That was when the girls learned about the terrible hunger the Black Mask incited in its daughters.
"No they are too young," Bitsy had argued before the council introduced the mask to Violet and Swotsy early that summer. And the council had nodded, knowing what a heavy price the mask demanded.
That was when Sister Margaret stood up.
This was the Black Council, and it was the one place that Sister Margaret could be free of the secrets that plagued her life.
"This is the only thing I have to give my daughter," her voice echoed in the suddenly quiet room. "For eighteen years I have had to hide the fact that I even bore a child. Even her name that I gave her has been forgotten for that ridiculous nick name. Swotsy Mondy." She spat on the floor in disgust. "I seduced Gideon Stone would be the answer to the blood price, but his blood and his seed was too weak. Magdalena was wrong."
Magdalena, Rowena's aged and still beautiful mother shook her head. "We were never sure about him. It was your own yearning, Margaret."
Sister Margaret frowned, and even that did not dissipate her loveliness. "Neither was that Bill the answer!" she spat.
"He was never the man that I thought he could be," Alice said. Then looked sister Margaret in the eye, "But I know that you still wanted to be chosen for him. Don't you deny it. You always wanted him, even when just a girl."
Margaret looked away.
"Bill was not the answer to our struggle," Magdalena said. "Wilma's son, Alice's son, and your secret daughter Swot-- Monica, they were the result of our risk. All for naught. The hunger remains for human blood. My prophecy was wrong and I am sorry for it. I must have misread the signs."
"But my son..." Alice said. "He could be the key!"
"We cannot depend on another man to remove the curse of the blood lust from the blessing of beauty. We must do this ourselves. The girls must be introduced, and the boy--"
Magdalena stood up. They all had to look down to see her, but that did not matter.
"The boy must leave," Magdalena said and the women of the council...