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Deathbed Confession of Mother Eve

Over the centuries some High Priestesses tried to destroy the Deathbed Confession of Mother Eve stored in the Forbidden Section of the Great Library. Steps had been taken to ensure it survived. This blog takes the reader back in time to the day the confession was recorded.

Hili, the favorite of those who Mother Eve held dear, sat next to the sleeping Queen’s bed. Eve’s decline in health had been slow coming on. Dozens of years had gone by since the first symptoms had begun. Now the once powerful Mother-of-All lay helpless on her bed, unable to do anything for herself, or to control anything but the words coming from her mouth. And now that was a struggle for her, too.

“Hili,” the voice from the bed got Hili’s attention at once. It sounded stronger, clearer than it had in a long while. “How long did I sleep?”

Hili looked at Mother Eve, trying to keep fear and pity out of her expression. Eve, the mother of all of civilization, was dying. What would happen to them without her, Hili did not know. She answered Eve’s question.

“Great Mother, you fell asleep around the time of second dinner and it is now just after sundown.”

“Whore-son!” Mother Eve swore angrily. “Help me sit up, Hili.”

Hili scrambled to obey. Mother Eve’s physicians had ordered Hili to keep Mother Eve as still as possible, but even they knew there was no stopping their High Queen when her mind was made up.

The energy it took for Eve to sit upright in bed left her breathless. Hili tried so hard not to cry, but a tear or two rolled down her face before she got it under control. Fortunately, Mother Eve was concentrating solely on regaining her composure and did not notice. Eve was not tolerant of signs of weakness, as she would have considered Hili’s tears to be.

Once her breathing slowed, Mother Eve got right to business.

“Hili, I have been thinking. Before death takes me, there is something I need you to record. This is the most important assignment I have ever given you. It is the most important work you will ever do in your entire life. Get pen and ink, quickly.” Eve gasped for breath, but by the time Hili was seated by her side again with paper, pen, with an ink cup on the side table of the Queen’s bed, Eve’s breathing had calmed. The High Queen wasted no time.

“Write this down: I, Mother Eve, of sound mind, but failing body, declare this document to be my last testament and my confession. I spent my lifetime deceiving my descendants. I have no regrets, because every mother does what is necessary to protect her daughters. Yet, as I realize that my death is imminent, I know that at some point in the future my daughters will grow beyond the fairy tales I raised them on. I hope that the knowledge herein will be kept secret until such time as womankind is ready to accept it.”

Eve was out of breath and stopped speaking. Hili waited patiently. When her breath was steadier, Mother Eve gestured to the paper Hili was holding. Hili looked at Mother Eve. 

“You want me to read this back to you?” Hili asked.

Eve nodded.

Hili read the paragraph. As soon as Hili stopped, Eve started speaking again. 

“There are no goddessess…”

Hili, shocked by the words the Great Mother uttered, recorded the words with shaking hands. Hili felt despondent as she dutifully recorded Eve’s confession. It was too much. Soon death would claim her dear Mother Eve, and Hili would be deprived of the comfort of the goddesses she had grown up believing in. When Mother Eve took her next break, Hili tried to keep her composure as Mother Eve struggled to breathe. She wondered what Mother Eve could possibly have left to say. It took longer this time for Eve to regain control of her breathing. When she did, Mother Eve pointed at Hili with one finger. 

“From the beginning?” Hili asked. Mother Eve nodded again. Hili read the words on the paper again, prepared this time, to record whatever shocking thing Mother Eve said next.

“I came to life in a Garden. We think our city of Evlantis is beautiful, indeed, I have striven to make it so, but my place of origin was Paradise. There was no struggle, no hopelessness, no want or need of any kind. There was no sickness, no death. Just days and nights full of beauty and purpose and love. I had a companion, a man, who said that I meant more to him than life itself.”

Eve expressed this last part with venom. She was angry and bitter. She gasped desperately for breath.

“Mother Eve!” Paper and pen went flying as Hili jumped to her feet to minister to the Great Mother-of-All. Hili tried to comfort her. “Mother Eve, please do not tax yourself so! No man is worth dying for!”

“Hili,” Eve’s words came out in a wheezy whisper. “Truer words have never been spoken, thank you! You assure me that I have steered womenkind properly.” The effort of the whispered words caused Mother Eve to cough. Hili was under strict instructions from Mother Eve’s team of physicians not to let Eve get to this point. But she had also been trained in how to handle this. Hili reached for a rag kept at Eve’s bedside for this contingency and held it to Eve’s mouth with one hand, while her other arm circled around the frail old woman’s body. Hili tried to pull her hand away as soon as Mother Eve’s cough subsided, but Mother Eve was ready. Eve grabbed Hili’s arm. 

“Stop!” She hissed. 

Hili stopped. 

“Show me,” Eve said.

“Please, no,” Hili said, her eyes filling with tears.

“Show me, child. I command it.” 

Hili could no longer keep tears from spilling down her face as she opened the cloth to show Eve the blood her cough had produced. 

