Portrait in a Room of Mirrors By S. Pine

Instruments: None

Game Description 

This is a game about looking inward as you see reflections of 12 mirrors. You go through 12 memories, one for each mirror, and decide which one best reflects you.

Game Content Warnings 

These are content warnings that are from the game prompts and are present in all playthroughs.

Playthrough Content Warnings 

These are content warnings specific to this playthrough only.

Game Playthrough

Word Count: 1,593     Played: Nov 19, 2022

A/N: The game description says you can play autobiographically, but I chose to make up a character. The game also doesn't name the mirrors, only describes them, so the names are completey made up by me.

1. The Veiled Mirror 

In this memory you are covered in a veil. There is a sense of familiarity and knowing. 

I remember once when I was a small boy, hiding from my mother under the sheets. I was no more than 6 or 7 at the time and she greatly indulged in my fancies. I had thought at the time that she could not see me, though in hindsight as an adult she most definitely knew I was the strange lump under her bed sheets. 

I jumped up to surprise her and she pretended to be startled and mock-scolded me, telling me that I mustn’t scare her like that. She teased me and called me a little monster and she tickled me and we laughed and rolled around in the sheets together. 

I long for such simple times. 

2. The Gold-Framed Mirror

In this memory you are resplendent. There is a sense of ecstasy and brilliance. 

I am young again in this mirror, barely old enough to be a man, but it was the most important day of my life. I was draped in high furs, many sashes upon my waist, heavy chains around my shoulders, and the gleaming crown of Liram was placed on my brow. 

It was my coronation after Throne Etgar had passed. I had seen many portraits of this moment but none captured the look of elation I could see in my face. There was so much joy in my young face. 

Every painting I looked older, more refined, stoic and imposing. But I was a boy, excited and full of life. 

3. The Nautical Mirror

In this memory you are submerged. There is a sense of suspension and drifting. 

I knew this day and I did not wish to look at the mirror. We were on a trip across the Emshell Sea towards Joford. It was summer, and the waters were warm and clear and I was careless. I should have known not to let my child out of sight. 

I looked away for one moment and they were gone, over the edge, and deep into the waters. I never wanted to be the Throne. I never strove for power and so I thought only of myself as a father in this moment and I too was in the waters. 

It took six men to haul me out from the depths. No one ever saw Cairn again. My wife, Grunnhildrur, didn't speak to me for three years. 

4. The Spiraled Mirror 

This is a memory of movement. There is a sense of motion, blur, and a crescendo. 

It was the second wedding of my older brother, Dagmar. After his wife had unceremoniously run off with a count to the South, and he had waited the customary ten years before I could annul the marriage, he had found a new wife. 

I, my brother, and his wife, Silja, were locked arm in arm dancing the three-person dance, with me filling in for our deceased father. 

I look happy but I distinctly remember the hateful eyes of Grunnhildur upon me from across the floor. She scored any moment of fleeting happiness I had. 

I understood why Etgar favored the drink so heavily. 

 5. The Cracked Mirror 

This is a memory of fear. This is a moment of stagnation.

I was alone in my study. Grunnhildur had taken the children to the Summer palace for the last five years, and had forbidden me from entering. She had no right to do so, but I feared using my power would set precedent and further distance my own children from me. 

I was resigned to sending letter after letter and gift over carriage and carrier. I spent many waking hours in my study, reading and composing letters to them. I kept their letters in drawers, and their pictures behind glass. 

I looked so tired behind that desk, so fragile and small. I did not want them taken from me forever.

6. The Silver Mirror

This is a memory of Indulgence. There is a sense of sensation and delight. 

In memorial of our flight North, we hold a grand feast each year in Liram. I saw a much earlier memory of my first celebration as the newly crowned Throne. At this time I had not known loss. (I had not known Grunnhildur either.) 

Before me lay a grand feast of roasted ducks, pigs, and other tender meats. I had seven cups filled with seven wines from the families that grew vineyards, and each were in crystal glasses taller than they were wide. 

I was served by a young man around my age, wearing a gleaming coat with golden trim. I caught his eye and he smiled. There would be more indulgences that night. 

 7. The Charred Mirror 

This is a memory of action. There is a sense of motion, heat, and sparks. 

This was the speech I gave when I convinced the council, the researchers, generals, and others.

I had seen the crystalline spiraling tower from my bedroom window, something no one else had seen that night. But I knew it was a vision from the gods. 

I was destined to travel far to the North to search for the valley of song and magic. 

When I had called the meeting I knew they thought I was a fool, that I had gone mad, or had imbibed something wretched. But I was clear with my intentions and laid out a plan. 

This was an expansion of Liram, a way to reconquer our valor and our dignity. We set a long plan to take the North, past Isonross and far into the forests and mountains. 

I was full of life and passion and purpose, and by the end everyone was in agreement. 

8. The Branched Mirror 

This is a memory of being lost. There is a sense of being small, and in the presence of something too large.

The first time I set eyes upon the Northern Gorge, I thought that it was a trick of the light. The ground splayed before us and we were smaller than I have ever felt in my life. 

I had never seen something so wide, something so deep, and something that could swallow me whole if I took one wrong step. 

I could see myself reflected in this mirror and I was but a tiny speck in comparison to the grand chasm. This was the valley, but there was nothing below but darkness and snow. 

9. The Spring Mirror 

This is a memory of embarrassment. There is a sense of timidity and shame. 

Grunnhildur was laughing at me. She had her hand up to her lips and her brows pursed together. 

“You cannot simply be serious,” she sneered. “You of all people should know our history with the gods.” 

She laughed again and I felt my hands shake. 

“Maybe you are no true Throne,” she baited. 

I could have hanged her for treason should I have wanted. But instead, I calmed myself, and simply left her in the drawing room. I left that evening without speaking to the children. 

I was too angry, too ashamed that she would think so little of me and I did nothing to stop her. 

10. The Glass-Framed Mirror 

This is a mirror of uncertainty.  There is a sense of unfamiliarity and unrecognition. 

The man looking back at me is no memory that I have. He looks like me, but slowly, there is a creeping sickness to his skin.

He does not recognize me but looks past me into the room. He moves as I do: he raises his hand why I raise it, he shakes his head when I shake mine, but still he will not meet my gaze. 

I see it spidering and cracking, skin splitting and forming into mirror like glass. I cannot move as I watch it spread over and over and slowly consume my reflection. I do not know what it means. 

For a moment I regret coming to this place. But I know there is but one more mirror. 

11. The Mirror 

Every detail in clarity. Everything about you. 

I can see myself. Cold. Haggard. Shaking. Gaunt. Scared. 

Everything is in perfect Clarity and Understanding

I was called here. Over the vast and frozen waste. Over the Grand Chasm and up into the crystalline spiraled tower to them. 

 Each layer was a mirror of myself and to my past. As I looked into myself I climbed higher and higher. 

There is nothing here but me and Them as a reflection of myself. 

He holds out his hands and I reach through the glass and take them and meet the God who called me all this way: Certainty-is-Shown-Through-Light, the one reflected in mirrors and there is nothing here but us. 

12. The Portrait 

The memory that called out to the body is the loudest, all others fade away and this becomes the portrait. 

I am in their tower, in their workshop, in their divine presence. Behind me the mirror is gone.

There is no way to leave. I do not want to leave. 

The Branched frame holds the reflection of myself next to the gorge. The one where I am small, insignificant against nature and the world. It has turned from glass to paint and hangs on crystalline walls. 

I can see the other mirrors from where I am and their reflections all fade and I wonder how long until the Branched Frame fades as well.

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