Your home was a small island, a corner of the Bermuda triangle so when you get to EU the taste of magic isn’t new to you. It’s more pronounced here, you’re not used to seeing their faces. You fall in line, nicknames are second nature to you and iron haunted your home. You’d resolved to stay as below the radar as possible. All the magic you know travels through families and you don’t want to be the one to bring a curse home.
Then they take your best friend. She could’ve done fine on talent alone but she insisted on having a “competitive edge”. You have to get her back but you had to be smart. You can’t go in unarmed, so you plan. You finish the year off as normal. You keep your iron close and you never miss an offering. You write home. A lot. You go on until the letters you get back are full of love and you keep going on after that. When the year ends and you get home you get to work.
Your grandfather told you of a man his father knew. He had sold his first born daughter and her first born daughter for crops. His family would carry this gift, they would always reap what they sow. This man hid this deal from his wife and knowing that his family had never had a daughter he felt safe. His wife tired of all her boys went to a witch begging for a daughter. The witch promised her two but warned her that she would claim the first for her own. And so was born the Girl Twice-Claimed. When the Fae and the witch came to collect their debts they found neither could take her. Unhappy with this the witch and the Fae conspired together. The girl would belong to no one, not quite Fae but certainly not human. Wherever she went darkness followed.
The Girl Twice-Claimed would grow up and have sons of her own and they would go on to have sons as well. You marry her youngest grandson that summer and when you say I do it almost feels real. Then you see the tears in her eyes and you’ve done the impossible. She tells you that it was unfortunate that all her sons were widowers but that you have nothing to worry about. She tells you that she’s proud to call you daughter. You smile at the word. You wonder if it’s enough.
That night it visits you in the dark and although the witch is long gone it honors the deal. It takes you like it took Her. When you go back to school you are ready. Before you leave for the airport she gives a hug that squeezes the life out of your lungs. She whispers in your ear that scythes are impractical and when you get an iron machete in the mail you make a mental note to write her a thank you note.
You wander into the woods in the dark of night. Whispers rustle through the leaves. To the untrained ear there was nothing to be heard but as you made your way deeper and deeper, unholy voices cried out “Beware, for Death stalks the night!”