Category Archives: Everything Evlantis

It’s a woman’s world…and it’s not as civilized as you might think!

Dear Harmonia (response to Begging for Mercy)

Photo by Min An from Pexels

Dear Harmonia,

I HATE school! The teachers are so mean! They have even turned my own mother against me! Why, they told mama to punish me for missing one word in Eve’s Creed! Just one word, and mama did what they told her to! I didn’t get to eat honey on my oats for a whole week! It was horrible! 

I miss the old days at mama’s side, having fun with our relatives and friends. Even stupid, repetitive tasks like inspecting the work of the slaves was more fun than learning all the rules and doing all the homework the teachers require. Harmonia, what difference does one word really make? And why do I have to memorize so much? And who cares about proper titles and gestures and silly rules? Why can’t we all just keep behaving freely, like before I had to go to school? My life was so much better then. 

Harmonia, my mother says you give the wisest advice in the Herstory of Evlantis. Won’t you please tell my teachers and my mama to stop being so picky? That rules are not such a big deal? If I hear the saying “Broken rules ruin lives” one more time I’m sure I’m going to start screaming and never stop! No one’s life was ruined when I forgot one word of Eve’s creed!

You are always talking about how women should learn to get along with each other. Please tell women to relax a little! I cry myself to sleep every night, wishing things were different, less strict than they are. Please, please tell them to be nicer, Harmonia. They will listen to you.

Sincerely yours,

Begging for Mercy

 

Dear Begging for Mercy, 

Mercy me, child! Do you expect Harmonia to take your side against centuries of learning and experience? You might as well as the ocean to stop its gentle rhythm upon Evlantis’s sacred shores. You might as well ask the mighty Sun to shine where and when you want it to. You might as well have asked Herstory to re-write itself to give our Dear Mother Eve a faithful companion. You might as well ask the legion of goddesses to get along with each other! You might as well as the slaves to be more huwoman!

I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at your letter. So I did both. And then I did something even wiser. I remembered, back to a time when I was your age, when the rules we live by did not make sense to me. How I felt tortured at being chastised for breaking them. How inconvenient it was to eat my vegetables with one implement and my meat with another. How I disliked curtseying to every priestess I passed on the street and saluting to every soldier. I thought that memorizing symbols for words and reading volumes of Herstory very dull indeed! I would rather have been at my mother’s side in the gossip parlor, listening to the latest scandal!

Yes, once even the great and wise Harmonia was once rough around the edges! And how you do you smooth rough edges? Why, you get a slave to file them, of course! Except in the case of personal growth and wisdom, it is the rules and regulations of Evlantis that chip away at our ignorance and failings with the result that our culture and customs flourish inside each of us.

You are a bright and precious jewel of Evlantis, child. You will carry the past forward into the future of our brilliant city. I know it may seem like drudgery now, leaving the joyous, carefree life of childhood behind. I know that not every rule we follow is convenient or fun or makes sense, but what I can tell you, dear child, that all together they have build a great city and secure culture for the nomadic women we were centuries ago. Once our ancestors had  nowhere to call home! Home hearth and family, my dear child, is what each rule and regulation was put in place to protect. 

So the next time a punishment seems harsh or senseless, know that each child before you once felt the same, and all the children after you will feel the same. But also trust, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that when we all learn and follow the same rules we ensure that the glories of Evlantis will endure forever.

Thank you for your letter, it has been many years since I remembered what a jarring transition it was to leave my mother and begin school. I hope my words have given you, not mercy, but good reasons to to work harder. It will get easier as you get older.

My love to you,

Harmonia 

One last thought: This won’t make sense to you now, but every city elder who reads this will nod her head in agreement. What are inconveniences now, will become comforts in later years. The practices and customs we share become far more dear than any memory of childhood. As Herstory unfolds and takes our loved ones away, one by one, we come to realize that what each of has has contributed to our city cannot be destroyed, because the every generation after us will  also carry on the customs handed down by our ancestors with fidelity.

