She thought she was done all those years ago, though she’d only been a child.

The huntsman who saved them had taken all the glory for himself, and rightfully so, for she’d been duped by the spell the wolf cast over her eyes.

But now, the slain wolf's son had taken revenge on the huntsman in his dotage, and his own daughter had barely made it to Red Riding Hood's door in front of the wolfpack that tirelessly pursued.

In the small hours when the starlight gleams brightest, flattering the false vanity of moonlight, her knocking was a hard and tuneless knell that echoed through the dark forest shadow, shouting Red Riding Hood's new name.

Taika, they called her now. The Magic Spell.


With grandmother dead Taika shunned the world and apprenticed herself to a dying hag seeking a novice, promising to never be vulnerable and powerless again.

The hag was a hard taskmaster; Taika earned every scar she received from those long, hooked and jagged nails that made her correct her mistakes.

When the hag died, the pyre would not burn. Taika gave her withered corpse to the river’s muddy banks, and let the creatures have their way.

The huntsman's cowardly daughter was content to tend Taika's house until she returned.

Taika left at first light.


In the clearing, she faced the Alpha..

The thing stood on two legs now, piercing blue eyes crystalline in the darkness.

“You wear the elder witch’s hood?” it asked.

“Yes, Alpha. I took it back from your father's corpse."

“And now these fools have summoned you to redeem yourself, and reckon with your past?” The drool hissed in the soil at his feet.

The lambent eyes of the pack surrounded her to watch the fight.

“Just me and you.” she said, casting a brief glance around her to iinclude them.

“They know better than to interfere. To the death?”

Her knives gleamed in the moonlight, silver fangs in human hands.

“To the death.”

Snarling, they locked.