About

This is the story of Amalia di Danti. This is the story of the young woman who had the courage to doubt everything she believed, in search for truth and justice. This is a story about the impact of fear and terror, how it warps the minds of otherwise kind people. This is the story of what happens when power is left unchecked.

In order to protect the people of Jaborre from the dangerous threat posed by the black arts, the government installs watchmirrors on every street corner. The penalty for practicing black magic is death. Amalia is the daughter of a high-ranking government official, and as such believes wholeheartedly that black magic is the most wicked of all evils. When she stumbles upon evidence to the contrary, she is confronted with an uncomfortable question: why was black magic really banned? Her answer to that question thrusts her into the midst of a growing rebellion and civil war.

I plan on writing 4 seasons, each with an over-arching story-line. The seasons and their episodes are loosely planned so I know (generally) what will happen.

Please take note of the trigger warnings page.

To start reading, go here.

To go to the latest chapter, click here.

Next update: Watchmirror is officially on indefinite hiatus. Please scroll down to the comments section for more information.

 

 

Creative Commons License
Watchmirror by Mahasim is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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11 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: A serial that I forgot. | MageLife

    • I’m a senior in college, and that’s a huge time sink at the moment. This is definitely not abandoned. 🙂 I’ll post an official note somewhere, but I’ll probably go back to writing during December when I have my winter break.

    • Still a hiatus. Funfact about the author: I’m a freelance illustrator, on top being a student. The other reason has a lot to do with the fact that I really don’t want to write the next chapter. I’m considering just skipping to the Lawrence Pelorian arc, because I’m not even sure the next chapter is even necessary.

    • Watchmirror likely won’t be picked up again, no. There are multiple reasons: school, pressure, characterization, and data deletion. I graduated with my masters and am heading into a phd program. I do have time to write, and am still writing, but find Watchmirror stressful. I had(have?) actual fans who really like this work, and I was(am) terrified of letting them down — that I would build up their hopes, writing this massively complex and deep story, only to flub on the execution. And as I went on, I realized that large portions of this story are written poorly. Going back and fixing it all is daunting: Amalia is painfully naive, venturing into too-dumb-to-live territory. My main villain’s motives are insane, and I didn’t have a good grasp of power relations/dynamics when I started this project. I would have to go back and change a lot of the serial. Nevertheless, it was on the list of things to do. Then I lost over 200k words of notes on Watchmirror and other stories a few months back. I’m still reeling from it — I thought I had it backed up, but I was wrong. I still have my handwritten notes, but leafing through ~600 pages spread across 4 notebooks and figuring out which parts I kept and which I discarded is a project in and of itself. I will likely rewrite the story at some point, though it may not look much like the Watchmirror posted, here.

      That said, I know how much I hate to be left hanging, so I’m happy to fill in the gaps. If you really hate spoilers and want to wait for the someday when I get around to rewriting it, skip down to “END SPOILERS.”

      BEGIN SPOILERS

      I can outline what I remember off the top of my head —

      The previous Prime Minister, Meciel Recham, won her position through blackmailing, bribing, and assassinating anyone who stood in her way. When any well-meaning group rose against her, she assassinated their leaders’ characters, made them out to be paedophiles, monsters, or drug addicts of the worst sort. All of this to seize power and prevent what she thought was the coming apocalypse, brought on by a particular branch of Ritual Magic. In short: ritual magic tends to draw on power from a timeless dimension, and improperly configuring your ritual can lead to a massive city-destroying explosion. Realizing that all it took to end the world was one mistake in researching rituals, she sought to outlaw the practice entirely, in order to prevent that doom from ever happening. She was a first responder during the Harkow Tragedy, before she got into politics, and was one of the few to grasp the significance of it. She justifies her actions to herself by thinking that she went through all the legal channels, sounding the alarm, but no one was willing to listen to her.

      She rose to power on a wave of fear and grief following the Harkow Tragedy, but eventually she pushed too far and people began complaining. The more she attempted to clamp down on the people, the more they resisted. And when the Ritual Mages became the targets of systematic oppression, they responded with violence. Meciel used that to justify even harsher punishments, more violence. Ritual Magic was rebranded as Black Magic, and those who knew better were either scared into silence or murdered.

      Amalia’s father and several other officials learned of Meciel’s treachery, (that she assassinated the previous prime minister, Pajic,) and hatched a plan to dethrone her. While they understood the danger of Black Magic as Meciel presented it to them, they feared that her actions (killing Judges, blackmailing and bribing officials) were undermining their government, that they wouldn’t have a country in ten years if she kept this up. And they were right, in a sense. The erosion of rights and suspension of due process were never reversed. ‘Black Magic’ became an excuse to arrest and execute anyone who disagreed with those in power. It was the boogeyman, the monster under the bed. However, Meciel was crafty, and a master of ritual magic in her own right. She escaped death, though Titus and his co-conspirators didn’t know it at the time.

      Now, this is where it gets stupid. Meciel takes on a new identity, that of Irene Morgan. (Yep, that’s the big secret.) Irene’s primary goal is revenge, to twist the knife, tear down everything Titus and his co-conspirators ever loved. ….and she does this through Black Magic. I justified this as her attempt to keep her government terrified of Black Mages, but there are a hundred better ways to do that. This is part of the story that most needs to be re-worked. Anyway, in the process she spies Amalia, and decides to turn her against her father. Irene/Meciel knows that nothing would hurt Titus more than his precious daughter turning Black Mage. She plans to use Amalia as a tool, but finds herself growing fond of Amalia, a friendship developing between them.

