This is an excerpt from my young adult novel Treachery’s Game, which is volume 2 of the ‘Shadow’s Apprentice’ books.
CHAPTER 17: SHATTERED MIRRORS, TORN LACE
“He has secrets no one will ever know,” someone had once said of the Master of the Shadows. And he did; deep, dark secrets that he hid from the world and kept to himself – secrets that were buried in the depths of his guarded soul, that surfaced every so often and made him realize he was more alone than free.
There was a side of the Shadowmaster that no one ever saw. It was a still side, where he would go to the extent of the isolation he could find and sit down alone to think, or brood, or reminisce. Where suddenly the action of his life became meaningless, distant, and his mind was taken over by things that secretly mattered. Where things were grim without being precarious, so he never actually did anything about them. Just sat and thought, and realized things, and fondly remembered others that had simply passed – because that’s what things do. They pass.
Just like the magic of a moment spent in this very room a time ago, when he had first hazarded kissing Despiris, and the image of the two of them had reflected in the hundred mirrors surrounding them. But it had only been a moment. The time before he had made his move she hadn’t known, and the time after they had parted she hadn’t understood. Nevertheless he had cherished this room for that one moment, tattooed in its history, and came down here often to gaze into the mirrors that had captured their image, as if the glass would show the moment that he knew it had to have stored in its memory, in its past of reflections.
All of the mirrors were shattered now, struck down by a gargoyle hunting the spies who hadn’t been able to tell reflection from real being as the chase ravaged through the room.
So now Clevwrith could do nothing but kneel amidst the strewn shards that were all that was left of the precious mirrors, the mirrors that had been the only witnesses to the most magical moment of his life. Like the moment itself had passed and shattered.
He was there now, crouched in the darkness, his broken reflection all around him. In his hand was clutched a torn piece of cream lace, and his head was bowed humbly over it and its familiar scent as he held it close to his solemn face. His eyes were closed in memory, and perhaps regret as well. This was all that was left of her for him to hold onto….
With his eyes closed, he could ignore his thousand solitary reflections. He wanted to. Because even though there were so many of them, he knew they were all his. Only his.
And they were all broken.