1 The Bargain

"I will accept your deal."

"Very well. When you return home tonight, your mother will be in pristine health again. It will be like she never fell ill at all. Even the memory of her suffering will fade."

"Thank you so much," I profess, clasping my hands together. "She means everything to me."

The faery's hard face remains unchanged. His silver eyes narrow slightly. "I know. Let you hope the price wasn't too high. Only time well tell." He turns around, ready to dissolve into the night he first appeared from.

"So when do we start?" I blurt, panic slicing though my every nerve.

He pauses. Slowly, he pivots on his heel, his forehead creased. "If I may ask you to elaborate?"

Wringing my hands together, I take a step toward him. "You said you wanted my firstborn."

"Yes," he answers slowly. "That was the deal." He studies me as if I'm trying to trick him now that his side of the bargain has been, presumably, accomplished.

"Yeah, so when do we start?" I'm staring at the ground, slightly embarrassed by what I'm asking of him. But I'm nearly twenty-four with no signs of any man wanting to be my husband. When the faery doesn't respond, I glance up to see if he's still there.

He stands in the middle of the road, the moon giving his long hair the look of melted silver. The sharp angles of his face are accentuated as he purses his lips into a thin line before turning away again. "Ah. Forgive me, madam, but we fair folk do not often convene with humans. I will come to you in a year to check your progress."

"W-wait! What is your name?"

He looks over his shoulder at me. "A word of advice. Names are sacred, miss. Take care who you introduce yourself to. For our exchanges, you may call me Kailan."

"Merry meet, Kailan."

He smirks, walking away again. On the breeze, his words come back to me long after he vanishes from my sight. "Remember our bargain, Cara."

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