“Idiot physicians…” Eve grumbled and then stopped. She clearly wanted rant, but changed the subject instead. 

“Hili, it’s okay. The paper.” Mother Eve waited calmly now, realizing anew the importance of conserving her energy so that she could finish her confession. Hili helped Mother Eve settle back against the pillows before she picked the paper off the floor and found her pen. Without being asked, Hili read the confession from the beginning. 

Eve began speaking as soon as Hili ended. This time Eve stopped before she became winded. Hili sat up straighter, forgiving herself for showing Eve the blood, something the lead Physician, Coral, had said not to do. Perhaps now that Mother Eve understood the gravity of her situation, she would be with them longer. Perhaps Coral had been wrong.

Four more times Eve repeated the cycle of talking and resting. By the time she finished, it was clear Mother Eve was exhausted. Yet her face showed none of the agitation she had shown earlier. Instead, Eve looked to Hili to be at peace, in spite of the physical and emotional torment she had experienced.

Eve smiled at Hili. 

“Read it out loud to me once more, child.”

Hili read:

“I, Mother Eve, of sound mind, but failing body, wish this document to be my last testament and my confession. I spent my lifetime deceiving my descendants. I have no regrets, because every mother does what is necessary to protect her children. Yet, as I realize that my death is imminent, I know that at some point in Herstory my daughters will grow beyond the fairy tales I raised them on. I hope that the knowledge herein will be kept secret until such time as womankind is ready to accept it.

“There are no goddessess. They are the fairy tales I referred to. I, and I alone provided for myself and my descendants throughout the many years since the man who got me pregnant abandoned me. All children have questions about where they come from. I was too angry, too betrayed to share the truth. And so I lied about my origin and made up stories about the loving Goddesses who protected me and watched over them.

“I came to life in a Garden. We think our city of Evlantis is beautiful, indeed, I have striven to make it so, but my place of origin was Paradise. There was no struggle, no hopelessness, no want or need of any kind. There was no sickness, no death. Just days and nights full of beauty and purpose and love. I had a companion, a man, who said that I meant more to him than life itself. 

“I had to leave the Garden, my home. Why is not important. What is important is that my mate chose not to come with me.

“The facts of my life have been recorded to an excessive degree. All, that is, except for my origin. I know the minds of woman well, and realize there will come a time in Herstory when my descendants will justly question the existence of the goddessess.

“Know this, my children. The world and all in it were set in motion by a force which abandoned women. And we have risen up to overcome adversity no matter what the odds, with our own strength, with our own intelligence, with our own knowledge.

“Be forewarned. No matter what else happens, we must never let mankind get the upper hand, no matter what we must reduce them to. They are not our brothers, not when they have betrayed us over and over as Herstory has shown. They are certainly not our Masters.

“When the goddesses that I created to comfort you forsake you, do not look to mankind to fill the gap. The truth, the answers, the power to overcome is within each of you. So saith I, Mother Eve. Founder of the world of women.”

Hili looked at Eve as she finished and was relieved. Mother Eve looked content.

“It is not perfect, but I do not have time to make it so. It will suffice, I hope, when the day that it is needed comes to pass. Ink the pen once more, and let me sign my confession, dear Hili.”

Hili complied and watched as Mother Eve signed with shaking hand the marks that meant her name. Mother Eve went into a deep reverie, staring at the paper with her signature on it. A long time passed before Eve spoke again. Hili realized quickly that Eve was not addressing her.

“Ah, Creator, you will never have my children. You denied me my home and my man. I have kept his issue from you. And I have done my best to ensure that the sons of Adam will never be free.” Eve smiled, a smile so horrible that Hili was afraid.

“Wh-what, Mother Eve?” Hili asked. “Did you need me? Does the document need to be amended?”

Mother Eve turned her head to Hili. 

“Did I just speak my thoughts out loud?” Eve asked. Her expression was one that Hili had never seen before. It was cold, calculating.

“You spoke out loud, but I could not understand what you said.”

Hili had heard every word, but it was true she did not understand the meaning. 

“Are you certain?”

Hili dropped her eyes.

“Yes, beloved Queen.”

“Very well. Send someone to summon the High Priestess for me. This document shall go into her care.” Hili ran to the door of the chamber and gave the order to the attendant there.

As soon as the High Priestess arrived, Eve dismissed Hili. Eve handed the confession to High Priestess Raine. They had been close friends and political allies for all of Raine’s career. Eve was very different with Raine than she had been with Hili.

“Read this. Speak plainly.” Eve kept her statements to Raine as short as possible. 

Raine read the confession twice through before looking at the High Queen. “This will ruin the Religion Sector. Why give it to me?” 

“To suppress. For centuries, I think. Until women doubt the existence of goddesses.”

“Ah,” said Raine. “The only sector that has anything to gain by keeping it a secret is the Religion Sector. Why should I keep it at all?”

“Because mankind must never regain their rights. They will destroy women.” 

Raine nodded slowly. “Yes, I think you are right about that.” 

“Are you surprised?” Mother Eve asked.

