The Highmore Chronicles: The Lost Kingpin

The Deep Mountains

It had been several hours and finally Eva had gotten comfortable on the creature. Yet she began to feel exhausted by the constant motion of the bird and feared that her legs would not hold her atop the massive animal. By now the trees had diminished and all that was left was still water. She wondered what body of water this was but knowing that this place was suppose to be hidden she figured no muggle would know much less herself.

Eva had a lot of time to come to terms with what might happen. If her vision came true then she was going to be in a deep dark place soon, with creatures she probably didn't even know existed. She could only imagine what she could possibly do to save the Headmaster. It all seemed so impossible that she considered leaping off the griffin and swimming back. Just as she began to tip herself to the side to see how far of a drop it would be the griffin bucked its head and cried out. She immediately sat up straight and held on tighter. For a moment, she thought she might have made the bird angry but she then heard a loud clap of thunder. Looking around the birds large head she saw a mass of dark clouds looming ahead.

"Maybe we should go back," she said mostly to herself but Fara made another sound though it continually moved forward. In an instance droplets of water fell on her head and face. It was light at first but it quickly changed into a down pour. It was cold and windy which chilled her to the bone through her school clothes. It wasn't until the thunder and lightning began to occur that she truly cursed her sight. "Please turn around, please," she pleaded to the bird pulling her body closer to the creature and wrapping her arms around its neck so she could stay on.

Fara bucked her head again and let out a louder cry. It continued again and again making her sit up straight. She was looking grip of its wet feathers. "Stop, stop, I'm gonna fall," she yelled trying to hold on. Suddenly, the griffin gave a forceful thrust and she lost her grip and began to fall from its back. Eva let out a gasp as the gravity sucked her down towards the churning water. She let out a scream though it seemed swallowed by the sound of the storm. She instinctively braced herself for the water and quickly dropped with a painful splash.

The water was ice cold and she nearly sucked in a mouthful of it as she tried to breath. She urged her aching limbs to pull her towards the sky. As her head popped up above the sea she was relieved with air but was quickly covered by a wave. It happened several times but finally she was above for more than a second. The waves had nearly stopped but she came to an awful realization. She was spinning. She tried to focus her eyes and look out past the rain but she didn't like what she saw. Eva saw herself trapped in a whirlpool only leading down into the sea. She tried to swim but it was useless as she felt herself spinning into the foaming watery abyss that would surely lead to her death. In an instant she was thrown in circles by the turning water and she strained for air.

It was a strange feeling, she thought, dying. This must have been what it felt like but eventually the spinning stopped and she just felt as if she was floating. She was no longer trying to breath she was just floating. Something pushed beneath her head causing a stop. She opened her eyes expecting to see a white light or a cloud but there wasn't one. There was darkness except for a small white light above that seemed to be raining down water into a black pool. Eva sat up and watched as water trickled down into the rippling bath. It made a very peaceful sound that echoed around her. Eva then looked down to her feet which bobbed in the shallow water. Underneath her was a combination of a hard surface and smooth pebbles. Turning she saw that she was sitting near a shore and beyond the shore was light.

Slowly, she stood up, her legs feeling like jelly. All the fear that hard coursed through her bones seemed to make her shaky. As she walked through the blackness the light only grew bigger and she quickened her pace wanting to feel the free air once again. Death had not taken her and she could go home, not to that school but back to the safety of Caterjunes Square with Michael and Lucy and the house with the red door.

Eva ran to the opening but was not met with the outdoors. Instead she was met with a lantern burning brightly in a stone corridor. It was not the usual stone of Hogwarts but instead stone that looked to be chiseled ruggedly away. She looked down one way and saw another lantern and few feet away and then another and another. The same in the other direction. Her feet began to move down the passage though her mind just wished to go back and lay in the water again and be okay with the idea of death. Something urged her forward down the hall.

It was silent but soon she could hear a distinct rhythm that seemed to be echoing down the hall. The sound was weak but as she moved forward it grew. In the distance she saw an opening to her right which might lead her towards the noise but as she reached it she saw something that she was not expecting. It wasn't leading anywhere, this passage. It was a window looking out into a massive hole that was lit brightly with millions of lanterns. There were thousands of passage ways across, beneath, and above her. What wondered her more was the many contraptions that were in constant motion. There were baskets being pulled upwards the downwards by rope, large elevator boxes traveling in every direction, spinning wooden circles cranking away. She moved closer to the edge and looked down at what was below. She could see movement of people pushing carts, mining away at the stone or carrying objects for place to place.

