The Nineteenth Object is a mirror, made using a process unknown in Europe. It appears to include a plate of glass, over a perfect film of silver, surrounded by a frame of interlaced wood, part of winter oak, the other part cerulea. The mirrored surface of the Object is three and one-third feet high, and just over one foot wide. The frame is just a sliver under two inches wide.
This Object was collected by the Order in 1239, after it drove Archmaga Gunhildia mad. Her attempts to destroy the Object by magic did not avail, but did destroy a large section of the Covenant of the White Rose in Stonehenge. The investigation which followed highlighted the mirror as the cause of her actions. During a course of healing meditation, she described the Object’s effects. The story that her instructor in this process was Clement of Criamon, who went on to study the Objects, is untrue, but emotionally satisfying.
Those who stare at the Mirror for prolonged periods gain the rudiments of Strange Wisdom concerning themselves. Such a person, if she casts any personal Mentem effect, suffers a terrible shock. A figure appears in the Object, which the viewer immediately and comprehensively understands. It is the maga, as she would have been, if she had not been Gifted. Those who feel revulsion or terror feel a tugging on their Gift, as if it is to be pulled from them, in some ways similar to the presence of powerful Dominion auras. Such magi often enter Twilight, and this seems to preserve their Giftedness. Those who do not fear or hate their alternate feel their Gift pulled away, for a moment, before the Object returns it, subtly changed.
This Object, or spells which mimic its effects, are used in the initiation ritual for the first Station in the Path of the Dawn, which allows magi to terminate, reduce, delay or pause the effects of their spells. Such initiatory Rituals have been used to ambush foes: for example Clement of Criamon really did lure a group of Hedge Witches to a dinner, and then end the delay on this Ritual. Many of the details of the story have been embroidered since: there were only three witches, all were Gifted before the Ritual, all joined House Criamon afterward. One did later leave to join House Bonisagus as a Trianoman. Clement did not offer to marry any of them.
Gunhildia claimed to have stolen the mirror from the lands of Faerie. How it came to be there is entirely unclear, but one possibility is that Gunhildia accessed areas of Faerie which had already been overrun by Muses. If this is the case, then she was the first member of the Order, in so far as can be determined from records, to have encountered these creatures.