Fashion in Evlantis

photo from pexels.com

Like everything else in the Queendom of Evlantis, what is in fashion is depends on what sector a woman lives in. 

The Government Sector

Women of the government sector view fashion as another way to maximize efficiency, yet they do not shun frippery as some sectors do. They believe the clothing helps create an image to achieve desired results. Whether it be to compete for the coveted Mother of the Year award, to run for an office, to serve on the Quickening committee, or to engage in more mundane tasks like accounting, government women use clothing strategically to look their best. It is this sector that has contributed the most written material about matching body type to articles of clothing to present oneself in the most flattering way possible. Their fashion budget: carefully determined and strictly adhered to.

The Agriculture Sector

Women of the Agriculture sector are some of the hardest working women of the Queendom. Out of the six sectors they care the least about the appearance of clothing, and their own appearance in general. For their clothing they  care about practical matters such as that it is durable, or that it helps them stay cool in the summer heat and warm in the winter. More pants than skirts are worn in this sector. Aprons are very popular in the Agriculture sector as they help keep clothing beneath them clean. The women of the agriculture sector are still huwoman, though! Every woman has at least one evening dress. Agriculture sector women love getting dolled up too, just not as frequently as other women in the Queendom. Their fashion budget: these women spend the least amount of money on clothing possible…except for their beloved aprons!

The Religion Sector:

Just as each sector in the city has a different fashion sense, each sect of priestesses has a preferred way of dress. Priestesses believe the number of goddesses has never, and will never, been determined. They dress to please the goddess who they are worshipping at the moment. The goddess of life, Ephrea has the biggest and most constant following. When attending to Ephrea priestesses tend to dress in earth tones, browns and greens. Those attending to fickle Fortuna dress flamboyantly. They believe it helps to catch that goddess’s attention. Their fashion budget: Generous! They are the second most highest spending sector for clothing in the Queendom.

The Arts Sector

Women in this sector believe that to look good is better than to feel good. They believe that every huwoman body is a work of art and clothing should reflect that. They are quick to critique a woman who goes out on the streets looking less than her best, though they are very accepting of an infinite variety of fashion styles. It is common in the Arts sector for women to dress their pets when they take them in public so that their outfits match. And accessories! The women of the Arts sector have the fanciest parasols, fans, jewelry, bags, hair bangles and ribbons of all the other sectors put together. Their fashion budget: Arts Sector women spend extravagantly on clothing.

The Livestock Sector 

The women of the livestock sector hold either one or two jobs: to care for livestock, or to design/create clothing. It’s easy at a glance to see who does what. Those who care for animals are rarely seen out of comfortable and durable clothing, shirts and pants. They too, wear aprons, but they don’t see them as a fashion accessory, any covering to keep grime, hair, etc. off their clothes will do. Those that are responsible for the cloth and yarn that becomes clothing for the Queendom tend to emulate the Sector clothing that they are currently selling to, though they are very quick to lend out clothing to others in their industry for the sake of efficiency. Their fashion budget: on the small side. Clothing is either used until it is threadbare, or recycled. Their goods become their livelihood, so they try to economize on personal clothing expenditures.

Fun fact: the Livestock Sector houses the Museum of Fashion. It’s most treasured item is a once-colorful, now faded and tattered shawl that was said to have been worn by Mother Eve herself. In addition to articles of clothing that have been preserved throughout the centuries, there are tapestry of all eras that feature groups of women wearing what was fashionable at the time. 

The Soldier Sector

Soldiers love fitness and prefer clothing that lets them move without any interference. They prefer wearing leather and fur to cloth. An outfit is considered fashionable if it shows off their muscles and movements to their best advantage. Their armor is made of leather and reinforced with bone to protect them from spears, knives and, the women’s favorite weapon, daggers. They are the least likely to show up anywhere in a dress, their chief complaint is that it hides too much and is too difficult to fight in. Their fashion budget: moderate. It is a benefit for the Soldiers that the cost of leather and fur is low due to being supplied by slave labor. Harvesting fur and creating leather is no task for a woman!

