She needed somewhere beautiful. Somewhere made by someone who’d valued beauty and simplicity and it didn't matter if it was new or old or real or fake or not hers. She needed to look at something that had been planned, dreamed of, sweated over, bled for- and then made real. She needed proof that someone’s view of beauty hadn’t been waylaid, hadn’t been spoiled.
She found it.
It was an abandoned building, deep in one of those forgotten places, in one of those big cities too old for every important thing to be given its due credence. The lobby- she thought it was a lobby- was beyond lovely. Or had been, once. Someone, she didn’t know who, had loved this place before it had been real. Someone had designed this refuge for her without knowing it. Someday, she’d know their name, and thank them, leave flowers on their grave or some shit. But for now, she let her eyes eat up the sweeping balustrades, the exquisite carvings, the vaulted ceilings, the detailed mosaics and the broken piano with it's legs sprawled and keys scattered…
...and she finally felt safe. Safe enough to cry, to let it go, to sink to her knees in the dust and grime and bury her fingers in her hair and scream.
Then, and only then, did things start to get better.
He needed somewhere hidden. Somewhere unknown, somewhere neither he nor his brothers had been before. They never thought of new things, not deliberately, so it was his only chance to get away from them. It didn’t matter if it was far away or close by, so long as it was somewhere they’d never been.
He found it.
In one of the darkest rooms in a forgotten wing -one of many- of his mother’s twisted palace he found a mirror so caked in dust he knew it had lain there untouched since far before his eldest brother’s birth. They loved beautiful things, lovely things, and detested what was buried in forgetfulness and dust; such things reminded them too much of themselves. They would have never touched this mirror. Someday, he’d find whatever thrall had left it here and thank them.
He lifted the mirror, which was not a mirror, and through it saw his hidden place, his forgotten place. He stepped through the cool surface, dropping the mirror behind him to shatter across the dust of a forgotten life, and he finally felt free. Free enough to run, to leap and grin.
Then, and only then, did he hear the scream.
They needed somewhere perfect. Somewhere that had not been shredded by man, erased by time, or warped by false perception. It didn’t matter if it was old or new, grand or humble. It needed only to exist, wholly, fully, at the precise right time and in just the right place. All that mattered was that it was perfect.
They found it.
Their voices chittered and chattered, excited; it is found! It is found!
They laughed, delighted; bring them, bring them!
First the girl with her saltwater locked inside, her face a storm amid the sea-green clouds of her hair. They tasted her sorrow and anger and knew she did not have long. It had almost been too late.
But it wasn’t.
They sent a breeze to whip her hair into her eyes, blinding her, and she hesitated before crossing the street; she went right, instead of going straight. They swelled a shadow in an alley, making her hurry ahead, blinded by fear, instead of turning. They pushed the wind ahead of them, hurrying it further and farther than it would have gone on it’s own to carry shouts and shrieks of a far off argument to her ears; she turned left instead of right. Again and again, they guided her steps without her knowing, until they brought her to her beautiful place.
Then the boy, a world and a half away, finally ready to slip outside her grasp, away from her sons. They used their trick of herding the wind to bring him the voices of his brothers, sounding so much nearer than they were; they brought him to the shining thing they’d left, eons ago, and cheered when he stepped through, and let them bring him to his hidden place.
And on the wind, hissing through the twisted halls, came the cries of, it is done! It is done! It is done!End.
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