Poster: Michael McAndrews
Post # 3
Beyond the Mirror
She slid in against his side, putting her arm around his waist so she
fit perfectly. She wouldn't like being separated from him in a place
that they knew nothing about. "Count of three?" She said in a
near whisper, and then began to count. On three, she stepped forward,
nearly clinging to Michael. The feeling was odd, like stepping through a
wall of water but not getting wet. They were surrounded by sparkles and
vague shapes. All of it disappeared suddenly, leaving them standing in
an ancient forest. A path led away from where they were, nearly
overgrown with brush and flowers. The trees near them were stunted and
twisted, though the leaves were a healthy green. Further away, however,
they grew straight and tall, blocking what might be beyond with heavy
foliage. What little that could be seen of the sky was gray as if a
storm were approaching.
He took her into his embrace as she stepped close, keeping her close
that nothing could separate them against his power. It was true, she
fitted perfectly there and that thought was tucked away for the present
circumstances. He knew to hold his breath for it was like going through
water with no air, a suction feeling to it and gone before the
next breath would be taken but if not held beforehand, would have one
issuing a few gasps to make up. He took all in first before easing her
from his arm but kept one around her for extra measure. "Mark the
area well in your mind for we will need to come back this way to reach
the mirror. If we should get separated, this is our meeting point
too." He was checking the forest ahead of them while talking then
stating the obvious. "We are to follow the path." Like the
carved Fae of the mirror's frame beckoned them within.
She almost expected to step through soaked and automatically checked
once they were through. Just a little laugh marked the action though
before she was studying the area around them. The mirror was built into
rock on this side, the carvings hidden from sight. "All right. I'll
remember." Having a good memory would help in this case. "It
doesn't look like anyone has been this way for some time, does it?"
There was no ill feeling here. It was almost as if whatever had stunted
the trees no longer existed or had moved on.
"Not anyone from outside of here, no." He had the feeling they
were being watched but not in a malicious way. Curious, wary perhaps
too. Nothing could be seen at this point for whoever was here didn't
wish to be seen yet. "I don't think that mirror was used in a very,
very long time and may have been around even before it was placed in the
castle. I feel to protect it and its passageway. I can assume it was
used before but by who or what reason, I've no clue. The dust seems to
have covered any tracks," and he wasn't meaning physical ones in
particular. From the gnarled trees sparingly about, the path wound its
way into the forest. The heat of the day was shaded to cool as if one
crossed under another veil from yet that world outside of it. It was
quiet, almost dead quiet once past the initial line of trees and the
further they progressed.
She felt the eyes as well and though it made her a little nervous, she
didn't show it or even that she was aware. She glanced back over her
shoulder, surprised to find the mirror disappeared once one was a
distance away from it. Once the gnarled trees were gone, and past the
quiet forest, the large trees thinned out, into a
younger forest, with new growth. Birds chirped above them in the trees
while other animals, squirrels and rabbits watched them unafraid. Those
animals looked different is some way... the squirrels had tufts on their
ears, while the rabbits were not just gray or brown but white, spotted,
or even calico like cats. A chipmunk that ran across their path was gray
and black. As they came to a bend, the bushes began to rustle and out
stepped a stag. Taller than Michael with magnificent antlers, he sniffed
the air, then snorted and pawed the ground, almost in challenge.
Words came low as he still kept her close, he also wore one of the
hundred swords of Heathfield for a different reason, much like Andrew
wore the Master Sword. "We're not anywhere near our
homelands," which he figured she probably already suspected. Or,
there was the parallel planes if it was indeed the Fae. When the great stag
appeared he stepped ahead of Abigail, putting her safely behind him.
"We come in peace, we come being called." One never knew, the
stag might understand him. He held up a glowing hand with fingers spread
apart, the stag would recognize such power that went beyond a normal
challenge or what might be perceived as an enemy.
The stag stayed unmoving for a long time, watching with intelligent eyes
before he lowered his head, almost as if bowing to Michael. He turned
and started down the path until he came to where it divided. There were
signs, one pointing left that said "Haven" and one to the
right that said "Dangerz," spelled with a z. He looked up
suddenly as if hearing something and bounded off along the path
toward Dangerz before disappearing into the wood. During all of this,
Abby barely left out a sound, almost afraid to breath so that she didn't
scare the stag away.
