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Through the Looking Glass


          The winds howled as they harshly blew around the clearing, forcing the trees to dance to their rhythm or else tumble to the ground. A combination of dust, dirt, small rocks and sheared grass whirled around. The ground shook with such force that one would think it was the end of times. Above, the sky that was already gray darkened; overcast clouds preventing even a tiny ray of light from escaping onto the ground. An eddy slowly formed in the center, like a whirlpool formed when one stirred water in a bucket, and in seconds a bright pillar of light descended onto the center of the clearing, thunderous and mighty.

           On the ground, six people had their hands raised as they surrounded the pillar of light, calling on an invisible power, harnessing it to make what the light was supposed to create. A seventh one, slumped in the ashes of her burned hut far from the six, tied by unseen ropes, watched with anticipating fear. She couldn’t believe she would go down like this. For all her strength and superiority, she couldn’t believe mere weaklings would be the ones to make her fall on her knees. Weaklings, for her, because they did not dare exploit their gifts like how they should, like how she had done. Weaklings, because they chose light and purity that were, for her, mere façade for a fake peace. Her only consolation in this inevitable situation was that she was able to take down four of them, and mortally injured most of them. They were ten when they came, but she outsmarted them and reduced their numbers. As she looked around, she smirked at the scattered, lifeless bodies of the four fools she took down. Now it looked like it was taking a long time for those six dolts to do whatever they needed to do. She smirked again.

           They left nothing to chance, huh? They gathered everyone who could face her, and made sure there were enough numbers to bring her down. She could win easily if there were only two or three, but they had to bring ten witches and sorcerers just to defeat her. In any other circumstances she would’ve revelled at the apparent compliment the situation presented. In the afterlife she would boast to whoever would listen that it took ten learned people in the art of Crafts and Magicks to bring her down. But despite her confidence in her skills and savageness, despite taking out the four, she was still outnumbered one to six. And she had almost depleted her powers. Panting, as she looked at the blinding light still connecting the ground to the sky, she thought bitterly about what she could do to bring them one more pain, if it was really her destiny to go. Especially to the young woman clad in what had been an all-white cloak now smeared with dirt and blood.

           Clementine, they called her. She was the strongest among them, the one who tied her when she was distracted with her fourth kill. If the situation was different, it might be a good fight between the two of them. Light versus dark. Pure versus corrupt. And she was sure she, the one called the Black Witch, the most powerful one of all time, would have won. Clementine would be added to the long list of witches and sorcerers that had tried to conquer her but grandly failed. Or, she wistfully thought, she could have convinced her to turn to her side. With the white witch’s power combined with hers, they could bathe the world in darkness. Even as she thought of that, she wriggled against this invisible tie around her, but it was useless; it only tightened. A small part of her marvelled at how powerful Clementine had to be to bind her and ensure she wouldn’t get away, and still draw power to harness the bright light coming from the sky.

           Suddenly, the pillar of light vanished, leaving a loud silence all around. On the part on the ground where it connected it left a thick haze of smoke, enveloping everyone in the clearing. She shivered as she felt a kind of terrifying calm, a flowing power that only meant the end of her. She was so focused on that power that she was not able to see Clementine running to the nearest sorcerer, cradling his head as he choked.

           “Please hold on,” Clementine whispered, but she knew it was too late. She drew too much power; too much that lives had to be exchanged in order for her to fulfil what she was supposed to make. She swallowed, and closed her eyes as the sorcerer choked out blood, and breathed his last. She looked around. Of the six remaining, two more died, the one in her arms and the other, a witch, lying on the ground at the other side. The others were on their palms and knees, retching, gasping for air. They all knew – she warned them – it would take most of their lifeforce to make the prison. But they also knew sacrifices had to be made, even at the expense of their lives. This was the deal they understood to take in order to stop the evil spread by the Black Witch. They all knew perfectly well that the ten that came here to face her were only meant to start the journey, the legend. Someone destined would finish the job for them.

           Seeing her comrades weak and hanging desperately onto the thin line of life they still had, Clementine was filled with sorrow and pain. But there’s a time for weeping, and now’s not it. She gently laid the sorcerer on the grass, stood up and wearily walked towards the still smoking center. Another of her comrades stood up as well, a witch-hunter who was called Alaric of the Nobles, walked limply to see what they had formed.

           It looked like still water. It was circular, flat, and in it they saw a sky very much like the one above; but they both knew it was solid. Alaric bent and ran his fingers on top of the object. And was surprised to see another hand, which looked exactly like his, do the same. He confirmed it to be solid. Clementine stood aside and leaned to look at the object, and saw a woman staring back at her, with the same hair and garb, as if she was also leaning to look at it.


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