yn either to confirm or deny his words. Both options were odd. For a woman to adopt a girl who was not of her bloodline was unheard of. And to shift form was a gift only the gods and goddesses and their children had. Colbyn looked at this brother, contemplating how to lay his words. Salin was still so naïve in some ways, and very childlike in some aspects.

- ”You do know, that Mother goes by name Dana sometimes? Among the mortal races she is called Danu or Dôn and people used to worship her as a goddess, though she was not. Even our father was worshipped by the humans as their death god under names Bilé and Beli. Nevertheless, even though she is no goddess, she still had – and has – some talents no other among the sidhe can claim to have. She took the form of a human sorceress, called herself Danae and seduced our father when it looked like their marriage was over. She was very determined to make our father see that they are meant to be together. And she stayed in the human form until the babe was born, for the fear of miscarriage if she switched her form back while pregnant. And that is how our sister was born mortal. ”

Salin was stunned. He could hardly believe what his brother told. The idea of a woman whose inner powers rivalled those of gods was terrifying, when you considered that she was your mother. But he felt there was still more to the story than was revealed. One thought lingered in his mind, one question. Why did their mother have such powers?

”How can it be that mother can do such things? Ive been told that only gods and goddesses can switch their true form. ”

Colbyn seemed to ponder his question, eyes looking both through and past Salin.

- ”I wonder ”, he started with a speculating tone, ”if I could extort some kind of a gift from mother. I did warn her that she has not birthed any simpletons, and told her that she should come clean with you before you would start asking questions just like this. ”

His tone was somewhat dry and exasperated at the same time, and under his eyes Salin truly felt what it meant to be millennium younger than his brother.

- ”Where to start. That is always the problem. Mother is only half sidhe. Her mother, grandmother Chrysandra, was of the elder fae, and her father was called Kronos, as you well know. And he is not of the fae. ”

Colbyn stopped there, waiting. Salin stared him with unblinking eyes, trying to fathom out what he meant, when it suddenly hit him.

- ”Father of time! The father of time is our grandfather?! The titan who ruled before the gods and goddesses is related to us? Dear lady… This is too much. Way too much. ”

He was sure his knees would have buckled if he had not been sitting already.

- ”Elder fae and a titan? By the lords and the Lady. That is one scary combination. No wonder Zeus called mother ”sister ” last time he visited us. But that means mother is a goddess, even though you said she is not. Or at least a daughter of one. ”

Colbyn groaned.

- ”No, she is not a goddess, nor is she a daughter of a god. Kronos was a titan. Only those of full titan parents became gods and goddesses after they gained worshippers. But she does have goddess like abilities – and a large interest to the doings of her offspring. Alayne married a human when she was nineteen, before we found out that she was not so human than we had thought. Her husband died in a stupid accident two years later, and she was left to fend her son by herself. We took them both back to the faerie, and when the boy was fifteen it was obvious that Alayne did not age like humans do. She still looked like a lass of nineteen, just like any fey child would. Her son married a human woman at the age of twenty, and he aged like a human. And they are the reason we are here now. Queen Alysha is Alaynes great-grandchild in 28th generation if Ive counted correctly. And we still look after them, for our mother is very interested in her offspring. ”

Salin nodded and suddenly flashed a grin.

- ”Not to mention that our mother is most interested in marrying you off. Favourably to one of the maidens who are related to the court and crown. Im sure she would love to see you married either to Queen Avaels or Queen Titanias daughter. ”

Salin snickered to the pure panic that flashed through Colbyns face. He actually visibly shivered.

- ”Do not even joke about it. To have either of them as a mother-of-law would be more than taxing. It would be outright dangerous! How could one ever feel safe in a marriage, where your wifes displeasure could mean death in the hands of your in-laws? ”

- ”Maybe shell just find you a dragon to marry or one of the elder fae. ”

- ”You are surely eager to see me off and married little-brother. Or is this your way of trying to make a murder by proxy? Im done with the talk nevertheless, and the crew is growing impatient. Lets collect our men and continue towards the Reaches. We are supposed to get back home before the queen Avaels celebration, to witness if the princess has what it takes to rule the faerie. ”

The fey left the premises of the borderland without leaving anything behind. There was no sign of their camp, nor any evidence of what had happened in the hands of the patrol. Even the bush trampled by the humans looked untouched. Sometime later one of the patrolmen came back. When he saw the empty place he paled and started searching the ground while keeping close watch to the forest around him. Finally he kneeled next to a rock pile, where a single white pebble was on top of the grey rocks, looked around him and pocketed the white pebble. Then he scrambled the rock pile and hurried to his mount. Curiously enough, he rode to the same direction the retinue had gone.

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