The Queen was angry. Her consort was miserable. He knew her anger was justified, and he was ashamed at his own weakness. He was being petulant. They were of the old tribes and for him to question her decision,- or even to have an opinion of his own on the subject – was unconscionable.
She saw the misery in his eyes, and her own softened in response.
“My love”, she said, “You have given me a wonderful daughter, and you will give me yet another. But the wise have clearly foretold that you shall not give me a son. You know I must have a son. This young man is an upstart. A vain boastful warrior. But he is a leader of men, young, strong and vigorous. Most importantly he will give me a son if we couple. It has been confirmed”.
He winced at the word, and stared at the floor. He knew full well that a woman of the Folk was her own person, to choose for herself with whom she would… liaise. It was just that they had been faithful to each other, voluntarily, for two dozen decades, and now…
She continued “I am angry because you are behaving as if this liaison was more important than it is. It’s only meaning is that we shall have a son as a result. Yet you behave as if you have no trust for me or my feelings for you. Your feelings are plain, and I love you for them. But think man!. Consider this as of no more significance than if I should dance with some ambassador at a ball. For that is all it is. A strategically negotiated dance for a political purpose. When the ball is over, you shall have the last dance. And all the dances thereafter. I need a son. We need a son. Our daughter needs a brother of her mother’s blood and her daughter an uncle to stand for her as my own brother and uncle stand for me. As you stand for your own sister and her children. That is our way and that is how we shall always be as long as I, or any of my line, rule the Folk.”
He seemed to gather himself together. “I am sorry”, he said. “Sincerely. You are right, and I am being foolish as well as selfish. I should know better after all these years. But my love, it pains me more than I can say to think of you embracing another like … that”.
She smiled. “Forgiven. Forgotten. Now be nice to this young Deimne, known as Fionn mac Cumhaill. The sooner this is over, the sooner I shall be happy again, for it pains me to see you distressed.
Wayland paused in the recital. “That is how I became uncle to the Queen”, he said. “and half brother to Oisin”.
I was dumbstruck. I tried to work out the timeline. He saw me thinking. “Time is a tricky thing between worlds.” he said. “Don’t try too hard to work out how old I am. The answer is not as old as you are thinking.”