Found in Chapter…
- This character does not include sex scenes
More to the story…
Marigold was eight years old when she was brought to the ill fated Hughes Mansion along with her siblings and mother. She immediately took a liking to the expansive house and it’s many rooms, often vanishing for hours to explore every last nook and cranny. Being a delightful and good natured child, she was easily her parents favorite, and they indulged her eccentricities. She would build forts in the attic, hunting “boggarts” in the woods, and climbing the big willow tree in the backyard till she gave the maids a panic! She settled quickly into the new life there, and was eager to become known by the town. While her elder brother Clark had no head for business, Marigold insisted on following her father to the docks, even sneaking into the back of his buggy if he refused. Eventually he realized there was no point in denying her demands and began to educate her on the ins and outs of running a business. She even traveled with him on short voyages, learning to love a life at sea.
It was in the summer of 1825, when Marigold was eleven, that she returned home after one such voyage to find her brother in poor health. He had begun to see things. At first their parents took it to be a child’s game, and a very immature one given Clark’s age. But Marigold listened, and comforted Clark, convincing him to confide in her. He insisted that there was a strange man in the house, taunting him and threatening to hurt the family. He had horns and a patched face, and Clark swore that he had been visited by the devil himself.
But Marigold had her own theories. Her mother was Scottish, and as such had been raised on tales of strange and unusual happenings. She did her best to console her brother, but she kept her thoughts private and waited.
In 1826, when her mother went missing on midsummer’s eve, it was Marigold who went to the great willow tree on the property and left offerings of milk, honey, bread, and beer. She asked for her mother to be returned, over and over again, but no one answered. When Abigail turned up the following All Hallow’s Eve, seemingly as mad and wild-eyed as her son, Marigold went to the tree once more and demanded to speak to whomever had taken her mother! When no one answered again, the little girl took a can of motor oil and a matchbook and threatened to light the tree of fire of someone did not come to speak to her now!
He came with long twisted horns, a dappled face, and a grin almost too friendly. He called her a naughty child, and an ungrateful thing, as they had only borrowed her mother and brought her back in excellent condition, all things considered. But Marigold was not put off. She scolded the horned man furiously, and told him he had no right to treat her family this way! After all, what had they ever done to him?
“Oh but tis not me you need fret about, little miss, but my mistress.” He confided in her. “Your father, in his arrogance, set himself to building on her property, her rightful land. As such, it is her whim to vex him most terribly till he is distressed and destitute.”
“Her property? Well then, where are her papers?” Marigold insisted in a business-like manner. “Show me your mistresses deed to this land and I shall show it to my father. I am sure if there has been a misunderstanding we can come to some method of payment over it.”
“Payment? Oh, how delightful! You coquettish thing!” He cackled. “Yes. I will go to my mistress and tell her you offer payment for your father’s transgressions. She is not unreasonable. I am sure she will send me to you with her offer!”
Did little Marigold know with whom she was offering to bargain? Perhaps. She was a clever young thing, and she knew something of the good folk from her mother’s stories. But she did not get her meeting then. Abigail had gotten her husband to listen to her ravings, insisting that Marigold be taken away from the household before the same foul fate happened to her. Marigold was sent away to boarding school in 1827. In 1828, she received word of her father’s death by post. Her mother and elder brother had been confined to Bellehews Asylum, and with her younger brother long deceased, that left Marigold the sole heiress of the cursed house and grounds. The bank agreed to keep it for her until she came of age.
But Marigold did not return to the house at eighteen. Not at twenty five. For thirty some-odd years, Marigold took it upon herself to make some good of her education and wealth. She took to traveling the world, furthering her understanding of mythology, folk-lore, magic, and the difference between what people believe and what is true. She had a great many encounters, and found herself adept at making friends in strange places. But the world got a little smaller every year, and while she enjoyed the transient life, she began to see that some day it would become necessary for there to be a means of preserving life.
In 1862, at forty-nine years old, Marigold Hughes returned to her family estate. Her very first action was to return to the willow tree and insist upon a meeting with the horned ones mistress. For several weeks she received no answer. Until Midsummer came around, and she found someone kneeling at the foot of her bed.
“You were very rude last time, you know. When my mistress makes an appointment, she expects it to be kept.”
Marigold was older now, more cautious and less prone to cute tantrums. Besides, she had learned much. “Tell your mistress that I wish to convey my most sincere apologies…”
“Oh no. Oh drat.” He exclaimed, sounding terribly put out. “You’ve gone and grown up and gotten boring.”
“One does not have to be grown up to be boring. After all, you’re boring me a great deal right now and you do not seem very grown up at all.”
This startled the creature, and he thrilled to hear her mouth off at him so glibly! “Delightful! Positively delightful! Shall I tell my mistress you wish to speak with her?”
“At her earliest convenience, yes. And do let her know I will be bringing a gift with me to make up for my previous absence.”
The next year, Marigold stood at the foot of the Willow Tree and presented herself to a woman who draped herself in gold and had the baring of a queen. As pucca’s and goblins and hags danced about, mocking her and giving distractions, Marigold offered a treaty with with the Golden Lady in exchange for her protection and sponsorship in turning the house from a mere estate into a kind of biological preserve for rare species.
In exchange, once a year she would host a Midsummer Fete, inviting the well to do of the town to play among the house and grounds. And if someone, foolish, drunk, and ill advised, happened to fall under the sway of the folk there and provide them with an amusement or two, well so long as they came back within a reasonable amount of time, then no one was really going to look too deeply into it, now were they?