Nightshade's Midnight Carnival came to be in the fall of 1641. It was created by Adria Nightshade and her father, William Nightshade. Adria was a mesmerizingly beautiful young woman whose eyes could make men melt. Adria as a child was taught how to read fortunes through tarot cards, a person’s palm or a crystal ball. The beautiful fortuneteller had another talent that she used to bend the wills of men and even a few women; she was also an accomplished belly dancer.
None of this meant a thing to her partner and lover Carl Molenov. He loved Adria so unconditionally that he was blinded to the sorted trysts that his gypsy lover engaged in behind his back. He loved Adria to the point of obsession, which she used to her advantage. All she would have to do is say the word and Carl would slit another man’s throat, without batting an eye.
Carl himself was not without his own series of talents. He was known as the Amazing TriXter; he was an acrobat, a juggler, a magician and also knew how to use a sword and knives. With him he carried a skull headed walking stick which concealed a razor sharp sword blade. Hidden within the lining of his jesters costume were several throwing knives and a dagger.
Several years prior, Carl confronted a man for making obscene comments toward Adria. The altercation left Carl with a deep scar that ran straight up and down over his left eye, almost blinding him in that eye, but the knife missed. While Carl walked away with a scar, the other man was not as fortunate, his body was found dismembered with its eyes cut out. TriXter’s look was simple and dramatic at the same time. His face was painted a pale white with his lips lined in such a deep burgundy that they almost appeared black. The scar that he received above and below his eye, worked to his advantage as he lined it with the same deep burgundy. The costume that he donned as the wicked jester was of a harlequin style. The diamond pattern of the suit was of a deep almost blood red and a dark blue. The cap that he wore displayed the same red and blue pattern with a widow’s peak and three tips. He wore white cotton gloves and red pointed toed boots.
As for the carnival itself it held such attractions as a strong man, a giant, a dog boy, a fire eater and sword swallower, a contortionist, a snake charmer and several others. Then there were the dancers, 5 in all including Adria. There were also 5 other clowns that worked alongside Carl. Several other attractions were showcased, which shocked and amazed those who came to see them.
Years passed, seasons changed and the carnival prospered. One fateful rainy night when the moon was full and the sky glowed red as if soaked with blood, an old weathered man riding a deep black horse drawn carriage, made his way down the road to the carnival. Once at the entrance he was met by Carl in full TriXter garb. A twisted smile curled across the old man’s face as he looked over the dark jester. Hello good sir allow me to introduce myself, I am William Nightshade of the Autumn People. Carl looked over the old man then turned his attention to the side of the carriage. There in large faded letters read the Dark Carnival.
Pay no mind to that my friend, I come here this night to offer you a new attraction to add to your already impressive collection. What special thing do you have for this carnival, Carl asked the old man. Awe yes that is the question of the night, is it not my friend? Again the old man grins almost with sinister intent. Follow me my harlequin friend and let me show you what treasure I have for you. The two men went to the back of the carriage where William open the back and pulled out a large antique mirror. Once upright the mirror stood seven foot tall and stretched over three foot in width. Its frame was carved from some type of stone and the mirror itself had a deep purple hue to it, and even though it was solid and smooth its face displayed what appeared to be tiny cracks throughout its entire surface.
Carl stood there staring mesmerized at his reflection in the unusual mirror. William places a hand on Carl’s shoulder and says, this is more than just a mirror my friend, it is a doorway into man’s dreams; his desires and even his nightmares. This is the Limbo Gate and should prove to be a worthy addition to your collection. What do you think my friend, do you wish to add the gate to your Midnight Carnival? Carl cocks his head to one side then the other, looking over the odd mirror as he studies his reflection. Yes sir I do Carl blurts out suddenly, yes I want this mirror. Very well sir, William says. All I ask of you is one silver coin and the mirror is yours. Carl reached into a small leather pouch carried on his side and hands over a single silver coin. The Gate is yours sir, I promise you that it will truly change the way you view yourself and the world around you. Before I leave you with your new treasure I have one other thing for you. With that the old man reaches into a pocket inside of his jacket and pulls out a small crystal shard that possessed the same color of the mirror. The crystal dangled from a rawhide cord that was wrapped around it so that it could be worn around ones neck.
William held the talisman before Carl and said to him, this is a key stone; it goes with the mirror and must be kept with you always. Remember what I tell you this night, keep this charm close to your heart always, never be without it and all will be as you wish it. With that, William rode off into the night melting into the darkness like a shadow.
Carl stood there a moment longer studying his reflection that seemed to almost look back at him and smile. He motioned for help and came to assist him in moving the mirror to its new home in the maze of mirrors. It would be showcased it the center of the maze to add to the darker tone set by the rest of the carnivals attractions. Once the mirror was in place Carl went off in search of his love Adria so that he could show her the new treasure he had purchased for their Carnival. He slowly approached Adria’s trailer when he heard the sounds of love making coming from within. Carl crept closer and closer to the trailer to see what was going on inside. Through an open window he witnessed the woman he loved writhing beneath a local man who stayed after the show to meet Adria and was now bedding her.
Adria turns her attention to the open widow to see Carl glaring back at her. Without batting an eye Adria wraps herself around her young lover and passionately kisses him. Full of rage Carl storms off heading back to the mirror maze. He soon finds himself in front of the new mirror where he collapses a broken man. As he sits hunched over in tears, his thought turn sinister. As his mind races with thoughts of vengeance, his sobs take on an eerie echo and turn to laughter. He looks up to see his reflection staring back at him. Instead of cowering in fear Carl inches closer to see himself or rather TriXter in a different light.
The image he saw behind the looking glass was not him but something attempting to look like him. Its eyes were pale and iridescent, as if they were carved from opal. The face was similar but was stretched out slightly. The painted scar was still there but there was an addition to the makeup, where Carl’s tears ran down his cheek his reflections tear was painted onto its face as part of its makeup. As dark as Carl’s costume may have been, that of his reflection was even darker.
Carl was overwhelmed with curiosity as he moved even closer to the crystal mirror. As he stared deeper and deeper into the mirror he started to see the massive world that stretched out behind his reflection.
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