|Race: Dena Nehelian|
|Caste: Black Widow|
|Social Status: Aristocracy|
|Playby: Angela Lansbury|
|Jewels & Craft|
|Birthright Jewel: Purple Dusk (3)|
|Offering Jewel: Sapphire (21)|
| Strengths: Being old gives one the advantage of years, experience-wise, and coming from a high class family gave her a very good opportunity to become knowledgeable. Meg didn’t let that go to waste. She knows her basic Craft down to a tee and is quite comfortable with walking through walls or passing objects through each other as she pleases, and floating them about too. She can talk on the threads and vanish and call in items without a problem. She has no trouble controlling an object’s movement or creating witchfire and witchlight. Her grasp of Black Widow Craft, while not complete, for she doesn’t believe that’s possible, is extensive and certainly difficult to rival.|
She knows the weaving of spells both strong and subtle and of webs, each as her own practiced art form and takes a great deal of pride in doing them to exact specifications, in being creative and in the pleasure of weaving a tangled web that doesn’t show some terrible future. She knows her illusions well and has been heard to threaten misbehavers with nightmares. Although whether or not she is truly capable of that has not yet been determined by the younger students. She walks the paths of the twisted kingdom with a perfected mixture of confidence and caution because one can, in point of fact, be too careful. And, with perhaps less zeal than usual, but no less care for details, she knows poisons and their list of antidotes as well as a lifetime’s study could manage.
| Weaknesses: Being an aristocrat, Meg never took seriously to hearth Craft, as that would have been beneath a daughter of the high classes as well as a terrible insult to their housekeeper. So, while she did learn a few simple tricks for clearing away dust, that is the extent of her knowledge. She can hardly cook, she doesn’t know a thing about the difference between a feather duster and a mop and she couldn’t help with messes unless it is to provide entertainment for the staff by continuously mixing up whatever they’re trying to do.|
She knows only as much Healing as poisons and her snaketooth require and absolutely nothing about Priestess Craft. She doesn’t feel the need to learn, not because she doesn’t think it could come in useful, but because she is a Black Widow, not a Healer or a Priestess, so she believes that it is better to spend her time with what she was made for. Others can learn Healing and be paid for having learned it when she needs what they know. Nor has she really begun broadening her horizons in the past few years. Meg is perfectly content with what she knows and is only truly interested in what can better her understanding of Black Widows and their craft.
The first impression that Meg gives is that of being an austere and very stern woman. But that is mostly because she orchestrates things to end up that way, because she believes that first impressions are very important in keeping up strong fronts against threats of any sort. If you act immovable from the very first, then fewer people will believe they can have their way with you. Nowadays, she usually saves the act for new students and strangers she isn’t certain of. She can still be strict and overbearing as any matronly woman well settled into her role, but she isn’t quite the disciplinarian she makes herself out to be. The truth of the matter is that she enjoys inspiring a little harmless fear in the young students and a healthy respect in everyone else. It certainly helps set down guidelines that folks are less likely to cross.
She does have a temper to match the image of herself that she cultivates. A temper and a backbone. Sometimes, it’s easy to be brave when you’re old. No one ever wants to get on the wrong side of her wrath, for she’s a sharp tongue too, and will only occasionally beg pardon for an outburst. Few have ever seen her truly angry though, because she holds that strength close and uses its cold precision to her advantage. Nor has she been so fiercely angered often. The backbone shows itself in that when she makes a stand, she will hold it until she fails. Of course, she is no fool to go running about taking idiotic stances just for the heck of it. Oh no, she may not be a genius, but she’s clever enough to use her knowledge of the mind to advantage and when necessary, to create a far more useful fear in the form of a threat. And Margaret O’Hara never bluffs; it isn’t entirely luck that’s kept her head on her shoulders and her jewels whole all these years. She certainly won’t hesitate to do what needs doing.
That being said, neither is she all rules and terrifying Head of Coven. Meg is too much a reflection of her own grandmother for that to come about anytime soon. She loves a bit of gossip and teasing and seems to have made a game of scandalizing people. Not too terribly, since there is still some dignity to maintain and encouraging the younger folks to follow her example would never be a good thing. But an old woman must have her fun as she can. She’s a traditionalist branching out in her old age and, as she says, “No more family left to embarrass but the children and what are children good for if not to embarrass?” Still, she won’t hold for too much scandal, and rules were only made to be broken under extreme circumstances. Certainly, her own rules should never be thwarted, even by her, except after careful consideration of the consequences. In fact, she follows them religiously and only some of them are well known. But then, there are rules for her and there are rules she created for the Coven and there are rules of Protocol and society. Each set differs slightly. None were made carelessly.
