You look into your bedroom mirror, a curious glint of light catching your eye. You draw nearer, trying to work out where the light is coming from. As you stare into your mirror, the glint of light begins to move. Your concentration is focused solely on the light, and the image that is slowly emerging from within it. It appears to be a circle. A circle of light. As this thought crosses your mind, you suddenly feel dizzy. You close your eyes instinctively.
When you open them again, you find the world around you has changed. You are no longer in your room. Instead, you now stand in the middle of a large circle of ornate silver archways. Your first thought is to leave the confines of the circle, so you head towards the arches. As you draw closer though, you realize that it is not made of linked archways at all. They are mirrors. You look at your reflection, seeing the shock on your face in the moment before the mirror begins to grow cloudy. It is as though you are surrounded by fog, except that the fog is only appearing inside the mirror! You watch in stunned amazement as the mysterious fog swallows up your reflection. Then, slowly, another image emerges from within the swirling mists.
A walled city, still in the process of being built, fills the background as a girl of around sixteen hurries into the image. She pauses, her eyes scanning the building before she turns to look behind her with frightened eyes. She shifts her backpack and then continues towards the city, finally passing through the massive archway and out of your sight.
The image shimmers, the walled city being built and then aging before your eyes. When it returns to a steady image, another girl can be seen heading towards the archway. Although she seems to be of similar age to the first girl, the only other similarities are the backpacks they both carry and the fact that she also heads off into the city.
The image does not shimmer, but the clouds begin to move much faster than they should, and the shadows change more frequently too. Time is passing and the image shows the shadows of late afternoon before time returns to its usual steady march. Once again, a figure appears and pauses for a moment before heading into the city. This time however, although again the age is similar, it is a young man who passes through the archway and out of the image.
Another shift and yet again the walled city ages as you watch. You wait for a figure to enter the image and start in surprise when it doesn't happen the same way as the others. This time it is two younger figures, a boy and girl of around fourteen. The girl immediately starts towards the archway, but the boy holds her back. He studies the city carefully and then pulls a map out of his backpack and studies that. Finally, he nods to the girl and they head into the city.
Swirls of fog envelop the image, hiding it from your sight as another image is unveiled. An old fountain, broken and silent, appears out of the mists but then it begins to change. As you watch, water begins to bubble out of the odd statue at the top. The water cascades down and as it falls, the fountain itself seems to move back in time. The cracks mend and the stains on the stone dissolve until the fountain looks like new. Then the swirls of fog envelop the fountain and again hide it from your eyes.
This time, the image that appears is almost familiar. Four figures stand on a rocky clifftop, the same figures you saw entering the city except that the first girl is not with them. They appear tense, angry, yet there is no fear as the form of a massive creature begins to rise from the ground before them. It looks like a dragon, but a dragon born of shadows and darkness. It roars, although you cannot hear it, and begins to move towards them. Then two more figures move into view. One stands behinds the others, in the shadows where you can't quite make him out. The other though...
The girl looks to be around fourteen, with long red hair that shines like flame. She looks like an ordinary girl, in a pale blue tee shirt and faded jeans with a brown backpack, but there is something about her that strikes a chord in your memory. It is almost as though you have seen her somewhere before. The image in the mirror shifts slightly, bringing her more clearly into view and you realize that she wears a badge pinned to her top. For some reason, the image of a small circular mirror with a delicate, light blue rose etched in the center darts into your mind and you are oddly surprised by the fact that the badge she wears looks nothing like that. Instead, four ovals angle across each other to form an eight point cross. The four colors of the ovals, red, blue, gold and silver, match the colors on the clips that hold the girl's long hair back off her face. For a moment, you stare at the badge, wondering why it also seems so familiar. An image flashes into your mind, but why you should suddenly think of a gold and silver wax seal you have no idea!
Again, the fog swirls and moves in to hide the image. This time however, the mist merely fades away to leave nothing except your reflection and that of the knight on the white horse behind you.
You whirl around and find that the reflection is true. A horse of such pure white that it almost dazzles your eyes stands quietly on the other side of the mirror-enclosed circle. On its back sits a Knight in shining silver armour. He makes no movement that you can discern, but the horse begins to move towards you. You instinctively step back, only to find yourself up against the mirror with nowhere to run.
"Fear me not for I mean you no harm. I have been sent to tell you how to return to your own world." The Knight's voice is deep and carries a note of kindness that eases your fear and replaces it with courage. You boldly ask him where you are.
"This is the Nexus, the heart of the Mirrorway. It is outside of time and space and so it is here that all of time and space may meet." He waves one gauntleted hand towards the mirrors. "For those that know how to use them as such, these mirrors not only show scenes of other worlds and times, but can be used as gateways to the scenes they show."
When you ask him if that was how you got there, he chuckles softly. "In a way, yes. The Mirrorway is very powerful, but more than that, it has its own type of life, of sentience. When the Conference of Introductions was finally held, there was one world that was not revealed. It seems that the Mirrorway wished to change that and so brought you here, that you might see something of the missing world, and especially Jade." He chuckles again. "The world was not included originally because it is not, technically, a part of the Mirrorway, however there is still a link." For a moment, he pauses then adds, almost to himself, "Everything is linked, although the connection may not always be obvious."
