The Highmore Chronicles: The Lost Kingpin

The Talking Mirrors

"Eva, light," Foxstrand yelled harshly.

Eva stopped a moment and reached down to her sock where her wand was kept. She lifted it up, "Lumos." A light filled the small hall and Foxstrand quickly looked at the nearby sign. It was not the correct location apparently, because he grabbed her arm once again and guided her down the hall.

The passage weaved back and forth yet they never found the correct sign. Foxstrand finally stopped to catch his breath and let Eva rest. He seemed to pace as if he was frustrated that they hadn't found it yet. Eva too, was beginning to get worried that the mirror led them astray.

They both froze hearing from behind them a growing sound like boots smacking against rock.

"They've found us," Foxstrand said breathlessly. "Come on, we must go." He pulled her too her feet and they were off once again. Every sign was wrong and evermore did they hear the sounds getting closer. Eva was almost ready to stop again and give up but suddenly they past a sign that she thought said something about glass.

"Stop," she yelled and tugged backwards on Foxstrands grip. "This is it." She ran back to the sign. It said in old faded letters "To the Hall of Glass". Foxstrand smiled at her and pushed her forward. They made a left and the passage led them, what seemed like, in a spiral going up at a small incline. Eva began to notice small numbers above each door way. She slowed only to inspect a few. One said "1058" and the next said "1056".

"They're going backwards," Foxstrand said noticing the pattern as well. "We have a long way to go."

With that they were moving again, hope seeming nearer than ever before. The sounds from behind them seemed to fade with every marker that they passed. Eventually, Eva and Foxstrand slowed to a quick walk not hearing anything at all.

1043 came and went so did 1037. Eva wasn't sure how much space was in between these markers but it was not consistent. Sometimes they would move for several minutes before passing another marker while others only took mere steps.

They stopped for a short while to rest. Foxstrand taught Eva a spell to produce water in their palms to sip down. In those moments of recuperation not much was said until Foxstrand spoke up.

"I knew a Highmore once," he said looking down at her. "His name was Michael Highmore. We used to work together."

Eva smiled, remembering Michael back at the home with the red door. "He's my father."

"I never thought he would have had a child. But a lot can change in many years." He paused for a moment. "I always thought him a good man."

Eva gave a half smile back to him. She missed Michael with all her heart and wished that she could be back in Caterjune Squares. She also knew that something was not right between them and didn't know how far she could trust him.

"Come, if we can get out of this mountain I will be able to apparate. Something in this mountain is weakening my magical abilities.

Eventually, they began moving once again. They passed by 947 and still continued forward.

As they approached 587 they could feel the air lighten around them. It seemed as if there was something different ahead than a small passage. This pushed them onward at a quicker tempo. After several more markers Foxstrand slowed grabbing Eva by the arm.

He motioned for her to keep quiet. They began to make another turn and as they came around another both stopped in their tracks.

Foxstrand and Eva both starred out into a vast hall covered in thousands of mirrors. Even the floor seemed to be made a glass reflecting everything above it. The passage they were following continued onwards in the other direction yet Eva couldn't help but enter into the room.

"Eva, we must continue on," Foxstrand insisted but she moved further into the room.

All around her were propped mirrors. She approached one sitting on a easel, its gold frame dull from many years. The more she looked at herself the more distorted the image seemed. Suddenly, her whole surrounding changed. She was in her room at the institute, wearing the light blue paper gown, surrounded by her charcoal drawings. Eva gasped and turned around to find herself once again in the mirror hall, Foxstrand approaching hesitantly.

"This people is known for the creations. Magical mirrors; some merely speak with you, some will show you better than what you are, some will show you worse. Some, even, will show you your fears and your wants; pasts and futures. They can see inside of you," he was so close to looking at his reflection in the mirror but then turned away, "These creations for the faint of heart, the weak and decrepit. Many a dark wizard will use these creations to do evil and that is why these Nanus work so hard to keep them hidden and secret."