With her family, she is not quite the same woman as the one that is the Head of the Coven. She is playful and witty, with a quick smile for her dear grandchildren. She remains intent on being given the respect she feels she deserves, and will only accept backtalk from those who know what they are talking about, but she isn’t nearly as eager to be frightening, though she can occasionally be a little overprotective. She is worried, even now, that what happened once will happen again. But she always enjoys the company of her family and loves being the doting grandmother when her children sigh and roll their eyes and her grandchildren light up at the sight of her. And, while she makes sure not to spoil them completely, she does so like to bring them a little something when she visits, and to remember what it was they wanted for their birthdays or Winsol.
As a teacher, she only rarely mixes personal life with lessons, but she does mix play with learning since that always gets the best results. She just never lets things go overboard and expects serious work on both the part of her students and herself. And even now, at her age, she likes to have a few students of her own to teach, though she doesn’t work quite as strenuously with them as she once did and leaves quite a bit to the younger members of the coven. She does have other duties, after all.
Margaret was born into a family of means, she never needed to worry about going hungry or losing the roof over her head. Her parents, Colm and Aine, were both well off and from families that had been friends for centuries. The pairing was almost inevitable, but it was not a perfect match. Still, they were confident and certain of each other and trust was never an issue. Margaret was well aware that her mother liked her father a lot more than her father liked her mother by the time she was old enough to understand that those things mattered. They each married the other more from a sense of duty to their friendship and because it seemed expected of them, but where Aine learned to look on her husband fondly, if with a bit of resignation in her eyes, Colm never really learned to do the same with his wife. It was just who he was, so she’d always say when his eyes turned elsewhere. It was, admittedly, something of an embarrassment when the wife couldn’t keep her husband satisfied, but while it was frowned on, it wasn’t the sort of gossip it might have been had either one tried to keep it secret. Colm was discreet in his liaisons and Aine allowed them for the simple reason that to do otherwise would lose her the support of a good friend. Everyone knew about it though, so it wasn’t exciting to talk about, which was the only thing that kept their marriage going for so long.
They only had the one child, many people blamed Colm’s wandering eye for that, but the truth was that Aine had some difficulty bearing a child to term, and when Colm’s eyes weren’t wandering, well, there was nothing troubling him…
Margaret was an easy child to look after, though her grandmother spoiled her awfully. Growing up she never showed herself to be a child other than normal. If she was hurt, she cried, if she was glad, she smiled, and if she wanted something, she’d be upset about not getting it. But she respected her parents and their decisions, and if they told her she couldn’t have something, she’d accept that she couldn’t have it. Although, as she got older, a simple, ‘because you can’t’, stopped working, and if she didn’t approve of their reasons, she’d always try to strike a deal with them. Or she’d go behind their backs and ask her grandmother. That woman never could resist her bright smile and wistful sighs. In school, she held her own against the lessons she was given, and learned them to the best of her ability. She was far better at hands on learning than sitting still and reading, but she persevered, because it was expected of her, and learned what a young lady of her station needed to know. She was taught reading and writing, arithmetic, for household matters mostly, history and sewing, music, dancing, drawing and, the best lesson in her opinion, Craft.
At first, because a young child without Jewels cannot manage a great deal, she was taught the theory behind the actions. The preliminary rules of riding the Winds and speaking on the threads. She learned about witchfire and witchlight, and was even allowed to try her hand at vanishing things and calling them back in. But it was only after she went through her Birthright Ceremony that Margaret learned how to do all the rest. At that time, there was nothing to worry about for any young lady when it came to her Birthright Ceremony. It was nothing more than a time of happy celebration. And celebrate they did. Her family banded together and, in traditional O’Hara style, they rented out the entire park for their little girl. Needless to say, her grandmother had quite a bit to do with that extravagance.
The Priestesses all knew her, for many of them were teachers at the public school Meg attended, and her family was well known for its success in the field, with barley as one of their main crops and a few businesses built around it, from ale to bread and feedstock. And she and her mother made excellent clover honey together. She invited her whole school year, and as many friends as she had who happened to be in other grades for the Ceremony and quite happily stepped from the circle, secure in her mother’s claim of her father’s paternity, in her friends, in her family’s love and in the gift the Darkness had given her of a Purple Dusk Jewel. It was already set in a lovely whirl of silver and smoothed so minutely that it was as round as an egg and far less rough. Because that was how she’d found it, Meg refused to have it changed, for she liked it exactly how it was. And she was very proud of having things exactly the way she liked them.
