I tiptoe away, snow crunching under my feet as I try to sneak away. While Anessa and Malroth are arguing about something or other I pull myself up a ledge and another, tucking behind a rise in the cliff face.
It fits perfectly between my hands, the centre of the mirror reflecting my own face back at me; a golden glow wrapped around my image and burning in my eyes; a hard look of determination set on my face.
It’s a beautiful little thing, too small to hold as much power as it does. My hands are warm, the gold ring around the mirror putting off its own heat. There’s only one. This priceless artifact..
I set it down, snow melting around it, pulling my hammer from my belt and taking a step back. Just one swing ought to do it. I heft the heavy mallet up over my head.
“Tyler? Are you over-” Malroth jumps up beside me, brow furrowing at the scene in front of him. “What are you doing? The mirror,” I shush him, taking Malroth by the wrist and pulling him into the alcove I’m hiding in.
“I can get rid of it now. Before we bring it back to the castle, before Anessa gets a good look at it. No one else has to see.” I whisper feverishly, reaching out to take Malroth by the shoulders; my breath puffing out in clouds between us. “No one else has to know. No one else will ever know.” He looks down at me, a frown on his lips but that same look in his eyes; overflowing with kindness and concern. Tears prick at the corners of my eyes, blurring my vision. “You aren’t bad.” I don’t know if I said it for him, or for myself.
“You can’t do this just for me. It’s more than a mirror to them- I shouldn’t have to tell you that.”
“They can’t find out. They’ll-they’ll-”
“And it would be their right to do it! You’ve let me trot along behind you like a lost puppy for long enough, Tyler, my existence is against everything you’re trying to accomplish! You know that.” I shake my head firmly. “Get it through that thick head of yours, you can’t fix everything. You can’t fix me.”
“There’s nothing wrong with you. You aren’t who they think you are- you don’t have to be.” I touch Malroth’s face, pulling him down to eye level with me. Our noses touch, my eyes flicking shut as I press our foreheads together.
“You’re cold.” one of his strong arms wraps around my waist, tugging me closer to the warmth he radiates.
“You care about me.” he chuckles, pulling away to tip my chin up; examining me carefully.
“How could I not? There’s no one you couldn’t charm with that grin you carry around everywhere you go. Hiding everything you’ve got tucked away in that big brain of yours. You’re their salvation, you know. The last light of hope around here. If only they could see how brightly you burn behind those eyes.”
“Like you do?”
“Like I do.” Malroth smiles fondly down at me, an arm still looped around my middle. We aren’t as different as he thinks we are.
“You’re more than what that mirror will show them. They won’t be able to see it.”
“Like you do?” I nod, looking back to the mirror. Supposedly a holy object. That doesn’t put me off, I have no problems destroying something like that. “They’ll have to know, eventually. If not here then at home on the Island of Awakening. They’ll find out.” I shake my head firmly.
“They won’t. We don’t have to tell them.” I pull myself from his grip, taking my hammer in hand once again. The golden mirror shines in the sunlight, pulsing its own blessed aura around it.
I bring my hammer down hard, glass shattering under the heavy metal and scattering out into the snow. The light dulls, snow collecting again on the ground near it.
“It’ll be our secret, Malroth,” I gather up the bulk of the pieces, glass poking my skin through my gloves, and toss them off the rockface into the ravine below. “I’m the only one that has to know. Just me.”