“By the information in your confession? That you made up the goddesses? I think you know me well enough to know I hold the throne in the Religion Sector because I love to rule, and not because I am devout.” 

Eve chuckled. “True. We have had some fun times together. What will you do?”

Raine laughed. “You know what I will do! It was your idea for me to have a committee to cull through the piles of documents and books in the Great Library to weed out writing that detracts from the power of the thrones and store them in a forbidden section. I plan to make the forbidden section accessible only to the ruling High Priestess. I will put specific instructions on this document that will discourage the most devout from ever opening it. Those who get elected that are less devout may read it, but they will have no reason to share the information.” Raine’s brow knitted in concern. “As a matter of fact, some will want to destroy it.” 

“Make copies. Hide them.”

“Yes, I’ll have to. And I will have to do it myself. I can’t guarantee they will survive forever, but I’ll do my best.” 

“One thing more: Hili.” Eve stopped. She was certain she had spoken out loud and Hili had heard some, if not all of what she said.

“What about Hili?”

“After I pass, banish her from the city.”

Raine’s eyebrows raised. “That seems harsh, Great Mother. Banishment is a death sentence. I think we can trust Hili.”

“We can trust her now. What if she sets her sights on your throne?” Eve played on Raine’s greatest fear, that of losing power. 

“I see what you mean. You have always been a good friend to me. The greatest mentor. I will miss you…” Raine’s voice trailed off. 

“I’m counting on you. Keep my people safe, Priestess.” 

“I will, dear friend, dear Mother.” Raine was not an emotional person, but she suddenly felt as if she might cry. 

Eve noticed. 

“Go, my friend. With my thanks. Send Hili in.” 

Raine didn’t trust herself to speak. She nodded, and bowed deeply to the High Queen, and left, feeling control over her emotions return as she took action. 

“Hili,” she said to the girl waiting outside the door. “Great Mother is asking for you.” 

“Thank you, High Priestess.” Raine held the door open for Hili to go in to the Queen. When Hili reached Eve’s bedside, she found her beloved Queen fast asleep, exhausted from the activity. Hili took up her vigil at Great Mother’s side. 

Morning light had just begun to seep in through the window when Hili noticed the breathing of the Queen had changed for the worse. It was shallow and had a gurgling, raspy sound. It was one of the symptoms she had been told to watch for. Hili ran to the door to tell the attendant to fetch the physicians, but it was too late. By the time Hili took up her post again, Great Mother was breathed no more.

Weather in Evlantis

It is not by accident that the Queendom of Evlantis is located in a temperate climate. In their ancient herstory, when women lived as nomads, they kept detailed maps and records about the places they lived in. The women’s greatest desire was to find a place to put down permanent roots. Ancient herstory records that it was Mother Eve’s idea to collect documentation on each region’s growing season. The women found that the closer they were to an ocean or a sea, as well as being in a region with four seasons made a difference in the longevity of the growing season. 

One year, after traveling north and experiencing a harsh winter that seemed to never end, Mother Eve had their community travel in a new direction. After a few years they came to a mountain range. They skirted the mountains until they came to a magnificently beautiful mountain that the Priestess of that day proclaimed had the blessing of the goddess Ephrea and advised Mother Eve that they needed to climb the mountain. 

Ancient documents record that as Mother Eve stood on the top of the mountain they named Mount Great Mother and took in the scene below her, she wept at the beauty she beheld. There was a body of water in the distance that seemed to stretch on forever. The land between the top of the mountain and the shore of the water was a lush verdant green. Mother Eve proclaimed they would descend the mountain and settle there for a while.

They arrived in the spring. There were four seasons their first year, which was a good sign. The summer, which had some hot days, wasn’t endlessly uncomfortable, and the winter, while there was snow now and then, wasn’t unbearably cold. The second year, the first full year they were able to farm the land, they recorded a growing season of eight months. They were able to feed their community year round without difficulty. Mother Eve, who had settled in a home near enough the ocean to enjoy the sound of the waves on the shore, declared that this region was where they would put down roots. 

And so it is, in the city of Evlantis, the weather, is known as Eve’s choice. If the weather is good, the women bless the goddess and Mother Eve. If the weather is bad, women shrug and say, “What can we do? Mother Eve chose our weather.”


Ava’s Backstory

Ava, the youngest daughter of Adam and Aurora, perched on the end of a branch high above Paradise and sang happily. She had arranged her brown, waist-length hair to cover her body and was pretending to be a bird with hair, not feathers. To complete the illusion, she had carefully pulled her arms beneath her hair and used them to hug her knees tightly to her chest, so only her lean, oval face was visible. Her bare feet were the sole part of her that made contact with the rough bark of the branch. Ava maintained her balance effortlessly, as her brown eyes vigilantly swept the distant landscape of the Garden of Eden below her.

