For those hoping for specific updates like word count or estimated time of completion, please see my response to Chloe. In the meantime, a reader asked me a backstory question: where did the gender swap spell used to turn Serren into a girl originate?
Here is the story as recorded in the History Hekatania, housed in the secret library of Gaunefer:
It came to pass during the reign of the third King, Erenia, that she did have three sons and no daughters. When she passed the age of child bearing, The Coven First grew concerned. It was known that men, with their anger and their selfishness, were not fit to govern, and it had been passed down by the goddess, herself, the blessed Progenita, that a woman always should guide the kingdom. Indeed, the King was called in those days also by the title of “Loving Mother,” and it was her duty to care for all her children, that including every person who lived under the sky.
Some blamed Erenia, herself, for her failure to bare a daughter. They said she must have sinned against the goddess to be so punished. Others blamed her husband, Juntus. Talk began to spread among the Council that they should name a new heir to the throne, a worthy girl from one of the other families.
The goddess, though, works in mysterious ways. Erenia’s eldest son, Devin, had always surprised and delighted his mother. Even as a child, he had shown great care for his younger siblings, and throughout his young life he’d shown many of the fine qualities of of a girl: he was caring and selfless, brave and courageous. More, and in this he was not different from other boys, he longed for a girl’s life, and often Erenia had caught him sneaking into her library, reading books of magic meant only for the eyes of young ladies. Boys, of course, sensing the superiority of the greater sex, often went through such a phase, but with Devin, Erenia saw something different. He was a boy, but he had all the talents and mental acuity to be a girl– and a king.
Erenia went to the high witch of the hekatin, Neveria, and she asked if there were some way to give her son the gift of girlhood. Neveria and the greatest witches of the realm, after prayer and consultation, concluded this was the will of the goddess, and they devised a spell, called simply, The Blessing.
Erenia went to her son, Devin, and explained that he was to be honored with a new sex, elevated to female and made the heir to the throne. Devin resisted. He wanted the life of a girl, but not to be a girl. He had fallen in love, in truth, with a young woman, the loveliest girl in all the lands, Allania, and she had even asked for his hand in marriage. He wept and suffered, but to his mother’s pride, he did what a good girl must, and he accepted that he must place the needs of others before his own. Devin consented to his mother’s wishes and the wishes of all the kingdom, and on what became known as “Blessing Day” he was transformed into a young woman before the whole kingdom. No one knew whether the tears the young Devinia shed were those of sorrow or joy. More than a few noted that his new name meant, “Blessed of the Goddess.”
Devinia threw herself into her new life and duties with the passion and devotion expected of a woman, and as further proof of the will of the goddess, she in her turn bore three strong, brave daughters, as well as two lovely sons. During her reign, the lands prospered and knew peace. She was and is known as one of our great Mothers.
Devinia had a happy life, was a good king and loving mother. It would all have seemed to be a joyous story. Yet, when she died, she asked to be laid to rest next to Allania, her first and true love, the one she had denied herself in order to fulfill her obligations to the kingdom. Even this, most said, was only proof of her woman’s heart.
Since that time, whenever a young man showed unusual promise and proved himself worthy, or when called upon by the goddess, ‘The Blessing” was used to elevate him to stand among the women, as his merit had shown he deserved.