His hand lowered as the stag bowed, a subtle motion as if blessing the
unusual beast. He watched him. He watched him keenly, stepping aside so
that he didn't block Abigail's view. His sight was far better than the
norm as well that in spite of what the sign read the Stag bounded down,
"I do believe we are to take the path that he did, showing
us." Michael believed in signs and not all was what it seemed as
the real sign that spelled Dangerz. "Shall we?" The glow of
blue eyes to turn upon her with a slight sweep of his hand in indication
of the path they were on and where they would follow. He would keep
close to her side in a protective way.
In spite of the name, Abby nodded and started for that path. It was
narrow but unlike the other path, it seemed to have a base of river
rock. That feeling of being watched was still strong but there was
nothing evil about it. As they reached the point where the stag had
disappeared, a small childlike figure suddenly appeared. Male, he had
obviously pointed ears, bright green eyes that were slanted, and a
thatch of red hair. Shirtless, his pants were made from what seemed to
be leaves and he wore green boots upon his feet. "Quickly,
quickly, off the path! Hurry, hurry, no time to waste!"
He grabbed hold of both their hands, trying to tug them into the brush,
his sense of urgency almost felt, and indeed, the forest had fallen
quiet for the moment.
"I think we passed the first stage," as Michael picked up on
this being more a Fae game of personality traits so that they could
learn of the two that had invaded their world, to mark them friend or
foe. So, in the stag's stead, a lad appeared. Michael was not surprised.
The quiet of the forest was a warning in and off itself and no reason to
doubt the Fae lad, only a dip of his head his communication with Abigail
as he moved off the road and behind the brush to obscure them with the
lad. He didn't need to be told that silence would also be needed as he
listened to the sounds around him. Waiting.
As soon as they moved into the shelter of the brush, it seemed that the
plants thickened, obscuring them further from sight. One of the bushes
even burst into flower right in front of them. Oddly enough, they were
able to see. And they would notice that the flowers had a strong, though
not overpowering scent. A few moments later, the baying of hounds could
be heard. It drew ever nearer until suddenly dogs appeared, much like
bloodhounds but larger in size and definitely not with the temperament
of those dogs. They were held on leashes by one man, taller and more
massive than any normal man, his features hidden by leather helm and
armor. Behind him came several riders, each clad in similar fashion,
their horses neither normal or nightmare but something in between. The
hounds sniffed the air, but seemed frustrated and their master turned to
the riders. "They've
lost the scent."
One motioned for the man to guide them on down the path but the
hounds refused to budge. Finally, with a curse, that rider turned and
they all disappeared again. The lad didn't move until the birds resumed
their singing. "They've
given up for now. Heads will roll I'm sure but come, come. A place of
safety waits for thee, lovely lady, noble sir. Come."
He didn't lead them to the main path again, but along another that the
opening of the brush revealed.
One arm went around Abigail as they crouched there behind the bushes.
Bushes that protected them from the Hunters they had been unaware of.
One hand rested on the hilt of the empowered sword until the ordeal was
done. It felt like he held his breath until they were gone as it came in
a whoosh when they could finally stand. "Who are they and why would
they hunt us?" It was something good to know if the Fae lad was
obliging. He had been so far so the question came easily. "Thank
you for your help..." as they were moving under his direction.
Certainly more reason after that to trust him. He well noted the
landmarks much as he advised Abigail to do earlier.
She hadn't realized she too, was holding her breath, until they were
gone. A weak smile was given Michael before they started to follow the
lad. He tipped his head to study them, then paused. When Abby looked
over her shoulder, she couldn't see where they had been. Ahead of them
stood an Oak that gave a feeling of great age. The boy led them there
before answering any questions.
"They were humans once but twisted now by the darkness of their
hearts. The mirror passage triggers an alarm in both villages. Sometimes
we are the faster, if the Stag is near. Sometimes they. Blodeuedd will
explain all to thee."
He smiled, and his face lit up. "It
has been many years since any have come through. And glad we are that we
have found thee." As
he spoke, the forest around them seem to come to life with small ones
like himself, both male and female, dressed in plantlike garb, and tiny
"Come, come. We feast tonight with much joy."
He pointed to a path where bell-like flowers sprouted before their eyes
and lit up to light the path.
He listened intently as they moved along, he would have asked more
questions but it seemed those would wait until they met up with this
Blodeuedd. "Glad we are that yea have found us." Although he
wondered why they were so glad to find them first. "There is a
reason there has been none for a least two decades, the mirror on our
side of the world was hidden down an old part of the castle and locked
away, the key hidden as well in the most unlikely of places. Perhaps
Blodeuedd can tell us why, what happened last time ones came
through." Abigail might notice that Michael's eyes glowed even more
in this place as well his skin took on a golden shimmer blending into
the gold of his hair.
