“Hey, Nat,” Clifford called. As Nathaniel joined him, he pointed across the square. “Check these guys out. They look lost.”

“They’re new in town, that’s for sure,” Michael said. “Do you know them, Nat?”

Nathaniel looked around the corner and frowned. He knew these men. They were strangers in town, that was what his neighbors said. They were not strangers to him though. He spun back around the corner with a murmured, “No, I’m late for dinner.”

“Right, the boys are heading off to school in the big city,” Michael said.

“Yes, and tonight is their farewell party,” Nathaniel replied as he dashed to the restaurant that his wife and boys were.

He stepped into the lobby and pecked Margery on the cheek. “Sorry I’m a little late, dearest,” he murmured as he ushered her towards the dining room. “Are you boys excited about heading off to school?”

“A little,” Miles said.

“We’ll miss you all though,” Emery added. “Why do we have to go away to school? Why can’t we stay here?”

“It’s the governor’s idea to standardize magical education,” Nathaniel replied. He darted a glance over his shoulder as the men from the square entered the restaurant. He settled the family in an out of the way nook and smiled as the waitress joined them.

“Is something wrong, dear?” Margery whispered.

“No, I just saw someone I thought I recognized from a nightmare,” Nathaniel replied. “We’re not here to talk about that though. We’re here to celebrate these boys leaving their apprenticeship behind and becoming journeymen.” He grinned at the boys and the dinner was underway.

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