The ravens were gathering again.

Helen watched them settle in the back garden. The lawn was soon covered, the trees filling fast. She sighed; she had hoped for another year before being called back into service. She got up, stretched, and fetched her sword from the basement.

It was all part of the contract: a house and gold in exchange for fighting. Helen’s mother had warned her not to make deals with the fae, but the offer of security was too temping to pass up.

So now, every few years when the ravens came, Helen would go off to battle.