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mmquitecontrary wrote in milliways_bar
Someone has sent Mary Lennox a message.



Mary Lennox is not the kind of young lady who keeps hurt to herself, in a stoic and dignified fashion; Mary Lennox is not the kind of proper young lady who keeps herself under control. Even if she were, she would have trouble doing so now.

(Even for someone who hadn't learned from Galadan, the message would be easy to decipher: I can kill what you care for, it says, and your protections are weak. Your home is not safe.)

When she walks into the bar and her face is white, and her breathing fast and hitched, hysterical, although she isn't crying. She takes a sheet of paper, writes on it in large letters - her hands push down so heavily that they almost tear the page - and then pounds it into the message board.

I AM NOT FRIGHTENED OF YOU.

MARY LENNOX



She takes a step back to regard her handiwork, twisting her hands together in front of her, and says, in a sharp, shrill voice, "You ought to be frightened of me!"

(It's utter bravado, but it makes her feel better anyways.)

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And, sometimes after a great many other things have already happened-

There are still plenty of things to do before the ship is ready to leave. Which would be why Wellard is heading back to the bar, after taking care of a few items on a list that never seems to grow any shorter-

And is passing right by the green house.

Mary is standing in front of the greenhouse, staring down at the small, blackened trunk of a tree.

She's dressed just as she always is, but in her head, at least, she is draped in black.

Now, Wellard may not be an expert in plants, but even he can realize that there used to be a tree, there.

And he is certainly an expert about Mary- enough so that after just a bare moment of taking in the scene, he is hurrying to her side.

"Mary?"

Mary's head turns, with a start.

"Wellard -"

He's, perhaps, one of the only people who could have earned her full attention just at this moment - if anyone needs to know this news, it's Wellard.

"- have you heard! You must be cautious - she is back. Blodwen!"

And that's a topic also guaranteed to get his full attention. Wellard's eyes narrow, as he glances quickly from the former apple tree then back to Mary.

"I hadn't."

One hand reaches up to brush at a spot on his chest, then Wellard quickly drops it back down to his side.

"When? And did she-" He jerks his head to indicate the blackened trunk.

Mary hitches a breath.

"I have not seen her. Only her message. She cast a spell," she says - failing, rather, at matter-of-fact - "to make the apples wither and die. She meant to tell me the protection was gone. Then Galadan cast a spell to protect it once again, but to do so, he had to - he had to destroy the tree. It was necessary."

"Oh, Mary." Wellard sighs quietly, looking back at the remains of the tree. "I know how much it meant to you- I'm sorry."

He takes a deep breath, and looks at the green house door. "... He would be able to. Good, then."

"She wants me to be afraid."

Mary looks bleakly at the place where the tree once stood, and then returns her gaze to Wellard. "She wants to hurt me. I expect that means she will want to hurt all those who have crossed her - and that means you are in danger."

Both on Mary's account, and on his own.

"At least she didn't nearly kill me by returning, this time." Wellard mutters, then takes a deep breath.

"I thought she was mortal now. No magic, or... anything like that."

Such as the ability to wither and kill an apple tree.

Mary's back is clenched all the way down her spine. "They keep saying that she is defeated - that she is no more a danger. And then she comes back, each time, more powerful than before -"

Her voice gets higher as she talks.

"Nothing we do to her, nothing we take from her works - do you see? She hates us all, and will see us dead if she can. There comes a time when letting someone live is only foolish!"

Wellard's jaw clenches, as he stares at the blackened remains for a long few moments.





Mary is right, on that point. He doesn't like it, but she's right.



"I only wish you didn't have to think on such things." Quietly. "But this- her..."

"It does no good to be ignorant of such things," Mary says.

Her gaze returns to the ruin of her tree. "I am not sorry to know how hard things may be now, and to be prepared, in the future. But I am sorry for all that has happened with her - and how awful it has all been - for you and for my tree, and for many people - and how awful it is likely to be still before it is done."

He nods slowly.

Wistful thinking aside, there are plenty of things to be dealt with before this is finished.

"This happened just- today? Yesterday?" Wellard motions to the tree, then carefully puts his hand on Mary's shoulder.

"Who else knows, so we know who else needs to be told, as quickly as possible?"

"When I came through yesterday, all was well - so it must have happened since."

Mary's shoulder is stiff under Wellard's hand, with the effort of standing straight and proud and unafraid, but she doesn't move away.

"I have spoken with - oh, many people; my tutor, of course, and Ingress, and Puck, and - oh, but you must not tell anyone I have spoken with him!" she interrupts herself, turning quickly to look at him. "We have reached a accord, for we each hate Blodwen more than we do the other, but she must not know that - she must suppose that we are still enemies, that she may not expect us to work together against her."

Wellard raises an eyebrow, and under other circumstances he may have chuckled at hearing of Mary and Puck's new alligiance-

But now, he simply nods. "The enemy of my enemy, yes? Don't worry, I won't say anything on it."

He bites his lip, thinking. "I'll write notes for some other people, and leave them with the Bar, and also tell Finn and others who stay here at Milliways. If everyone knows, and can keep watch against her, then hopefully we can limit what other things she may do."

Even if it's too late for Mary's tree.

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