It was foretold of the seven Mothers. They would be the celestial Mothers and guardians of the earth and its realms. Two that will walk amongst the heavens; these Mothers are identical, one blind and one deaf, they are the caretakers of the universe and the symbols of justice, the authority and bearers of conscience. Two that will rule the underworld; these Mothers are warriors they, guard and supervise the world of lost souls. Two to watch over the earthly realms; these Mothers live in the forest. They are the keeper of history, educators and guardians of the earth. They are the most concerned with the affairs of all living things and the first-born, the strongest, one that is said to be so beautiful that no human can look directly at her, she is the center and she alone connects all, the heavens, the earth and the underworld. She is the Queen and the only one able to walk in all three, but she will love earth more than all others.
I listened to this strange story. For only one moment did I doubt sitting, listening, wanting to jump up and run away from my mother; surely she must have lost her mind and then knowing that this story is directly related to me but unable at this point to make one sound. I am trying to guess where it will go but I want to shout, “Wait what does this have to do with me being adopted” but I am afraid to ask the questions that are racing through my head. I know that this story has answers in it, answers for all the questions that I have asked her throughout the years, questions about my father, and questions about her parents. Afraid to break the trance my mother seem to be in while telling this tale. I cannot find the words and so I sit and continue to listen in silence.
Our people live in a small extremely close community, a tribe, or clan, a hidden and ancient people, forgotten among the new world. By the time you and your sisters were born only a few people even took the stories to be true. Mainly only the old, that tried to keep to the old ways, tried as much as a modern world would allow. Each year the tribe grew smaller as younger generations left. Tired of their mother and grandmothers superstitions and their father stories of when our people were one of kings and queens. Of course much had change since the birth of the tribe, which our stories say are the first people. The time of sitting around telling the stories of the birth of the Mothers had long since passed.
You are one of seven children, all girls. The only single birth your mother had. The next year she gave birth to identical twins, the year after a second set and the year after, the last . Your birth did not draw the attention of the tribe. Women give birth every day. The arrival of you sisters also did not mean anything extraordinary. The arrival of the second pair of twins had people sitting up and taking notice. When the third set was born the tribe decided to move your mother, her husband and the seven children to be guarded. At this point there was little doubt among anyone in the tribe that this woman was indeed the one chosen to birth the Mothers and you are our Queen.
I want to stop her, I really do, but what do you say to your mom who’s just informed you that you are adopted, and celestial queen of all mankind? So I sit and I listen.
Even though the world has moved on in almost all ways, there were still people who were looking for you and your sisters. There was still some that moved between the earthly realms and once the news got out of your birth word quickly got back to the tribe that the Mothers may not be safe. The decision was made to move you. Your mother decided that it was probably the safest to separate the children, a decision that almost broke her. She told me the night you and I were set to leave that she knew. She knew that she would give birth to the mothers it was shown to her in a dream. Your mother like many of the tribe was walking the line. Stuck in between the old ways and wanting to move into the new. She and your father found each other late in life and she had been told that she would not be able to have children. Right before she found out she was pregnant with you, she had a dream. She was sitting under a large tree on a small hill. She could see her husband off in the distance playing with seven small children. All seven children that moved as one, that seemed to control all that were around them. The sun that was shining was because of their happiness. The sound of their laugher had the voices of the world in them. She woke up and told her husband she was with child before taking a test or going to the doctor, she was sure and of course she was. I don’t know if she told your father, I never asked and he never said but I’m sure that he would have suspected after the birth of the second set of twins. Your parents were over joyed when you were born and again after each birth. Your birth and then those of the twins also had an effect on the world. The news reported peace in places that had known only war. The oldest tribes had started leaving offerings again and by the time the last set of twins were born the world was in the best place it had been in many years. It was as if the world knew of your arrival. Our tribe held meetings; for old and new, those who believed, those who didn’t and those who didn’t know what to think, all taking sides, were you the Mothers? The guardians and Queen of our known universe and this earth’s realms, was that possible. A few, the oldest of our tribe, your parents and my family never doubted and we had secret meetings, where it was agreed that scouts would be sent out to find out the degree of any threat to the Mothers. The safeties of the Mothers were more important than any of us. There was talk of kidnapping, sacrifice and even plain old fashion murder. The public meetings were not getting any better, there were those that just refuse to take a stand and others that decided that they wanted no part of it one way or the other and moved away from the tribe from fear of what would come as the result of your births.