After her Birthright Ceremony, life moved on much as it had before. The only things that changed, really, were her Craft lessons and how responsible her parents expected her to be. And, while she was very much the daughter of aristocracy, she was also never allowed to forget that it was the land that gave her that wealth and she had both the Darkness as well as the good Ruler of their Territory to thank for that. It was hard work and a solid head on her shoulders that would keep the money flowing, not imprudence and lavish displays of wealth. This was, of course, a somewhat difficult notion for the spoiled young girl to deal with, but while they’d often given her what she wanted, her parents had not neglected to teach her principals, morals and the reasoning power of logic. So she was able, after a year or two of shock, to understand that they were not being suddenly mean or cruel, but were simply treating her as an adult. Strangely, it took seeing her mother set aside a lovely centrepiece vase she’d been mooning over for a good fifteen minutes with the simple words, “we can’t always have what we want” to drive the lesson home. The lesson is, perhaps, better understood when taking into account the fact that Colm had taken them out shopping in the hopes of easing his guilt by buying his wife some expensive piece she didn’t really need but would love to have. With those quiet words, Aine had refused to ease her husband’s conscience, lost herself a simple treasure she might have enjoyed and cemented in her daughter’s mind the power of a decision.
While her studies moved apace with her growing up, and her life lessons continued, Meg found herself coming to terms with yet another change: puberty. She was becoming a woman, and, in the midst of all the conflicting feelings that brought about, she also began to go through the usual symptoms of being a Black Widow. Luckily for her, she was already on very good terms with her mother, and Aine had guessed her Caste early on. So she was mostly prepared for it. The little golden spiders that spun themselves into her dreams were a bit unexpected, but once she realised they weren’t actually real, Meg just wrote it off as a little too much influence from childhood fantasies. Thankfully, spiders aren’t something that frighten her, or she’d have had a much harder time adapting to the maturing of her Caste.
At first, her training was beneath her mother, because she was still in school, but that only lasted for two years, when she finished public school and moved on to further her studies in the arts of a Black Widow. She visited the Coven almost every day and thoroughly enjoyed her time there with the other young women also learning the Craft. It was something of a novelty for her, to have Craft lessons that didn’t involve even one boy.
It was during her studies, on her 18th birthday in fact, that she was confronted with the man who would one day become her husband. His name was Donal, and he wasn’t nearly as rich as her own family. A poor prospect, her grandmother told her, but an absolute sweetheart nonetheless. His family had lost quite a bit when hoof rot took half their cattle and the wolves worried the meat off the rest all in one summer. But their profits had already been sliding, mostly because his father had a poor head for business and an overly prideful heart. The poor man couldn’t bring himself to ask for advice, nor to accept it freely given without prodding, which left his sons to either slide with him, or try to do something about it. To earn himself a little extra cash that his father couldn’t lay claim to, Donal had taken to carriage driving. It was his carriage that drove Margaret and her friends to the fancy restaurant they were treating her to.
He had the temerity to break into their conversation to inform her that she looked, every inch of her, an absolutely beautiful woman, and somehow managed to bravely continue, in the face of five women staring at him in shock, to wish her a happy birthday as he helped her down from the cab. That meal was taken up with a great deal of teasing, and she never let Donal forget what his first overture made her suffer.
Meg went through her Virgin Night when she was 19, a year later, and she still laughs at how awkwardly she and Donal treated the ordeal. He’d begun courting her half a year earlier, and the idea of her sleeping with another man was both irritating, embarrassing and perfectly natural. For the Blood, a woman’s Virgin Night is an expected occurrence, but while Donal was completely understanding, he couldn’t quite manage to hide the fact that he wished it was him helping her through it. Everyone agreed, however, that he had too little experience (and that part hadn’t helped his embarrassment much) and that they would all feel better if there were no strings attached to the event whatsoever. A love interest, whether or not it was going anywhere, and Donal clearly was hoping it would, was an attached string… So Aine asked the Coven’s gardener to do it, as he’d helped other young women before, and was a man who did not expect anything from the act. Either from the parents of the girl, or from the girl herself. He was an honest worker and a good man, and Margaret liked him well enough.