Time in Evlantis

Photo by Ambar Simpang from Pexels. Every Evlantian citizen, from the time of childhood forward, must know, in order, the list of High Queens that have ruled the city. Years are not numbered, but are denoted by which High Queen ruled and what year of her term it was.

Time is regarded as an element in the Queendom of Evlantis-along with other elements such as earth, air, fire, and water. The element of time has the property of transvelocity. Women recognize that time is not constant. The exact same increment of the sun’s journey through the sky may contain an overabundance of time for one woman, while for another woman the exact same increment may have the blink of an eye of time in it.

Transvelocity of time is ever shifting throughout each woman’s lifetime, and is unique to each woman. Though it has been noted there are exceptions. For example, at shared events transvelocity of time will synchronize, it speeds up or slows down at the same rate for the majority of the women present. There are several theories to explain this. One popular theory posits  that there are some women that have an innate and powerful bond with the element of time (just there are those that have an innate and powerful bond with fire, wind, water, or earth) and that these women’s rate transvelocity may be transmitted to others around them at gatherings.

Just as time is not constant from woman to woman, time is regarded differently in each sector of the Queendom. The differences are so vast that it is one of the biggest adjustments to make if a woman  must move to a new sector at sector choosing time. Here is a brief synopsis of how the element of time is regarded in each sector of the city.

Women of the Government sector regard the element of time as something to master. They maintain that no matter what rate of transvelocity a woman experiences there are always methods to increase productivity. Most of the research and writings about the element of time come from this sector.

Women of the Agriculture sector  regard the element of time as an enemy, something to rage against. The Agriculture sector is home to farm women and the Queendom’s physicians. For these women, who are responsible for the health and well being of women in the entire Queendom, the element of time is always stingy with what is doled out to them to them to accomplish their tasks.

Women in the Religion sector see time as a sacred mystery. The priestesses would never blaspheme to say that any woman can control time, but they teach that certain goddesses, such as Fortuna, have powers over the element of time. The Priestesses believe there are practices, such as meditation, gift-giving, and prayers that may sometimes be effective to influence fickle Fortuna to adjust transvelocity in a woman’s favor.

The women of the Arts Sector have an utter disregard for the element of time. For these women creativity is everything. It is irrelevant at what rate time passes, all that matters is the current piece of art being produced. The only time a woman of the Arts sector mentions time at all is when it hangs heavy on her hands because the well of her inspiration has gone dry.

The women of the Livestock sector revere the element of time as a gift. They are charged with the nurturing of animal life and women of this Sector are acutely and constantly aware of the finite amount of time allotted to each living being. There are grateful for all states of time transvelocity.

The women of the Soldier Sector view the element of time as a tool.  Rather than trying to be time’s master, they are taught to be acutely aware of their own transvelocity of time. They recognize each rate of transvelocity carries its own benefits and challenges. Being aware of their current state gives them the power to be the best soldier they can be.

Lastly, no quick tutorial of the element of time in the Queendom of Evlantis would be complete without a mention of how women mark time. It is referenced by events such as the place of the sun in the sky, an upcoming  meal, or the birth of a daughter. Years are referenced not by numbers, but by which High Queen ruled, the term (if there was more than one) and which of the seven years the event occurred in.

Elections in Evlantis

In the city of Evlantis the government is a democracy; ruled by women, for women. The city is a rough semi-circle and is divided into six wedge shaped sectors: Government, Agriculture, Religion, Arts, Livestock and Soldier sector. Each of the sectors is allowed to have complete control over function and the number of elected officials it requires to serve the needs of its citizens, though each sector must have a Low Queen to oversee the interests of its government and sit as a voting member in all things effecting the entire Queendom.

An elected High Queen resides in the People’s Palace, situated where all the sectors meet. She presides as the judge in the People’s Court, as well as coordinates citywide law-making with the low Queens. The High Queen is charged with keeping peace between the sectors.

