Elphame, the land of the Fae, is not without sacrifice.
Every seven years, the Fae pay tithe to the Gods and Goddesses. They sacrificed one member of their Courts, priests, and priestesses, only the most deserving of an offer, to the Gods. Before they are sacrificed, as payment for giving their lives, they are King for seven years. From the day they are chosen for sacrifice to the day they commit themselves to the Underworld, they want for nothing. But the mortal realm, the land outside of Elphame, would not offer sacrifice. They only reaped the rewards of their fertile lands, the rain for their crops, the fish in their nets, children in their bellies, the recompenses of the Fae offerings.
Because of the oaths between Fae and the mortal realm, the Fae could not force mortals to sacrifice one of their own. Fae died every seven years for both worlds to prosper. Soon, to the demise of mankind, Elphame began to refuse an offering to the Gods for the mortals. When the crops of man failed, and their fish no longer came, and the mortals died of starvation and disease, they agreed to give sacrifice, but only of a halfling bloodline. Those birthed of both mortal and Fae blood and seen as lesser in the eyes of mortals.
The Fae, slighted that the mortals would not offer their greatest, their poets and artists, their beautiful and strong, grew angry and vengeful. Since halflings could never rule in Elphame, they would never be called Kings or treated as such. Instead, they are Crows, scavenging on the powers and plunders of Elphame, eating the scraps of what Fae had thrown away. The Court from which the Crow’s line originates is the Court that holds the Crow, where they remain for seven years, as a sacrifice from the mortal lands, as punishment for reaping reward and offering so little in payment. Upon the death of a Crow, a new Taking begins.
In Whitwick Gates, where every mortal child faces the risk of almost certain death at the hands of Fae, Perdita Darkmore is named the next Crow, a sacrifice to Elphame. But once inside the Sidhe, the Fae will question if they’ve Taken the wrong Crow.