"I've got the golden string," the boy said, "and I've sent my Nana away, and I'm ready now for you to show me the secret!"
"Dearest child," the mirror answered, "did you really, truly get the golden string?"
"And did you really, truly send your Nana away?"
"And do you really, truly wish to know my secret?"
"You know I do!"
"My boy, it may frighten you."
The boy scoffed.
"You really are much smaller than you think, you know."
The boy shook his head.
"Alright then, my brave, big boy...here's my secret."
"Oh! You're broken!"
"Not at all. I'm merely showing you my teeth."
"I...mirror, mirror, you're frightening me!"
"Hush now, tasty, greedy little boy who wanted to know too much."
And the boy screamed. But no one could hear him. And if anyone had been in the room, they would have heard him screaming for a very, very long time, as he fell so very, very far down into the mirror. Until the sound faded away, and the broken mirror turned hard and bright and whole again. And that was the last anyone ever saw of the little boy. And you'd best hope, wherever the voice behind the mirror is...you'd best hope it's not awake, and all your mirrors are covered, or it might hear you. It might SEE you.
- The Doors to Darkness, an Old Wives' Tale
The Doors to Darkness is an old, old story, often told by the elderly, or those closely connected to the ancient magic, such as hedge-witches
, and the Wild Folk
of the Green Barrows
. It is primarily a good ghost story meant to warn of insubstantial dangers, namely, that mirrors are windows at best and, at worst, doors. Things from beyond can spy on you and if you're not careful, you can easily trip and fall into the endless abyss.
There are a few variations that always end with some poor fool being tricked into entering the mirror, or pulled in against their will. It is believed that it feeds on the natural fear the lower classes seem to harbor of being spied on or found out by the 'dark forces' of the Aeternum
. Funnily enough whatever crime the poor can commit is so unimportant that it is hardly worthwhile to arrest and charge them.
It is mostly prevalent in the lowlands
, but the story has traveled in recent times to the Drylands
and even to the halls of nobility in the Capital
. Select idiocies such as superstition can have their fashionable day among the rich and famous.
The poor themselves, on the other hand, cannot afford mirrors. Those who do have them generally cherish them too much to give much heed to the tale. However their grandmothers and the elderly serving in noble houses will often behave superstitiously around mirrors, throwing cloths over them or turning them to face the wall while they are cleaning. Nannies will often tell their little charges the story of the Doors to Darkness.
There has been an annoying trend in recent years of these superstitious individuals 'accidentally' breaking mirrors...and spreading the ludicrous idea that it grants seven years good luck to do so.
Historically, it has been posited by some scholars that the Doors to Darkness takes much of its supernatural framework from the defunct Skygates
. These structures have long lain dormant, but legend says that once they were filled with magic, and fantastic visions could be seen through their stone archways...images of other worlds. In the Old Tongue
, the Skygates have been referred to as 'The Paths Between Worlds'.