Ava was centuries old and perpetually young. She had the same innocence and joy that every member of her family possessed, and the same brilliant mind. Her only problem, as she saw it, was that as the youngest of her eleven brothers and sisters, she was still treated like a baby. Her family acknowledged her superior performing skills and her verbal abilities, but she had never been able to beat her entire family in the physical games they played. Ava was fiercely competitive. Over the centuries, her obsession to excel at everything had become an affectionate joke among them. Ava was determined that today would be the day she would win her first tracking game and put an end to the jokes. She blushed to think how proud everyone would be of her, especially Seth, as they realized she was no longer a baby, but an equal member of the group. Only the praise of the Creator, who walked among them sometimes, meant more to her than the respect of her family.

Ava was well schooled in the two rules of Eden. The first was not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Even Ava recognized the desperation in Adam’s voice when he exhorted them never to eat the fruit of that tree. Ava had considered hiding in its branches, but if her trail led the best tracker among them to the center of the Garden, she would surely be discovered, because that tree stood alone. It was a solitary reminder of one mysterious tragedy.

The second rule was not to cross the Wall that separated their homeland from whatever lay beyond it. Almost three hundred years ago, when Ava was still a child of five, she had seen the Wall for the first time. She remembered it perfectly, because in Paradisia there were never any breakdowns of the pathways of the neurons in the brain.

Ava stopped singing as she recalled every detail of that day. Her mother, Aurora, had thought of a way they could harness water for power. The family was engaged in the last stage of her project, which involved attaching the wooden paddles that would be turned by the river. Aurora was enthusiastic about the project and did not have time to entertain Ava. There was no way a five-year-old could contribute to this stage of the process. Everyone in the family was engaged in Aurora’s project except for Adam, but he would not play with his daughter because he was deep in thought. Ava was lying on her stomach in the hot sun watching some ants on the ground as they worked on a project of their own. She glanced up and saw her father walk away.

She got up and followed him stealthily, making a game of it. They traveled for hours until Adam reached the great Wall. Adam stood facing the Wall and placed his hands against it. His shoulders began to shake and a strange noise emanated from him. Ava was overwhelmed by curiosity and approached him.

“Father, what are you doing?” Ava asked.

Adam turned to her. Ava was surprised to see that his face had water on it. She looked up to the sky to see if it had begun to rain and she hadn’t felt any droplets yet.

“Ava! What are you doing here?”

Ava examined her father’s face more closely.

“Everyone is busy and I wanted to play,” she said. “I followed you because it was fun. What is the water that runs from your eyes?”

“I don’t have a name for it. It only happens here, at the Wall,” Adam said. He challenged her. “Here, Ava, stand at the Wall and see if water flows from your eyes.” Adam resumed his stance and Ava imitated him.

“No, Father, it does not happen to me,” she reported. “Perhaps it only comes with great age and great wisdom. You are the oldest one of us, right?”

“A wonderful hypothesis, young one!” he said with a laugh. “Yes, I am the oldest, and you are the youngest. Someday you will be able to test your theory.”

“When, Papa? When will I be as old as you are and have the water flow from my eyes?”

“I will not tell you how very old I am!” Adam said. “Your mother is a baby compared to me. I will not have her fuss over me as she did over Seth when he had the accident on the mountain and broke half the bones in his body. How old I am will remain my secret!”

Adam took her hand in his, and they walked back to the work site together.

As Ava thought about that day, she remembered the happiness she felt at having the companionship of her father all to herself. He loved to carve wood, and he always smelled of wood dust, and pleasant scents of pine and cedar. They had taken turns talking. Adam had told her it refreshed him to hear her speak of the wonders of the world as she saw them through her young eyes, and he had patiently answered her many questions, especially her favorite one: “Why?”

That day had led indirectly to this one. Every few years she returned to the Wall to test her theory. Though she imitated Adam precisely, her eyes never watered the way his had done when he touched the Wall. It was on one of her pilgrimages that she had the brilliant idea of hiding in the branches of the tree that she was perched in now. It grew outside of the Wall, but its branches breached her homeland. She believed she was the first in the family to think of this hiding place, and they would never know that she traveled to it by climbing a Garden tree and swinging from limb to limb, like a monkey, across the trees until she reached the branches of the not-Eden tree.

Abruptly, Ava put her hands on the bark and leaned forward. The branch drooped slightly as she shifted her weight. She watched a tiny figure in the distance cross a stream where she had been early this morning. She had never thought to hide where she could observe the others tracking her. She had never realized how good they were at following the signs of her path. Ava lost sight of her pursuer, a speck on the landscape, as he or she followed the trail Ava had inadvertently left into a valley.

Ava was worried. The game would end when the sun kissed the horizon. Someone was closing in on her, but she might still win if sunset came before she was found. Her hiding place was daring. A small hope kept her quiet and still.

She heard a rustling in the tree behind her. Ava looked back toward not-Eden. On the same branch that she sat on, but much closer to the trunk of the tree, was a creature she had never seen before. It was long, dark, and tube-like. It had no legs that she could see from her position, but it moved in an unusual side-to-side motion on the wide limb. Ava could think of nothing but the novelty of the strange beast. Long ago, her father had named all the creatures of the earth. Ava wondered what he would call this one. How amazed he would be that she had found a new species! She forgot about the tracking game.

