Tag Archive: mirror

May 28

In the Company of Angels: Episode 13.2 – The Aftermath (cont.)




In the Company of Angels, Episode 13.2 – The Aftermath (cont.)

Another hour passed before Jill began to stir. Luke had spent the time touching up the sketch and walking back and forth upon the plaza to keep warm; the sun, far away beyond thick clouds, was apparently setting, and the temperatures were beginning to drop.

Jill sat up and rubbed her eyes. She was startled for a moment as she surveyed the strange landscape around her, but then she remembered where she was.

“Mr. Luke?” she called.

“Yes, dear?” he said. He was a good distance away, near the edge of the plaza and looking down into the dark canyons beneath them.

“I’m sorry, I must have dozed off. Hasn’t Brother Azarias returned yet?”

“No, but he will in due time, I’m sure,” said Luke as he returned to the monolith.

Jill looked at the sketch, now far more detailed than it had been when she had drifted off. It truly was remarkable what Mr. Luke was capable of.

“The sketch is lovely! But what exactly does Azarias need it for?” asked Jill.

“He’ll tell us in his own good time, I’m sure,” said Mr. Luke, as he surveyed the drawing once more, “but there must be a very important reason for him to have requested it. Particularly since he wanted me to reproduce that precise moment, just as we were leaving The Gallery. I can’t imagine why that would be important. But, Azarias…er…Brother Azarias, doesn’t always explain things fully. He holds a lot back. My brother, Charles, has often said so.”

“Oh! You have a brother?” asked Jill. She yawned and stretched her arms.

“Yes. Charles is an artist as well, but he’s not part of the Order.”

“No? But you said he knows Brother Azarias. How do they know each other if not through the Order?”

“Charles works more with Father Hildebrandt and the Benedictines proper. I don’t know exactly in what capacity. It’s a different part of the same family, though, to be honest. We’re all trying to do the same sorts of things, just from different perspectives and with different tools.”

“But, what sorts of things, Mr. Luke? I mean, after today, I hardly know what it is we’re trying to do….”

Luke looked down at Jill. “We’re trying to do what is right, my dear. That’s all. It’s not always easy to tell what that might be, but today, I think we’ve seen what we can be up against. And, I must tell you, you have held up very well: very well indeed! Although I know I’m not someone with whom you are well acquainted yet, I wanted to tell you that I’m very proud of you and very happy that you were with us when…when….”

Mr. Luke turned away for a moment, and Jill again found herself tearing up. But just then they both heard a voice behind them.

“Luke, that is splendid! Bravo!” It was Azarias. “And…are you both sure that that was the precise scene of the gallery when you left it?”

“Yes, I certainly believe so,” said Luke.


“Yes, Sir. That’s how things looked.”

“Marvelous! Then I intend to make immediate good use of your sketch, my fine Rendering friend,” said Azarias. “Once I am gone, I would like to ask you to begin work on a second sketch: one that will allow you both to return to the portal at the base of the cliffs. That is, the one that brought you here in the first place. Sam could take you there via the Maze, but he’s tied up at present. He will meet you down below, and although I anticipate no problems, if for any reason you should find the portal gone…”

Gone?! What do you mean, gone?!” asked Luke.

“Do not trouble yourself! It is quite likely that all shall be well. But, on the off chance that the portal is missing….”

“Yes? What should we do then?” asked Luke.

“I’d suggest waiting a bit, and if after, say, an hour, the portal has still not reopened, then you should gather everyone and return to my flat in London. Proceed from there to Rome. I don’t believe it will come to that, but if worse comes to worst, you may need Father Hildebrandt’s help and advice.”

“But shouldn’t we just return to The Gallery?”

“No, not to The Gallery under any circumstances, should you find the portal closed! Do you understand?” Azarias looked keenly, almost ferociously, at Luke.

“Well I don’t understand, not really, but we’ll certainly do as you say.”

“Good. Do not fear! All shall likely be well! And if that is indeed the case, l shall see you both again very shortly!” With that, Azarias clenched a sapphire in his hand, and, with no hesitation whatsoever, stepped into Luke’s sketch and was gone.

    o    o    o

When Azarias arrived at The Gallery, Luke was just disappearing into the painting of Orbaratus. Azarias moved toward the painting and briefly saw the four figures silhouetted against the ruined landscape of Polydora’s home world; then they faded and the painting looked once more as it always had.

