'The Law of Propinquity' By Ena
(Set after the conclusion of Moment of Truth, Pre-Chapter One-Hour of Need. Written before H.o.N.)
Closeness. Proximity. Nearness. They were the fundamental components of several laws of magic. The Law of Constituent Parts, the Law of Completeness, the Law of Division, and the Law of Contiguity. However each had a particular twist on the vicinity of objects. It was the Law of Propinquity that Aubrey was currently most interested in.
He was interested in the relationship between objects, much like the Law of Similarity connects objects that are similar in shape, purpose or form. The Law of Propinquity was perfect for the plan he was concocting.
It had been several weeks that Aubrey and von Stralick had been stuck in the Alemmani Mountains, observing the Tremaine Chateau set into the mountain side. His companion was currently resting after a twelve-hour observation shift, leaving Aubrey to his own devices.
After fumbling about with his appurtenances vest for a few moments, he found the pocket he was looking for. He fumbled about for a moment before extracting the items he was searching for. A small ring with polished enamelled metal set into the top and a small mirror the size of his thumbnail.
He had initially thought of this plan some time ago, a modified version of his 'fly on the wall' that he had used to eavesdrop on his parent's discussions regarding his discipline, and very similar to his observational kites he had created with his friends.
He wanted to see Caroline. Aubrey remembered a story he had read, a monster unable to contact other with a magical mirror to view the world.
However it wasn't the world he was interest in seeing. It was Caroline.
He wanted to expand the mirror and connect it to one that was in the nearest vicinity to Caroline, just as the mirror he had in his hand was in close contact with her ring.
On a small corner of the notepad Aubrey and Hugo used to jot down their observations, he had written down his modified spell. It was a fairly simple spell, the components were familiar to him and after looking over at his sleeping companion he began.
The mirror began to stretch, closely resembling a pool of mercury spreading when tipped onto a flat surface. His reflection in the glass began to fade and it was replaced with a view into a room. A woman's room if he was correct.
His eyes open in bewilderment, finally comprehending the consequences of his actions. It was nearing evening, what if Caroline were in her room, or private quarters? After hoping this wasn't the case, the room came into focus.
He had to smile, Caroline was there, in front of him, fully dressed (thankfully) and sitting on the side of a red chaise lounge. She had not noticed the intrusion and was absorbed in a novel that was resting on her knee. He averted his eyes and cleared his throat, getting her attention immediately, her gaze sweeping the room for the source of the noise.
After noticing the image in the mirror she dropped her book in shock.
'Aubrey?' She whispered. He nodded, lifting his eyes to her face. Even with the astonished and disbelieving look on her face, he still thought she was the most beautiful young woman he had ever met.
'But, how?' She asked, the crease between her eye brows deepened.
He raised the ring so it was in the picture, he quirked his lip up into a half smile
'Magic.' He said, his voice hoarse from lack of use.
Caroline had stood and come closer to the mirror, her fingers stretching forward, hesitant, as if afraid to touch the glass.
'I've only managed to make the mirror reflect, unlike the Golem in Trinovant where it was physically sucked into the telephone, We can't physically get through the glass.'
His explanation seemed to placate her, she let her fingers touch the glass where he assumed his face was. They stayed like that for a few moments, silent, looking at each other.
She broke the moment first, looking down, her loose hair forming a curtain, hiding her face. He heard her let out a huge sigh.
'Are you okay?' He asked. In response she lifted her head and looked him straight in the eyes. He was surprised to see her eyes had watered up. She continued to keep her gaze on him, even though a single tear escaped and slowly made it's way down her face.
'Why are you crying?' He whispered, concerned he had done something wrong.
Instead of answering, Caroline leaned forward and rested her head against the glass, the lone tear now accompanied by a couple more. Aubrey put his hand on the glass, wishing there was a way to reach through the glass.
She took in a deep breath and straightened up, having recovered from her moment. Using the hand that wasn't touching the glass she impatiently wiped away the watery trail the tears had left behind.
'Where are you and Hugo? Are you keeping safe?' She asked, her voice catching slightly.
'We've camped out in cave in the Alemmani mountain range, a stone's throw away from Tremaine's chateau, we're about fifteen miles away from Bardenford.'
'Are you keeping safe?' She repeated.
'Reasonably. Hugo came down with a fever a few nights ago, but he's recovering well. We've been living off whatever we can find, which isn't much. We've compiled a heap of notes about the goings on at this stronghold, and Tremaine's comings and goings. He's been quite active, I don't think he sleeps, he left about four hours ago in his red convertible and haven't heard anything since.'