Enthralled, Ava held her breath. She sat motionless and willed the creature to come closer. It inched cautiously toward her but stopped abruptly, as if there was an invisible barrier between them. For a moment, the black eyes of the creature, eyes set on top of a triangular head, looked directly into hers. Its tongue flicked in and out of its mouth. It did not speak, but made a hissing sound and dropped its head out of sight into the foliage below. The length of it followed in a slithery motion. Captivated by the strange movement and bursting with curiosity, Adam’s youngest daughter turned and followed. She crossed the boundary between Eden and the rest of the world with a vague feeling that she had forgotten something important.

The creature moved much faster than she expected. She was not able to keep it in sight once her feet hit the earth outside the Garden. She searched, hoping to find it, or at least find some clues about its habits so that she could tell her family about her adventure. She was disappointed that she could not find anything. Ava noticed the sun was almost at the horizon. She remembered the game and was consoled to know that she had not been found.

With an unerring sense of direction, she began her return trip to the Garden. When she was close enough to see the Wall, she saw a figure standing near it. Anxious to be back with the people she loved, she ran.

She recognized a familiar form, the one Michael the Archangel most often took, and felt relief. A few paces closer she could see the expression on his face. Ava slowed. Michael did not look happy. She recalled how her father looked that way sometimes. He would never explain his expression, no matter how much her mother, Aurora, begged him to tell her what troubled him.

She stopped, uncertain of her reception. She had disobeyed. The Master taught them to love cause and effect, to learn from it, and to embrace it. But she hadn’t meant any harm, and there was nothing here that wasn’t in Eden except for the creature. She shuddered for a reason she could not understand. Surely, she would go back to the Garden to face her consequence.

Michael had not shown any sign that he had seen her. He stood, as if on guard, with the inexplicable look on his face. Ava changed her course to pass by him. She hid behind foliage and trees, and made her way sideways, always keeping the top of the Wall in sight. Whenever she peered out, no matter how much progress she made, Michael was there at the Wall directly ahead of her. It was as if he was guarding Paradise from her.

It was a preposterous thought! She had every right to go home. She belonged to the Master, heart and soul; and besides, how would the family get on without her? It would break their hearts, especially her mother’s. Aurora reviewed the two rules of the Garden with her children frequently. Her father would get those sad moods more often. She was certain of it. Recalling her father’s dark moods took on an ominous portent. As if he could read her thoughts, Michael, who had not seemed to notice her, called her name.

Ava left her hiding place and went forward, trembling. Michael’s look softened. She spoke before he could.

“Michael, I was playing the tracking game. I didn’t mean to go over the Wall. I only wanted to hide in the branch of a tree that breached our garden. I saw a creature I’d never seen before. Without thinking, I followed it. I’d like to go home now, even if I’m disqualified from the game. I’ll accept whatever punishment the Master has for me. I’m sorry, Michael, truly sorry.”

“I am sorry, too,” Michael said. “To disobey our Master and leave the Garden of Eden is to leave forever.”

The enormity of what she had done hit her. In response to an unfamiliar pain in her heart, water leaked from her eyes. She made the connection instantly.

“No, Michael, no! Oh, I am not the only one to break a rule of Paradise, am I?” she asked.

“No, precious one,” he answered gently. “You are not the first. Because you are not, you won’t have to live in the land outside the Garden alone. You have relatives there, less than a thousand-day walking distance from the Garden.”

As surprising as this revelation was, Ava was not interested in leaving her family. She had an idea.

“Michael, what if I wrestle you to get back into the Garden? If I win, I get to return to my home; if I lose, I will accept banishment.”

She smiled innocently as she said the words. She was the second best fighter of her father’s children, having six brothers and five sisters to out-maneuver to get her way. She was shocked by Michael’s reaction.

He seemed to gain size, and his look of pity was replaced by anger, which frightened her. Fear was new to her. She took several steps away from Michael, but stood her ground as he spoke.

“If you try to return to the Garden, I have been commanded to use the power the Almighty has given me to kill you.”

“Kill? What is kill?” she asked.

“To kill is to bring death. Death is what comes to the leaves in the fall, to the flowers after they bloom, to fire when it has burned its last ember. You would not draw breath, or have thoughts, feelings, or movement. Your body would lay still and cold, uninhabited. Death comes to humans this side of the Garden, while it cannot touch your family in Eden.”

“Michael, I do not wish to die. Will this death come to me?” Ava trembled.

He still looked fierce.

“I do not know. It is not for me to determine. This moment you are immortal. You did not intend to break the rule when you followed the serpent. Your error was carelessness. Our Master has not ordered your death or appeared to you Himself to deliver your punishment as He did to the other one. I believe there is hope for you.

“Whether you will remain immortal when you are faced with the temptations of this land, I cannot say. You do not have the advantage of your stepbrothers and stepsisters who possess knowledge of good and evil. However, you know the Master well. If you choose to act as He would act, and live as He has taught you to, someday you will be reunited with your family.

