing and interessssting. But are you really asking me to play a game with you?” Gander asked.

Olice thought about it for a moment. She decided that maybe being bored out of her skull wasn’t so bad after all.

“No, actually that doesn’t seem like a good idea at all!” Olice said.

“Too bad, I’ve sssstolen the broom and hidden it, now you’ll have to find it!”

Gander then rapidly vanished starting at the tip of his tail until only his horrible smile was floating in the air, then that too faded into shadow.

Olice considered just staying where she was until Ira came back, but she managed to convince herself that it might be kind of fun to search for the broom, even if Gander was probably going to play some mean trick.

“Ok!” She exclaimed.

She got up from the floor and daintily brushed her dress off, though there was no need as she had brushed the dirt from the floor already. Then she trotted off in search of the broom.

She carefully picked her way through the piles of artefacts, and passed beneath many a worrying arch made from the artefacts. Then she felt something watching her, it didn’t feel like Gander either.

Olice didn’t feel afraid, she was sure that Ira had all kinds of defences around the tower. An experienced mage would have been wary.

At it was, she actually looked around for whatever was the source of the watcher. She even cast out her more magical senses, so curious she was as to what it could be. She caught a glimpse of something, an eye perhaps?

She quickly followed it, scrambling across the mess of artefacts, excited that something interesting was afoot!

The watcher led her to a large mirror covered as many of the mirrors were with a heavy thick cloth. As soon as she came near the mirror the heavy cloth slipped off, Olice thought she caught another glimpse of an eye in the mirror, but if she did, it was quickly gone.

Olice gasped.

Before her was a grand mirror of red crystal a simple knotwork border carved into its rectangular sides, it actually looked slightly like a door in some ways.

Now, when dealing with magical mirrors there were a few safe guidelines, never look directly at one, never look at one by way of another mirror, never stand directly in front of one and never stand too close to one. Olice had already broken a few of these rules.

She stepped even closer to the mirror. The surface cracked, she stepped back. Then the surface rippled like water the cracks vanishing, and an image appeared.

It was a tall elegant lady, with long silver hair that reached to her ankles, she seemed to thrum with power, in her hair was a ribbon of spun moonlight. Her eyes were closed, as if she was sleeping. Olice realised that this was her, but as an adult.

Gander silently rose from Olice’s shadow, and made a chuckling motion without the noise. He was fairly certain that Olice would never be tall, but quite a short person. He warily watched the mirror and it’s image. If it wasn’t for the fact that Gander felt that what didn’t permanently harm Olice would only make her stronger, he would have pulled her away then and there.

Olice’s tail wagged. She was quite pleased at the idea of ending up a powerful beautiful sorceress.

She stepped closer to the mirror.

“Is it really that this mirror shows what someone could be?” She wondered.

“Not at all!” Gander declared “Or it wouldn’t be sssshowing that!”

Olice stuck out her tongue at Gander and then peered closer at the mirror. She at least had the knowledge and sense not to look at it with her magical senses, though she was sorely tempted to do so.

The figure in the image opened its eyes. Olice yelped and fell on her behind. The eyes were not red as hers were, but glowing sickly yellow, the mark of corruption! Of chlan!

Olice knew at once that the image was evil, or perhaps the whole mirror was chlan! Gander began pulling at her and the Olice noticed that she was sliding towards the mirror. The yellow eyed mockery of her smiled, holding arms outstretched. Normally Gander would have no trouble lifting Olice, but such was the force of the pull of the mirror that he couldn’t pull harder lest he do Olice an injury.

Olice screamed and scrabbled on all fours trying to get away, but the image bent down and moved forwards, and then through the mirror came two arms, not an adult’s but a child’s like hers. She was grabbed and pulled into the mirror as through a veil of cloth, Gander along with her.

The mirror cracked, then rippled, and it was blank again.

Olice fell through crystal refractions, falling though images of herself and Gander. She fell and fell and the relections laughed at her. Olice thought that was all a bit much. Finally Gander had enough and twirled around Olice, spikes of shadow jumping out from his body piercing the reflections.

The crystal crumbled away, and Olice found her feet on solid ground, but she was no longer in the Witch of Dimension’s tower.

No, she was trapped in the Red Crystal Realm


Author: SnowyMystic