seven-year-old from her own coven, related to her by blood.
"Where's her mother?" Amanda, a warrior-caste witch, would never have been separated from her little girl. "Answer me, you prick!"
Fegley snidely said, "She lost her head."
Amanda dead? "I'd already planned to end you, Fegley," Carrow choked out. "Now I'm going to make it slow ."
Fegley merely shrugged and sauntered out, making Carrow grit her teeth with frustration. In the past, she could have electrocuted him with a touch of her hand, could've rendered him to dust as an afterthought.
Struggling to get her emotions under control, she turned her attention back to the child, petting her face. "Ruby, wake up!"
Dixon said, "She's only sedated."
Carrow gathered the girl closer. Her breaths and heartbeat did sound regular. "Ruby, sweet, open your eyes." Of all the young witches for them to have...
Within the coven, there were tanda, social groups of similar ages. Ruby was in a group of baby witches, or a "gang" as they called themselves--a gang more in the sense of Little Rascals than of Crips and Bloods, but it was cute.
Carrow and Mariketa often took them to sweets shops, getting them jacked up on sucrose before setting them loose on the coven. Ring the doorbell, drop them off, then run like hell, cackling all the way.
Carrow and Mariketa--Crow and Kettle, as they'd been dubbed--were the gang's favorite "aunts." Ruby was secretly Carrow's favorite as well. How could she not be? Ruby was fearless and bright, an adorable little girl dressed in ballerina punk.
Dixon frowned. "She could pass as your own."
Like many in a coven, Carrow and Ruby were related, though more closely than usual. The girl was her second cousin, and she belonged to the exact three castes that Carrow did, with her strength in the warrior caste. Just like me.
Ruby's green eyes blinked open. "Crow?"
"I'm right here, sweetheart." When Ruby's tears welled, Carrow felt a pang like a blade in her heart. "I've got you."
Ruby's body tensed against hers. Eyes wild, she cried, "Mommy t-told me not to kill them! B-but when they hurt her, it ... it just happened." She was beginning to pant, her breaths shallowing.
"Shh, you're all right now. Just breathe easy." When Ruby got overly excited, she would hyperventilate, even passing out on occasion. "It's okay, everything's going to be all right," Carrow lied, rocking her. "Just breathe."
"They swung a sword at her neck!" Her chest heaved for air. "I saw her ... d-die. She's dead --" Ruby went limp once more and her head fell back. Unconscious.
"Ruby! Ah, gods." Amanda was truly gone? And Ruby's father had been murdered by rogue warlocks before she'd even been born.
The coven didn't usually spell out things like godparents or custody. Immortals not actively at war didn't have to worry much about leaving behind orphans. But if Amanda had gone to battle, she would have expected the closest blood relation in the coven to care for her daughter.
That'd be Carrow, the House hellion. Poor Ruby.
Though Carrow had been treated so callously by her own parents, she would do right by her responsibilities. She stared down at the girl's ashen face with a new recognition, a momentous feeling of a shared future.
Carrow had long had a unique and curious talent--the ability to sense when another had just become a part of her life forever, when their destinies would eventually be intertwined and