      Meanwhile, Philomena attempts to escape Jaborre, with the aid of the disaffected rebel cell leader, Bennett. But it’s a small world, and it turns out Bennett knows her father. It opens old wounds that never properly healed. They were once all a part of a rebel cell called Gaeldor’s Circle that published pamphlets calling out Meciel as a liar.

      It started off as a group of friends who met socially to drink and practice small magics, and turned into something more serious after the Harkow Tragedy. The leader of their cell, Thomas Bodzin, was one of the people Meciel character-assassinated. She got the leader thrown in prison and executed for supposedly murdering 50 people in a ritual. Lawrence, Bennett, and his brother organized a large group of protestors who gathered on the Old City bridge.

      They were mowed down by soldiers under Meciel’s orders.

      The twenty three people that died that day became known as the “Old City 23,” a rallying cry for the resistance to gather around. Meciel responded by inserting spies in their ranks, sewing distrust and misinformation.
      > “Lawrence? Why the fuck do you need to leave? Them hoity toities got him all set up. He don’t need to leave. Hasn’t done jack shit for us. Watched him die and did nothing, the fucker. Coward.” He spat.
      Bennett’s brother died in the bridge blast, and Bennett blamed Lawrence for it. It went from bad to worse when Lawrence was caught. Lawrence got off lightly, being the son of an aristocrat, and Bennett never forgave him for abandoning the cause.

      Lawrence Pelorian never truly gave up his rebel beliefs, though. Eventually he started up The Free Voice, publishing articles on the failings of the government. Irene Morgan / Meciel suspected he never gave up his old obsession, and contacted him as Irene, opening a line of communication between them.

      Which gets us caught up to scene 18, where Irene/Meciel is asking Amalia to join her in some corperate espionage.

      My plan was to get Amalia caught by spies of Orwyn Pennington, another Judge who was vying to bring Titus down a peg. She escapes, and goes on the run with Irene, Harvey, and Bennett. Irene hears a prophecy that the doom she’s been trying to avoid is coming sooner than later, and ramps up her efforts to stop it. Amalia and Harvey attempt to work together and struggle to find common ground. Irene and Amalia find out they work well together — Irene understands and manipulates people, Amalia manipulates magic better than even Irene could. End result? They build a rebel faction that quickly gains tractions with a rapid series of wins against the Judges. All the while, Amalia’s conflicted on whether they’re doing the right thing, whether ramping up the violence is actually hurting their cause. They face the same issues as any other rebel group — what happens once you win? They’ve gathered a variety of groups that oppose each other on many issues, and are only willing to work together because they have a common enemy. Moreover, the general quality of rebel is more in line with Harvey or Bennett (impulsive, angry, alcoholic) than the sane able-bodied persons that a rebel leader would hope to find. Irene and Amalia find that their rebellion is splintering into factions, that they won’t be able to hold it together long enough to win.

      And as they go on, they realize they need support from the existing infrastructure — they need money to feed their troops, weapons, medicine, all of which requires they seek out bigger sponsors. Those sponsors want things in return, and those things aren’t good for the people Amalia and Irene claim to be fighting for, and Amalia is shaken by Irene’s willingness to go along with it. The groups splinter, with Amalia forming her own rebellion. End result: a country in ruins, with multiple rebel groups fighting over territory, while the remains of a government struggles to re-assert itself.

      I don’t remember if I mentioned the doomsday device in the beginning (refugees from a coastal city? rising floodwaters?) but in the end it’s triggered, and I hadn’t decided whether or not they’d all live/die/etc, or if Amalia would make the sacrifice play and attempt to defuse it. I had some greater plans that involved Lawrence, Philomena, and Amalia’s mother, but I forget them.

      Looking back, it could’ve been better. The secret of ritual magic is one of those things that in retrospect is silly — if the default state is ‘everything explodes if one thing goes wrong,’ then there would be many, many more Harkow Tragedies. And I could go on at length about how, years later, Irene/Meciel should’ve been a better villain. If you or I can read Meciel’s motives in one moment and think “maybe banning the whole branch of magic is a bit of an overreaction,” then she would be able to think that, too. I think I spent too much time googling “things rebels did” instead of asking if it makes sense for Gaeldor’s Circle to do that, in this context. If you or I can ask “is violence a good idea, here?” or “maybe this will just give X an excuse to attack us,” then my characters should be able to ask themselves that, too. I like to think I’ve improved as a writer since then. Same goes for characterization. The dialogue comes off as stilted and awkward.

      END SPOILERS

      Am I writing anything now? Yes. I write (don’t laugh) fanfiction. I was working on it concurrently with Watchmirror, updating it maybe once every three to six months. When I stopped writing for a while to focus on school, the fanfic was put on the backburner, too. But the fanfic was what got me back into writing, after a period of not writing at all. It’s not much like Watchmirror: it starts off slow and takes a while to get to the action. The plot is centered around the lead up and aftermath of a murder mystery. I don’t know if readers of Watchmirror would enjoy it, but I’ll drop the link here in case you want to check it out. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10819991/1/For-Want-of-a-Mallory

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