“One of the side effects, it seems, of the prion activating the longevity gene in our DNA, ” said Wayland, “is that after a few generations there is a tendency among the folk to be unable to reproduce. Over the millennia we have countered this by adopting outsiders into the tribes. People from your world. All over. Also we would expand the gene pool by intermarrying – or perhaps just inter-mating. In the very early days we stole children, sometimes leaving a sterile child in exchange. Thus began the stories of changelings. Quite frankly there was a time when young men and women of your world were happy to be seduced by our young men and women, and it was not until the advent of Christianity that it became shameful and then evil. The ways of the old tribes were hard to kill and in some parts of the world, particularly Ireland, there were still those who understood and obeyed the old ways alongside their faith. Ireland was the last country to adopt that foolish concept of celibacy amongst the priesthood. Many a good Catholic priest fathered a faery child in the old days, and felt no shame of it. Many acceded to the celibacy law only under pain of excommunication. Many only pretended to. Even amongst the laity there was no shortage of women who were willing to bear a faery child, even until recently. I have fathered my share upon them”.
Fintan added “And what young man since the dawn of time has ever turned away an inviting beauty who is willing for a romp? Most times he did not even have to know where she was from.
The practice of adopting from across the portals became jokingly known as “paying our tithe to hell” . It was a joke in poor taste, and an unfortunate one. Because it was picked up in your world, and helped nail down the superstitious fears of the uneducated. The Catholic church loved to keep its congregations ignorant. As the old priests were replaced, the old knowledge was twisted and darkened, until it became an evil travesty of the truth.
“In some cases”, Wayland continued, ” the child was left with the mother. Thus was the case with your Grandmother, whose mother was a willing lover of mine, knowing full well who, and what, I was. There are politics here just as anywhere that people exist. Lines of succession become tangled and subject to argument. Sometimes it pays to have a card up ones sleeve”. Your Grandmother was one such. Now one of her great grandchildren is”.
Said the old man: “Remember ours is a matrilineal society”. It is very pleasing to see so many young women of the blood in your family. One of them is now second in line to the throne. The Queen has already chosen her. But there is a problem, and you, as her uncle, must be part of the solution.