Poxig beheld his true self in the mirror. It was a blurry spectral presence, which reminded him of his father. But he couldn’t help but ignore his red eyes, which was the evil that still dwelt within. He could not bear to look but for a few moments, and then turned away. He thought that he was impervious to evil, but the magic mirror had revealed that even he could bend to such a nefarious force.
Chris White stroked his beard in response to Poxig’s silence. He knew that Poxig would probably be the most unlikely hero, if indeed he was capable of greatness. Clearly, his attachment to legends was a liability. But Poxig had a heart that exceeded even the humans in Marginalia. He certainly could be counted on, but did not have anything in the way of brute strength or magical talent.
The magic mirror had indeed shown the dark side that Poxig did not want to face. If he were ever to aspire to the guardianship of the ORB, he would have to acknowledge this darker half and fight against it. Chris White knew better. He knew that the darker side, that is visible only to demons, exists within every heart of man and elf. Only the beasts were morally neutral. “We are all combinations of dark and light,” White stated emphatically.
“Well, I’ve never thought…”
“Never mind what you’ve thought. Everyone winces at the image in the magic mirror. To see your true self is a harrowing process, but each hero must know the good and evil that dwells within. The evil you face…”
“But what if…?”
White interrupted him. “The evil you face is more threatening than you can imagine. You must try to vanquish the source of the earth’s rot. But only the Naughright guild can ordain you to accomplish this task. You must win their approval.”
“And if they reject me?”
“That is a scenario that you must not acknowledge. You have been entrusted with the ORB. Somewhere, the other three ORBS exist. Those heroes and heroines have their own monsters to slay. You have your own. But nary an elf has ever had the heart that you have. Now that you know your true self, go forth. I give you this letter of recommendation to take to the guild. Take it and go, and do not turn to the left or the right.”
“I will be going then,” Poxig said boldly. “But what if I meet trolls on the way.”
“Your penknife has protected you thus far. It will suffice. It is your wit that is your true ally, not a sword and shield,” said White.
Poxig braced himself for the long journey ahead to the Naughright guild. It was there that he would receive the approval of the magicians who guided the forces of dark and light. White had agreed to accompany so far as the golden gate, but there Poxig would have to speak for himself as the guardian of the ORB.