Election Day is held at the beginning of summer every year. Each Low Queen, as well as the High Queen, serves a seven-year term. Each year there are general elections in each sector for open offices and one major election for either a Low Queen or the High Queen. Election Day is a solemn day marked by prayer and fasting.

Who votes in Evlantis: Voting is mandatory for every woman living in the city proper who has begun their menses, no matter what their status or legal standing. Each sector’s population is maintained as close to one-thousand citizens as possible. Each ballot is counted and the total number of ballots received must equal the amount of women eligible to vote in each sector.

Who doesn’t vote: Men are not allowed to vote. Women who live in the Fringe are not allowed to vote. The Fringe is a settlement on the outskirts of the agriculture sector. Women are sent there as punishment for certain crimes. The women who live in the Fringe have two purposes: they must tend the vast gardens alongside the slaves and they must guard that most vulnerable border of the city to keep slaves from escaping. Though the women in the Fringe provide valuable services to the city, they would never be allowed to vote because that would give the Agriculture sector an unfair advantage in elections for High Queen.

Who covers the Elections: Just as running water was invented long before the wheel in the world where women rule, printing presses were invented very early in the Herstory Timeline. Each major gossip parlor has its own printing press. Who’s running and what the candidates stand for, along with all the juicy tidbits of personal information fit-to-print is covered by all the major papers for weeks leading up to the election.

Each sector has its own ballot system. Each sector assigns its most trusted citizens to stand guard at the polling place that each woman must make her way to during the day to cast their vote. Along side the appointed sector officials, a dozen soldiers from the Soldier sector are assigned to stand guard also. At sundown the voting ends. The ballots are ceremoniously paraded to the Hall of the People’s Palace where the work of counting the ballots begins, scrupulously overseen by citizens of both the Soldier sector and the Government sector. The results are eagerly anticipated by the candidates and citizens alike.

Dear Harmonia

Dear Harmonia,

I have always been a law abiding citizen and have done my duty to the fullest letter of the law. Through no fault of my own, my only daughter was born on Election Day last year. It doesn’t seem fair to me that the same government that required me to have a daughter, now forbids me from celebrating on her actual birthday! Surely the birth celebration of a daughter of the Queendom is more important than Election Day? I challenged the party ban on Election Day at my local level and lost. Before I take my challenge further, my friends urged me to consult with you. Do you have any advice on how I can prevail? Perhaps, in your wisdom, you know of cases like mine in Herstory?

Sincerely yours,
Babies triumph over ballots!

Dear BTOB,

Sit down, before you read this, sweet mother. Sit down with your precious baby on your knee and your favorite soothing drink on hand…for the words I must pen are difficult ones, and I am moved by your plight.

Nothing should come before the blessed celebration of the birth of one’s daughter. Daughters are the lifeblood of the city. The birth of a child changes everything. Before the birth, we are one person, with one outlook. After the birth we transformed, and like all transformations, bliss and pain are mingled in the changing.

But, dear Mother BTOB, consider this…just as motherhood ushers in different priorities than singlehood, doesn’t one’s duty to the Queendom grow even greater once a daughter is born? The success, or failure, of the city we live in decides your daughter’s future!

Voting may seem like an occasional duty, but I think you forget, it is a Sacred Duty! Nothing should distract any woman from the ability to cast her vote for the best candidate for leadership positions in the Queendom. Voting should not be entered into lightheartedly, or haphazardly, which is why Ballot Casting Day is a day of prayer and fasting, a solemn day, a day of change, of new birth, in a way, for the entire Queendom.

So, with anguish in my heart for your horrible predicament, I urge you to drop your petition to have the party ban lifted. I urge you to celebrate the your daughter’s birth the day before or the day after Election Day. In doing so, you teach her, and everyone around you, of your devotion to her future and the future all every citizen of our Queendom.

