In my previous installment of Eolyn: Legends and Lore, I wrote about the origin of the Silver Web, including insights into Akmael’s parentage. The history of Eolyn’s parents, Kaie and Eoghan, is more obscure. In the series, we don’t learn much about Kaie or Eoghan because most of the people who knew them are dead by the time Eolyn’s story begins.
Eolyn herself does not learn the truth about her mother until after Kaie disappears and the Mage King destroys their home. Eolyn escapes the King’s wrath by fleeing to the South Woods. There, she meets the hermit, Ghemena who reveals part of Kaie’s hidden history. From Chapter 2 of the novel:
“I knew your mother.” Ghemena sucked a sharp breath through yellowed teeth. “Of course! I see the resemblance now. She was a maga warrior, one of the best of her generation.”
Eolyn’s gut lurched. It was not possible, not in the darkest of worlds, that this old hag had known her mother. “What’s that? What’s a maga warrior?”
“A maga is a woman who knows magic,” Ghemena replied. “A maga warrior is also trained in the arts of war.”
The term “maga” is derived from the Spanish word for female magician. I’ll come back to the magas of Eolyn’s world in a later post.
Ghemena met Kaie when the maga warrior served at Berlingen, a great abbey and library of magic. Ghemena was Abbess of Berlingen, and Kaie posted to the guard, when the young Prince Kedehen arrived at the gate petitioning to study magic. The Old Orders had long enforced a prohibition against royalty entering the Orders of Mages and Magas, but Kedehen eventually found a tutor in the wizard Tzeremond. Thus the road to conflict began. When Kedehen, fully initiated into High Magic, became King, Kaie and the other magas rose up against him. They found allies among the mages, a handful of nobility, and importantly, the Wizards and Warriors of Galia.
Eoghan came from Galia, a kingdom to the south of Moisehén. Although Galia assisted the magas in their cause against the Mage King, Galian royalty had long since incorporated magic into their own lineage. A rigorous code of ethics among Galian nobility was meant guard against abuse of magical power. So, while Galians were not opposed the idea of royalty wielding magic, they knew the dangers. They united against Kedehen out of fierce loyalty to the Order of Magas, with whom they had enjoyed a generations-old partnership in magic.
Kaie and Eoghan met and fell in love during the war against Kedehen. When the war ended and the purges began, they were forced into hiding. They considered fleeing to Galia, but Kaie, steady in the faith that women’s magic could be restored, did not want to abandon her people. Hoping to outlive the terror, she and Eoghan settled in the remote province of Moehn, where they started a farm and conceived Eolyn. Kaie would not live to see her dream of restoring women’s magic realized, but that dream would be carried forward by her daughter.
I’ve noticed a recurring theme of hidden heritage in many of my manuscripts. I suspect this is a reflection of my own life story, characterized by a family history that is at once well-articulated and yet filled with secrets and shrouded truths. For example, I’ve known since I was a young that the surname “Gastreich” dates to the 14th century and is derived from old German for “taster of wines.” On the other hand, it wasn’t until relatively late in life that I learned I have Roma heritage.
Eolyn’s knowledge of her family is even more limited by her circumstances. There are some things she will never know because her parents died before they could tell their stories. For example, the Galian sword Kel’Barú, which plays an important role in the saga, is bound to the bloodline of Eolyn’s father. This is why only Eolyn can hear and understand Kel’Barú’s voice, even though she has little knowledge of sword play when she first encounters the weapon.
Where we come from influences who we are, whether or not we are fully aware of that history. As the Silver Web Trilogy progresses, the memory of Eolyn’s mother inspires her leadership in magic, while the legacy of Eolyn’s father guides her in battle. Kaie and Eoghan’s stories may be partially hidden, but they have a full and lasting impact on Eolyn’s gifts and aspirations. Their struggle, hope, magic, and passion live on through Eolyn and her allies.