The sight of Michael made her shiver though somehow, she wasn't
surprised. The tiny winged ones were playing with both their hair,
braiding equally tiny flowers, vines and faery lights in the strands. As
they neared the village, adults came from the homes, made from the
living trees, some ground level, some higher among the branches. All
gave the two warm greetings. The boy had disappeared and a small, wizen
Fae of great years bowed before them.
"Welcome, welcome. While we make ready, thou may rest and
freshen up. We will have clothes for thee but tarry not too long.
Blodeuedd will be here soon."
They were led to two separate houses which apparently were kept for
guests. Water ran into basins of stone, carved to look like petals, and
flowed into the floors. They were furnished with table, chairs, beds and
other bits of furniture. On each bed, lay clothing suitable for both.
Abby was a touch nervous being separated from Michael, but she washed up
and changed into the gossamer gown. Pale green shot through with silver,
it complimented her red hair and dark eyes. There was even a silver cape
if the night grew chill and woven sandals of softest leather dyed
Michael no longer looked human in this magical other world. He actually
understood how they could come and go in a way it seemed they
disappeared and another taking their place. Luckily the houses they were
led to were not far from each other. Michael washed up but it didn't
wash the gold sheen to his skin which denoted it was in his skin not
something that settled upon it. What was laid out for him was
essentially a white toga of the finest spun silks inlaid with gold
around the edges, gold sandals on his feet. When he emerged he looked
like one of the Greek gods. He waited outside the house, between it
and the one Abigail was taken to.
A small girl greeted Michael with a tray that held two golden goblets. "Thou
need not be afraid to eat or drink here in this land. T'is not like the
lands of the Sidhe." One
of the winged Fae spoke before darting off again. Abby joined him
a moment later, her eyes going wide at the sight of him. "You look
as if you belong here." She whispered, not realizing that she too,
looked otherworldly though her skin did not have the golden glow his
had. Instead she glowed as if moonlight had been sprinkled over her. The
flowers and lights still sparkled in her hair. The juice within
the glass held the sweetest nectar of the land. Once both had drank, the
tray and goblets disappeared, and the tiny girl took hold of their
hands, leading them to the village green. There a feast had been
prepared. Fruits and vegetables of all types, fowl cooked to perfection,
and drinks, both juices and wine. "Blodeuedd
The child told them as she led them to their chairs. Michael would sit
on Blodeuedd's right and Abby her left. The Fae themselves stood behind
their chairs in wait.
He would have liked to ask more questions but the one darted off. Each
gave a bit of information but much remained unanswered. Abby's voice
brought him around from the sight of the one leaving, "it is a side
of me that you have not seen. I have been to other worlds, ones much
like this but not this one in particular. They are in need of a
warrior." How he knew, well, this was Michael. "You are very
beautiful if you've not seen yourself in a mirror." Which barely
spoken and there was a larger Fae lady with a hand mirror. Abigail
would see that there was another quality to her skin too, maybe not
quite like Michael's but definitely drawing. It was as if they
represented the Sun and the Moon. He took his goblet at that
point to have his drink as he knew it would vitalize him not only
refresh. Now they were led by the girl as he notice those as curious as
they were about them, watching. They all seemed to be pleased they were
here and if any eye contact was made they quickly bowed their head, from
old to young it seemed to be expected. Finally, giving a glance to
Abigail as they reached the village green and to where they would be
seated, they would have some answers. Better that way so he could help
them if possible.
She was surprised to see how she looked though perhaps she suspected
there was something in the Frasier blood even if unspoken. She nodded as
he spoke of needing a warrior, wondering what use she could be here.
Well, that would be learned in time. As the child ran off to take her
place, the trees began to rustle though no wind blew. Flower petals came
from the forest, dancing about until they came to the chair between
Michael and Abby. There they took form, into a woman, more beautiful
than any Abby could remember. Her hair was touched with spun gold, her
eyes as clear and blue as a summer sky. Her clothing was made of the
same material as those of Michael and Abby, only decorated with tiny
flowers that sparkled like gems. She smiled at Michael then at Abby.
"Welcome, Michael and Abigail, to our lands. Long have we awaited
your coming. Eat and drink and while we dine, we will answer thy
She spread out her hands as if in blessing.
"We partake of this food and give thanks to the All Creator for our
life, and for these sent to us."