After her Virgin Night, Margaret’s attention remained mostly focused on her studies, because she believed that she had something to offer her land and she wanted to be good enough at what she did to be confident enough to serve a Queen. It was a little goal of hers that she didn’t keep secret, because she wanted to help the women who helped her people. She didn’t actually care which Queen she ended up working with, she just wanted to belong to a Court. Although she was a little leery of serving in Aveline’s Court… So she waited until she was almost ready to graduate from the Coven before undergoing her Offering Ceremony, and was more pleased by the fact that she adjusted fairly easily to the added strength of her Sapphire Jewel than that it was a surprisingly dark Jewel. When she received her Hourglass pendant four months later, she was beyond thrilled even though there had never really been any doubt as to the outcome of her studies. She was even more ecstatic when she was offered a place in the Delmar Queen’s Court. The Queen’s name was Sophia Kyran and, at first, she and Margaret got along famously. There was only nine years between their ages and Meg was eager to please and to prove her worth, while Sophia had a tendency to praise and misdirect. But over time, her ambitions began making themselves clear and Margaret found herself disagreeing with more than a few of the choices her Queen made. Nor did she like the influence the Paxton Queen had on Sophia, encouraging her less than altruistic approach to ruling.
It was Donal who saw it first, or at least, he was the first to point it out to Meg. And when he did, she just about fainted from the shock. Sophia was the darkest Jeweled Queen in Dena Nehele, after the Territory Queen, and she already had another ready to take her place ruling the District. It wasn’t an immediate concern, after all, the current Queen was growing old, but she remained in good health. And Sophia was not a cruel woman, just misguided, so she told herself. So Meg tried not to worry, thinking that there was time yet for another Queen to step forward. But while she waited, she would not sit idle. If there was even the slightest chance that Sophia would take the Territory throne, then Aveline’s influence on her needed to be broken. And Meg was so certain, at least, for the first few years of her attempts, that it was Aveline and not Sophia herself that was the problem. She tried, but every protest that escaped her ended in a careful warning from Sophia that she should mind her place and her own business. Even if sometimes the business really was hers to mind. In the end, she almost gave up, and simply distanced herself from the Court as diplomatically as she knew how. She was still a part of it, and her Queen could still ask what she wanted of her, but she visited only rarely, and Sophia stopped thinking about her.
She began setting up her own life then, because she had let things slide while working for the Province Court. She knew that there would come a time when she would have to choose between herself and others. She might hope with every fibre of her being that Sophia was never unleashed upon the Territory to realise her potential, but there was little she could do to stop the possibility from being there. So instead, she made the most of what she had by becoming a teacher in her Coven and finally asking Donal if he could forgive her for taking so long to answer a question he’d first asked her more than six years ago., before she’d even graduated into the Hourglass. She hadn’t been ready for marriage then, but at 32, she supposed she didn’t really need to wait anymore, especially when she wasn’t certain what she’d been waiting for.
They were hardly married a year before Meg became pregnant and brought a lovely little girl into the world. They named her Ida, and loved that little girl with all their hearts. And while Donal began to manage the farming business her father had set aside for Meg’s dowry, she stayed home to look after the baby. It was tiring, but so rewarding that, even though it was customary, she couldn’t bring herself to hire a nurse. She didn’t want to take any time away from her darling Ida. Even if it left her exhausted every night and far too nervous to continue teaching. An interaction she missed very much. By the time Aengus, their second child, was on his way, Meg had been caring for Ida for two years and couldn’t take any more of it. As a strong minded woman, she hated to change the way she treated her children just because another came along. It felt like favouritism to her. But, being practical as well, she had to admit defeat when her husband and family told her that enough was enough. She was an Aristo, not a nurse, and even they got breaks on occasion. Even if she couldn’t give up being a caretaker, she could at least hire herself some help. And so she did, a younger girl who has been a part of her household ever since. Marie was a blessing sent by the Darkness, and the urgings of her friends and family. And they’ve long since become good friends, in a familiar, employee/employer dynamic.
For the next few years, they lived quite happily, with only the occasional nervous fretting on Meg’s part as she watched the Territory Queen heading downhill. She was a good woman, that Queen, but she’d been too embroiled in grief for her late husband for the past eleven years that she wasn’t paying much attention to the state of affairs, nor to anything else, for that matter. And so, while Margaret raised her two children up to be little terrors, she still blames her mother’s influence, Sophia was gathering support and power and putting pressure in all the right places to ensure herself the throne. It was merely wilfull denial on Meg’s part that she kept hoping it wouldn’t happen until the very night Sophia came into her own. And that was, perhaps, the beginning of her true enmity with Sophia. Up until that point, they’d merely been estranged, but, not having to deal with each other had kept the friendship they’d formed intact, for the most part. However, as she moved her Court, Sophia remembered the Black Widow she’d been happy to have and invited her along. To be a part of the Territory Court, and Meg turned her down. Maybe a little too adamantly…
She surely struck enough of a nerve that she wouldn’t be safely left alone afterwards. But she still hoped for it, and continued living as she had been. Raising her children, looking after the household while Donal looked after the fields and business, meeting with her friends, teaching at the Coven and generally making herself useful. Over the years, Ida and Aengus began making friends. It was hardly surprising. But one of Ida’s friends, a young Queen two years her senior, went through her Birthright Ceremony and came out with a Green Jewel. Something for which everyone congratulated her and celebrated. They made no secret of it. They didn’t see a reason to. Nor did they keep it a secret when, only year later, Ida went through her Birthright and emerged with a Sapphire. Together, the pair could have made a formidable team when they grew up, but Sophia didn’t give them the chance. She’d already begun ensuring that she would face no challenges from the younger generations, only, no one realised she was behind the attacks at first.