These must be miners and they would know the way out. She tried to looked for a way down to talk to them but there wasn't any logical way. Instead she continued down the passage hoping to find a ladder or perhaps one of those wooden elevators. But she didn't. The passage lead away from the area and began to fork. Without thinking she turned back and tried to find the room with the pool. She thought was going back the way she came but it began to get darker and lamps were not being lit. She thought to turn back but soon she saw another opening ahead. It was darker that way but she wondered if this would lead again towards the people. She grabbed a lantern off the wall and turned into the passage. Instead of being greeted by a working arena she instead was met with what appeared to be a mining track. It was made of wood and metal that was very old and almost rotted.

Eva resolved herself to go back but in the distance she saw a faded light. She silenced herself and listened closely hearing the rhythmic sound very softly in the distance. This must be the way she thought and moved quickly following the tracks. The light again grew brighter as she came closer and at the opening she expected to see all of the people working away and more than willing to help her. But instead she was in a large room with a high but visible ceiling. Along the wall were work benches covered in materials and tools. And next to each was an easel with a mirror on it. The one closest to her was shaped in a perfect circle. On the work bench there was a wooden frame that was half completed. It was carved into what looked like branches entangled in each other. The work was very detailed and beautiful to Eva.

She moved from area to area looking at each mirror and frame. At the far end, one looked to be completed. She looked at the long rectangular piece framed by and ornate wooden outline. Though encrusted in this frame seemed to be large red rubies. Finally, she looked at the mirror itself and the reflection. Her hair was extremely frizzy but dry along with her wrinkled skirt and button up blouse. She was very pale in the dim light and quickly looked away. I shouldn't be afraid to look at myself. I am normal now. She told herself, well at least as normal as a girl, who was a witch, could be. Eva smiled and looked up at herself but suddenly she saw the figure behind her.

"What are you doing?" it said and turned quickly running into table and knocking over a chest that sat atop it. She looked out frightened. Standing before her was a confused looking man but he seemed to be only her height with very small features though not features of a child.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I was..." she began but was sharply interrupted.

"Why are you here?" he shouted and immediately looked down at her feet. She looked down as well and saw that they were surrounded in several fine jewels which must have been in the chest that she had bumped earlier.

Looking up with an apologetic smile and giggled, "Oh, no, I was just..."

"Thief!" he yelled, "you have come here for our precious crystals and our secrets haven't you. Thief, THIEF!" She back up slow knocking her legs again the wood benches.

"No, please, just listen," she said but he continued to yell to the passage and soon she heard the sound of movement. Immediately, she turned and ran through the large room weaving her way through the mirrors and tools. At the other end there seemed to be more passages and she maneuvered her way towards them hearing the loud yell of the short man.

This passage was less smooth and even as the others had been and she was constantly tripping over loose gravel and stones. When she turned behind her she began to see shadows upon the wall of several men run in her direction. She gasped and ran as fast as she could without falling. Soon she could see them visibly behind her as they caught up.

The passage began to break into several different routes and she shifted randomly through them until she entered into a pitch black area and crouched in the corner listening. There seemed to be several different footsteps and harsh voices frantically looking for her. When they could not figure out which way she had gone they decided to split up in different directions but not in the deep dark of this particular opening.

Eva held her breath a few more moment remaining perfectly still until their sounds faded. She released a large breath and began to sob into her knees. It wasn't until she heard the noise that she stopped. It sounded like a tapping on glass but it was deep and echoed throughout the chamber. She stood up slowly and looked into the pitch. Her walk was cautious as she entered the depths of this cavern. Finally, her fear caught the better of her and she reached down for her wand hidden in her tall socks. She still felt that her grip was awkward but whispered into the black, "lumos.” Only a small glow admitted from the tip allowing just a foot of light in front of her. She thought of Sparrow and took in a deep breath hoping that she would see her friend again.

Edging onward she soon saw a glow of light beyond her. In another instance the two lights met and the face of another mirror. Holding her wand high she couldn't see how tall nor how wide this one was. Moving closer she could she her reflection darkly. But where had the tapping come from? She thought looking from side to side. Finally she resolved to look at her reflection again hoping that it might stir some courage. Instead, though it began to frighten her. Eva's image began to fad and another seemed to overlap it. It was that of a tall man, looking down at her curiously. He placed his hand against the glass and she quickly glanced behind her but there was no one there. Though when she turned back he still stood looking at her. He looked so familiar, yet she could not place a name. Suddenly, he smacked the mirror with a loud bang and seemed to be shouting at her. She quickly moved backwards shaken by the vision.

