“I got a kitten for Christmas,” Olivia told her maternal grandmother proudly.
“That’s nice dear,” her grandmother smiled at her, “and what else did you get?”
Olivia rattled off her list of gifts before she was distracted by a newly arrived aunt with more presents to hand out.
Later the older woman said to Olivia’s mother, “I thought you weren’t going to give her a kitten?”
“Mum, no-one gave her a kitten but she got one for Christmas anyway.” Catheline sipped her drink and added, “It has wings.”
“I suppose it’s black?” Her mother sniffed. “At least Thaddeus isn’t followed around by evidence that Lachlan’s ancestors weren’t entirely human. When I was a girl it was put down to black fae blood, these days it’s supposed to be from dragon-begotten Neanderthals or some such thing. It’s all the one thing though, non-human blood. You should have married the Radcliff boy, there’s no magic in that family.”
“And precious little of interest about him, as I recall,” was Catheline’s reply. “I was told recently that the magic thing with Thaddeus and Olivia is probably down to a rare recessive gene, which is why magic hasn’t shown up in either family before. And the kitten is a lavender-grey colour.”
“You must have gotten it from your father then,” snapped her mother. “I’m sure there’s nothing like that on my side of the family.”
“I wouldn’t lay bets on it,” warned Catheline. “I did some internet research between kitten discovery and breakfast this morning. Apparently they’ve discovered thirteen gene sets across three chromosome pairs that produce magical ability and they’re finding evidence that there are other genes sets that block magical ability. We could be just loaded with it, except…”
“Ridiculous. My father and grandfather were members of the Sons of Earth. There couldn’t have been anything like that in our bloodline.”
“I don’t know about that,” Mr Rathbone had accepted Catheline and Lachlan’s invitation to stay for the family lunch and had been sweeping past on his way to the dips. “The Sons of Earth was a cover organisation for wizards, mages and sorcerers during the Shadow War. Over half them are supposed to have been magic wielders.”