Margaret’s idyllic lifestyle, mostly content and happy with her family, ended on a Saturday evening. When Ida was only 12. She remembers everything about that day, from the way the cream had clotted and the porridge was too dry for breakfast, to the soft hum of Marie hanging the washing up to dry drifting through the open window. It was a warm spring day, only a month after her own 44th birthday. Aengus had gone out to play with his friends and Ida had gone to play with hers. Donal had gone to call Aengus in for the evening, and Ida was to come home on her own, after all, 12 was old enough to be independent. Although Teresa, the young Queen, had promised a worried mother that she’d walk her friend home. So Margaret waited. The house was only two blocks away, perhaps they’d stayed too long and would come in later. But the washing came in. Marie set the kettle on. Donal and Aengus arrived. The sky turned red, and Meg found tears in her eyes.
Her baby hadn’t come home…
She sent Donal out before the last rays of the day were swept beneath the horizon. Too sick with dread to wait, as he tried to counsel her. And he returned with the news that the girls had left an hour and a half earlier, and that he’d met Teresa’s father on the way to their house, searching as well. It took the dawn’s light to reveal them. Bruised, beaten and bloody, dumped beneath a rose bush in the park. They’d been cruelly used, and there was no attempt to hide that fact. But they were alive, for a short time, at the least. Ida did not survive long after being brought to the Healers, though the women tried everything they could, there was not enough to save. Ida didn’t want to be saved. They buried her three days later, little Aengus hanging grimly onto Meg’s hand as the Priestesses returned his big sister to the Darkness. Meg broke just a little that day, she believed that if she’d tried harder, if she’d bothered to look, she could have seen the signs. She could have kept them safe. She carried Aengus home and Donal found them curled together under Ida’s bed. The boy hadn’t any idea what was going on, except that his mother wouldn’t let him go, and she kept whispering in his ear that there were paths to walk and signs to see, but she’d been blind, and she wouldn’t be anymore. And all the while she was staring at the wall, not seeing anything.
A bit of tea, firm ministrations and some time brought her to rights, but Meg still grieved. And the loss was made all the greater when she heard that Teresa had killed herself after hearing that her friend was dead. The poor girl had been both heartbroken and ashamed of what had happened, and while her body had begun to heal, her mind did not. They buried her beside Ida at Meg’s request, because she felt somewhat responsible and didn’t want to see the two girls separated now they’d shown how much they cared for the other, and suffered together.
Life went on…
But it never could be quite the same. Violence had touched them, and impacted them all differently. Donal grew short-tempered, quick to find offense. Aengus stayed inside, he no longer went out with his friends or invited them in. Marie was left to watch out for him, and she did her duty, though she was likely just as shocked by Ida’s death as any of them. And Meg became somewhat, well, obsessed, though it embarrasses her now to admit it, with what she could read in her webs. She’d hide away in her study, weaving. But nothing ever told her what she wanted to know. Not until her fingers bled from working the thin thread, and her tears washed the red away did it come clear. She’d asked it why. Her heart had cried out that one word for days and weeks and months. Why had the Darkness taken away her daughter? Taken those two away from a life they’d yet to live? Why? The answer was far simpler than she’d imagined…
Because when blood was spilled, it needed to be cleaned away. Only no one had found the source…
Not yet, but it was there. Within those many webs she’d made as she sought that one truth. And it was in her mind already. Even as rumours began to spread about other girls and other breakings. A spiral of blood growing out of control, and at its center… She should have known… She should have worked against her from the very beginning. She should have spoken out, enlisted allies of her own and protested that woman’s ascension to power. But she hadn’t. And now people were suffering.