Azarias glanced around at The Gallery. Everything appeared to be in order, but he knew that, within minutes, someone would almost certainly be breaking into the warehouse. Whoever it was would not be subtle, for within a very few hours, news of their work would have already traveled overseas and been reported to Father Hildebrandt. “And to myself,” Azarias thought, remembering the tricky position he was in. At this very moment, he was not only here, in The Gallery, but also in his London flat.

Time travel was always a bit unnerving, even to him. It was never something to be taken lightly.

All that Azarias could do was to await the Amenta and their agents, and to watch for them to make the first move. But he could at least try to sense whether anyone else was currently in The Gallery, or just outside of it. He closed his eyes, listening and “feeling” as intently as possible. All yet seemed quiet.

The Gallery, Azarias knew, was guarded against the Amenta themselves: the spirit creatures that were the bane of the Fratrum Simulacrorum. But the Amenta could recruit agents of their own: flesh and blood men and women willing to carry out their wishes whenever physical action was required. These they corrupted by whispering to them and persuading them to become agents of evil. It was usually a long and slow process: corrupting souls was not always easy. Yet every generation gave rise those who were more or less susceptible to the lies of the dark agents.

The Amenta themselves were always drawn to the crystals. Because the Gallery was protected, they were unable to enter it themselves, even if no one was present within. But their agents could. And what their agents were about to do, Azarias knew, was to burn the Gallery, and all that was in it, to the ground.

The Gallery, along with all of the paintings and other archives stored within the warehouse, would be a mass of charred rubble within a few hours. The loss of the paintings alone would be devastating to the Order, but what would ultimately be even worse, Azarias knew, was that whatever crystals were still in the warehouse would be taken. Whether their theft was planned for before the fire was started, or to be left for afterwards — when the stones could be sifted from the ruins of the building — Azarias did not know. He only knew that they were the primary target.

The framerunning sapphires were the key to reaching all worlds drawn or painted, whether those images existed on earth or in another universe entirely. The crystals were absolutely unique, and they could only be found on earth. The location of the mine that yielded them was kept as secret as the existence and location of the stones that had been recovered and safeguarded. Without them, there was no known way to framerun to another world or another time.

The Amenta, in order to be able to move their agents into other Iconic Realms, needed the crystals. And the Fratrum Simulacrorum was formed, in part, to prevent their obtaining them.

The long battle between these two adversaries had now spanned millennia. “And the battle will likely span even more before the final end of all things,” thought Azarias. He listened again and thought he heard noises coming from the stairwell that led up to the main floor of the Gallery. He looked around and found a full-length mirror near him. Grasping his crystal, he stepped into the mirror.

When the Gallery had been built, great effort had been made to insure that there were many, many mirrors scattered throughout the building. Mirrors were even placed on the inside of the safes that held crystals that were not currently in use. As a result, the first thing Azarias did once he was inside the Maze was to sift through the swirling, multifaceted panes that surrounded him, looking for the one that might open onto the crystal safe. It would be small, he knew, and dark, since no lights were kept on within it. He soon found one or two likely panes, and reached through these to feel around just outside of them. The second was the one he sought: within, he felt jewelry and loose stones. These he carefully retrieved and stored in his pockets.

Now that the sapphires were safe, he turned his attention back to what was happening elsewhere within and without the Gallery. Searching through pane after pane, he finally discovered one in which he saw two figures creeping up the fire-escape at the back of the warehouse. The men were dressed like construction workers, but each was carrying a large jerry can. “Likely filled with paraffin or petrol,” Azarias thought. Then he saw two more men in the stairwell; they, too, were carrying jerry cans, and they were climbing up the last steps to the second floor. Through a third pane  he saw a large van with at least one man in it, sitting behind the wheel. It was parked in the alley behind the Gallery.

“As I thought, these men are going to be none too subtle,” thought Azarias. “I have no weapons, but if I’m to stop them at all, I haven’t a moment to lose….”


       [ To read Episode 14.1, click here…. ]



Mar 12

In the Company of Angels: Episode 8.1 – The Wardrobe



In the Company of Angels, Episode 8.1 – The Wardrobe


“It’s 1946?!!!” Jill blurted out.

