The Fairy Tale of the Mirror
Once upon a time there were two kingdoms, both ruled by kings with huge armies. The hatred between the kingdoms had drawn a huge wall separating them from each other. But like all objects made out of hatred and anger, this wall had holes in it. Too small for the stormy heart to see and big enough for those who were not blind to love.
It was a beautiful day, birds in the garden chirped with glee. Louisa walked through the huge corridors of her palace, this huge home that she had learnt to love. Her footsteps echoed in the unusually silent hallways. There were guests in the palace today. Guests from the other side of the wall. Everyone in the palace was either hiding in their rooms or keeping to the shadows of the servant passages. She for one wasn't even supposed to be here. But she was curious, just like she always was. "Princess Louisa! Pardon me but you aren't supposed to be here." exclaimed a frightened servant. "Please don't tell father or anyone else" Louisa requested her. She could hear muffled voices from the courtroom. The Royal Ambassador from the Court of Treasa, The Crowned Prince and a troop of sentinels and bodyguards had travelled all the way from the kingdom of Treasa to once again sign the Treaty of the Wall of Peace. It happened in every 10 years.
The King of Treasa along with a few members of his court came to the Kingdom of Luviel to maintain the peace between the two kingdoms that had been made space for, decades ago. It was a strange day in the capital city. Everyone was jumpy as the Treasan royalty made its way through the gates of Gidora, our capital city. Louisa silently watched as the noble men stepped out of the court room. Though the nobles of Treasa and of Luviel stepped out together, they were still separated. She wondered what the difference between both groups was. Both wore finery of jewels and silk like a second skin. Both had the same skin color and the same air of aristocracy. But they hated each other. They moved out to the bird garden, escorted by the ambassador of Luviel to hold an audience. Two people were missing from this uncomfortable bundle. Her father, the king of Luviel, and The Prince of Treasa. She sneaked into the courtroom trying to eavesdrop on the conversation. "I respect you sir as a king and I look to you as a father, no matter how unbelievable and fake you think my words are. So I request you to take my words as the questions of a curious child. “, said the Prince. He was handsome, younger than I had expected with hazel brown hair that reached his ears, matching hazel eyes and a mild tan. "I am surprised young prince but eager to hear you.” Her father said, a curious smile warming his face. "What do you think about the wall?" He asked, a confident, unwavering prince. Louisa was sure that if she had been sitting on that throne right now, her face would betray each and every sign of shock. "The wall...is a necessity. It is a solid barrier between our two kingdoms. As all know, relations between our two countries have been strained-" his words were lined with anger. "Why. Why have the relations been strained? “, asked the Prince. "Why are you questioning the wall's existence? “, interrupted her father. "Because no one else does", said the prince. She couldn’t help but feel respect for the prince. It was a sensitive topic. Something people left alone but it was a valid question and one she had yearned to ask. She sneaked out of the room through a small passage behind a stone seat, no longer wanting to hear them argue. The prince of Treasa departed from Luviel the next day, but in his wake he left a message for the Princess. ‘I saw you that day in the courtroom. I wish we could have met.’ read the message.
The Prince and Princess communicated in secret messages and soon loved to cherish each other’s words. Princess Louisa could not wait any longer to meet this beautiful stranger who had won her heart in no more than a week. So one day, she disguised herself and made her way to the edge of the Kingdom, where the wall was. She found a hole big enough for her to enter the Kingdom of Treasa. The Prince had got her message and was waiting for her at the Palace. They sneaked out to the silver Pond Meadows where they spent a whole evening under the blessing presence of an oak tree. Over the months both the Royals met at the Silver Pond Meadow and the Apple Grove in Treasa and Luviel. One day Princess Louisa shared the deepest desires of her heart with her mother, the queen. Queen Edina was worried about Louisa and her love for Edmund. So she told Louisa to forget about the prince of the other Kingdom. Louisa was deeply annoyed by her mother's restriction and she continued to meet the Prince in secret.
