This short, pregame fic is about Thanatos, Fanha, Elinee, and one man's search for power.
Her father summoned demons.
Fanha remembered them well. There were the imps, of course, but there were ones that he labored to summon and labored harder to banish. Those wanted gifts and she remembered how he would stumble from his room with neat cuts up and down the lengths of his arms. And sometimes he would come back thinner than he was when he entered the room and his eyes would be hollow, yet he wouldn't eat for days. And then there were the ones that made him cry and scream out when the lights went out. One demanded his eyes until it agreed to take his two smallest fingers and seven years of his life.
Her mother worried.
Elinee knew his ambition, though she married him for everything else. She ignored the rites and the demonesses and the nights that she could hear him scream and there was nothing she could do but hold him down and pray for morning to come quickly. She remembered the sweep of his jaw and the way that his eyes were brown verging on gold. She remembered the way that he held her and the way that his lips felt against her skin. She knew his ambition; he desired to be more than an archmage, though he could no more be a sorcerer than she could. Sometimes, when he could sleep, she would walk to their sorceress daughter's room and wonder just what he gave for her.
He always looked for power.
Cain used to prowl the edges of the Haunted Forest. There were tales of a demon who hid in the body of a man who would grant wishes to those who would dare take them. The tales always left out what he wanted in return and sometimes they said that the demon resided in the form of a woman or an old man or even a child. One night he left and never returned; Elinee held Fanha close and covered her ears against the screams of a man who finally got what he wanted. When morning came, she packed his clothing away in a chest and collected the hair from his brush into a locket. When Fanha asked about Cain, all Elinee could tell her was the truth.
Her father was dead.
Fanha grew up a witch and learned no magic. She learned how to make a potion that would cure illness and learned which herbs to chew to break a fever. She learned that lullabud seeds dulled pain and a poultice made from mushboom and trapflower drew poison from a wound. When the imps bit her, Fanha knew exactly how to treat the wound. And when the imps would wound each other in spring, she could sew each cut shut with tiny stitches. After her father died, her mother took her out of school to protect her from the world. Her friends wrote her for a while and she would write back until the years passed and she became such a distant memory that they wondered if they had dreamed her.
She dreamed of magic.
In time, Elinee taught Fanha her first spell. When she learned that spell, much quicker than her mother had as a girl, Elinee taught her another and another until her daughter grew unsatisfied with simple spells. She asked for fire and water, ice and stone, and spells that she shouldn't want and couldn't have. In time, Fanha asked her mother how to summon demons. Elinee saw the curve of her jaw and the color of her eyes and wept. And her daughter, who grew up without mirrors, wept without knowing why.