“If you oppose the will of the Master on purpose, you will surely, eventually, face death. For now, I have been ordered to keep you out of the Garden. I will obey our Creator, even if I must kill you, though I love you.”

Michael smiled at Ava.

“My advice to you, dear one,” he said gently, “is to travel to where your stepsiblings dwell so that you will not be here alone, pining with misery just outside the Wall. Life is a gift; gather from it what joy you can.”

“Joy?” asked Ava incredulously. “I have just lost everything I know, everything that I love. How can you speak to me of joy? I will go because I must. I do not wish to pine at the Wall, and I do not wish this death. I will try to serve the Master well so that I can return someday.”

“You have the Almighty’s permission to ask me three questions about life on this side of the Wall. Choose your questions wisely.”

Ava thought carefully. Questions came to her easily, but she wasn’t sure which three she should choose. Her mind raced, and then she made her decision. “These are the three questions I would like for you to answer, Michael: Where did these relatives come from, what should I fear most, and will I meet the Master there?”

Michael nodded, pleased with her choices. “I will answer your questions, and as I do so, we will walk. Soon, the signs you left behind as you marked your trail will lead Seth and the others to the Wall. Since I do not want any more residents to leave Eden, I will remove the temptation for you to call to them.”

“And if I refuse to walk with you?”

Michael looked stern again. “Child of Adam and Aurora, search your heart. Do you wish any of your loved ones to share your fate?”

Ava made her decision instantly. As her answer, she turned and quickly walked away from the Wall.

“What of my family?” she asked the empty air around her. “To not know what has happened to me will grieve them. They will come looking for me here when they do not find me in the Garden.”

Michael appeared at her side, as she had known he would.

“The Master will give them the news. They must accept it, or go into exile.”

She paled.

“Michael, can you take them a message from me?”

“Give me the message, and I will ask the Almighty.”

“Tell them I am sorry. Tell them not to come after me. Tell them instead to petition the Master to help me to obey Him. Assure them I will do everything in my power to serve the Master on this side faithfully so that I may rejoin them someday.”

He nodded.

“It will be permitted. Now I will answer your three questions. After that, you must travel on, alone.”

They walked together, and Michael talked until the sun was three-quarters past the horizon.

“Ava, I must leave you now,” said Michael. “The Almighty is with your family at present, and has summoned me to His side.”

Michael disappeared, but his voice continued.

“Follow the star your father named Aviva, and you will find your stepsiblings. I wish you a good journey and a happy life.”

“Will I ever see you again?” she whispered the words.

“You will see me if the Master wills it.” Michael’s disembodied voice sounded in her head.

Ava realized that if she had been in Eden, the Archangel’s words would have been an answer. The Master’s will was always known in the Garden. In this new place, she could not say for certain what the Creator’s will was.

Ava began her thousand-day journey. Though she could not see Aviva, she knew where it hung in the horizon, washed out by the dwindling light of the sun. What had begun as another of a series of endless days of beauty, purpose, and belonging had ended in separation, uncertainty, and exile.

Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival begins its first day in the Livestock Sector and animals are the focus of the entertainment. It is the most child-friendly day of the festival. There are attractions for the children like petting pens, pony rides, and pig races. Women can horseback ride, shop for household pets, or buy cows and goats for milk, or chickens for eggs. There are culinary delights such as yogurt dishes and specialty cheeses that the Livestock sector excels in. The first day tends to end early so mothers can get their tired-out little ones to bed.

The second day of the Festival takes place in the Agriculture Sector and the theme is advancements in medicine. There are new health products to try, spa treatments to take advantage of, and healthful meditations. Wine, used for medicinal purposes of course, flows freely and women leave this Festival day feeling refreshed and energized and motivated to pursue new health goals.

On the third day of the Festival women return to the Livestock sector one of the most looked forward to days of the week–fashion day. There are booths set up everywhere with clothing, shoes, and fashion accessories for sale. There are fashion shows where designers showcase the newest and best of clothing appropriate to wear in each of the six sectors.

The fourth day belongs to the Soldier sector. There are displays of physical prowess of the Queendoms soldiers, contests of strength and agility. There are mock battles as well as real fighting matches.

Fifth festival day takes place in the Agriculture sector and features all things food. Tables are laden with goods for sale from the harvest, as well as baked goods and other culinary specialties such as sauces and jams. There are spectacular floral arrangements.

The sixth day is hosted by the Government sector. A new theme is chosen each year by the Government festival committee and is a surprise to the citizens. The Government sector treats their day like a party, but with some type of government agenda or public service message that they feel will help the city run better.

The seventh day is hosted by the Religion sector. One theme is thanksgiving to the goddesses for another year of prosperity for the Queendom. With a goddess for every ache, desire, or need of the women, every woman can find at least service to attend that she will enjoy. Another theme is supplications to the goddesses for pregnancies. The Harvest Festival culminates in the procession to the Quickening Chambers so the first group of young women chosen by the Quickening committee may begin their duty to hopefully become blessed mothers of daughters.