Louisa was trying something new today. She had been exploring the lower levels of the castle. It was darker here and colder. Not many servants or nobles could be seen. She was even beneath the prison and the dungeons. She had a lamp in her hand and an adventurous spirit beneath her skin. Till now Louisa had discovered a room full of strange liquids, a library that was gathering dust since a very long time, and an underground store room. As Louisa made her way deeper into the castle the rooms became sparse and the tapestries became older, depicting scenes from old mythology and legends of the fair folk. Suddenly Louisa halted in front of a grand ebony door. It was carved with strange patterns and symbols. Louisa could feel a cool wind coming out of the gaps in the door. Louisa pushed the door and it opened with a creak. She entered the room, curious about it. A sweet voice called to her. "Come. Come" it said. Louisa walked towards the voice coming from the far end of the room. The room was old and dusty. Cobwebs adorned the low ceiling and rats scurried around, hiding in the shadowed corners. At the far end of the room, sat a mirror. Its frame was of glinting dark obsidian and the mirror itself was surrounded by an eerie green mist. First she heard the voice, of an old woman, and then a figure started to take form in the mirror. And it was not hers. It was an old woman’s, bent and gnawed. Her hands were twisted bone and skin, complimented with long dirty nails. Her face was wrinkled and mutilated and one of her eye was red and blue. She wore black rags and an intimidating smile. "Come. Free me. I know you Louisa. You are the one destined to free me “said the woman. Louisa gasped in surprise. At first she was reluctant to help the old woman, but Louisa couldn’t bring herself to look away and go back to her chambers. "Come child. You will be rewarded" Louisa moved to the mirror because she felt a pull to it, as if her feet were moving on their own accord. "How shall I help you old lady”, she asked her. She reached her hand out in answer. Louisa put her hand to the mirror and the surface rippled like water. She looked at the woman in shock and the woman only gave her an encouraging smile. Louisa put her hand into the mirror and took the woman’s gnarled hand and pulled the old lady out. The woman laughed and before Louisa could understand what she was doing, she pushed her into the mirror.
News that Princess Louisa of Luviel was dead, spread like wildfire. Many grieved for the dead princess who was destined to one day take the crown and along with it the responsibility of Kingdom. Prince Edmond was devastated after hearing the sad report of Princess Louisa's death. According to the news, Princess Louisa had been found dead in the Fallen Tree Forest near the wall. They found only a basket of apples and lots of blood at the scene. The investigators had to say that it was the fury of wolves that had caused such a grim deed. They had recovered a finger with a sapphire ring on it which was the only piece of the lost princess that was left. Prince Edmund silently mourned for his lost love.
Louisa had been trapped in the mirror for at least 5 hours now. But she couldn't tell. It was cold inside this endless dark abyss. She knew what this was. It was a prison mirror. That she had read about in books. It was used to trap very powerful forces inside it. But it could be tricked into thinking that the person trapped inside is the same person who was originally locked there by a spell. Louisa had been tricked by the old woman. Now that she thought of it, the woman must have been a witch. Now she could do nothing but hope that someone would see her and help her out of this prison mirror. That was when she saw somebody. Not somebody, she saw her mother coming towards her through the ebony gate on the other side of the mirror. "Mother! Mother" She shouted. Queen Edina looked at her daughter through the smooth surface. "Louisa" she whispered, tears welling up in her eyes. What I have done, she thought to herself. Louisa screamed after her mother to free her of this trap, but her pleas fell on deaf ears and she was left staring at her mother as the queen covered the mirror with a black cloth and left the room.
Prince Edmund was in the royal courtyard. He came here often for a breath of fresh air, when his secret messenger and loyal friend came running to him. "What is the matter? Callum" asked Edmund. "I have brought news my friend. The queen of Luviel is dead, just a week after the Princess's death. It was a dagger to the chest. She was found dead in her own chambers....But-" "But-"urged Edmund "But there was a message written on the walls in the queen's blood that read 'I murdered the queen and the princess. I am in the sapphire'" said Callum. Edmund was shocked by this news. An assassination of the queen of Luviel in the palace itself. But that was not what caught the prince off guard, it were the words of the murderer. ‘I am in the sapphire.’ Anyone would think he meant it as the three classifications of sins in the present world. Emerald killed for need. Ruby killed for want. Sapphire was killed without regret. But somehow Edmund thought that it meant the sapphire ring that he had gifted to Louisa. The gemstone in the ring could be opened in half to reveal a little chamber in which Louisa had written small notes for Edmund. If that was anyhow true, then Edmund had to go to Luviel and find out what was written in the ring.