"What do you want?" came a haggard voice that boomed throughout the darkness. She lunged towards the mirror once again to see if the man was still there. He was but his face was lifted towards the dark sky and he seemed to be speaking. "The prisoner requests a word," came the voice again. Finally, the man lowered his gaze upon her, his clear blue eyes shrouded by the dim light. His thin lips parted and a muffled voice followed.

"Hello, my name is Holt Von Foxstrand. I am the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry which I see you are a student of. I have been held captive here for many days. Now, who, may I ask, are you?"

Eva took a moment to process what he had said. She had found him, this was him she remembered the face yet it was covered with lines of fatigue and a patchy beard had overgrown. She was still reminded of the vision between this man and Michael but pushed it aside for the time being. "My name is Eva...Highmore," she said softly. He gave her a warm smile.

"Hello Eva, now you must listen to me carefully," his face changed to that of urgency. "You must leave here without capture and return to school to inform Professor Rubeus Hagrid of my whereabouts. Do you understand Eva?"

"Well, I need to try to get you out," Eva said louder than she should have. "I was sent here...to find you."

Foxstrand frowned with confusion but shook his head. "There is no time, this mirror is elaborate to open and even then I would need to use magic to leave it."

"Then I will give you my wand, just tell me how," she could still see his disbelief even in the darkness. "I have been having visions about this for a long time. I have the sight and I am your only chance. There must be a way." She was met with silence as he seemed to ponder her proposal. "Let me speak to those people then, maybe I can convince them."

"No," he said abruptly. "The Nanus are a very proud people, and they will have a deep hatred for magic folk like us. They are also the only ones who can control these magic mirrors."

"Magic mirror?" she called upwards as he did before.

"What is it witch?" the haggard voice rang once again.

"You must release this man, please," she said as her voiced echoed above her.

"Only do the masters I serve have the power to open my mirror."

"Is there no other way?" she pleaded.

"You are an interesting child. I see something within your reflection that would hold great interest to many powerful people. Perhaps I shall test your great power. If you answer this question I will allow you entrance into this cell with this prisoner."

She thought a moment confused about what he saw in her. "And if I answer wrong?"

"Then I will notify my masters of your location and purpose."

Eva looked at the headmaster within the mirror. He seemed to be deep in thought. Eva instantly looked up to her invisible prosecutor, "I will do it!"

"No," Foxstrand yelled out banging his hand against the wall. "You cannot, even if you get it wrong you will be trapped in here with me. Eva don-"

The room suddenly went silent though Foxstrand still seemed to be yelling through the glass.

"A witch may not cheat," the loud voice boomed. "Now prepare thy ears for this question of fate.

We three are greater still than most. Our roots run deep until thy a ghost. The first is gone and gray with age, the second stays where it fall, but the third is soon to take the stage, thine better to weary of all.

Who are we?" The voice seemed to echo throughout the room. Eva could see Foxstrand still behind the mirror yelling mutely. It did not seem that he had heard the riddle. She turned away from him deliberated the question.

Who are we? There are three of them. What comes in threes? She was reminded on the story of the three blind mice. They couldn't see where they were going and soon lost their tails to someone they had frightened. But it could not be them. It must be deeper than mice who cannot see. She then thought of death. It always seemed to come in threes. Sometimes, at the institute, bad things would always happen in threes and no one was ever settled until the third and final incidence occurred. But the mirror spoke of them as if they were people.

Eva had turned herself away from the mute screaming headmaster to focus. She found a seat upon the cold ground and pondered. I better be weary of them all. One is no longer here, the other is where it stays, and the third will soon appear. She became disheartened at her ability to solve such a question. I wonder how much time I have before they find me. Time!

Eva stood up abruptly and turned slowly towards the mirror. The Headmaster had also seated himself and stood slowly. "Mirror, I have your answer."

"What is it witch? Who are those I spoke of?"

"They are different parts of time, past is gone and gray, present stays, and the future will soon take the stage. There is your answer; the past, present and future."

There was a long pause and Eva stood breathing heavily awaiting the answer.

"That is correct," said the mirror and Eva took a long sigh of relief. "You may enter into my mirror."

Eva came close to the mirror but Foxstrand moved before her. She still could not hear his voice between the glass but he looked at her with warning eyes.