Still dazed by her journeys in the Twisted Kingdom, her mind fogged by exhaustion and recrimination, Margaret made a mistake that would not be her last, but that she counts as her most unforgivable. She crept into bed that night and cried her guilt and horror into Donal’s arms. She told him everything she had seen. And that she was certain these deaths, and Ida’s death, were on Sophia’s hands. He held her, soothed her, until she fell asleep. And in the morning, he was gone. He never came back. But she received a letter of condolences from their Queen, for two deaths, not one. In only four months she lost a daughter and a husband. And both deaths, she felt, she could have stopped, had she only been more prepared or more aware. Well, then and there, with that letter crumpled on the floor at her feet, she made her decision.
She had denied what she saw before her because she wanted to believe in a better future. Even when her own skill told her she was lying to herself. But no longer. She knew what she was capable of, and she knew now what Sophia would do. She had a responsibility, to her son, to her daughter and husband, and to all the others who had suffered. The moment broke when she chuckled at such an altruistic thought. Imagine! Her fighting for everyone because she said it was her responsibility. Well, fight she would, but she was not foolish enough to do it alone, or even outright. Sophia would have her eyes on her, and she’d have to deal with that first. So she returned to her life. As a lady of her class is expected to do, mourning her husband and her daughter while remembering to look after the family still living. It was her parents who spoke with others in the district. Gathering support and allies of those who’d been touched by the same violence, and soon others had seen the pattern. It took a few years, but they gradually amassed enough of a following for Meg to usurp the empty District seat when she was 48.
Had there been a Queen among them willing to take that place, she might have ceded it to them, but there were none. Not even amongst those who did not know of the movement. Which was why the seat was empty. As it was, Margaret was almost glad it didn’t come down to having to trust someone else to fill a role she herself had been loath to take. Once she started, she didn’t want to back down. And she wasn’t prepared to accept that another would have the same need, the same desire as herself to see things through no matter what. She wanted to be the one who became a thorn in Sophia’s side. For what that woman had done to her family, and to the families of others. And that is what she became.
No matter how hard the Territory Queen tried to pry her loose, to infiltrate the District and take away her power, she never succeeded. Meg had grown far too wary, and she’d not been raised the daughter of a savvy business man for nothing. She knew how to play the game, and with lives at stake, she wasn’t going to allow herself to fail. In another two years, she met a man who would come to mean as much to her as Donal had, in his own way. Kevan had experienced for himself the trials Sophia could put people through, and what she and others like her were doing. And he’d heard of the Black Widow standing against her. He came to offer her his support, though he had to admit there was not much behind it save a strong arm and a willing voice. But Margaret was happy to accept even one more voice to her cause. Always, and she could hardly have turned him away. Not when she had opened her arms to so many others.
Indeed, anyone who came to the District, needing help or protection, she gave them welcome and if there was no one to take them in, well, the District House had enough rooms to take in a few families at a time until they could be settled elsewhere. The protection she offered was not merely shields and keeping Sophia’s spies and threats out, but was more an offer of those who understood why they had come, who felt the same way. It was a united front rather than one woman looking after everyone that managed to keep the Territory Queen away so successfully. If it hadn’t been for the others that rallied to the cause, Margaret never would have managed it. And there were times, she’d never deny them, when she made mistakes. Welcomed the wrong person in and discovered almost too late that they were Sophia’s willing spies, not her victims. She even gave up more than once when the task seemed unbearably overwhelming. But she never did fail completely, and those spies were dealt with and, eventually, when the woman grew older, those threats stopped being so terrifying.
But not before she suffered the greatest fright of her life. Everyone had heard about the Devereaux by that time, when they were so openly allied with Sophia, and indeed, had been around longer. It was Aveline’s support that had helped solidify Sophia’s feelings of power. And her son that sometimes became the personification of the strength she wielded. Meg came home one night, after a long day of speaking to the disillusioned and raising their hopes, after reminding them that they’d built this safe haven themselves and no one would come inside without their permission, only to find that those promises were suddenly false. She went up the stairs and opened the door to her son’s room, wondering why the light was still on when Marie should have sent him to bed hours earlier. A man had been sitting there, low voice a calm counterpoint to Aengus’s boyish one rising in excitement to see her back. He’d known something was off, but Everett had saved his threats for after Margaret arrived, because he’d risen smoothly from the bed he’d been sitting on, so very near her son, the only precious thing she had left, and walked towards the door. The looked he’d given her when her son couldn’t see had been enough to turn her knees to water, but the words he spoke later, when no one else could hear had very nearly seen her caving to Sophia.