One day a letter was delivered to the address of the house your family was living in temporarily until we could come up with a plan of action. It was addressed to the Mothers, a few weeks later another. The first letter was from a neighboring tribe. There are others that have moved from place to place but none as old as ours. We keep track with some and often times come together. The second was from the fey. Both were notes of congratulations and expressed love for the Mothers. Then we received the letter that made your mother decide to separate and hide each of you. This letter was not delivered in the mail or brought by hand. It was found in your room and it read simply, They will die. Your parents had no idea where it came from, how long it was there before they found it. More importantly they had no way of knowing if it had come from within the tribe or outside and how someone had managed to get so close to you and your sisters. Your mother brought the letter to my home. Your father stayed behind with you and your sisters armed, both were terrified. She came and told us that she wanted us to help her get her children to safety and she wanted you separated. She knew keeping seven children together with three set of twins was not an option if your identities were to be kept secret. Your mother was the strongest woman I have ever met and each day I have spent with you, raising you, she has been with me. The way she looked when she walked into the front room of my family home, heartbroken by the choice she was force to make, already half gone from this world from the thought of being apart from her babies. She had been chosen to be your mother, her oldest child only four and the youngest still arm babies and nursing. She knew she could not go with any of you for fear that the person that had left the note may find her. So she chose you, her babies. She stood strong, straight and so very proud, her voice calm, a warrior and champion for her children. This memory has kept the path clear these last twelve years. I honor her in the only way I can, by raising you to be a woman your mother could see herself in. To be the queen she was the day she asked us to take her babies from her in order to keep them safe.
My family has kept the histories of our tribe since the beginning of time. The first story was past from father to son, tradition called for the histories to be pasted this way. In the history of our tribe my parents were the first to have a girl. For a short while there was worry among the elders that there would be no son to keep the tradition. I was an only child and it was debated what would happen if no boy was born. If I would be allowed to learn the histories or if another family would take our place. The histories are taught at age nine, my brother was born on my ninth birthdate. There was relief in the tribe but my mother could have no other children and to be safe my father secretly start teaching me the histories in case anything should happen to my brother. We were having a lesson the day your mother came. It was the day before my eighteenth birthday and the last lesson I was to have with my father since my brother would take over since it was his duty.
Once your mother voiced her wishes my father instructed my brother to go get the elders, making sure to tell him not to mention that your mother was at our house. He understood the seriousness of the situation and we only had one chance to get you all out. A half hour later it was all decided; who would take what baby or babies. Your mother had been smart from the very start and made sure to keep you and your sisters from many in the tribe, only ever allowing a select few, access to the Mothers. Naturally the set of identical twins would to stay together. No one wanted to chance what would happen if they were separated. They were the oldest set, one blind and one deaf would be taken by the oldest of the elders, in another time they would have been the chiefs. The wife was not too old to take care of a pair of three-year olds. Our people live a long time and who better to raise the two who would walk among the heavens but the wisest. The youngest set of twins would be raised by the bravest of the tribe a soldier and his wife. He was the grandson of the elders and who better to train the two who would rule the underworld. The middle set would be taken by the fey to learn the way of nature.
Word was sent ahead to the summer court queen and she in turn sent a couple. They too had just had a set of twins, boys, and it was agreed that the children would be switched, they were only a few months old and no one would notice. The fey have been switching their children for human children for as long as they could remember.
The responsibility and consequences of what we were attempting was so great. It could go either way. All we could think of is that we had to keep you safe, for your mother, for the world. We started with the oldest set of twins. Everyone had assembled. Each Mother had a new home, protector and teacher to help them. All but you, our Queen and there were no others besides my parents. And so it was decided that my brother and father would stay with the tribe and my mother would take you. My brother only nine, although wise beyond his years was not taking the discussion of our mother leaving very well, he was, after all, still a child and wanted and needed his mother. Your mother turned to me, with the sound of my brother’s cries and the quiet comforting of the women trying to calm him and the tense uneasiness of the men weighing down the room and asked if it was possible I was willing to take you. I don’t know if everyone stopped what they were doing or if I simply block them all out. But in that moment it was only me and your mother. She held you in her arms her eyes bright from the tears she refuse to let fall, only God knows how. We stood with her, a group of people ready to take her children, with no idea if she would see any of you again. All of you taken away from her before she even had a chance to figure out how to be a mother. You were the oldest and therefore the only one that may have formed any memories of her. The others would never know her face if she could not get back to them. So we stood there facing each other, not three feet apart, the eyes of the room on us, me not three hours into my eighteenth year being asked by the mother of our Queen, to take her and keep her safe. Before I could answer you held out your arms to me. You could talk but you did not. I stepped forward as your mother leaned in and you turned just long enough to kiss her cheek. I didn’t think I would have the strength to take you. I had no children of my own but I loved my mother fiercely and could only imagine what my mother would do if she thought us never to be together again. I took you from your mother arms, trying so hard to be the rock your mother was but as she passed you to me our arms touched and in that moment it was as if I could feel ever thing your mother was feeling and God help me I was not strong enough. Tears fell from my eyes, and I looked down, ashamed that I was not as strong as the women willing to give her children away to keep them safe but thankful that all sound seem to have left my body and I did not cry out. I prayed that my tears would not upset her or make it any harder.
My mother was closest to me and she reached out and touched my arm and then my father, my brother came around and stood in front of me between me and your mother and I could feel the elders, their grandson and the fairy couple. Your mother was still holding on to you, but not in a panicky way and when she let you go and she put her hand under my chin and raised my face. It was only then that I realize that every one of you were laying hands on me, even your father. You were giving me the strength and courage to take and protect you. You reached up and wiped a tear from my face and said, “Don’t worry it will be alright.” With those words your mother kissed you and then your sisters and walked away from her children, a Queen in her own right. I never saw her or my family again.