Tag Archive: Margery


Emery stepped inside the strangely quiet kitchen and looked around. Behind him, Miles whimpered softly. “It’ll be alright, Miles,” he murmured in reassurance. “Mom’s probably in bed.” He led the way up the steps to their parents’ bedroom.

Peering into the darkened room, they could see their mother, propped up against the pillows. Her eyes were closed and she seemed to be sleeping. Emery slipped quietly inside and set the bouquet of flowers he held on the bedside table.

“Emery, Miles, you made it,” she greeted softly.

“Hi Mom,” Emery replied before kissing her cheek. “How are you doing? Can we get you anything?”

“No, dear-heart, just sit with me for a while. Miles, sweetie, don’t be scared,” she said, holding out a hand to the younger boy.

“Are you… going to be alright, Mama?” he asked softly as he gave her a hug.

“We’ll see, Miles. Whatever happens, you and your brother take care of each other, alright? Promise me,” she said. Her voice was faint but there was a firmness to it that was familiar.

“We promise,” Emery said softly. He took Miles’ hand in one of his and his mother’s hand in the other, even as Miles did the same, completing the circle. “I… wish Dad was home.”

“I’m sure he does too,” she said softly. “Stay with me until I’m asleep, boys. The doctor will be coming to check up on me soon. Emery, you’ll be alright. They figured out you had this much earlier on than they did with me.”

Miles whimpered softly once more and Emery squeezed his hand as he said, “I know, Mom. Don’t worry. We’ll… we’ll be alright.” They sat with her in silence as her eyes drifted shut.

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Margery lay back in her bed. Over the past few weeks she’d felt weaker and weaker. It had gotten to the point that she could no longer get out of bed. All of her joints ached and her head felt full of fluff.

“How are you feeling?” a familiar voice said.

She looked up to see her husband standing over her. “Tired,” she replied. “Where have you been?”

“You remember those people I told you about?” he said softly. “They were spotted in the village. I… couldn’t risk them finding the boys.”

“I’m glad to see you safe,” she said, taking his hand. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you,” he whispered. He looked down. “Maggie… this illness you have… it’s your aura, falling apart. There’s… not really anything they can do about it, is there?”

“No, darling,” she said. “I’m glad that I got to see you though. Send for the boys. They should be here.”

“I’ll do that,” Nathaniel promised. “Can you hold on until then?”

“Yes,” she said softly. “Tell Emery to see a doctor about his aura. We don’t want it to get to the point that mine did before he finds out.”

“I’ll see to it,” he said. “I… I love you.”

“And I love you,” she murmured. He kissed her gently and then left. Margery closed her eyes. She may be suffering, but at least she got to see Nathaniel one more time.

The house was dark and still when Nathaniel slipped up to the front door. He didn’t know why he was there. It wasn’t safe – for either of them. He should be satisfied watching her as he did their sons. However, even watching her in his mind’s eye, hearing her voice in his mind’s ear, wasn’t enough to satisfy his need to be near her.

He unlocked the door silently with the key. Margery hadn’t moved it from its accustomed place in the hydrangea. Silently, he slipped into the darkened building. He knew the house like he knew the back of his hand, no lights were needed to find his way to their bedroom.

Once there, he eased himself onto the bed, beside her sleeping form. He kissed her cheek, half-hidden by her tumble of blond hair. Without meaning to, his hand went to her hip and he lay down beside her, as he had for the many years that they had been together. He would be gone when she woke in the morning, but he needed this. He needed to be near her, to touch her once again, to smell her sweet aroma. “I miss you,” he whispered into the night.

Nathaniel slipped quietly out of the bed and dressed, careful not to wake his wife. He wanted to leave a note, explaining what was going on but feared that the men would somehow see it and trace him.

Instead the only note he left said, “I won’t be far away. I love you all.” He left the note on the kitchen counter where Margery would find it. He sighed as he thought of how she would feel when she woke and found him gone.

He hoped that they wouldn’t hate him. He hoped the boys would enjoy school. He closed his eyes, fighting the urge to peek in on his sons. Finally he gave in and peeked into the room where they slept.

Miles was snuggled beneath his quilts, sleeping soundly. Emery, however, looked up drowsily as he opened the door. “It’s alright,” he whispered. “Just go back to sleep.”

Emery nodded and snuggled down into his own quilts. Nathaniel backed out of the room and silently walked out of the house. He hoped the boys would be able to keep Margery happy, even though he knew he was causing all of them pain.

“Good bye,” he whispered as he set off down the road.

“Are you happy?” Margery asked quietly as she snuggled next to Nathaniel. He pulled her closer but didn’t answer. “You seem so… troubled lately. Is it something I’m doing?” she persisted.

“No, Mags, I couldn’t be happier with you and I love our children,” he replied after several moments of silence.

“Then what’s wrong?” she asked softly. “Is it work? Is something wrong there?”

“You know I love my work and the boys’ studies are coming along amazingly well. They’re more than ready to start school.”

“Is it because the boys are going so far away?” she asked. “Tell me what you want, Nat.”

He kissed her forehead gently and shook his head. “Only for you, Emery and Miles to be safe and happy,” he whispered. “Only that.”

