The Coven meets to reconcile the Scarabs with the Prophesy
In the conference room of the Citadel, the four Matriarchs sat at the faces of a square table. They were Cateyln, of the Nirvana line, Patron of the Valley Men. Olivia represented the Listerian and Nobowian Elves, Miranda, the Cisterian and Latonion and Matilda, the Monrovian Dwarves. Next to Cateyln sat Liope, next to Matilda, Lilith, flanking Miranda, Trilla and Climatus and next to Olivia, Bedelia. Cateyln called everyone to order.
“The purpose of the meeting today, is to review all that has happened and try and shed light on the Prophesy. A month ago it appeared on a scry-velum of unknown origin, addressed to the each of the Matriarchs. A copy has been provided and is on the table before you. The Prophesy keeps referring to “Before Redemption Eve.” No one knows for sure what this repetitive line keeps referring to, but the implication is that it references a time that will soon be upon us.”
She paused, waiting for comment. When none came she continued...
“It also makes reference to what appears... a coming conflict."
Again there was silence...
"It bids us to be on the watch for…
8 infants, born to reign
6 mothers to bear the pain
4 husbands back from dead
2 Sisters full of dread
2 with the light instead
Before redemption Eve."
"Now if you will indulge me for just another moment, let's recapitulate. There were four Scarabs ordered by the “Husbands” before they rode off to war. In the past quarter all four have activated. These were venerated relics, said to contain the essence of our ancestors who perished at the Tiberian Gorge. Prior to the last battle, Ulrich was dispatched to pick up and deliver them to the wives. After the Scarabs returned to dust it was possible to know with certainty who the originators were. If you examine the setting you will see that the bottom is like a round spoon. On this spoon the stomach of the Scarab rested. Once they died and the exoskeleton was removed, the signet of the originator was faintly etched. I mention this, so no one be surprised to discover, that at some point in history there was a mix-up."
The room was abuzz as the Witches began pointing to their heirlooms. Holding up her hand Cateyln motioned them to silence.
“In the delivery process or sometime thereafter, Catrina’s and Calamity’s got switched. I say this because we know that Malissa and Lucilla got the correct one and passed it faithfully down their lines. These we can determine from the coat of arms on the originals. From this we can deduce what happened and my conclusion is shown on the chart before you… I know this is confusing… but in summary, Climatus wound up with Giberts, Bedelia Orwalds, Liope, Olegarts and Lilith, Ulrichs… Of the four, three found mothers from outside their intended lines and one from outside the Coven."
King Kingdom Wife Switch Witch Recipient
Orwald Nirvana Katrina Gilbert Cateyln Climatus
Gilbert Listerian/Naboian Calamity Orwald Olivia Bedelia
Olegart Cisterian/Latonion Malissa None Miranda Liope
Ulrich Dwarves/Monrovia Lucilla None Matilda Lilith
“Let me say now that I don’t know what the impact of the shuffling is. Some will speculate that the Husbands played some obscure role in choosing. Other will say it was a colossal screw up. Still others, that the Scarabs were time activated and acted on whoever was wearing them at the time. Regardless of the view, what happened, happened, and it doesn’t seem to be an issue with the Prophesy.”
Again there was a buzz of conversation. When it subsided Cate continued.
“In considering each of the pregnancies independently we were all understandably skeptical at first. Taken together, however, there is no doubt that the Scarabs served their intended purpose. So let me now share with you what we know about their function and purpose. First let me say that each contained the blood sperm of one of the husbands. Second and perhaps more important, they contained the essence of the originator, nourished by the stewards who carried them down through the years… This essence is now manifesting in the flesh."
There was a buzz of conversation.
"Are you saying,” asked Matilda, “that the blood of the Stewards acted on the Originals… That they are no longer sperm exclusive to the four husbands?
"To what extent the original sperm have been altered is impossible to say. I suggest to you that something along this line happened, otherwise, why wait six hundred years? There was no need for such a long wait if the essence of the sperm was decided at the onset. Further the genealogy we have pursued since that time has exerted an influence on the heritage of the Stewards. Both within the Scarabs and without, the pairings we have influenced have combined to bring us to where we are today. The Coven believed we were controlling the process but in light of all that has happened, I believe were but handmaids to the Unimaginable and will never fully understand exactly what took place. Surely, there's a link between the genealogy, the scarabs and the Prophesy, but don’t ask me to be more specific. I've asked Olivia, who has been at the center of much of this, to lead us in examining the facts and attempting to better decipher their meaning.”
"Thank you Cateyln.” said Olivia rising to her feet. "First I'd like the Matriarchs and those with first hand knowledge to describe the facts as they know them. Let’s start with you Miranda."
"As you know the relic of our line was under the stewardship of my Son Cracious. He passed it to Morgolic, who in a time of crisis, gave it to Liope. I’ll let Liope take it from there."