Photo of the child with bunny by Anastasiya Gepp from Pexels

Women’s Work in Evlantis

The Queendom, ruled by women for women, elevates the relationship between mother and daughter above all others. Motherhood is recognized as the single greatest and most valuable occupation a woman can have. Any woman who bears a daughter is supported by the state until the daughter reaches the age of sector choosing. 

Once a daughter comes of age, every woman below a royal level must do some type of work to live comfortably in the city. Though a food allotment is given to the poorest of citizens, most women choose to engage in meaningful activity that produces a means to provide not only for food and upkeep on their homes, but for more extravagant needs: elegant clothing, a night out at the theater, or gossip parlor subscriptions. Of course, women who are barren, or not chosen to bear a child (or worse…give birth to sons) are never supported by the state and work their entire adult lives in some occupation that serves the city.

While heavy labor in the Queendom is done by slaves (mankind) there are many occupations they are prohibited from, leaving many acceptable work opportunities for non-royal women of Evlantis. There are sector specific jobs: committee members, farmers, physicians, teachers, priestesses, artisans, herders, clothiers, and soldiers. Then there are trades any woman in Evlantis may choose to work in, such as:

Owning or working for a Gossip Parlor or Gossip Paper

Serving a Royal at a Palace

Owning or working at a stall in the Queendom’s marketplace

Any job in the entertainment business (acting, writing, music, comedy, etc.)

Working in a Queendom theater in any capacity

Some work is held in higher esteem than others, even among the common citizens women recognize a type of pecking order. Teachers are held in the highest esteem, while any job serving a Royal at their residence is the lowest status job. Being a maid servant is one step higher, though a very significant one, than being a slave. 


Travel Ban of Evlantis

The Queendom of Evlantis is surrounded by a huge wall, not to keep threats out, but to keep its six-thousand citizens in. Soldiers stand guard on the wall facing the city. Early in women’s herstory they were nomadic. Some women of Evlantis still shudder at the mention of those days. The Queendom-the city ruled by women for women-is everything their foremother’s dreamed of. No one goes hungry, every woman has a roof over her head, and all children are safe from harm. Every woman is needed for the city’s continued success. It is taboo in the city to express a desire to explore the world. Beyond the lands the city uses is a forest which is regarded by most with fear.

There are many women whose work takes them outside the city walls. Some sectors have guarded gates to the lands outside the city proper. The Agriculture sector has many gates so farm women and doctors can access their crops on the lands east of the city. The Livestock sector also has multiple gates so they can tend to the animals in their care on pasture lands to the west of the city. Soldiers have training fields and the hot springs outside their section of the wall. The Arts sector has a gate for those whose craft requires inspiration or supplies from nature. 

The Religion sector has the most ornate gate. They tend a path that leads to the top of Mount Great Mother. Religious excursions to the mountaintop takes days and attracts the most devout followers of the goddesses as well as women who secretly wish to see more of the world.

Every gate is guarded, and it is one of the duties of the Soldier sector to make sure all who leave through a gate returns. On the rare occasion that someone is missing, specially trained tracking soldiers go and find them.

Though access to the lands outside the city walls is limited and monitored, the women of Evlantis may travel freely throughout the city. None of the six sectors ban other residents from their property.  

Celebrations in the Queendom

The Queendom of Evlantis is made up of six clique-like sectors, each has its own government and customs. What each woman celebrates depends on both which sector she was raised in and the sector she is assigned to live in. 

The Harvest Festival is the one celebration that is a city-wide event. Originally it was a religious event to thank the goddesses for the fall harvest. Over the centuries it evolved into a celebration where each sector tries to outdo the next with displays and amusements.

Harvest Festival takes place in the fall, and each sector hosts at least one day of the event. Officially the celebration lasts eight days and culminates in the first Quickening assignments of the season. Unofficially it is nine days with a celebration in the Arts sector before the official celebration begins. Women gather to party and sate their baser appetites before the more wholesome, family-oriented fun of the rest of the week begins. The first unofficial day in the Arts Sector culminates late in the evening in an almost taboo tradition…the Fanny Dance, where women who are so inclined gather in the Amphitheater of the Arts to watch men strip for entertainment.

While there are other celebrations that all women agree are important, such as Birthdays, the sectors disagree about the best way to celebrate them. Since the primary relationship in Evlantis is the one between mother’s and their daughters, Mother’s Day and Daughter’s Day are two celebrations that are held on the same day in the Queendom, but celebrated in different ways in each sector. It is up to each sector whether true outsiders (those who were neither born there or current citizens) may attend. For example, only Soldiers may attend and compete for the coveted Best Athlete award, but all citizens are invited to the Agriculture’s Summer Solstice Revelry.

Then there are dozens of celebrations that are unique to each sector. A few examples are listed below:

Government sector: Constitution Day, Queen for a Day, Mother of the Year.

Agriculture sector: Spring First Planting Celebration, Summer Solstice Revelry, Spa Day.

Religion sector: Mother Eve’s Day, Goddess of Life Feast Day, and the Land of the Dead Celebration Day. 

