I'm at a point in my WIP where the MC's parents have to explain to her that, for the good of the kingdom, she, in essence, needs to be sacrificed (it's not ritualistic or because of religion, it's out of greed on the part of the ruler because these children have something they want). If the parents try to save/hide her, they, the rest of their children and countless others will get sick and eventually die thanks to a vengeful sickness that the ruler unleashes, essentially sparing no one but the child in question so they'll get the kid anyway in the end. However it's never come down to anihilating the kingdom to get them (and won't). This is something they've known from birth and, to preserve her youth, have put off telling her about it until the time came.

From where I stand, I felt it better to let the child be a child than live in fear until they're eventually snatched up (highly likely but in some cases not always). So, they've put it off and put it off and bam, letter comes and the little girl (roughly 10) is about to get handed off to the ruler (stick with me, I'm just trying to give the pertinent necessary details).

So if the parents try to help her, they die and she ends up in the bad hands anyway. They hand her off they know they're sending their daughter off to a life of torture. It's a double-edged sword and they've been sliced with both sides. As a parent, how would you convey this information to your 10 year old child? Would you?

Think along the lines of Sophie's choice except the decision is already made. How would you reason with your child, or is that an oxymoron in and of itself? Are there words to explain something like this?

Right now my literary mouth is gaping like a fish out of water. I have the parents explaining why and the daughter knows what's going on but doesn't believe it. I don't know what these parents would say, especially since I'm not a parent and my reasoning and gut can only go so far. I know many parents would die to save their children. Unfortunately, in this situation, the parental death wouldn't mean a damn thing since the child would just get handed off to the conquering party anyway. The death would have been in vain and everyone involved knows this.

I know this isn't a nice thing to think about but I would appreciate the help with the hypothetical. Substituting my dog for a kid just isn't enough in this case. The enormity of the despair on both sides resulting from this is damn near incomprehensible but the story follows the girl so the aftermath of the parents, while creating a fleshier piece, at this point aren't pivitol to the plot, just how they'd act, speak, whathaveyou while sitting at the table talking to their daughter about this.