"I'm sorry," Eva said, "but I must." She held her hand out to touch the mirror but as she moved forward nothing seemed to stop her. The mirror almost became invisible for her to approach the other side.

As she entered into the dark space everything became quiet and still. The only light that entered the room was from outside of the space in which the mirror was kept. Before her stood a very angry headmaster. Up close she could see his gaunt face, as if he hadn't been given much food or water.

"We don't have much time, the Nanus would have been alerted to your presence as soon as you entered this mirror. They took my wand when I used to magic to escape earlier," Foxstrand spoke directly was purpose.

"You know a spell to get out? Then here, use my wand," she eagerly handed the wand over but was suddenly met by the mirrors laughter.

"I thought the witch would be wiser," it chuckled, "a wand will choose a wizard not the other way around. By the feel of it, your headmaster will not be able to control your stick if he wanted to."

"The mirror is right, I cannot use your wand. A Pegasus feather at core...I would cause more damage."

Eva felt defeated. She thought all she had to do was get the wand to him but now she was trapped. She fell down to the floor, exhausted at her journey here.

"I am sorry Eva," Foxstrand said and sat beside her.

The couple sat in silence for a long while. The Nanus had yet to arrive but Eva did not doubt that they were on their way. She had grown very weary but could not seem to sleep. Instead, she rested her head on her knees, closing her eyes. For a moment, all she could see was blackness, but as she focused on the dark it seemed to be moving towards her. Swirls of light seemed to come into her vision, though her eyes remained close. The lights kept leading her on and on until finally they stopped. The image before her now was that of a passage way. It seemed to lead towards a faint light. As if she were standing in the passage, her head turned to the left to see a sign that said "Danger, No Entrance" and above a sign said "314".

Suddenly, she opened her eyes to find herself exactly where she had before. Foxstrand still sat next to her in the darkness. Suddenly, from above the voice of the mirror came booming down towards them.

"What is this that has entered my mirror? A witch with the sight? And so young."

Eva looked up confused. How did he know about my visions?

"Mirrors can see right through you if they wish. I saw your vision of the way out. I will gladly direct you there for a price."

Eva turned to Foxstrand, who seemed to be in deep thought over the offer. "What is your price Mirror?"

"The witch will allow me to use her sight to find my own answers," the mirror responded given them time to think.

"What does he mean? How is that possible?" Eva asked concerned at what the Mirror was looking for.

"This is an old and wise Mirror. It has seen many things beyond continence. It is a special mirror that can see inside of those that look upon it. Perhaps it believes it can use your ability to find something." Foxstrand seemed to be concerned about the offer put forth.

"Will it hurt me?" Eva questioned afraid of the outcome.

"No, of course not. It will only stretch your mind witch," the Mirror replied.

Eva gave one final glance at Foxstrand. "Fine, I will do it."

"Look upon my mirror," the voice called.

Eva slowly walked towards her growing reflection. It seemed fuzzier than the other side. Suddenly, she felt something in her head forcing her to shut her eyes. She fell to the floor, pressing her hands against her pound head.

Inside her mind she saw spiraling images. None were focused or visual of anything in particular but they moved quickly through her vision. Finally, they stopped, showing an image of herself looking into the mirror. Behind her, she could see her back that moved when she moved. Turning, she again saw the same image as if she was in a box of mirrors.

"Follow me," came the voice in her hand and the image of her body seemed sucked into the vortex of mirrors. The mirror seemed to be searching for something never happy with what it found. Images of people, dwarves, and all kinds of creatures looking through the mirror. All the movement froze abruptly and her reflection seemed to be stuck in mid air. She looked around herself and saw glowing orbs beginning to form. The more it clear it became, she realized that these orbs were sitting on shelves; each glowing a different color and swirling in different shapes. One in particular seemed to glow more brightly in a brilliant shade of blue. She studied it closely finding that it was unclear around the edges.

Suddenly, there came a cracking sound and the image in front of her seemed to have formed a fracture within the mirror. It instantly shattered and threw her back into reality.

She rose from her feet and turned to see Foxstrand standing beside her.

"Turn right at the hall, go down the passage until you see a passage marked "Hall of Glass". Turn left down the passage, it will be several miles until you reach a sign that states a dangerous zone labeled "314" Do not abide and continue on. It will lead you out of the mountains. Now go, they are coming swiftly."

With that Foxstrand grabbed Eva's hand and pulled her through the mirror which allowed them through. They raised to the right, down the passage as the mirror had said. The hall grew more pitch the farther they ran.
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