July 24th – The Festival of Casting the City in Mirrors

If you were to write down a magic spell right now, how would it go? What magical words would you use? What items would be needed, what gestures? When would it need to be performed? Under the last full moon of the year? On the anniversary of a gothic musician’s death? Perhaps you know the answer to these questions, stored up for such an occasion, but when Marshall Trivumsted was asked suddenly to make up a spell, they didn’t really have a clue. They just said the first thing that came into their head.

It was at a gathering of the Troubled Arcanists Working Group that the typist blurted out the spell which forms most of today’s festival. He had walked into the wrong meeting, but hadn’t wanted to be rude, when someone asked him what his favourite spell was. He didn’t know any spells, so he made up one on the spot. There was a mirror there, angled in such a way that he saw himself staring back, his face shadowed by a long hooded waterproof coat (it was January and raining hard outside). He said the spell quickly, and then, when there was stunned silence, left back the way he had come, and nipped into the next meeting room in Berto Verana’s Meeting Hall, where he had a knitting class.

Needless to say, this enigmatic stranger (besides his dramatic raiment, Trivumsted was very tall and handsome) busting in to their meeting, blurting out a spell and then quickly leaving made quite an impression on the gathered arcanists, who had been working through some of their favourite spells to gain inspiration for new ones. Most of them had been experiencing the equivalent of writer’s block, so when this stranger walked in and announced a spell they’d never heard of before they were suddenly galvanised; there was obviously something important, something auspicious about this spell. They would perform it, later in the year when the stranger specified.

To perform the spell of the City in Mirrors, you need to stand between two mirrors whilst chanting the entirety of Galucen Indermen’s A Life Half Lived, turn anti-clockwise seven times, and then walk into a large, still pool of water at precisely midday on July the 24th. You must have eaten only cherries, the type attached in twos, for two days before hand. You must walk in slowly, disturbing the pool as little as possible. You must be called Ungol and have recently sold a lock of your hair to a child. What Trivumsted didn’t say, before he rushed out of the room, was what the spell was supposed to do; this seems to have been left up to the arcanists.

Most of the arcanists believe that when you re-emerge from the pool you will be in an inverted, alternate City. You won’t notice the inversion, because you too will be inverted (only your mind will retain knowledge of that world you were in before), but there will be other subtle differences; some acquaintances will act as if you never met, others you do not know will walk up to you, shake your hand, and wink, slyly. Perhaps that mole you have is on the other side, or maybe it’s gone, who knows? Who knows what your past truly is, in this alternate Buentoille? Is this the world into which you routinely look when putting on your makeup? And has the true owner of this body you inhabit also walked into a spell-cast pool in unknown synchronicity? Or are they displaced to some dark void, your true body left lifeless in the water? Are they still in your head with you?

It seems like a dangerous spell to cast, one full of mystery and trickery, so of course there are plenty who want to try. Because of the insistence on keeping the pool still, only one person can perform it at a time, and an indoor pool with steps is best used to ensure it retains a mirror-like quality. The arcanists will choose a member of their order at the end of the festival today, when the chosen one emerges (with a new mind?). This person will legally change their name the next day, in readiness for next year’s festival, and will begin learning the epic poem A Life Half Lived, if they have not already memorised it.

Later, when the arcanists found out that Trivumsted was just a man who had blurted something out in the moment, rather than some visiting angel of forbidden magic, some of them were disappointed. He hadn’t wanted to ruin their fun, so even when he found out about their little festival based around his rushed words, he didn’t rush over to tell them what had really happened, but eventually a journalist tracked him down and had asked him for an interview and it would have been rude to decline. Some of the arcanists were disappointed, but others were unfazed; how would we know when something other, something from that mirror realm beyond speaks through us?

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Lovers of the Bradden Gate Festival
  • Ophelia Vermond’s Annual Chimney Pot Tour
  • Fear Not the Idle Hands Festival