“Yes, my dear. Why, whatever year did you think it was?”

Jill sensed, involuntarily, a wave of panic coming from Sam. She turned to him and thought, as ‘loudly’ as she could “Sam, what’s wrong? I know it’s crazy to have gone back in time, but why is it so bad that we’re here?”

Sam was too troubled with the news of their being in 1946 to realize, at first, that Jill had not spoken to him aloud. “Because,” he said back to her, “if we change anything while we’re here, and I mean anything, we could be toast! That’s what ‘time-tethering’ is all about! That’s why we try as hard as we can never to framerun a time-tethered world.”

“But we can’t change that much while we’re here, can we?” Jill thought back to him.

Sam suddenly realized that Jill hadn’t moved her lips. But the shock was only momentary; realizing what was happening, he thought back to her, as loudly as he could, “We don’t have to change much. Any change could make all kinds of things could go terribly wrong! Don’t you see?

“A person wanting to talk to the Professor this afternoon might not be able to, because we’re here with him in his study. Then, that person might leave early, and someone that they were supposed to casually notice on the street isn’t there when they should have been. But, if that someone they were supposed to notice was the very person that they were going to marry someday, then none of that might happen…and it would all be because we were here with the Professor when we weren’t supposed to be!

“Or think of it this way: a bird maybe doesn’t come to a bird-feeder when it should, because we’re here in the window, and it’s scared off; so, a child looking for it might go outside to play instead of staying inside watching for it, and that child might accidentally be hurt, or even killed. Anything could change, you see, and we might go back home to find that the world we have always known no longer exists; even our own families and everyone we know might be gone forever!”

The thoughts flooded into Jill’s mind much faster than they would have if Sam had spoken them aloud, and with them she was able to feel his rising panic.

All this time the Professor had been silent, but he had been observing them both closely. He began to stroke his chin. “I know you both appear a bit preoccupied, but I believe I am beginning to understand….

“Let me speak for a moment, Master Deckard, and then you can tell me if I’m on the right trail. You and Miss Jonnson here are both, as incredible as it may seem to me, from some future time, perhaps years or even decades hence — I don’t actually want or need to know the specifics. But while you are here, you fear changing anything, lest the world you know be put into peril; the chain of events leading to your future might be altered, or broken completely. Is that what you mean by ‘time-tethering’, Master Deckard?”

Sam looked at the Professor with wonder and admiration. He had not expected, even from a Professor, such a quick grasp of their predicament. “Well, yes Sir, that pretty much sums it up,” he said.

“Well, then, say no more! It would seem, then, that the safest course of action would be to hurry you both on whatever business brought you here in the first place. I am not unfamiliar with problems associated with time-travel, although space travel has been, most recently, my greater literary concern. That said, we should get you both back where you belong with as much alacrity and as little fuss as possible! So, tell me exactly what we need to do.”

Sam looked at Jill and then back at the Professor. Jill sensed Sam’s emotions calming as he thought through the mission that had brought them there in the first place and began to consider what needed to be done.

“First, Sir, we have to find the ravenr. Or, at least, we need to find its nest. With luck, it will either be carrying the sapphire it stole, or it will have stowed it away someplace handy and we can retrieve it. Do you happen to know where it spends its time when it is not inside your attic?”

“I’ve never considered,” said the Professor. “We certainly have ravens on the grounds, and that quite often, but I’ve never noticed anything that might distinguish this particular raven from any other. When I’ve paid them any real attention, it has been because they’ve come to the birdbath with some morsel, or because Bruce has been barking at them.”

“Bruce, Sir?” asked Jill.

“Yes, our dog. He and our two cats often wander the grounds getting into mischief. They — the cats I mean — hardly ever catch anything other than mice. Bruce, although he is getting far too old to chase anything, is yet quite fond of barking at the least provocation, ravens included.”

“Have you ever noticed a place where ravens tend to congregate?” asked Sam.

“No, not really.”

“Then we’re back where we started. We’ll just have to to wait for him to come back to the attic and try to trap him,” said Jill.

“Well…” said Sam, “…perhaps not. Professor, didn’t you say that raven’s collect shiny things?”