In Fur and Gold

“Go straight there, Emery,” Margery said as she handed her older son the basket of treats. “Don’t stop anywhere along the way and remember what your father said.”

“Don’t talk to strangers,” Emery dutifully repeated. He tugged the hood of his magic robe up and skipped down the walk.

“You know what he looks like when he’s dressed like that,” Margery murmured as Nathaniel came out to join her.

“Expecting the big bad wolf?” Nathaniel murmured. “He’ll be fine. I’ll keep an eye on him.”

**
Emery paused as he heard someone behind him. He turned back to see a man riding along the same road he was walking down. The fur-lined coat and boots and gaudy rings spoke of the man’s wealth. Emery stepped back off the road to let him pass. Somehow he wasn’t much surprised when the man drew up beside him and stopped.

“Are you heading to town, little miss?” the man asked.

“No, sir. I’m heading off to visit my granny,” Emery said, not bothering to correct the man’s misperception. “She runs the inn just down the road a piece. My dad told me before I left not to talk to strangers and you’re about as strange as they come, Mister, so I’m going now.”

Before the man could reply, Emery ran down the road toward the inn. He heard the patter of hoof beats behind him and shook his head. Tossing a glyph on the road, he stopped. He wasn’t shocked when the man rode by, chasing the illusion that Emery had created of himself. He rolled his eyes as he took the cut-off that led to the inn. The man would chase the illusion, hopefully until it faded around nightfall.

“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.

Emery sat up in his bed and giggled softly. Today he would get his first official magic robe. He stood and pulled off his nightshirt. He scampered to the washbowl and rinsed the sweat of the night off his body before pulling his blouse on. Next came the simple brown jumper. The soft cotton of the dress made it one of his favorites. The frilly pinafore topped this, protecting it from dirt and grime. Last Emery slipped his feet into the soft leather boots his mother had gotten him.

Dressed now, Emery bounded down the steps to the kitchen. “Morning Mom,” he called as he entered the room.

“You’re up early,” she said, grinning.

“Dad’s going to give me my cloak today.” He looked outside and saw the trees swaying in the wind. “It’s going to rain,” he added softly.

“Perfect weather for your first cloak,” his father said as he entered the room. Emery grinned and bounced a little in his chair. “Eat first. Then come to the workshop.”

“Yes, Dad,” Emery replied. He ate quickly but neatly, not wanting to upset his mother by wolfing down his breakfast. When he was finished, he scooped the dishes up and put them in the washtub to soak. Then he scampered out the door and over to the small shed that his father used as a workshop.

He entered the building and saw his father standing with a hooded cloak of a rich red fabric. “Wow,” he whispered. “Dad, is that it?” he asked as the sky opened up.

“Indeed it is, my dear,” his father said. He knelt down and murmured magic words of protection as he tied it around Emery’s neck. “There. Why don’t you try it out?”

Emery giggled and spun to the door. He tugged the hood on securely and ran out into the rain. Just as it was meant to do, the magic cloak kept him warm and dry, even in the driving rain. Emery laughed and spun in the rain, reveling in the freedom that magic had given him.

Emery scampered after his parents. He was excited. Today they were going on a picnic by the beach. He skidded to a stop as his parents paused at the crossroads. “Forest of Taboo,” he read one sign, slowly and carefully. “Daddy, what’s that mean?”

“That means that forest is closed to people. It’s so very dangerous that the government has forbidden people from setting foot there,” he explained. “We’re going this way, toward the beach.” He pointed in the opposite direction and smiled.

“Are we going to see the ocean?” Emery asked excitedly. “Can I play in the water?”

“If you’re careful,” Mom said. “First we’ll eat, then you can play for a while. But stay close to Daddy, alright?”

“Yes, Mommy,” Emery said. “Can Miles play too?” Miles was still small, not yet up to all the walking they were doing so Mom and Dad were taking turns carrying him.

“If you help watch him,” Daddy said seriously. “Maybe the two of you can collect sea shells.”

“That will be fun, right Mi?” Emery said. He was rewarded by a giggle from his younger brother and nodded, scampering ahead on the path toward the ocean.

Nathaniel looked up as the librarian walked by with the book cart. She was new, he was sure. She was also pretty with her long blond hair pulled back into a braid. She paused at a shelf and, as she strained to return a book to its place, he stood and joined her.

“Where does it belong?” he asked, taking the book from her gently.

“Up there beside the blue hardcover with the gold filigree,” she said. “I’ve seen you here a lot. You must really like books.”

“I’m a research mage,” he replied. “Nathaniel Ballard.” He kissed her hand as she held it out, smiling at her nervous giggle. “Would I be remiss in asking you to tea?”

“I’d love to go to tea with you,” she said. “Don’t you want to know my name?”

“I would love to know your name,” Nathaniel replied.

“Margery Garrison. My break’s at two o’clock,” she added as she shelved a few more books.

“I shall eagerly await two o’clock then, Miss Garrison, and our tea together,” he said. He inclined his head and stepped back. “As I would not wish to cause your employer’s ire, I shall allow you to return to work.” He was rewarded by a sunny smile.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

A Land of Curiosity

From the files of Shynian Intelligence

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