On other islands, bards are writing tragedies.
But it was a hard life, in those days. A mouth to feed is a mouth to feed, and no matter how much it is meant to be a divine assemblage, often it is a blessing it is gone. There are many dead children. With a corpse, she is no hero. She is only a beggar in mourning.
So she keeps the boy, and she crafts a spell. She is sixteen and this is a hard age and while death is her own storyteller, not all stories are powerful. Too many die with no story at all, and with no story there is no Heaven, no Hell. No reincarnation, no Valhalla. None of any of the many worlds that witches know to all be true. There is only the empty.
Death is only powerful when it is grievable.
All spells need anchors and poetry: A splash of living blood, a final breath. But while the material might ripen, channel, magnify, it’s not the magic itself.
“It has to be you, Sam,” she ways.
Death is an infinite vessel. She opens her sails to the gales that howl from broken hearts. She always has.
She was sixteen with a colic child and she thought often about compelling her own legs to the river, walking to its deepest heart and letting it swallow them both. She imagines carrying a spell in her belly that, when the fish and water finally ate her down to bone, would poison the river and kill the town, and each and every living downriver.
Oh, you’ll miss me when I’m gone, she swears.
But there’s a reason witches wish to live forever. For too many, their story can be told on only one side of the divide. None will miss them, none will grieve. And so who are you without your life?
I believe in magic, and I believe in prophecy, she says, because she does not need to lie. She is taking a part of him with her, and she doesn’t even need to steal it. He will offer.
Sam Winchester has a large and foolish heart, and Rowena knows where to cut it. She can see the scars. And it’s not just sadness he’ll feel, but guilt, and guilt fuels grief and this is the arithmetic Rowena has always lived by.
She is taking a part of him.
She’s sorry, she realizes. She’s sorry this will hurt him. That’s why it had to be you, she realizes. She is taking a part of him, and she is sorry.
Hers is a sorrow that saves the world.