“Yes, they’re very attentive birds and are always intrigued by and curious about unusual items that they notice, shiny things included. And, particularly when they’re young, they apparently  will collect a cache of such odds and ins into their nests. ”

“Whatever are you thinking about, Sam?” asked Jill.

“Well, don’t you see? If this raven has collected into its nest, along with the crystal, bits of mirrors or anything else reflective….”

“Ah!” said Jill.

“I’m afraid you’ve lost me,” said the Professor. “Why should that be significant?”

“It wouldn’t seem to be, I’ll admit,” said Sam, “but, have you ever looked into a mirror and wondered if there was something on the other side? You know, another world just beyond the surface of the reflection?”

The Professor peered at Sam intensely. “Are you suggesting, young man, that there is? Another world I mean?”

“Well, not exactly a world, but another space; an intermediate zone from which one can step from one place to another.”

“I’ve not considered the possibility of anything along those lines since I was a child: anything seems likely when we’re young. But am I correct in assuming that, if such an ‘intermediate space’ exists behind every mirror, that you can travel into that space?”

“In a way, Sir. It’s not something everyone can do, or at least not easily, but I can, with the help of one of the crystals.” Sam held out his sapphire again for the Professor to see.

“Good heavens! Worlds within worlds! But how, pray tell, do you intend to use this capability to find your raven?”

“Well, if I’m right, and if the raven has gathered shiny things that reflect what’s around them, I may be able to locate his nest by finding and ‘seeing’ out of the Maze — that’s what we call the intermediate space — through some of those things.”

“Sounds like a long shot to me,” said Jill.

“Sure it is! But, do you have a better suggestion?” asked Sam.

Jill thought for a moment. “No, I don’t. I guess it’s worth a try….”

“Alright then!” said Sam. “Professor, do you happen to have a mirror handy? One large enough for me to fit through?”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but yes, there’s one in the old wardrobe. We keep it in the attic space at the top of the stairs. It has mirrors inside its doors.”

“Great!” said Sam. “That should work.”

Just then, Mrs. Mills knocked on the door to the Professor’s study. Jill stood up and opened it, and the housekeeper brought the tea things in and set them down on the table by the door.

“Will you be wantin’ anythin’ else, Professor?” Mrs. Mills asked, once she had laid out the tea kettle, the cups, scones, jam, sardines, and butter, and all was tidy and in order.

“No, Mrs. Mills, I believe that should be all. But, I did want to ask you whether you knew anything else about that raven that you’ve been seeing in the attic? Other than what you’ve already told me, that is?”

“You mean other than that it keeps comin’ back inside? It’s an odd bird, Sir, a very odd bird! Doesn’t leave any mess, but there’s no keeping it out of that attic. I think maybe it comes for the paintings.”

“Whatever do you mean?”

“You know all of the framed pictures you keep yonder in the attic,” Mrs. Mills gestured out the door, “I don’t know why, but it seems plain to me that the bird likes ‘em. Every time I catch it in there, it’s either staring into one of ‘em or perchin’ nearby. I was thinkin’ now, if we covered them up, the villain might stop sneakin’ in and botherin’ us.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Mills. I’ll consider that. It certainly might be worth a try.”

The door shut behind the housekeeper. Sam sat thinking for a moment. “You know, Sir, Mrs. Mills may be right. We came here though one of the paintings in your attic; the raven might well be doing something along the same lines….”

“You came here how?!” asked the Professor.

“Through one of your paintings, Sir. That’s how we travel; it’s how we got here in the first place.”

The Professor shook his head and rubbed his eyes. “First it’s mirrors, then it’s paintings. Worlds within worlds, indeed!” he said, as if to himself. Then he stood up. “Alright, clearly this is no time for tea, although I’ll be happy to take a cup if you would care to….”

Jill and Sam looked at each other, then both stood up.

“No, Sir,” said Jill, “if you’re willing to let the tea go cold, we are too. Where’s the wardrobe?”

The Professor led them out onto the landing and opened a door at the top of the staircase. Within the small attic space behind the door — a different part of the attic than the one they had been in before — was a wardrobe. It was large, heavy, and old fashioned, made from some wood that Jill could not identify; and it had curious carvings on the front. They opened its doors; it was empty. But, just as the Professor had said, there were mirrors mounted on the insides of the doors.

“Perfect!” said Sam.

         [ To read Episode 8.2, click here…. ]