'People have being going missing, all of them magical experts, even that Professor that was at the Great Manfred's show has disappeared.' She informed him, her tone betrayed her worry.
'I know, they've been kidnapped, they're being kept somewhere in the stronghold here. There's Professor Bromhead like you said, but there's also other magic savants, from all over.' He reached for the notebook and found the page with the names.
'Maud Connolly, Charles Beecher and Parvo Ahonen are the most recent, there's more, but those four are the only one's we've seen arrive, the others that we've seen have been escorted around with soldiers for bi-weekly walks, most of them have this weird contraption wired to their heads, like some kind of barbaric muzzle, clamping their mouths shut.' Her face mirrored his disgust.
'What on earth is he planning?' She asked, horrified.
'We don't know, but nothing good.' He replied. She nodded and let the matter rest, even though he could tell she was itching to ask more about Tremaine.
'George has been sent on another mission.' She reported, 'Tallis set him up with a group of Enlightened Ones on their way to reconnoitre and meet up with Madame Zelinka in Holmland, Sophie has been accepted into the Magical Department and Craddock and his team are giving her advanced magic lessons to bring her up to speed. She and I are going on our next mission soon, not much has been set in concrete yet however, so there's not much to tell. We've told Tallis, Craddock and your parents about your plan, Tallis wants you to keep out of sight, Craddock thinks your plan was genius, he didn't say so of course, but he did that raise of his eyebrows he does when he likes something.'
Aubrey snorted. 'You're keeping safe?' he asked her.
She gave a small smile. 'I'm well enough, Tallis has given me an official week off, so I'm spending some time with my mother, keeping a lookout for anything suspicious and planning with Sophie for our mission.'
He nodded, his eyes flickered to the entrance of the cave, a loud rumbling was coming in. Aubrey recognised the sound. Dr Tremaine was back. He stood, taking the enlarged mirror with Caroline's reflection with him. Sitting just inside the entrance to the cave he positioned the mirror until it faced the road, Caroline had a clear view of what was going on. As clear as the view was in the late afternoon light.
'I must say Aubrey,' she said, 'It's very much like that kite you did in Divodorum, only much more stable. I can see everything! Is Tremaine in that red car?'
'Yes, that's his. He speeds around in it everywhere.'
Aubrey, it's getting late, I have to meet up with Sophie, Commander Craddock and Commander Tallis soon.'
Aubrey nodded, and turned the mirror towards him again. Caroline looked slightly downcast and she put her palm to the mirror again. Aubrey mirrored her actions and placed his palm against hers.
They stayed that way for a few moments, but Aubrey was deaf to the ever-present wind, the light snores of his companion, and the roar of the car engine as it screamed up the mountainside. All that existed was Caroline in the mirror.
Caroline took in a deep breath, closed her eyes and whispered
'I really do have to go. Aubrey, cancel the spell.' her mouth pulled down into a frown and Aubrey wished even more that he could reach through the glass.
'I miss you.' he said.
'I miss you too.' she opened her eyes. Aubrey withdrew his hand from the mirror and took a deep breath,
'I'll see you soon.' Caroline said quickly as Aubrey opened his mouth to cancel his spell. He nodded and let his palm touch the mirror one last time.
'I won't try this spell again, it'll be too risky, what with you going on a mission and all. Be safe.'
'You as well.' her voice was strong, but he thought he detected a small waver in her confidence. He nodded again.
He cancelled the spell and was accosted with his own reflection again, and the mirror began to shrink back to it's original size.
After all his effort, he missed her even more.
Thanks for reading, my fellow fiction enthusiasts. This story was concocted quite some time ago, long before Hour of Need was released. It was inspired by the sneak preview first chapter available in Moment of Truth. I've always been fascinated by how the various laws of magic are similar, but each has it's own twist. Fascinating. Plus the way Mr Pryor writes is purely inspiring.
I wondered what Aubrey did with her ring, and if he took his Appurtenances Vest with him on his mission (now the story has finished, I don't believe he had his vest with him, but for the purpose of this story, bear with my inaccuracies) and I always wished that Caroline's 'garrotting wire' and mini-yet-lethal blade ring played a larger part in the last novel (wish was not granted. However the wish for knowledge of whether Aubrey, George, Caroline and Sophie could ride horses was granted - in part..)
Humongous thanks goes to Don'tArgueWithMissHepworth who along with several other Facebook fans compiled a list of the magical laws on the Laws of Magic Appreciation Society group on Facebook (GO JOIN MY FELLOW ENTHUSIASTS! ALBION NEEDS YOU!)