"When Morgolic thought he was about to die, he gave me your Scarab… The following day I tried it on. It attached… Several days later I noticed it was dead. Within a month Uta diagnosed me pregnant, with two embryos; one a male and the other, what many refer to as a Dark Sister. There has been much conjecture over who I might have slept with in the days leading up to my pregnancy… some claiming Morgolic and others Young Jernigan. The truth is that I’m still a virgin.”
“When my daughter showed me the dead Scarab," continued Cateyln, “I didn’t know quite what to do. Finally I decided to give mine to Miranda, as a replacement. It was in the possession of my firstborn son, Guiles. I sent a message to Olivia that she was to deliver it into the safekeeping of Climatus, until Miranda decided what to do with it.”
"Thank you Cateyln. Now let's turn our attention to Matilda’s."
"As you know my daughter is promised to Dumar. I left Monrovia about three months ago to bring the appointment to fruition. While in route I gave Lilith our Scarab. She can tell you the rest."
"After about a week of wearing the scarab, I noticed it was dead. Thereafter, I began to suspect I might be pregnant. Uta, the Midwife confirmed it. The baby is a boy."
"Did you have this suspicion before or after meeting Dumar" Asked Olivia.
“It was before,” replied Lilith. “I’ve not been intimate with Dumar, if that’s what you’re getting at. I’m still a virgin, just like Liope…"
“Thank you, now the story shifts to events that I have witnessed. Once I received Cateyln’s message I contacted her son, Guiles. He was stationed at Finsterwald, but a days ride from my home. I spoke with Climatus, before he arrived, and she expressed no missgivings about keeping it until her mother made other arrangements. When Guiles arrived the heirloom was transferred. Martha, his fiancée, assisted and was a witness. .. Climatus?"
“The Scarab was extremely animated and immediately bit into me. Three weeks later I noticed that I missed my period. Since I’ve always been regular and pay attention to such matters, the change caught my attention. While I had been intimate with my husband, we had been married twenty years and I’d born him no children. I told Olivia about my concerns and she and a midwife examined me. Like Liope, I carry two fetuses. One is a son and the other a Dark Sister.”
“Thank you. Are there any questions up to this point?"
“What about your Line Scarab,” asked Cateyln?
“I’m getting to that now. For the past few years Squire Rogoletti, my companion, carried it. Last year I decided to transfer stewardship to my biological son, Pluto. Bedelia, please share with us what happened."
Bedelia blushed, and then took a deep breath. "I was up in Pluto's room, after dinner one night. He was showing me around…. Anyway I asked to see the Scarab and he took it off and handed it to me. As soon as I began examining closely it became animated. I asked Pluto if I could try it on and he said, "yes." Once it was around my neck it bit into the side of my breast and began burrowing in. For the benefit of those who might be wondering, I bear a son, and I’m still a virgin."
There was a deadly silence in the room. The other three scarabs had activated on women who were all certifiably Witches. Bedelia, was like a redheaded stepchild and for her to wind up with Orwald's, was a difficult matter for some to deal with. While everyone held their tongues, Bedelia could see exactly what they were thinking and it came as no surprise. What amazed her was not their disappointment but the restraint they exercised… Bedelia had always understood the difference between thoughts and speech, After all thoughts are private whether one can read them or not. Speech however is a public form of expression for which a speaker is accountable. Since no one spoke out against her, she was pleasantly relieved.
Olivia, was relieved too and took a deep breath…"This then is what we know of the Scarabs. In passing they have left us with four pregnant ladies, four sons and two daughters."
"So how does that jive with the prophesy?" asked Lilith.
"Well, I think we can match the two dark sisters. If you subtract them it leaves us with 4 males, each representative of the Husbands.
"Doesn't that put us two light?" she said following up.
"Yes, that’s the dilemma, and I don’t know how to explain it. The Prophesy is very clear…..six mothers in the valley, also about two more daughters….filled with light… any ideas?"
"Maybe the ones with the light are a matched set for the dark sisters. Maybe they’re Whispers. Maybe the four are destined to be wives of the husbands," offered Trilla.
"An intriguing thought but who are the other two mothers? If we could identify them it would seem a simple thing to confirm."
"How?" asked Miranda.
"Well they would be carrying Whisper, embryos… While we've never examined one, they should have a signature, perhaps the opposite of a Dark Sister."
"Any ideas on where to begin searching?" asked Cateyln.
"The genealogy lists classified pairings as promising and very promising. Pairings that might lead to a “Husband.“ The scarabs were seen largely as symbolic, so we really weren’t expecting anything to turn up from that direction. Suddenly we have six of the eight popping up. Maybe we should go back into the genealogy and identify how many of the pairs are here in the valley and if any of the females are expecting. Then, if they are, we take a listen and maybe we’ll get lucky.
"Now that’s a good idea," Cate answered.
At that point Bedelia raised her hand.
"Yor have something to add?" cringed Olivia. She was satisfied with how the meeting was going and wanted the young girl to keep a low profile.
"I can tell you the names of the two you're looking for."
There was a collective exhale in the room.
"You can?" responded Olivia, eyes wide with interest. "Who?"
"Albiana and Martha."