The mirror cracked into a hundred pieces as the Countess tried to look herself in the eye. Behind her stood two young girls, both entranced from having caught a glimpse of her visage before the sound of glass shattering. Their eyes couldn’t help but fixate with envy on such beauty that turned brother against brother, husband against wife, King against Queen. As she turned to face them, the first girl began to quiver. Unable to break free of her gaze, envy turned into self-loathing as the girl’s eyes transformed from a lucid marble to a grey stone. The second girl who averted the gaze at the last moment turned envy into malice. Brandishing a dagger to stab the Countess, the blade transformed into a snake and betrayed the wielder. Afterwards, the Countess would never try to see her reflection again.
An old copper ring sat in a jewelry case on display for years. Surrounded by emeralds, rubies, and diamonds, the buyers ignored it for they saw neither splendor nor significance. One day, a young boy asked the store owner why he placed the equivalent of a peasant alongside royalty? The owner responded, “The peasants are the true masters of the land for they till the soil and produce the grains we eat. Whilst the nobles all seek an entrance to royalty, they forget who they actually serve”. The young boy nodded and bought the dull looking band. A heir to the throne, he would win the support of the people as he came of age. On the day of coronation, the copper ring could still be seen on his hands, this time radiant in the eyes of an entire nation.
Under the sea sat a long forgotten statue of Socrates, poised to contemplate the depths of the universe for the rest of eternity. A thousand years later, the statue was discovered and raised from the ocean’s floor. When the sailors cleared away the centuries of choral and algae, the philosopher came to and yelled. Where’s Plato? I have a word or two for him!
In the underworld, a labyrinth of tunnels separates the world of the living from Hades, the world of the dead. Souls who refused the passage of Styx found themselves lost in the maze wandering the depths for eternity. One by one, their senses would fail them: Darkness invaded their eyesight; humidity suffocated their touch. Smell and taste were forgotten. Hearing was the last to go. Thus to find each other, the souls would shout words into the abyss, hoping to elicit a response. This caused much confusion as the cacophony of voices was near indecipherable. One soul, whose name was Echo during life, began repeating the voices she heard. Hearing one’s own voices repeated, other souls were drawn to her, eventually finding one another by adopting her system. As the groups expanded, their collective voices grew louder and could often be heard by the living when shouting into the deep.
A feral child, raised by wolves since infancy, lay dying by the river-side at night. Hounded by the villagers who had mistaken him for killing their sheep, and abandoned by his pack after a change in leadership, he fended for himself. The moon goddess of the hunt, ever keen on the boy’s circumstances, materialized over the reflection cast on the river. She offered him a pact: Become my champion and I grant you both strength and virility of wolf, with intelligence and cunning of man. Look upon my visage and become werewolf, man-beast and hunter of the night. Bring me game ever larger than the last lest madness overtakes you. The moon turned red and a new legend was born.
A final bridge separates Alexander and his army from their homes in Babylon. His men, pining for comfort and familiarity after years of brutal conquests, rush the bridge en mass. The suspensions, unable to sustain the stress of so great a weight, snaps and the crossing collapses. Half the men drowned in the raging river below. The other half spent another month retrieving the bodies, lamenting their haste.
Four flower petals, swaying in the after-breeze of a great typhoon, fell together in a cup of tea. The first petal, a golden Chrysanthemum from the East, brought a cheery disposition to a long-life. The second petal, a magenta Lavender from the West, would develop a meditative and rational mind. The third plant, a ruby Orchid from the south, engendered beauty and splendor to the growing body. The fourth plant, a zaffre Iris from the north, instilled faith and wisdom to the aging soul. Drinking from the teacup, the queen of the middle-kingdom gave birth to the future Monarch who would unite the lands.