I don’t mind telling you that I weep for you as I write this. Yours is a tragic situation, a rarity in Herstory. Putting the needs of the world before yourself, and worse, your daughter, is part of the transformational pain I spoke of above. I urge you to let this tragedy change you! Make more scrupulous selections this election year than you have ever done before. Examine the issues and the candidates in great depth. Vote well, and be mindful that you are not only casting a vote for yourself any longer, but for your daughter and your daughter’s daughters. And don’t make the mistake of voting based on the issues of your Sector only. Examine how every issue effects our entire population. We usher in new eras in Herstory with the votes we cast. The only bright spot in your plight is that each Election Day you will be reminded of the direct link between the ballots you fill out and the Queendom your daughter will grow up in. Not every citizen will vote with the wisdom that you now have.

I’m sorry to be so inadequate in this situation. I know this is not the answer you wanted to read, and it is not the answer I wanted to give. But it is the correct answer. I cannot see the paper anymore for the weeping I do on your behalf, for truly, and for the sake of the Queendom…

Ballots must triumph over babies,
Harmonia

Procreation in Evlantis: The Quickening Chambers

My very rough sketch of the building known in Evlantis as the Quickening Chambers.

To ensure that the resources of the city will keep the occupants fed and clothed, the population of Evlantis is strictly controlled by the Quickening Committee. Pregnancies are planned in advance based on deaths in each sector in the preceding year. A special committee maintains genealogical records and schedules quickening appointments. The quickening season begins as Harvest Festival ends, with a grand procession of mothers and mothers-to-be on the first night of quickening appointments. 

The events below happened during book two, Sephora’s Revenge, but were cut long before the final edit of the book. The year Sephora laid siege to the city, she re-appropriated quickening assignments to favor those who were loyal to her. This “lost” passage joins the procession to the Quickening Chambers at the close of the Harvest Festival:

Andria had misgivings. Though she lived in the Government Sector, which had remained loyal to Sephora, her true sympathies were with Rachel and the proponents of equality for men. Her daughter had been misused by the High Queen for her own gain. She had tried to talk her daughter out of the quickening rite, but her daughter would not listen. As badly as she wanted to be a grandmother, she wished that her grandchild’s conception would be under different circumstances.

I must take my mind off my worries, thought Andria as they marched toward the sprawling, ancient one-story building in the market section of the Religion Sector. Legend said Mother Eve herself designed the twenty-four room structure. Three main corridors ran the length of the building east to west, while five shorter corridors ran north and south. The four largest rooms measured ten by twelve feet. The smallest rooms were ten by six feet, barely large enough to contain much more than a bed. When the city had been abandoned and the building ravaged by storms and natural decay, much of the rebuilding had been done according to the original design. The building that housed the quickening chambers was one of the few structures re-built upon its original foundation and specifications.

Andria focused her attention on the two mothers in front of her who were gossiping as they walked in the joyful procession from the Palace Hall to the quickening chambers.

“Suffrage, the Goddess of the Poor, has blessed us mightily, I tell you, Berty!” one woman said to her friend.

“You can say that again, and again, Shanice!” Berty laughed. “Pinch me so I know I’m not dreaming. I don’t need to tell you my poor daughter has been passed over for the last six years. I gave up hope of ever being a grandmother.”

“Me, too! Our lines will not die with us, my friend! All this time we comforted each other that there is a special section of the afterlife for the poor. Who would have thought the recent upset in the Queendom would have changed our fortune for the better? As early as tomorrow morning both our precious daughters’ wombs may be carrying the granddaughters of our legacy! This is a joyous night indeed! What a Festival it has been!”

“A short Festival. Are you worried about men being free?”

“Not one bit. There are six thousand women in the city, and only a thousand or so men. High Queen Sephora will set things right again. Why? Are you worried?”

“Not me! My only beloved daughter has her first quickening assignment tonight! I might become a grandmother!”

“Both of our beloved daughters! It is too bad they were assigned the smallest chambers. I got to peek into a royal chamber once on my walk to the third tier. You can’t imagine the wonders in those rooms! Mirrors, furs, jars of precious oils and ointments, flowers, a washtub, shelves full of pleasure toys. I swear to you I saw a costume hanging on the wall.”

“What was the costume for, do you suppose?” asked Berty.

