Prior to the Illusion
To see sample images from the shop, go here
To the causal observer, Prior to the Illusion is a simple shop that sells cheap magic tricks, costumes and supplies. To the magical, the supernatural, and the sensitive: they know this place is set apart. You can always find it when you need it, even the business card says Just around the corner instead of offering a real address.
The keeper of the shop, although she doesn’t always offer her name right away, exudes a warmth that comforts you. After a brief chat to find out your intent, she’ll lead you to a bookcase at the back of the shop, pulling out a glimmering white key from her pocket.
The bookcase melts away and into a door made of a thick, pale wood. It’s intricately carved to resemble an iron gate. The grain of the wood seems to move as though alive and it is inset with onyx and agate runes and sigils to mask its presence and keep anyone out. Or in.
It is so well-hidden that until now the aura of the powerful magical items inside has been non-existent to your senses. The onyxes glow with an inner light as you touch the gate without permission. As a safety, they try to fill your head with thoughts of go away and there’s nothing here and we don’t exist, look away. It is a deterrent for those who are not welcome. Only she is allowed to open the door.
The curling vines of the doors move and slither apart to curl on themselves so that the double doors can swing inward to reveal a short hallway.
The hallway makes itself shorter as the room rushes to meet you. The room is covered in shelves upon shelves of jars of herbs and plants. Labeled bundles hang from the exposed beams of ceiling. Any visible wall space (including the backs of the shelves) is covered in mirrors. An island of cabinets in the center of the room house magical artifacts.
Along the back wall, the reflection in the mirrors is not of the room you are in, but of other rooms. After a moment of looking at them hard, you are able to figure out that the shop owner has hidden entire rooms inside of mirrors. She smiles smugly as she watches you figure it out.
The room you’re looking at currently is filled with books, and the room next to it is a fearsome looking arsenal despite how brightly lit it is. If you deign to look at the other hidden rooms, you’ll find a kitchen, a courtyard, an office, an alternate kitchen for making potions and tinctures and the like, a garden, and a short staircase that leads up to a hall of more doors.