“If I wanted this woman, I would just take her,” Far Seer said. “She wanders alone in the forest.”
“My people do not do that.”
Another woman joined Emme and the man. The woman had an infant in her arms and the drawn expression of one who needed good food and rest.
“Then why do you not bargain for her?” Far Seer asked. “There are many things they need.”
“They would be more alarmed by me than they are by you if I walked into their encampment.”
Emme was arguing with the squat man and the other woman tried to stop them. The infant cried like an unhappy cat. The sound clawed at Tighe’s chest.
A child. It had been so long since he had seen a child. There were those who wanted to steal it, but he had managed to convince them that doing so would only anger the newcomers. As long as they believed themselves alone, they would not go hunting old enemies. Much more likely they would go after the natives, but the others had believed him. That just showed him how great their fear of these mortals was. And how sad his great people had become.
The native people, like the Europeans, treated women as second-class citizens. At least, that’s what my research turned up. History written by the winners after all. The Fae are different. Their women are strong and independent. Emme doesn’t know this though.
The Fae in folklore are famous for stealing human babies and replacing them with their or sickly offspring. Now if you wanted to take a scientific view of this, inbreeding could cause Fae children to be sickly and stealing a strong human baby, with a completely fresh set of DNA, would help out the bloodline. If you wanted to take a sociological perspective, parents could blame supernatural beings for the defects of their children to deflect suspicion about their own bloodlines. If you want to focus from an educational angle, you could say that faeries stealing children was a cautionary tale of what could happen if you leave your baby alone because telling stories about wild animals grabbing the kid and running off with it are too realistic and scary. I’ve probably spent a little too much time thinking about this.
The baby’s cry actually came from the birth of a nephew. I was walking down the hospital hall to the room where the hours old tyke was with his mother and various family members when I heard this wet cat mewling. My first thought was “I hope that’s not my nephew.” It was, but he grew out of it.