“Oh, it was the definitely the costume worn by Randy, the slave who ended the infant shortage in the play Fertility.”

“No! The boots, cape, and mask?”

“Yes! I swear it on my mother’s and my daughter’s life! Can you imagine? I’d jump into a quickening bed faster than you can say ‘baby’ with any man dressed as Randy.”

“Me too! Oh, remember the glories of those days? The endless nights of mixed pain and pleasure, and the thrill we experienced when we missed our periods?”

“I do. Walking in this procession makes me relive it all again.”

Both women sighed and spent the rest of the joyous procession in silence, lost in pleasant memories and high hopes for their future.

Without the distraction of the conversation in front of her, Andria’s concern for the future of the city of Evlantis took over all her thoughts. She could see no good outcome from allowing only Sephora’s supporters to populate the city. Andria, feeling very guilty as she walked with all the hopeful grandmothers-to-be, prayed to every goddess she could think of for an intercession that would prevent pregnancies this night.

Stage Six: Reverse Childhood

Stage Six: When the Daughter must care for the Mother

The goddesses have deemed that if old age is granted to a woman, the descent to the land of the dead is preceded by childhood in reverse. If a woman lives long enough, she becomes like a child, then like an infant, needing constant care. It is a blessing and a privilege to care for the old ones, for they are near to the gates of the goddesses. It is said that those who enter the land of the dead as babies, helpless but well cared for, are counted as jewels to the goddesses who receive the dead. The daughter that treats her mother well will receive their reward when their time to enter the land of the dead comes.

Stage Five of a Woman’s Life: Maturity

Stage Five: Maturity – Marked by the Cessation of Menses

Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

These years are some of the happiest in an Evlantian woman’s life. This stage is heralded by the advent of eagles’ claws around the eyes and joy lines around the lips. If the goddesses have blessed her she will be honored and beloved by daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters. The cessation of menses is known to bring clarity of thought not enjoyed since childhood. But, unlike childhood, she now possesses the gifts of knowledge and wisdom gained from a lifetime of experience. Mature women are a treasure to the city.

Stage Four of a Woman’s Life: Age of Opportunity

The Age of Opportunity in Evlantis corresponds loosely with our “empty nest” stage.

Stage Four: Age of Opportunity

After the Daughter Leaves Home until a Woman Reaches the Age of Maturity

Days of discovering purpose: If one has not been blessed by the goddesses to bear a daughter, a good citizen of Evlantis moves directly to this stage and must reconcile her talents to the needs of the Queendom. Mothers move to this stage directly upon completing the tasks of motherhood. This is a particularly difficult task for a mother to take on, especially after the joys of motherhood. Every other purpose in life pales in comparison to raising a daughter. Every support is made available to a mother whose daughter has left the home hearth to establish her own home. The Queendom is rich in resources to help her find her way to a life of purpose and meaning after giving of her life and self to ensure the Queendom’s legacy continues through the daughter she raised.

Stage Three of a Woman’s Life: Motherhood

Stage Three: Motherhood

Also known as the “Age of Self-Sacrifice.”

There is no higher calling in the Queendom than to become a mother. At the same time that it is the most rewarding and joyous of a woman’s existence, motherhood is the stage of greatest responsibility marked by days of self-denial. The “I want” and “I need” inherent in the first two stages of a woman’s life are transformed into “I must” and “she needs” as the mother’s desires become eclipsed by the many necessities of child rearing.

Expressions about Motherhood commonly used during the Evlantian period of Herstory

In thee household let thy daughter be a Princess, but never forget! Thou art the Queen. (Ancient saying attributed to Mother Eve)

Keep in mind that the Daughter that vexes you may someday be your Queen. (Sapheera of the Arts-mother of Sephora)

Every day in Evlantis is Daughter’s Day. (High Queen Rachel, the year her womb-born daughter Rebekkah survived the plague)

It is never too early to celebrate Mother’s Day. (Low Queen Sephora of the Arts Sector)

Click here for more Evlantis Childrearing Wisdom.