The winter breeze blew open the balcony doors to a large nursery. The baby, barely over seven-months-old gently stirred awake by the sudden cold. A hooded figured appeared on the balcony and only paused a second before she stepped into the room. Two thin arms reached up and lowered the hood. The figure was a woman with glowing brown hair and dark eyes. The dark colors were contrasted by the white almost blue skin she had, almost as if she was winter itself.
The woman studied the room and glared at the multiple rune covered papers that hung around the room. They were wards, wards to keep her people away, as weak as they were. Whatever power they held over her messengers did not work on her. Wards on paper, she thought bitterly, it was almost like he was wanting to fail.
She was pulled away from the wards when she heard the baby start to cry. Slowly, she approached the crib and looked down at the child. With a deep breath she reached down and touched its cheek with her index finger. The babe stopped crying and looked up at the woman, then it began to giggle and held its arms up to her, as if asking to be picked up. “Oh, you sweet child,” she spoke as she reached down and picked the babe up, “you recognize your mother.” She cradled the baby and gave soft laughs as the child began to chew on its own hand. “Your father is an idiot to think he can keep me from you.”
The door leading to the rest of the mansion open and a man in pajamas burst in. “Peggy,” he questioned, taking a few steps closer. Two more forms appeared at the door but neither walked into the room. The woman turned to the man, but still looked at the babe. “He’s a cute thing,” she said, allowing the baby to suck on her free index finger. “He’s such a smart boy already. He knows who his mummy is.” She cooed at the child as he continued to gum her finger. “Peggy, please, put Anthony back.”
“Howard,” she warned, “I would think that you would know better than to back out of a contract.”
“He’s my son.”
The wind blew harder and snow began to creep in. “You were to only have him for six months Howard.”
“But, Maria, I couldn’t do this to her.” The woman he called Peggy scoffed, “I care not Howard Stark. A deal was brokered, six months with you on Earth and six with me in my realm. Our child is well over seven-months-old now and has been with you the whole time. Look at what you did to his room to keep me away.”
“Peg please,” the man begged. She gave the man a glance and, with the babe in her arms, turned and began to walk to the balcony. “Peggy!”
“You shall have the babe back when I wish for you to Howard.”
“But Empress Titania,” one of the forms at the door, a woman spoke. She stepped closer but stood behind the man named Howard. “You told us so yourself, no male must ever be in your court for longer than six months.”
The Empress stopped and turned her head to them, with a knowing smile she pulled the child closer to her chest. “As I said Ana, he shall have the babe back.”
Realization struck Howard like a punch to the face. “Peg, no, you can’t be serious. You can’t honestly be serious? He’s our son. Peg why?” He rushed forward with the intent to grab her, only to fall onto his knees where she once stood.
They were gone, both the woman and the child, leaving only a small bracelet with the boy’s name on it.