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Plate V: "The Trickster"


ACT V: The Magic Show (The Magus)


- In which the boy is treated to a mystic display from a trickster


The boy moved further on until he reached a small alcove occupied by a cloudy, ornately decorated mirror. A fancy sign above noted: "Mysto the Magician". Strange creatures fashioned of silver moved slowly about the frame. The boy looked deeply into the mirror. Deep within, he saw faintly glowing red eyes growing larger and larger. Laughing voices sang from the thin air. Gradually a tall man dressed in black became visible. He grew clearer and clearer. With a whirl of his silken cape, the gentleman emerged in a flash of light. Bowing gracefully and extending a white gloved hand, the man spoke in a deep, hypnotic voice.


"Greetings and salutations, my fine young sir. I am known as Mysto, the Magician. I have been an advisor to kings and a wizard of sultans. My eyes have seen the birth of heroes and the passage of gods. I myself have journeyed beyond the River Styx and to the doors of Tartarus. I have stood as eternal warriors battled in the Halls of Valhalla. Shangri-La, Mu, and Atlantis have all felt my footfall. So too have I trysted with Heaven's pearly gates, run in the Elysian Fields, and chatted with my own ancestors.


"Open your eyes wide, I beg you, for you are about to be treated to a spectacle of such amazement and delight that your very beliefs about the world will be torn asunder. Would you just promise me your name, I will show you all the wonders of the earth and sea. I will make for you a throne of gold out of the very thinness of the air. I will summon for you a path of life from the very lies which fill the day. I will show you truth in the depths of mirrored illusion. For, if you truly believe, any fancy or horror can be summoned. If you would but give me your name, these things and more shall be yours. Princesses and presents, gold and gardens, monsters and mountains. The name is a little thing, boy. Come now and give me yours."


These things and more the Master of Illusion called up in tempting visions with a flick of his wrist. He gesticulated, naming each wonder in turn. Forms, futures, and fortunes danced in the thin air. Wild animals came forth. Riches and curiosities from the wide world were manifest. Banquets shimmered and disappeared. Beautiful women and crafted objects beyond compare arose from nothingness, only to fade into mist. The man smiled a radiant, sly smile, all the while staring at the boy.


The boy saw all these sights and was impressed. He thought it a simple thing to give his name. Yet, something held him back in spite of these tempting wonders. Names were simple things, tis true. They also are powerful containers, holding the mystic might of definition. With a name, disconnected images can be fraught with import, forms are leant the breath of vitality. The boy realized that this was the power of Mysto: the power to describe wonders and so create them. To give his name, the boy would give the magician the power to control and recreate him. No. He ran further on into the house, as the magician grew silent and faded into the mirror.