Before you can ask him anything else, he straightens and his voice becomes brisk. "Right, time grows short so we must send you home. You need to stand in the center of the Nexus, where you were when you first came here. Quickly now, for the Mirrorway may decide to keep you if you stay here too long." As you take your place, he moves his horse back towards the mirrors. "The Mirrorway will not give you up voluntarily, you've already been here too long for that, but the Keepers and Protectors will see you safely home again, never fear." As he speaks, he begins to fade and his last word echoes eerily as he leaves it behind.
You shiver, but before you can really become afraid, a circle of light begins to glow around you. The shimmering circle rises from the floor to far above your head, leaving a trail of light that swiftly melds into an enclosing wall around you. Then the light begins to solidify and you find yourself in the middle of a new circle of mirrors, although this time there are only six whereas before there were hundreds. Then the mirrors begin to glow.
As the image of a female appears in each of the mirrors, your mind fills with snatches of memory... or are they snatches of dream or story? Whatever they are, you know these girls.
High Commander Jade of the Star Aurora Galaxy. Jasmine of Triplestar Castle in Witchhaven County. Elfwatch of Dalra Star. Locken, Mistress of Castle Heart. Mirror of the Hall of Archives. In the final mirror, the girl is the one you have just seen and you name her too. Jade of the missing world.
Behind each girl, a figure emerges from the shadows and your throat closes as you try to call out a warning! But wait, what's this? The girls turn and smile as they are joined by males you have never encountered before... or have you?
As you study them, more snatches of... something... drift through your mind. Surely, the young man standing with High Commander Jade was your companion at the Witchhaven County Ball? Wasn't the young man with Jasmine the one who accompanied you to Dalra Star? What of the Elven boy with Elfwatch? Surely, he was your hooded companion at the tea party in Castle Heart! The youngest of the boys stands with Locken and you blink in disbelief as you recognize him as one of the Avatars in the Virtual ballroom Mirror organized! As your gaze moves to Mirror with that thought, the silver-armoured Knight moves to stand behind her. He removes his helm and a young man with dark blonde hair and midnight blue eyes smiles at you. Then you notice the young man standing with Jade, the other Jade that is. You know him too, although it takes a moment to place him as being your companion on the Starship Galaxy. Which was where you met High Commander Jade...
The mirrors rise slightly off the floor and begin to move around you. Faster and faster, they spin until you are too dizzy to watch them and have to close your eyes before you fall! You can feel the wind caused by their passing around you, but then it begins to ease. You slowly open your eyes.
You blink at your reflection in your mirror, the gentle breeze fanning you from the open window. For a moment, you recall everything that happened as clearly as if it really did happen. But then you grow suddenly tired and head back to bed. It's very late after all, just past midnight. As you drift off to sleep, you vaguely recall something you dreamed earlier. Or perhaps it was just a story you once heard.
On another world...
"So, it's over now is it?" Lord Dark demanded as he turned away from the window to glare at Mirror.
"It is." Mirror replied calmly, but a slight smile flickered in her grey eyes. "Or perhaps it is only beginning."
As Lord Dark scowled, Locken placed her hand on his arm. Her light laughter tinkled through the air like tiny bells. "Oh, do not tease him my friend! You know how it makes him, and he will need all his concentration if we are to find Fluffkin." Her laughter faded, replaced by a look of concern. Lord Dark's hand crept up to cover hers and she gifted him with a sad smile.
"We'll find him," Darkling said gruffly, although he said it far more softly than usual.
Mirror nodded. "Of course we will!" She turned to the wall of computer monitors behind her and a slight frown creased her brow. "What I don't understand is why I can't see him. If he's anywhere, or anywhen, within the Mirrorway's range, I should be able to."
"There's your answer then." The soft male voice drew their attention as a shimmering silver and blue portal formed on the far side of the room. A moment later, the speaker, a young elf, stepped through and closed the portal with a wave of his hand.
"Thank you for coming Timefalcon," Mirror said with a slight smile, even as Lord Dark scowled at the time-travelling Dalran Elf.
"Our answer? What's that supposed to mean? Why is it that everyone I deal with always speaks in riddles?" Lord Dark's eyes flashed with irritation.
"Because sometimes a riddle is the only way that the true answer can be found." Timefalcon grinned as Lord Dark's frown deepened. "Seriously though, what I meant was that since you can see all times and places within the Mirrorway, but cannot see Fluffkin, then that can only mean one thing."
Realization dawned on Mirror, Locken and Lord Dark's faces, followed swiftly by a flash of fear. It was Lord Dark who put that fear into words.
"He's not in the Mirrorway anymore. He's in the World."
Timefalcon nodded seriously. "We're going to need help for this one."
"Timeon, wake up! We have to gather the Circle." The girl's voice woke Timeon out of a deep sleep. As his midnight blue eyes opened, he brushed back a wayward lock of dark blonde hair and blinked up at his beloved partner Mirror. The firelight touched her hair, turning the dark strands to flame. For a moment he thought she was someone else. Someone else? Then he remembered.
"I had the strangest dream." He grinned at her. "You know what that means."
Mirror smiled and nodded. "It means that we've now come full circle, so the Conference of Introductions has now reached..."