Prince Edmond dressed up as a common servant and left his kingdom to find the person who had murdered his love. After two days, he found himself in the palace of Treasa. He was disguised as a servant of the throne and nobody questioned it when he went inside of the king's chambers to change the curtains. He had heard that the king kept the bone of the Princess's finger and ring in a box. And sure enough he found a small iron box in the king's wooden chest. Inside of it was a small bone and the Sapphire ring that he had given Louisa in an act of love. He slipped the ring in his pocket and replaced it with an artistic clone of the ring and escaped out of the Palace unnoticed. The prince was living at the small inn at the edge of the city of Gidora. He opened the ring and to his great astonishment he found two letters folded neatly in the sapphire. One was the most beautiful thing he had ever read, three words, I Love You. Written in her pretty, loopy handwriting. The other one was the most confusing. It was written in a coded language, the same secret language Louisa and he had created so that no one would ever read their letters. There were four words made out of a combination of symbols. Two of them in the middle depicted the words 'are you' but the first and the last one's were as foreign to him as any ancient language. Despite trying to decode the words day and night, Edmund was unsuccessful until one day he saw the same symbols on a caravan tent from a Spring Carnival. They were stamped over the nameplate on top of the tent which read Fortune Teller. Edmund entered the tent to find a lean and pale woman with astounding silver hair sitting on a table with a glass orb that had milky liquid flowing in it. She looked up from her tarot cards and asked him what he wanted to know. Edmund asked her what the symbols on her nameplate meant. "The first one means love and the second is the symbol of death. Both are the characters of a very old language. I believe that it is the language of the angels. “, said the fortune teller. Love are you Death What kind of message had Louisa left for Edmund. Was she hinting that she was killed for she loved the prince of the enemy kingdom?
Edmund puzzled over Louisa's message but he could not find a lead to the murderer. One day Callum came to help Edmund in his search. "Edmund I know of a poem that is called Love are you dead. Maybe you should read it. It may be what the princess was referring to." And sure enough, they found the poem a device of sheer intrigue. Loves are you Dead by Adino Lepastino I loved him when it was forbidden and wrong, said everyone but my heart. It came the time, she wouldn't hear my song. So she painted me, she painted my blood as art. He will come and punish, she who killed few, and burn her with his love so true. But he will not be lost again, only if he knew. He shall ride to the trees under a sky of blue. For they do not have all the answers, the stars that twinkle above, some grow in the dead apples, poisoned by love. Love are you dead, he asked, Love are you true. Love does never die of prince, until it is killed by you.
The poem was like the reason for why the princess was murdered and a trail to find The Killer. But how would this person named Adino Lepastino know all about Louisa's death? Callum found out where the writer of the poem lived. The next day the Prince went to ask the writer about his queer work. Edmund knocked on the door of the writer's house. An old man with white hair and a wrinkled face opened the gate. The writer welcomed Edmund as an old friend. "I know you are here to ask me about my poem." said the writer. Edmund was unsettled by his strange behavior. "She came here. She knew she was going to die. So she told me to write this. She also told me that you would come, that I had to tell you when you came. You have to find the one. She wanted you to find that person." said Adino Lepastino. Edmund was sure know that it was a lady who had murdered Louisa and the queen and that Louisa knew she was going to be killed and she wanted him to take vengeance with the killer. How Louisa knew was still a mystery to be solved. Edmund did what the poem told him to do. To go to the apple grove where he would find answers to his questions. The apple grove in Luviel had been the ideal place for the prince and the princess to meet. They had spent some very precious moments under the branches of an apple tree, eating the sweetest apples from the tree. The sun rose over the horizon as The Prince rode on his magnificent brown horse to the small town of Kediny at the outskirts of Gidora. Kediny was a lazy town, satisfied with the sluggish and easy way of life and usually there were a lot of couples lazing around the apple grove. But today the whole road was deserted. From this distance, the grove looked like a small twisted dark forest but Edmund dismissed the eerie darkness as a trick of the light. "Sir! You cannot enter these grounds “, shouted a local man "Why not", asked Edmund.” Do you not know! Or do you not care?” said the man. "I am only but a passerby. Why shall I not enter the grove? “, said the prince.” There is a spirit in the grove. It has spoilt all the apples and killed all the leaves. It is for your own safety that I warn you of this ghostly threat.” said the local, fear lining his features. "Thank you but I shall see to my needs now “said Edmund If it was a spirit inside the grove, then the spirit would give him answers thought Edmund. No ghost could scare him when he had the guidance of his brave Louisa. He stepped into the grove and sure enough the branches of the trees were twisted and the leaves had turned brown and black with decay. He went deeper inside until he saw white mist gathered behind a tree trunk. "O spirit of the living dead, do grace me with your knowledge of my queen, my Louisa. “, said he. Brave Prince, you will get your answers. You will find her where you first found her.
You will free her so you shall free me. The spirit sang to Edmund and disappeared into the mellow air.
