The following was written for a planned anthology by Wizards of the Coast regarding their Magic: the Gathering. The anthology was published but my story wasn’t selected.
“I am the soul of mystery: mirror upon mirror, always reflections, never reality; and even I do not know my true nature or appearance.
“Which is as it should be.”
– A Vesuvian Doppelgänger saying, recorded in Urza’s Tome of Common Lore of the Summoned Creatures
As a doppelgänger I am a secretive member of a secretive race, difficult to find and difficult to bind. Nonetheless, years ago I was bound to Dolphus’ service upon the defeat of his enemy, and this day I felt the irresistible, invisible, tickling touch of power that is his summoning, and so I came with all haste to Dolphus’ keep of sorcery deep in the Hidden Wood, to be another soldier in his army in his battle against his life-long foe Jerrimax over the contested islands in the waters of the Bay of Thunder between their keeps.
As I stand before Dolphus, I must wonder how he sees me, as a glimmer of mist shrouding a shadow of a form, a ray of white light throwing rainbows about his chamber, a mysterious human figure cloaked in enveloping white robes? All these things I am, or have been, or will be. Whatever he sees, however, he sees it through covetous eyes.
Dolphus holds the flashing silver disc that is his summoning token, that he had won from his opponent years earlier, toying with it between his hands in eagerness or frustration. At his imperious command I look into his scrying mirror and see not my own face but the face of Jerrimax’ general. It is an old superstition that a doppelgänger must never see their own face in a mirror or they will lose their powers. Dolphus points his wand at me: I feel the power he has summoned from the plains to the west of his keep flow into me. One further look, and the visage in the mirror becomes mine.
“You have your orders,” Dolphus barks hastily to me, and I reply in the general’s raspy voice “I have. Victory shall be yours!”
Which is as it should be.