"But couldn't some of these mirrors do some good," Eva replied. "What if you were someone who hated the way you looked use a mirror to see how beautiful you really are? Or what if you were concerned about something that was going to happen in the future, couldn't you use a mirror to see what great things are coming your way?"

"My dear girl, these are all illusions. No one should live in a lie and no one should know their fate."

Eva wished that that were true. She knew too much about this man, more than she wanted to know.

In the corner of her eye, Eva saw a covered outline of a mirror. The dark brown cloth covered it. She felt the fabric and soon curiosity got the better of her. With a quick thrust she pulled off the cloth.

"I found them, I found them," came a high pitched voice. Soon, a chorus of noise surrounded them as other mirrors seemed to join in. Eva covered her ears and found went to Foxstrand side. He guided her towards the entrance they had come through but as they approached footsteps and yelling could be heard. They tried to find another exit but at every chance there were more footsteps approaching.

With their backs to one another, they watched the hall was filled with the little men.

Eva and Foxstrand were separated, her wand taken from her. Though the Nanus were much shorter than him, they seemed to easily over power Foxstrand. She was able to get a close look at them for the first time. Though they were all her height, they were much brawnier, their arms nearly twice the size of hers. Their heads were void of any hair, their skin void of any color, but their eyes were dark and sunk into their heads. They terrified her.

Suddenly, the room became quiet and all heads turned towards a figure who had entered the room.

"For the past thousands of years, we Nanus have protected the secrets of our mirrors. We have provided all magic folk and creatures with our conceptions. But it is not enough for the witches and the wizards, no. You," the Nanus pointed at Foxstand, "you dare to intrude into our mountain and you," he turned to Eva, "dare to follow him."

She noticed that he wore a necklace with shards of mirror on it. He must have been someone important because all of the others seemed to like what they were hearing.

"Then you have the insolence to destroy one of our eldest mirrors," his light skin was turning red with anger. Around them, the others started to shout and yell. Eva began to shake with fear and looked to Foxstrand though he seemed scared as well. The head Nanus raised his hands and silence fell. "Now, in our laws we cannot decide the fates of these thieves. Therefore, I call for a Trial by Mirrors."

With that, the crowd erupted in cheers and Eva was pushed through the crowds. They led her to the far wall, Foxstrand being pushed along behind her. She was shoved down to the reflective ground and Foxstrand down next to her. A squealing noise could be heard from above and they both looked up. Down came a black mirror suspended by leather straps. It was gently set down onto the group in front of them and they looked into its black reflection.

"The Obsidian will be your judge," came the leader once again. He turned to the mirror and spoke an unfamiliar language.

"Bring me the wizard first," came a low female voice reverberating from the dark mirror.

Two nanus grabbed Foxstrand and dragged him to the mirror. Foxstrand sat on his knees, staring into his reflection which was dim. As he stared his breath became haggard. Eva watched as the full grown wizard tried to back away but something kept him from escaping. She could get hear him starting to speak, pleading almost for it to stop.

As his pleas became louder and louder, the crowd around her began to grow louder, egging the mirror on.

Eva began to cry as she saw Foxstrand throw his arms over his head and scream in pain. In one final breath, Foxstrand's body fell backwards. The two nanus came and dragged him back.

Eva looked over at him trying to somehow communicate with him, hoping he could help her but he was broken it seemed.

"The Obsidian speaks," said the leader. Silence fell once again, and Eva was left shaking.

"Though the wizard is not guilty of stealing or attempting to steal from my creators, however, he does not have a pure soul. He shall be placed once again in isolation until his soul can be cleansed." The room erupted in cheers. "Bring the witch for examination."

Eva was lifted and dragged to the front. She struggled to free herself but it was fruitless. When she was set on her knees, her head immediately looked down to the ground. If she didn't look at the mirror then it couldn't look into her.

