“You remember Mother?” Eden asked.
Vida hugged, then released, her. “I do. Just barely, but I do.” She grinned. “In truth, your scents remind me a bit of her—and as you no doubt know, smell is a powerful memory trigger.”
The twins turned to Lucy, each with a question in her eyes.
“A couple of the oldest were with Rowena for a short time,” she explained. “As the firstborn, Vida, of course, spent the most time with your mother, and is the most likely to remember anything of her. When she was about . . . What do you think, Vida? About four?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“By the time she was about four,” Lucy continued, “things had become terribly dangerous for the Select in Oosa. That’s when Rowena decided to send all the children then living at the palace, away. Her sister, Eve, had one child, and Dianna had two.” She paused momentarily, in thought. “And, as I recall, in addition to Vida, your sisters, Asmeret and Diella, had been born by then. An Oathtaker had sworn to the safety of each of them upon birth, so that matter was resolved.
“The Oathtakers then took their charges away to predetermined places for their safety. Later, when your mother bore each of your other sisters, and after an Oathtaker had sworn to that newborn’s safety, your mother arranged for that child to be taken away, as well.”
“You’ve never really told us where they all are, Lucy,” Eden said.
“There is one residing in all but one of Oosa’s seven provinces, although their specific whereabouts are kept secret. Your mother’s plan—her hope all along—was that, whatever else happened, at least one of you would survive and come to power one day.” She smiled at the twins. “And now, you two have.”
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