Arts sector: Day of Wine and Song, Day of Song and Dance, Celebration of the Goddess of the Muse.

Livestock sector: Best of Show Livestock competition, Symposium for Fashion Invention, Spring Celebration of Life.

Soldier sector: Day to Honor Soldiers of Herstory, Best Athlete competition, Goddess Marsa Celebration.

Medicine in Evlantis

In the women’s world medical treatment is based on the naturopathic model. Women that become physicians must be citizens of the Agriculture sector and have years of training before they can begin treating patients.

There are centuries worth of documentation for the physicians of Evlantis to use to treat and cure all types of ailments. Physical symptoms of illnesses are treated with herbal remedies or food known to contain health benefits. Physicians prescriptions for treatment may also include massage therapy, hot springs treatments, music for either relaxation or stimulation, counseling, and various forms of exercise including dance, yoga, and strength training. Women who become physicians must be compassionate and wise, and able to motivate their patients to engage in the treatments they prescribe.

When illness strikes the Queendom, quarantine is used to minimize exposure to the disease. Physicians work round the clock to find remedies to minimize symptoms and maximize the body’s ability to fight the disease. Every experimental treatment and its results are added to the volumes of documentation for future generations of physicians.

Surgery is not used often due to high mortality rates. Instead of surgery, women who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses receive pain management care so they may enter the land of the dead as comfortably and huwomanly cared for as possible.

The only exception to the no-surgery rule is The Taking, which involves surgically removing an infant from a mother’s womb to save its life. Any mother whose pregnancy goes awry has the right to choose The Taking so that her child may live. Most mothers in that life and death situation choose to give their child a chance at life. Until very late in the Herstory of Evlantis, The Taking always resulted in death for the mother.

The Fringe

Photo by Zun Zun from Pexels

The High Queen of Evlantis, who presides over the city’s highest court, must assign punishments to those found guilty of crimes. Punishments range from fines to a death sentence, depending on the crime and the temperament of the High Queen.

One punishment that is considered very serious is re-assignment from a city sector to a place called the Fringe. The Fringe is a residential area that borders the outskirts of the Agriculture sector’s farmlands. The criminals sentenced in the Fringe serve two purposes. They provide free labor in the fields and they guard the perimeter to keep field hand slaves from escaping.

The women who live in the Fringe have no rights. They are banned from voting and bearing children. Their quality of life is dependent on the generosity of the High Queen. Under High Queen Rachel’s rule life in the Fringe was as pleasant as it could be under the circumstances. When her lack of oversight of the Fringe was questioned by her opponents in government, Rachel would insist that being banished from the city limits to do forced labor was punishment enough, she would not see the women deprived of basic comforts.

Music of Evlantis

All the sectors of the Queendom have musicians. Musicians are held in high esteem and concerts are held regularly in all kinds of venues: theaters, Gossip Parlors, and private homes of those with high status are a few of the most common. During the summer there are musical performances outdoors in each sector’s market place. Evlantians have all types of stringed instruments, wind instruments, drums, gongs and other percussion instruments.

Not only is music entertainment, but it is also an important and necessary part of the birthing process. It would be unthinkable to give birth without at least one musician or singer present to perform birthing songs during the delivery.

Each sector tends to specialize in a style of music, though every musician dabbles in all musical styles. The musical speciality of the Government sector is similar to our classical music. Their most popular songs are ballads celebrating the lives of women who have bettered Evlantis over its Herstory set to orchestral arrangements. Some have even been turned into popular musicals performed at theaters.

The Agriculture sector’s music is similar to our “new age” style music. It’s most popular song’s lyrics celebrate growth. It is neither easy to perform, nor to sing, but it captures the mystery and imagination in a way that no other sector’s music does. It frequently incorporates sounds of nature into its songs like bird calls, the sound of the ocean waves, or wind rushing through leaves.

The Religion sector’s style of music is soulful. It expresses the struggles that women face, and lyrics tend to be supplications to the goddesses to grant mothers and their daughters long and happy lives.

The Arts sector’s music is akin to our rock and roll. The Arts sector residents are the rebels of the Queendom and express it through music that awakens the senses, makes toes tap and bodies sway with abandonment. Its lyrics are sometimes bawdy, sometimes deep, and sometimes playful.

The music of the Livestock sector is extremely popular. It mixes upbeat music with lyrics that have repeating choruses that are catchy. Their lyrics typically celebrate life and the love between mothers and daughters.

The Soldier sector specializes in acapella sing-song chants. The origin of their music was based in marching trail chants from their nomadic period. Soldier sector music is derived from the one of the earliest forms of music in the woman’s world.

Photo by Evelyn from Pexels

Scholars teach that the earliest form of music was the lullaby. The number of lullabies in the woman’s world has never been catalogued, though some have tried. Singing a child to sleep is regarded as an art form and a sacred duty. Even women who  do not have children must be ready, at a moment’s notice, to help a mother with a sleepy child send their baby to dreamland with a song.