What wouldn't you do to stop Lady Death? If there was a choice, your loved ones for another, could you make it? Would you trade a life for a thousand? One member of society for the whole?
Would the needs of the many outweigh yours?
Long before you ever breathed the sweet air, dear children - for you are children to me and will forever be such, even when your bones fade to honored dust - the inhabitants of the Darkwood Forrest face the ultimate question.
To die of famine or to give one of their own flesh and blood to their Fae neighbors. The time was appointed, a year and a day, and if the poor soul chosen by the Fae survived, they would return. For Fae are long lived, and boredom can kill the spirit, even if the body lives. They knew that fresh blood, sacrificed to their whims, would sustain the questionable grip they claimed on sanity. The Darkwood natives were given a choice, to live or die on the sacrifice of one single soul.
So they chose.
Again and again, young or old, the inhabitants of the ten families were given as tributes to the Autumn King. The Eve of the Harvest Moon brought joy to many and horror to a chosen few.
This is the tale of one such captive, May Moonflower Bloodstone, a great healer of tempestuous nature and, now listen carefully children, a good soul. There is much that a good soul can accomplish, but if you think the tale predictable, I must warn you. No tale worth telling is entirely pleasant, and the danger of living with my people cannot be understated. But we are not made of ice and stone, as our young Fae Ambassador will learn as he takes on the task of capturing and keeping so fiery a young woman.
Perhaps they will both learn a lesson by the tale's end.
So let Old James tell you the story, piece by small piece, and may you make your own conclusions. Only time will tell if you make the right ones.
Our tale begins in mid argument, a state that I'm afraid is all too common in the beginning ...