Since Teagan has indicated that the Sisterhood shares and spreads information, they may be an early form of librarians. In honor of National Library Week and the next Journey, I wanted to interview Teagan about her Deae Matres.
By Journey 3, we have met 4 Deae Matres: Boabhan, Mercedes, Zasha, and Tahira. Will we meet other Deae Matres as the Journeys continue?
Absolutely, yes. While the Society of Deae Matres in Emlyn’s day doesn’t hold a candle to the size and power the organization once had, it is still a large and impressive group – particularly to Emlyn’s inexperienced way of thinking. We’ll learn more of their present and past.
Boabhan and Zasha seem to have their own swordsmen. Do Mercedes and Tahira have similar associates?
When I first started reading high fantasy, one thing that intrigued me was how the authors left certain details of relationships to the reader’s imagination. Zasha and Tajín have a backstory, and romance is hinted at, but not confirmed. Boabhan and Hallgeir have a completely different backstory. Bits of both stories are revealed later when they impact the plot.
However, to your question, in this world, sisters of the Society may or may not have a swordsman who travels with them. In the backstory of the Deae Matres, such arrangements were structured into their organization, but not any more. In Zasha’s day, those arrangements might come about for any number of reasons. In any era, many Deae Matres sisters travel independently. That is true of Mercedes and Tahira, at least in the timeframe of this story.
The Deae Matres seem to live a very extended lifespan. Is that accurate? I do not think they are immortal, but if they are…
The sisters of the Society vary in age, but no, they have a normal human lifespan. You may be thinking of hints I’ve made about Boabhan. The Woman in Green is unlike the other sisters – but that has nothing to do with her being Deae Matres.
How do girls/women become Deae Matris?
There would have been a process in ages past. In Zasha’s day, if enough of the sisters agree that a woman is versatile and knowledgeable enough the Society will approach her. I didn’t “get into the weeds” with that for this story. Maybe for a future series… (winks)
Zasha, for instance, seems to have a small crush on Taigin. Do any of the Deae Matres marry their swordsmen or would that be a reason to have to leave the Society of Deae Matres?
See the question 2 for the answer.
Was Haldis, the Watcher, ever a Deae Matres?
Ah… Haldis is intriguing – mysterious in part because she is so damaged. More about her will be revealed as the Journeys continue.
Was/is Queen Ailbine a Deae Matres?
In fleshing out the history of Emlyn’s world, I mention several past rulers. That history comes into play in some details of the story. Various ghosts from the past interact with Emlyn. Queen Ailbine is one of these. Since Emlyn has difficulty knowing whether she’s talking to a ghost or a living person, Emlyn has learned to pay attention to details of their clothing and manner before she starts talking out loud to what turns out to be a ghost. Spirits from the past sometimes show up to make sure Emlyn is aware of something important, as Queen Ailbine did. Getting the message from a queen, made her pay more attention to it than she would have if one of the serving maids had pointed out what was happening. At other times, the ghosts simply come to her because she can see them.
Do the Deae Matres have a central authority figure or is it more rule by the more senior and/or dynamic members?
A question I’ve learned to ask myself when writing is “Does it advance the plot?” The structure of the Society does not impact the plot, so I don’t dig too far into the politics this world. As with most groups, the older, senior members tend to hold more authority than the newer ones.
Journey 3, the Fever Field
Journey 2, Penllyn
Journey 1, Forlorn Peak