All The Possibilities

Amelia watched all around her as the whole town, it seemed, filed into the meeting hall for the vicar’s party. He’d invited every family – every child – in town. He’d said the governor had written to him with an important announcement. The town was all buzzing with speculation as to what it might be. Even those without children came; not wanting to miss the excitement.

Everyone was told that the announcement would be made just before the party ended. First would come dinner and dancing. The dinner was wonderful but Amelia was young enough that she tired of the dancing quickly. When she could, she headed out into the garden. As she’d expected several of the other children in the village were outside already.

“Hi,” she greeted, bounding up to some of the children that were her own age.

“Hello,” Althea and Miles returned as they bounded over to join her.

“Hi,” Emery, Miles’s older brother, said at nearly the same time. He jumped up and caught a low hanging branch of a nearby tree. He climbed up onto the branch and sat there, grinning down at her. “What d’you think the announcement is about?”

“I can’t imagine,” she replied. She crossed her arms over her chest and stepped closer to the tree as she scolded, “You’d better hope that your father doesn’t catch you up there, Emery Ballard.”

“It isn’t lady-like, Brother,” Miles added.

“We’re nearly finished with our apprenticeships, Mi,” Emery replied, apparently ignoring Amelia. “We don’t have to act like girls any more. Dad’s already told everyone our proper names even.”

All heads turned as a voice emanated from the doorway of the meeting hall. “Miles, Emery, the vicar’s calling all the children together.” It was their mother and the boys immediately responded to her voice.

Emery gripped the branch he was seated on and swung nimbly out of the tree. “Coming, Mama,” he called at nearly the same time as Miles.

As if the reply was the starting gun for a race, the children all ran toward the building. Most ducked past Mrs. Ballard as they entered the building. Emery and Miles paused to grin up at her before gathering with the other children in front of the vicar. They were neither the tallest, nor the smallest of the children so they stood somewhere near the middle of the assembly.

“I thank you for your patience. I know that it can be particularly difficult when one is young and I know you have been eagerly awaiting this announcement,” the vicar said. He smiled at all the children then at their parents before continuing. “The governor has asked me to announce the founding of a school for magic. All children over the age of ten will be tested in order to see if they will be allowed to attend in the fall.”

Amelia glanced over at her parents. Both of them were smiling, obviously pleased by the news. She looked at her grandmother and found the older woman was frowning. Her gaze turned to Miles and Emery, but they were focused on their father. If her grandmother seemed unhappy, Mr. Ballard looked positively thunderous.

continued: here