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.
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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.