Here is the next part. I hope it is agreeable to all. I realize that it's... different, considering it is taken from the voice of the grandmother rather than an anonymous third person narrator. Of course, it's changeable, if people have issues.
I am not a woman of great means. I keep my family fed, my garden growing, my home clean. Our life in the glade is simple. I could not ask for more. But blowing through the hemlocks is a new whisper I cannot deny. And I fear, Allewyn hears it as well.
As the notches I keep in the time tree have grown numerous with passing months, I have grown loathe to count them. I don't need to count them. Allewyn changes day by day. Even the loveliest girls I see in the village would pale beside her now. Already she walks like a willow branch swaying in the wind. For a changeling, she has far surpassed my expectations. I was afraid that she would grow comely... but my fears were unecessary.
Villages are vile places. Replete with vulgar folk of unusual idiocy, I can hardly be blamed for choosing to raise Allewyn outside of such septic areas. She is above them. But the trouble is that I can't keep her in the glade forever. She's nearly a woman now. She will want to know... She already wants to know about the world around her. She has a right to know. And I am no longer fit to simply saddle up Grendle and ride off into the horizon with Allewyn behind me. I have cursed the day I would admit, but the truth is that I am too old. I have had my share of journeys.
I will tell you about changelings. Perhaps you have heard of them. Perhaps you know of someone who can help us. But swear, swear to me you will not breathe a word to any soul or song bird liable to betray.
I am sure you have heard of changelings, and the tragedies that often surround them. I recall one story from years ago where a young couple from the village of Teidal lost their baby to the fae folk, only to have it swapped for a creton that ultimately grew to be a terror to her unwilling foster family. Changelings are children, human or fae, stolen from their families and placed in the care of a foster family, most often without permission of any parents involved. Why would fae folk be persuaded to steal a human babe? This question has plagued us for some time, and the only answer would seem to be their sheer love of mischief. So reckless are they that the act of exchanging one of their own for a human is clearly not considered immoral, according to whatever heathenous code it is they follow. But I digress.
Allow me to clarify. Allewyn was no replacement for a human babe stolen from me years ago. However, she is half fae; Allewyn's mother, ever my wandering prodigal daughter, somehow managed to rather indiscreetly couple with an elf. No ordinary fae was he, mind you. He was some prince or sheik or other. Nevertheless, their clandestine star-crossed romance quickly faded into bitter discord. Had Auri not been with child, they could have parted and gone their seperate ways, which is typically the practice of the fae folk. Her pregnancy, however, created a grand problem for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Auri was a common human, and her elf was an aristocrat of some kind; whereas, relations between humans and fae are viewed as inappropriate and dangerous. Secondly, Auri's human identity had not been revealed to the other fae in the area because they would not tolerate a human in their midst, and the elf's romance with her would have hardly been accepted. Fae, you see, are very private folk, and although it is true that they are fairer and more elite than humans, they have no magic, nor do they believe in it. Magic, as the fae have it, is something humans imagined in their ignorance of the laws of nature and science. Therefore, concealing Auri's identity had been a simple matter of keeping her out of public eye. Because, as legend has it, fae folk and human kind are distant relations; humans are all the crude things that fae are not. And fae are our very complicated, wonderful, mysterious, earth-loving, and mystic cousins. Who, by the way, happen to have pointed ears.
Pointed ears. That reminds me of Allewyn. I was worrying she might develop those. You see, Auri ran away from the fae folk and returned to me. Doing so, however, enraged the elf lord who sent many fae in all directions to seek her out. Auri carried his first born fae, or half fae, I suppose; and he only wanted the child. The fae are very protective of their own kind. And I surmise he hoped that he could raise Allewyn without ever telling anyone she was half human.
Because we are so far from the villages of men, Auri carried her child to full term safely and Allewyn came into the world in mid winter. As a babe she resembled any other human newborn, except that one of her eyes was a soft brown and the other, a clear blue. I suppose it was a clever trick nature played to remind us that she would always be half one thing, and half the other. I brought myself to forgive Auri, and we were able to live happily together for some time. Then one day, not quite a year after Allewyn was born, her mother went out to search for kindling. I never saw Auri again.
I am amazed that Allewyn has thrived. According to popular lore, fae typically grow weak and die without the care of their own kind, or, inversely, turn into malevolent haunts that terrorize the human families they have been left with. Allewyn is a changeling because she is fae and has been raised by myself, a simple herbalist. Although, I'll admit, I learned a great deal of methods from Auri, who returned from the fae awash with secrets of the earth.
The future plagues me. Allewyn knows nothing of who she is. And her ears may yet come to point. I imagine her mother perished, but there is no doubt in my mind that she is still sought by the fae folk, who live much longer than we do.
Listen to the wind. The hemlocks never lie.