Except for one thing, she’d known there was no chance the Territory Queen would let her off lightly. Everett had told her as much. He hadn’t tried to hide the fact or sweet talk her into giving up. He’d just told her the truth. That he was here to frighten her into handing control of the District back to Sophia and letting her put whoever she liked in charge. And frighten her he had, with his being there and no one else the wiser, with how he’d known where she lived, had been there long enough to have a conversation with her son and even knew about Kevan. And then he’d told her that she might as well not listen to what he had to say, because Sophia didn’t plan on playing nice. And his parting words had even been a little amused, saying that her boy apparently didn’t mind her finding him another daddy she could be happy with.
She did not see him again for years, but the effect he had on her remained. And after a month of worrying about what she was doing, that he’d come back and end it all because she’d not backed down, Meg let it go. If he came back then he came back. There was, so he’d shown her, nothing she could do to stop him. But she would do what she could until then. He didn’t come back, and she never went looking for him. But she did take his parting advice, even if he hadn’t meant it that way. She invited Kevan into her home and bed, not all at once, but she at least allowed that they no longer had to meet secretly outside the house as they had been doing. Because she no longer worried that it would hurt her son’s feelings. No matter how her feelings grew for him, however, she never could quite bring herself to make things any more official. She had given her vows to Donal, and if Kevan could live with things being a little more informal between them, then so it would remain. He could and so they lived, not quite as husband and wife, though their claims on each other were readily apparent.
Over her time, her worries stopped having so strong an effect on her, and Meg began to live her life again, the way she wanted to live her life. She never forgot who or what she was fighting for, nor why she felt she had to. But the pain of losing Ida and Donal diminished, and Kevan and Aengus became her sturdy anchors, while her drive to see Sophia thwarted for as long as she could manage seemed only to gain momentum with every family she welcomed into the District rather than weaken. She bore two children with Kevan, a little later than most women ought, but not scandalously, or dangerously, so. And Aengus proved to be a wonderful older brother, though he was well past the age when babies are interesting. When he wasn't helping the field hands or working the soil himself he was helping Marie with young Quinlan or taking up some of the burden of running the district from his mother. He took after his father in being quiet and dependable, but never seemed to tire or grow frustrated. Even Kevan came to depend on him sometimes, and had the young man in charge of most of the farming workforce before he turned 18, or even made his Offering. The lad was just suited to working the land, and it was all he wanted.
He’d practically moved into the farmhouse by the time Kerry came along, and Meg couldn’t help admitting she was grateful for the extra space to Marie. Aengus might have grown into a quiet man, but he wasn’t lacking in size. The only thing she worried about was how far away the farmhouse was from her vigilant watch. And she fretted so much that Kevan was forced to beg Aengus to stop by the house whenever he could. And the man made it a habit to make up some excuse like bringing home the monthly reports, or wanting to help Marie with the groceries, or missing the maid’s fine cooking. Or having some bit of news or silly story to share from the farmhands. It eased Meg’s fraying nerves a little. And helped her notice when his visits suddenly became a little more regular, while her son seemed rather more distant. Or thoughtful. She tried to press him for the reasons, being a curious mother as most are who worry about their boys’ frame of mind. But it wasn’t until Marie came back from the market with the news that she’d seen young Master Aengus walking the street with a fine lady at his side that she learned what was going on.
Needless to say, she immediately invited that young woman for dinner when she was sure Aengus would be coming along, and didn’t bother being subtle about showing her approval of the match. The young Healer, one Mary Moore by name, came from a large family of farmers, which likely explained what they saw in each other. And she had a pleasant practicality to her that suited Aengus perfectly. Five years after, Mary became pregnant with Riley, her first grandson, and the relationship soured a little, mostly because Aengus didn’t see why she felt marriage was so important when his own mother didn’t need it to live in perfect contentment with Kevan. It cost money, that his family could well afford, but it still cost, and gave them nothing but promises he felt he’d already given her. Eventually, however, his family and hers worked together, with Meg in the lead, to convince the both of them that she had no problem organising a marriage and getting them to offer their vows. It satisfied Mary’s pride and Aengus didn’t bother objecting when he learned it was all arranged already and that his mother would tan his backside like she’d always threatened to do when he was little.
Kerry still teases him about that, though she was only 7 at the time. She adopted her tactics from Mary, and the O’Hara clan has never been known for being easy on each other’s sense of pride. Aengus and Mary moved permanently into the farmhouse, as it was Meg wedding gift to them, that and the 10 acres immediately surrounding the building, that they could do with as he liked, so long as they didn’t let them lie fallow every year. Aengus made Mary an herb garden that stretched almost an acre, and made the place into a properly self-sufficient farm. He even gradually began buying up more of Meg’s extensive properties. Meg was only too happy to let him do as he wished when she learned that Sophia’s interests didn’t extend to farming. Besides, she and Kevan had their hands full enough as it was with the crowded District without having to worry about their lands outside the protected area.
