Micah felt his sore body aching with pain as he looked up from where he was sleeping to see his wife sound asleep at their table, a quill still resting in-between her bony fingers. Pushing aside thoughts of his tense muscles and the prickling sensation on his toes as he walked over to Beatrice, Micah found himself hunched over the scraps of parchment, reading the neat lines and curves Bea had written the night before.
The words came to Bea like Micah had seen no where before. At first, he had been disapproving of Bea spending the little money they had on parchment and ink over saving for a real house, but night after night of gripping stories made Micah see just how talented she was. He may not have been able to even read what she was writing, but he trusted that Bea was doing the right thing.
After his eyes had taken in everything her hands must have traced not a few hours before, he felt his hand moving towards Bea's back. He brushed her knotted blonde hair out of the way and gently shook her shoulders to bring Beatrice back from the land of the shadows and mirages of her brilliant mind.
After her hair fell back into her eyes, Bea moved slightly to look up at Micah. "Good morning, have you an idea of what I should say?" Worry lines creased her brow within a moment of her awakening, and Micah wished Bea would stay as happy as she was when she was asleep. He knew she could never be happy without her writing, but it always worried Micah to see his Bea unhappy. Every frown etched across her frazzled countenance made him feel as though he had not taken care of his Bea and no matter how hard he tried to bring a smile to Bea's face, he could only hide the truth of their reality for the briefest of moments between awakening and being awake.
"Good morning Beatrice, and you know I can't help you write. You married a hard working farm boy, not a scholar, but perhaps if you were to tell me your story, you would know what to write." Micah took his hand off of Bea's shoulder to take the quill out of her now tense palm. "Bea, I know you have it in you. All that you must do to find the tales is tell them to me."
She nodded and looked down at the parchment once more. "This one is about a family. My mother used to tell it to me before Nicholas was born and she went to the heavens above us. This is one of my favorites, and yet I have never remembered how it went in the end to finish it. You see, there were once three brothers who wanted to cross a river, yet they could not because there was not a bridge for the brothers to cross the whipping waters over. However, these brothers, they were like me. Magical."
Micah nodded and began to ponder about Bea's abilities. He himself was a man of no magic but had always accepted his wife's differences. The simple spells to clean the house and the occasional potion should either of Bea's sisters be sick were the extent of how she used her sorcery. Her tall tales and sweet stories could enchant any ear who dared hand over hours of his day to learn of what the world outside of their own held. without a single nudge from the magical world, and Micah had always envied Bea for that.
"The third brother, by name of Ignotus, only wished to live a life he treasured and thus asked of Death that he be given some means of keeping out of Death's grasp until he saw fit to leave his life on earth and join his brothers in the land of the dead. Death knew the wisest of the brothers was the third, yet did not speak a word of the brother's knowledge, for fear that he might be defeated once more in later times and mortals would slip from his hold and wander free for far beyond the mortal's time."
The words, "far beyond the mortal's time, rang in Micah's head. Would Bea live far beyond her time? Would Bea be known to every being, magical and not, alike? What if nary a soul even thought to read Bea's fables for they knew that Bea, his lovely Bea, was a woman? Micah's face fell into a frown as he realized Bea had stopped.
"Micah? What ever is the matter?" Her soft words hung in the air before Micah forced a smile back upon his solemn visage. "Should I not finish the story? Was it worthless?" Fear rang in her echoing voice as she bit down on her lip. "Should I give this up? I have been contemplating doing so for some time and know how straining it must be to not have my hands assisting you in the fields for a portion of the mornings. I have never been talented enough to find my way through this maze of fantasies and faded memories."
"No, it is not that Bea. Never that. You are a very fine storyteller, and I imagine you are even finer in ink, yet I do not wish for anyone to overlook your work because you are Beatrice and not a man's name. Finish your tale; I must know what happens to Ignotus."
Bea nodded and opened her mouth to continue. "The second brother, with the stone of the dead, knew the woman he loved could never be with him, so he took his life to join her in the land of Death. The third brother, with the shield of death, lived long past his brothers and was one of the happiest men to know for he had come to terms with Death and was Death's mortal equal. As he grew older, Death found it easier to find traces of Ignotus, yet could never set hands on the man. Then one day, Ignotus realized his time to leave had come and he allowed himself to be taken by death after passing along the shield to his son."
Micah wondered what had happened to Death's shield. Perhaps it was an old fable, but he knew so little about the wonders of magic that it might well be real. "Bea, why aren't you writing?" Confusion spread across his face and he allowed his thick eyebrows to inch upwards.
"I can't. I'm no good." She took the parchment and handed it to Micah. "Go, sell it. I'm a story teller, not a story writer. I could never succeed at it."
Micah took the quill from the table and dipped it into the ink. "Bea, can you help me?" After a quick look of amusement, Beatrice put her hand on top if Micah's and looked up at him expectantly. "Put Bea the Bard. You are a story writer, and if you won't say it I will."
Her hand guided his through the marks and soon the top of her parchment read the words Bea had so often dreamt of seeing. "Micah, can I add something?" She took the quill on her own and began to add three more letters. "There, now it's Beadle the Bard. Daddy always called me his little beetle, so I'll be Beadle the Bard."
Micah stepped back and smiled as he saw Bea dip her quill back in the ink and continue to write again. He thought back to the day Micah had first met Bea's father.
"Micah," the man called after him. "Sir, Bea is one of a kind. I know I ought not suggest such things, as a father is biased, but my Bea, my Beetle, she will be legendary. Will you help her reach for the stars?"