"Let me see you face," said the mirror in a calm voice. Eva shook her head, resilient to looking up. "I must see it!"

Forcefully, her face was lifted up by one of the men. She found herself looking at the darkened reflection of herself. Once locking eyes with herself she could not turn away. It felt as if she was being sucked into the mirror. In she fell, images flashing by her. Her past seeming to flash before her in rapidity.

In an instance, the images stopped; she was standing outside of the institute, looking through the barred gates once again. Duquette had brought her hear many times and yet should couldn't go any farther back. But as Eva focused more and more she began to see the world turn backwards before her eyes. People moved backwards quicker and quicker, though she never seemed to move. Finally, it stopped in an instance. A dark car was parked in front of the gate. A man, cloaked by a hat and long coat, climbed out of the car and walked around to the back door. He opened the door and pulled a young Eva from the back seat. She was not responsive in anyway except for her ability to walk.

Suddenly, Dr. Augustus came from the now opened gate. She kneeled down in front of the young Eva and gave a warm smile, welcoming her. She slowly walked the girl in but as they past Eva she watched the man in the hat. He pulled a wand from his coat discretely and said a spell and then he was gone.

Suddenly, the images were moving once again around her. She tried slowing them down but they would not.

"Stop!" She said loudly and determined to the mirror. Eva could see the images slowing down as if the mirror was struggling to keep looking through them. Eva remembered the feeling of looking through the last mirrors images and what she had discovered when searching. The mirrors had a weakness too. They break too easily.

Eva focused and stopping the mirror causing it to work harder in order to dig deeper.

"Why are you fighting me child?" The mirror asked the question still in her calm voice.

"I broke the last mirror that tried to find information in me and I will do the same to you," Eva said, her voice steady and focused. She pushed harder and harder. She was calm, at peace, and intent on getting out of this mirrors control. In a single moment she felt her body become hers again.

Eva stood up and turned. As she did she could feel the dimness of the mirror begin to fade. Soon, she was looking out at a crowd of awed nanus. There was utter silence in the hall.

Eva didn't bother to be escorted. She simply walked over to Foxstand and tried to help him to his feet.

"Witch," came the voice of the mirror, "you have a gift. I have seen your soul and saw much good in it. But there is something inside of you that is dark."

Eva turned to the mirror, Foxstrand still at her side. "We are going to leave together and you will give us our wands," Eva said trying to sound confident. There was no movement around them.

"Give her what she asks," said the mirror.

"But what of the wizard?" the leader questioned.

"Let him go," the mirror said.

Slowly, the holder of the wands approached and gave them to Eva. She placed both of them in her sock.

"Eva," came the mirror once again, "be careful. It would be a shame for your gift to be used against you. Beware of the dark creature which haunts your dreams."

Eva did not understand everything that the mirror said but could not care at the moment. She helped Foxstrand walk slowly through the crowd of confused nanus. They reached the entrance to the hall and turned down the hall once again following the way out.

The sign of danger approached and the passed it on. Slowly, the sight of an end could be seen. Foxstrand, still weak, hobbled along with Eva help but did not speak.

Eva could feel fresh air hit her lungs. She did not know how long she had been down here but as they exited the tunnel she saw that it was night. The stars were bright in the sky which looked out on a great body of water. When they were several yards away from the tunnel, Eva let Foxstrand rest. She herself could not sit down, afraid that she would fall asleep once again and find herself still down in the mountain of mirrors.

After a long while, Foxstrand finally stood up. "Eva, it is time to go back to school." He reached out his hand to her. She hesitated a moment but eventually reached out and grabbed it. There was a rush of motion and she felt herself being swirled away.

When the movement stopped she opened her eyes and saw herself staring up at the castle of Hogwarts. Her knees felt weak and she could feel tears filling her tired eyes. She still held on to Foxstrand's hand.

Together they walked into the sleeping castle and Eva for the first time felt like it was a home for her.
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