* Author : Julia Knowles
* Narrator : A.J. Fitzwater
* Host : Matt Dovey
* Audio Producer : Peter Adrian Behravesh
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PodCastle 718: Memoirs of a Magic Mirror is a PodCastle original.
Content warning: mild gore.
Memoirs of a Magic Mirror
by Julia Knowles
It started when three magicians, two fairies, a couple of wizards, a witch, and one very drunken sage decided it was a good idea to give consciousness to a mirror that had to answer any question truthfully. Personally, I blame the alcohol.
The sage ended up keeping me. Maybe the others had worked out that something that can only speak the truth and is compelled to answer every question it hears might not be the best house guest. All things considered, the sage coped with my presence admirably. Perhaps he liked having someone who could also ramble about the metaphysical considerations inherent in being an insignificant speck in a vast and uncaring world from time to time.
It wasn’t so bad. Even if it was only one person, with the sage I always had company. After he died I was forgotten in storage for a few decades before one of his descendants sold me off. From there I was passed between the wealthy and privileged — who had varying levels of interest in the knowledge I offered — for generations.
But I suppose the long lineage of my possession isn’t terribly relevant to this tale. Suffice to say that eventually an ageing duke saw fit to pass me on to his great-niece as a wedding present. Which, with the benefit of hindsight, was a stellar example of the old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?”
I spent hours hanging on a wall staring at the same blood-red bed curtains and that was what I got to look forward to. Bad poetry with far too much assonance every single morning. For seven years.
Well, granted, the initial conversation went a little differently.
“Blanche of Danavia. Why are you asking?” I wanted to know.
The Queen, my current owner, appeared to be in an even worse mood than usual. Lips that matched her favoured décor were drawn so thin it looked like someone had cut her face open.
“You mean, I am not the fairest?” The new Queen demanded in a dangerous tone that threatened to rip my frame off the wall and dash me against the nearest hard surface.
I took in her appearance. The gleaming golden locks that I was forced to watch her brush for hours on end every morning fell like a rippling waterfall of molten gold down to the backs of her knees. The almost exactly symmetrical face — only a slight inconsistency in the thickness of her right eyelashes thwarted this. The smooth alabaster skin whose morning care routine I was (again) unwillingly exposed to. Well, morning was a bit generous. She had so many care routines that they tended to extend well into the afternoon. She was objectively beautiful; at least, I believe so. It is a little difficult for an enchanted piece of glass such as myself to really comprehend that on an emotional level.
“Well, your skin is quite fair,” I agreed. “But albinism bleaches the skin to near completely white in some cases so you can hardly expect —”
“What?!” I was definitely going to get slammed into the floor.
“You cannot objectively be considered to have the fairest skin in the world,” I said.