Agatha held back a groan as she slid to the gray marble floor, clutching her heart. Across the cold room, her sister perched on the edge of a grand desk made of the blackest wood, tapping a pointy-toed patent pump, clicking a similar rhythm to Agathas slowing heart.

“Oh Aggie, did you really think I wouldn’t have placed every protection against the theft of the heirloom? Though I’ll admit I didn’t detect you until you’d already entered the castle.” Audrina casually inspected her blood red manicure, testing the point of her claw like nail on her own white palm. If Agatha knew her sisters favorite deadly poison, she had all of three minutes left to live.

Agatha met her sisters’ iron gaze with all of the softness she could conjure. In the topmost room of the tower, the setting sun shone in through the paneless window and caught Audrinas face at an angle that emphasized the deep shadows under her eyes. “Drina, do you remember the night the clan energized the heirloom? Do you remember how strong it felt to work as a family?” Agatha paled as the poison continued to flood her body. It was easy to pretend she hadn’t seen the Crow circling outside the tower through the window. “It is you who is the thief…your betrayal has weakened us all. You can’t keep all our power locked in a case… you’ll never be able to use it.” Her eyes fluttered closed as the Crow flew into the round, stone room. It drove a claw into Audrinas sunlit eye, and then perched itself on Agatha’s shoulder as her sister fell to the floor and howled in pain. The Crow plunged its beak into Agatha’s neck, finding her last pulses of blood with its sharp tongue. From its belly rose a hot and stinging liquid, an ancient cure-all. The Crow fell to the floor in death, its deed done. A rush of white energy brought Agatha to her feet, and she took only a second to make sure her bounty was secure in her pocket before thrusting herself through the door and down many spiraling flights of steps, fleeing from the home of her sister, her relation turned enemy.