Edmund pondered over what the spirit had told him. She told him to find her where you first found her. But maybe these were two different women. Of course! Edmund thought. The spirit was telling him that he would find Louisa's murderer, where he had first met Louisa. Once Edmund figured the first part of the riddle, without wasting any time, he rode to his own kingdom, Treasa, to The Silver Pond Meadow where he had first fallen in love with Louisa. It was a day’s ride from here and Edmund was tired. He constantly thought of Louisa. It was the only thing that kept him going. Chapter 9 The Silver Pond Meadow was the most beautiful garden Edmund had seen but it seemed plain and dull today, as if its beauty had been with the jolly woman who had come into his life. The lone prince wandered between the alcoves of soft green grass. Red and white houses lined the road. The sinner could live in any of them. Edmund was walking towards one of those houses when he tripped over something. It was a headstone. On it was written 'Louisa Of Luviel' 'Glass not Bone' 'To Edmund' It was a small thing, hardly noticeable, half covered by grass, but it was there. In a desperate gesture Edmund started digging up the soil around the headstone. This couldn't be. Maybe the spirit was telling him to find her bones. 'Glass not Bone", said the headstone. There was something else in the intricate coffin covered with dirt that Edmund had dug out. Not bones, that Edmund knew...or hoped.
He opened the coffin and he could have been the world's happiest man then, for in the coffin was a mirror. And in the mirror was his one love. Louisa.
Louisa smiled up at Edmund from the inside of the mirror. "Edmund! “, shouted Louisa in a tone of pure glee. "I knew you would come." Edmund was utmost happy but he was also confused. "I...I thought you were dead.” said Edmund. “I’m alive and fine, just trapped inside a prison mirror." Louisa told Edmund what had happened with her, while Edmund shared his peculiar tale. "Do not worry Louisa. Give me your hand and come home.” said Edmund. "No, Edmund. If I come out then you go in. I won’t let that happen.” said Louisa. Edmund had spent just too much time without Louisa. Now he couldn't get himself to leave her behind, no matter what. “Today you will leave with me or we will not leave at all." said Edmond and he meant it. “Please try to understand if you pull me out, the mirror will kill me. And I am NOT letting you get trapped inside this mirror ", said Louisa. Edmond had decided that he would not go anywhere without taking Louisa. Such was Edmond's love for Louisa that he jumped into the mirror, not caring for the consequences. Louisa gasped with surprise. And they embraced each other, two inseparable souls brought together by the power of love. The mirror sensed that something was wrong. But instead of seizing the two lover's hearts forever, the mirror shattered, letting the two mistaken prisoners escape. Louisa and Edmond were to return to their kingdoms, but before that they had to know who had helped Edmund in finding Louisa. So the revisited the Apple Grove to ask the spirit for some answers.
"Oh my Louisa! I knew that if his love is true, Edmund would save you, and he did.” said the sprit. "Show yourself o kind spirit. “, said Edmund. The spirits appeared in front of Louisa and Edmond. It was the spirit of the dead queen. "Mother" whispered Louisa certainly caught off guard. "Queen Edina, you surely would like to explain. Was it you who had helped us?" asked Edmond the Queen told Louisa and Edmond what had actually happened and finally the truth was in front of everybody. When Louisa had told the Queen about Edmond, the Queen thought that it was wrong of Louisa to love Edmond and most of all, she was scared that Edmond would betray her daughter and her tender heart. Edina had tried to keep her daughter away from Prince Edmond, but despite the Queen's constant warnings to Louisa, she remained ignorant to her mother's pleas. Finally one day Edina had become so desperate that she sought out the witch that she knew was trapped in the prison mirror in the basement of the castle. Queen Edina ordered the witch to lure Louisa into that room and make Louisa forget her love for Edmund. But instead of doing so, the witch had cleverly trapped Louisa in the prison mirror. When the Queen had come to check if the work was done, to her utter shock and dismay she found her daughter in such a state. Edina knew that she could not have liberated Louisa from the mirror without getting trapped herself, so she had put the mirror in a coffin and gone to The Silver Pond Meadow in Treasa to bury it and left it, for the prince to find. Then she had faked Louisa's death in the Fallen Tree Forest, by leaving a finger with Louisa's ring on it. The queen had soon started to grow restless with the days because of the burden of her secret. So she left trails for the prince to follow. The coded note. The poem she had told the author to write and shared her deepest thoughts with. Edina could no longer swallow the horrors that she had committed, so one day she stabbed herself with a knife, but before doing so, the queen had written a message on the wall with her blood, which only Edmund would recognize. “I beg for your forgiveness, my daughter. Even though I know is that I do not deserve It.", said the spirit of the queen. "I forgive you mother, I truly forgive you with all my heart. “, said Louisa. Edmund and Louisa watched as the spirit soared into the air and became a part of it. Forgiveness had liberated the guilty spirit.
The Prince of Treasa and The Princess of Luviel returned to their kingdoms and were crowned King and Queen. They devoted their rule to make relationships better between the two kingdoms. And one day the wall was hammered down in an act of brotherhood and unity.
Like all stories have a happily ever after...This story also had one.