She was a little more cautious with her final two children though, letting them grow up only when she couldn’t possibly cling any longer to their innocent childhood. They were willful brats by the time they had their birthrights, and she was sorry she couldn’t let them see her pride with a celebration similar to the one she’d had, but it was too dangerous to remind Sophia that the thorn in her side had weak points. She regretted a lot of things over the years that had to do with her fears and her children. But they survived, and they turned out all right, despite a few harrowing teenage years when Kerry took to rebelling against her wishes. But nothing happened to either of them, despite Margaret sometimes so certain they were just asking for trouble. And though the years did take their toll on friends and allies alike, she lived to see her second daughter happily married, though she took after her mother in waiting long enough to test any man’s patience.
Meg’s just glad to know she won’t have to send Kevan out chasing his daughter after she has one of her fits. As the girl’s husband, Padraig, is more than capable of dealing with her himself. He may be younger than her by a few years, but he’s got balls, and Meg’s glad to say that there’s one man who can survive Kerry’s tongue lashings. She’s also one very happy grandmother, as the number of grandchildren she has to spoil has increased every few years. Including one young granddaughter Aengus and Mary adopted after figuring it was far too risky to try for a girl themselves when they’d already had four boys. Now, if only she could find Quinlan the match his romantic little heart’s waiting for…
It was only three years ago that the stalemate between her and Sophia changed, and it was through no doing of her own. Although that last does leave her a little saddened... The young Queen now ruling the Territory was a promising girl, with her Red Birthright and proper upbringing. And more than a few people were aware of her existence. Margaret is almost certain that if she’d not trusted the parents’ means of protection or waited to invite them into the District, crowded though the place was, she might have saved Nikole D’Aubergine a terrible hardship. As it was, she believed her parents were managing well enough on their own, and they never thought to come to her of their own initiative. But what’s done is done. When she heard that the young woman had been raped, she finally extended an obvious invitation to her family. In the end, it proved unnecessary as the young woman challenged Sophia Kyran hardly two weeks after her ordeal.
As far as Meg’s concerned, that meant the girl may have been hurt by what she suffered, but that it certainly hadn’t broken her and, if she wanted to, she would heal. The Black Widow was over 100 by that point, and had been feeling her years as Sophia kept pushing at her, though she’d been released of her worry about Everett Devereaux with the news that his mother was dead ten years before. When Nikole took over the Court, Meg grabbed at the opportunity and finally relinquished her position, slumping rather happily into a life of indulgence for almost a full month as the pressure of looking after everyone disappeared from her shoulders. She’d not managed perfectly, but she’d at least kept a small piece of Dena Nehele free from Sophia Kyran and her followers for almost 60 years, and it’s gone to a woman she believes will do a good job.
Her relaxation didn’t last long, however, as Kerry came home one day to let her know that the Coven had voted her to be their Head and was petitioning the Lady D’Aubergine to make it official. She’d been something of an influential advisor since she was 70, being one of the oldest members of the Coven, but the duties of being a Ruler had been more important than gaining control over her own Caste. But since the old Head wished to step down, and she was suddenly free and well-known… Apparently, she didn’t really have a choice, not that she’s complaining. She took up her flag again and marched into battle against all things lax and intolerable within the Covens of the Territory. And has cut out any taint she can find within the organisation she’s found herself governing. She went back to teaching too, and has proven herself more than a match for the students. She also invited herself into the young Queen’s life with a firm ruling that if she’s got the bent for it, she shouldn’t stay ignorant of her abilities.
A year ago, when the niggling worry at the back of her mind resurfaced concerning all the trouble Sophia had caused, Meg finally took it upon herself to pay Everett Devereaux a visit. She walked by his house and sent him a message over the threads to join her at the nearest café. She went alone, and relied on the rumours that he’d been the one to kill his mother to see her through the meeting safely. And she was pleasantly surprised when the man agreed with her goal of making sure Sophia Kyran became more permanently useless than Nikole had managed to make her. It was not the first time Margaret had contemplated murder. Nor was it the first time she acted on it, but it was the last, and it created a small link between her and Devereaux that she never would have expected. They’ve a secret to keep from Nikole now, but she still firmly believes that it was for the good of the Territory. To be rid of some of the rot lingering within it.
|Teaching Nikole and being Head of the Hourglass Coven...|
| Dana Moore (Granddaughter) - Summer-sky to --- Jeweled Black Widow|
Saiorse O'Hara (Granddaughter) - --- to --- Jeweled witch