She nodded, motioning for all to sit then did so herself. They were
served by Fae that would be considered teens though none were truly
servants here. "We
know there are things thou wishes to ask. We are willing to answer but
would thou first like to hear how the mirror came to be?"
"Of course," as slight bow of his respectfully. It would
be almost impossible for a man not to notice the beauty of this woman.
Michael could admire it and the one who possessed such for it was in her
achievements that also brought her such beauty in the Fae heritage. All
were born beautiful by human standards it is just some, by their purity
and goodness, became more beautiful as their years unfolded. "I
would love to hear the story for much is in the telling of why we are
here then." Which was what he needed a better understanding as
certainly by her words, she knew of them. If the others ate while the
story was told, he would follow suit but aware not to speak when chewing
or food still in his mouth. He knew the Fae were very big on etiquette,
being clean and respectful.
The others were eating but even the youngest was quiet as their Queen
art aware, of course, of the time of darkness when he who took the
throne by force caused many to flee the land of Heathfield. We too, the
eldest of us still alive in this land, call that realm home and were
content but fear had us look for a place of safety. One who was versed
in magic created the mirror and allowed many of us to flee. What he was
not able to do was keep those of darkness from entering as well. He was
killed trying to stop them but then his daughter and son were able to
hide the mirror in the deepest recesses of the castle. The son joined us
here while his sister remained behind to hide the key. Of her, we have
no knowledge and know only her name was Jocelyn. She remained alive for
some time, sending some through while the Usurper lived." She
motioned to the people and some nodded but it was nearly impossible to
tell Fae from human after all this time. After taking a sip of
wine, Blodeuedd continued her tale. "Her brother,
Justin, attempted to fight those that followed the darkness and who had
come through but by treachery he was killed. One of the Lieutenants of
the Usurper became ruler of the others. Corrupted and twisted, he
became, and many of his followers as well. The last through told us that
Jocelyn was going to hide the key for she had been discovered and no
more came through until this day. The humans not rescued by us, have
their own village, and they are ruled by the one who was the Lieutenant
who calls himself their King. Many are not touched by the darkness but
he seeks ways to change them, twist them as he is twisted... and to
conquer us. You have been sent to save us, Michael of the McAndrews, and
thou, Abigail, will have a hand in what comes to pass. If thou both
accept the task asked of thee."
"You know not that Rath is dead? That King Andrew Barrett's
daughter took the throne two decades ago? The hiding place Jocelyn and
her brother picked, was magically enhanced to go undetected even by the
Druid prince born of Lahoneee. So what remains of Rath's realm, is here.
Once it is put to rights, his reign dies forever. I believe in fate and
in faith that I am here because your words are true. I shall fight for
your freedom and you can return home if you wish. Or stay here in this
alternate world if that suits you better." They would have a choice
after all was said and done. Michael didn't plan to lose this battle and
the fact it was fated said a lot. Although he knew, it would not be easy
and he could even lose his life if he was not careful but he would win
"We did not know and that is good news though we fear the cost has
She smiled wistfully as she continued,
"We wish to return to our homeland. What is here will be
transported to there when the darkness is defeated. Had only we passed
through the mirror along those humans who sought refuge, the darkness
would not have grown. We are prepared for this battle but while we fight
to keep the others from joining their master, only one may face him and
that one is thee, Michael. He knows of thy arrival as surely as we.
Abigail, thou will fight by my side with bow and arrow, and we will keep
thee safe so Michael need not worry about thee. But not tonight. Tonight
we eat, and rest and we will answer questions if there are more."
"I have no further questions, if Abigail has any? I will see to
your return when all is done and introduce you to the Queen. Your people
and that of Atessa await your return. Elen sila lumenn omentilmo, nae
saian hume." This he knew instinctively now as he spoke in their
language and it didn't sound foreign upon his tongue. Turning then to
Abigail as he pretty much knew why was here and it only needed to be
seen to. They would feast tonight and fight tomorrow. He would not have
this battle last days but hours. It was long overdue.
Abigail inclined her head, smiling as she looked back up. "I will
be honored to stand at your side during this battle. I have no more
questions." She answered and then she smiled at Michael, her heart
swelling with pride. Blodeuedd smiled as well, her eyes as bright as the
stars above them.
"Far too long. Enjoy the evening for dawn will come soon."
And she knew the lives lost could be dear, but even one would affect her
so. The meal would continue and there would be tumblers and
dancers to entertain but soon all would be still so each could prepare
for the morning and the battle to come.