Mary Norton Character in The Overlap | World Anvil
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Mary Norton

Mrs. Mary Brown Norton

Mental characteristics

Personal history

Mary Brown was born in 1519, into a family of mariners. As such, learned sailing, navigation, and charting skills. But Mary was interested in learning more, and at age sixteen, set sail on her own, hoping to meet sailors from other cultures who could teach her more about the oceans. During this adventure, she decided to disobey the sailor taboo about not setting to shore near Serpent Kelp , and as such landed in a Sea Serpent community. There, she met Joshua Norton, and within a year, they were married.   Though Sea Serpents believe that people born outside their community cannot work their magic, Mary was determined to try, and having married into the Sea Serpent community, she had access to the proper books to learn. So she alongside her interests in medicine and astronomy, she added the study of Sea Serpent magic. It was said that she spent hours each day pouring over texts or talking to members of the community and practicing simple spells, like melting and freezing a cup of water. And eventually she made progress. Within a couple of years, she had developed skills comparable to her husband.   When she was nineteen, she got to test her skills for the first time. Mary received a letter from her father explaining that he had gotten a job with a local shipping industry, having promised that his boat was faster than any other local method. Unfortunately, he had broken his leg on his last trip and could not captain the boat. But there was no one he trusted more than his daughter. Of course, the shipping company didn't want a woman to captain the ship, so the job was given to her husband, also an adept mariner. But he, like Mary's father, trusted her immensely, and so he brought her along, even though she was pregnant.   It seemed that everything that could have gone wrong with the voyage did. Perhaps the first bad omen was that Joshua became ill only a few days after setting sail. A few days later, they discovered they would be sailing through a hurricane. When the only other Sea Serpent on board proved to be a terrible sailor, almost wrecking the ship into a reef, Joshua had to lock him up and stayed up night and day to ease the storm with his magic. But Mary proved to be a more than competent navigator, as well as contributing her own magical workings to get the ship through the storm. By the time they hit the eye of the storm, Joshua collapsed from exhaustion. His magic had run out, on top of his undiagnosed illness. Knowing she couldn't get through the hurricane by herself, she released the other Sea Serpent, and spent what time she could caring for her husband, who had become so sick he had also lost his sight. Once out of the hurricane however, the other man tried to take control of the ship, claiming that Mary, being a woman, was not up to the task. He tried to lock her in the captain's cabin, but using her Sea Serpent magic, she froze the lock off the door. She took control of the ship again, with no more problems before reaching the destination.   After arriving home again, Mary dedicated herself to caring for her husband and her child. She never set sail again, but the Sea Serpents were amazed by her ability to have learned their magic, and learned at the rate she did, despite not being born into the community. She revealed that while Sea Serpent magic is usually performed through intention, rather than brute forcing her way to being able to complete it naturally, she developed a complex system of mathematics and astronomy to access magic. Thus, she spent the rest of her life refining this system, which the Sea Serpents developed to teach struggling students and others who married into the community. Advanced Sea Serpents have used the same system to expand their magical abilities beyond the norm. I would explain how it works to you, but Scavengers have tried for centuries to unlock the system developed by Mary Norton and consistently failed. Most of the texts about this system are written in a language that we haven't been able to decipher. We cannot determine if it is an obsolete version of the Sea Serpent language or a code specifically developed by Mary Norton. Some Scavengers also think this system she developed led to untimely death. Others, however, argue that she died of sorrow, as her husband never fully recovered, and eventually died of his illness.
1517 1541 24 years old
brown, thick, worn in a bun
Skin Tone/Pigmentation

Cover image: The Thirteen Magics of Svene by Molly Marjorie


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