I found my father waiting for me in the lounge. “Son, we have much to talk about,” he said, “so let’s be seated.” Le Bresee Cuisine has a small, very exclusive section where a table can be reserved for very discreet meetings. I knew them as the “big money” tables and my father escorted me to the one he’d reserved for us.

My father had pre-ordered a light dinner for us to ensure that we’d have plenty of time for our discussion. There were long intermissions between the refreshing of our drinks and the delivery of our food. A specially trained wait staff served this section of tables and very little interaction occurred between staff and guests.

* * *

As we started our meal, my father began our discussion.

“Son, your question about why your mother and I had only one child has opened the door to something very important. By asking that question, I am now permitted to have this discussion with you— something I feared might never happen. Certain rules required me to wait until you asked such a question before proceeding, for reasons which I will explain later. With the door now open, I can freely answer all of your questions, but first, please just listen to me for a moment.

“As of this instant, a timer has started. Today will be remembered as the birthday of your enlightenment. You now have two years in which to make a decision, starting right now. Milo, your interest in Candra is also very much linked to what I am about to tell you. Your question came just in time. You will now gain access to information with which you will be able to make informed decisions, whereas before you were walking blind.

“Much of what I’m about to tell you will sound strange to you at first, but rest assured that it is the holy belief of your ancestors. By sacred custom, the father of the new apprentice enlightens his son over a discreet dinner and it is for that purpose I have brought you here tonight, as my father did me many years ago.”

Thus began the most incredible story I’d ever heard.

* * *

Thousands of years ago a light filled the skies over the village of our ancestors. A craft descended to the earth, its brilliance lighting the surroundings. Most of the villagers ran and hid out of fear; but one family was not afraid. They approached the vessel. There was a long-held tradition in this family of exploring the unknown, both in thought and actions. It was this custom that drew them to this ship from the sky.

The visitors that descended from the vehicle were tall, with almost-white blonde hair and deep blue eyes. After a brief encounter, they left a gift, which included a message, before making an inspiring departure.

The family gathered round to inspect the gift — and what an unusual gift it was. They found a newborn baby swaddled in a blanket made of materials from their own region. Tucked beneath the blanket was a small plaque that read “Through this blood shall the world be ruled” written in their own language. The family brought the baby back to their house to conduct a more thorough examination. Once they unwrapped the baby and to their surprise, they discovered the child was female.

The men left the child with the women to care for while they returned to the landing site for further inspection. While looking around, they found a scroll on which was written very specific instructions on how to preserve the blood of the child. The family that accepted the baby and raised her was directed to have her marry into their family and produce offspring. Thereafter, her children were directed to marry only persons from noble families in the region and any grandchildren were to marry only first cousins.

Only those who followed these instructions exactly would be the pure bloodline. All generations thereafter received instructions to marry only those within the pure bloodline. Although still of the blood, those who deviated from these directives would produce offspring with less clout, according to the percentage of their blood purity. The descendent with the purest blood inherited the divine right to rule. If two descendants preserved equal blood percentages, the offspring with the most senior blood retained the right to rule without regard to gender. As you can imagine, Milo, the records of our bloodline hold great value within this family.

There were also specific instructions for preserving the secret of the bloodline. Only those born with a three-quarter or more pure blood percentage inherited full rights to knowledge of the bloodline. Those born with a lesser percentage, three-quarters to half pure blood, inherited conditional rights to knowledge of the bloodline, requiring that they initiate approved questioning about their heritage, without prompting, before they were permitted to receive knowledge of the bloodline. Those born with less than half to twenty-five percent pure blood inherited no rights to knowledge of the bloodline. However, with the approval of a near pure blood, for purposes of administering the instructions of the ruling class, their enlightenment was permitted. The instructions in the scroll strictly forbade enlightenment to those with less than twenty-five percent pure blood.

Milo, with this knowledge, surely you must know who you are. The instructions also provide an exception regarding non-blood spouses of the bloodline. For the sake of the offspring, the non-blood spouse is allowed full enlightenment regarding knowledge of the bloodline, but with one specific proviso — the enlightenment must come directly from the bloodline spouse. The bloodline spouse is directed to make the non-bloodline spouse swear an oath not disclose the secret of the bloodline to anyone — not even their own child.

Any unauthorized disclosure by one of the blood, or their spouse, results in a penalty — immediate termination of all blood rights. This severing of rights extended to their posterity in perpetuity. Any assistance given to one with terminated blood rights jeopardizes the blood rights of the one giving the assistance.

As you can imagine, Milo, the secret is well kept.