Rusinas was killed by Kurnos, and the remaining five siblings vowed to share the duties that once were their sister's between them equally. But the five siblings did not know how to do what Rusinas had done, and they failed again and again; crops failed, harvests were poor, people sickened, women died in childbirth, children disobeyed their parents. Though she had been nearly the youngest of the siblings, Rusinas had indeed been the mother to all the free peoples.
And in fact, Rusinas had been midwife to nearly all the free peoples as well, and three of the young women Rusinas had delivered into the world, Rusinas had also instructed in her crucial role in the world. They were not sisters by birth, but became known nonetheless as The Three Sisters: Mavn, Mitcos, and Raknim.
The Three SistersEdit
Raknim the Lady of Sweet CornEdit
Raknim was clever and had a sweet tongue and a sharp wit. After the death of Rusinas, Raknim studied under Jatar, and in particular studied the art of thinking itself. But, unlike many of Jatar's students who were mysterious and a little forbidding, and tended to be withdrawn unless their knowledge was needed, Raknim was always in the midst of the rush of the tribe's affairs. She knew everybody and spoke to everybody.
She taught the children how to think for themselves and ask questions and guard their mind from the deceptions of Kurnos the False King and his emissaries. She also grew corn which was sweet with sugar that the children's brain's needed to think fully, and which- she councilled- grew straight and tall because it unerringly sought the truth that radiated out from the sun every day.
Mavn the Lady of Winter SquashEdit
Mavn was quiet and pleasant. She was well liked, and well regarded but had little prestige. Following the death of Rusinas Mavn studied under Sargas and became adept at solving diasgreements and pointing out the common cause of bickering tribe members. She was a uniter and a persuader, who used her quiet gift for debate and persuasion to keep the peace.
She taught the children the importance of being able to provide for themselves, and instilled the idea that one must stand alone first- and not be a burden to the tribe- before one could be a warrior and contribute to the tribe. She grew winter squash to feed the tribe well into the winter months when nothing else grew, and councilled that the winter months would teach the children who amongst them had prepared properly and therefore; who amongst them was a warrior and who was not.
Mitcos the Lady of Climbing BeansEdit
Mitcos was strong and brave and loved to fight and had always seemed to be ill fit to be a student of Rusinas. After the death of Rusinas, Mitcos studied under Gaigys and became renowned for her skill as a warrior and a raider of enemies and especially of the cities of the False King. But Mitcos was best known for teaching the tribe's applicants in the ways of self-defense and councilling the adolescents that one who could provide, but not defend was a slave to one who was willing to use force to steal. Those who could not defend themselves were like the cattle raised by the followers of the False King, and milked or butchered as others saw fit.
Mitcos was also a careful collector of information, and councilled that knowledge was a weapon to be used against the False King. None knew the terrain and well or as far from the tribe's hunting grounds as Mitcos did. none knew how the seasons would affect camoflauge and cover as Mticos did. None knew the subtle blind spots and routines of the False King's guards as Mitcos did. She collected facts and sorted them into knives, arrows, axes, spears and swords to be used against her former uncle.
Mitcos grew climbing beans which were rich in protein- which helped young children grow strong and able. And like her beans, which fixed nitrogen into the soil and helped other plants grow as well, she councilled that warriors fixed a tribe in space and time and helped it grow strong as well.
The House of Three and the Winter Following the Poor HarvestEdit
Immediately following the death of Rusinas, the Three Sisters lived together and did not have husbands. They planted their gardens together and grew their corn and squash and beans all in the same garden patch. The tribe did not approve of these women. Many whispered that they were lovers and needed good men to fix them of this. Many whispered that Rusinas had not these women so well. The Sister's garden was all a mess and surely would produce nothing of value in so disordered a state. And others whispered "how could women bear to be without children of their own?"
But as the remaining five siblings tried to grow food and deliver children and teach youngsters the tribe's values, it became clear that much of what Rusinas had done was more difficult than the others had at first believed.
Winter was coming and there was little food, those infants not still born were unruly and the children were disobedient and would not help. The tribe looked around and saw the Sister's House of three, with its garden full and ready for harvest. The sisters were helped by orphans from other tribes now fallen before the False King- who were so very well behaved. Still the tribe did not like the women, their ways were strange, and the tribe would not ask for help.
The sisters and their adopted children harvested the crops from the garden and prepared them and stored them for winter, and there was so much that the sister's had to build another root cellar to hold everything. But still the tribe was too proud.
Finally in the dead of winter, when the tribe was almost of out of food and their children were squabbling, there came a knock at the longhouse door. Gaigys opened the door and saw the Three Sisters and their children, arms laden with food, already cooked and smelling delicious. The tribe let them in and the sisters served everyone in the tribe, serving the nastiest gossips first without malice. And the tribe was ashamed, and asked forgiveness of the women. But the women said that all that was required was an open mind willing to learn what Rusinas had taught them, because mother was gone and as the Five Siblings had said- everyone must take Rusinas' role to heart now.
The tribe agreed, and the sisters taught the tribe about the three crops: corn, squash and beans. They taught how growing their crops together allowed the corn to support the climbing beans, and the squash to provide shad with its leaves and ward of pests with its hairy stalks, while the beans added nitrogen to the earth for the other two plants. Everything worked together- just as none of Five Siblings was sufficient alone to handle all the duties of the tribe. The sisters taught about the three skills: critical thinking, self-sufficiency and self-defense. They taught how one must be able to think to learn, and grow and see truth and falsehood for what they are. They taught how one must provide for the self in order to contribute to the group without being a parasite or a burden. They taught how one must be able to protect what one had, lest another take it by force and leave you bereft of the fruits of your labors.
And in the end Mitcos took a husband who was a student of Gaigys and big enough and strong enough to wrestle with her when desired. Mavn took a wife who was a student Munin, and clever enough to intrigue Mavn and keep her interested. Raknim too took a wife, a student of Martagas who told wonderful stories of people of her tribe long gone, fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, heroes and fools and teachers and learners. And the tribe asked themselves- as Raknim had taught them to- questions about their own beliefs. And the tribe decided that they were not the False King, to tell people how to live. Two women might live and and love as deeply as a man and women, and this hurt none of the Four Great laws, and no other in the tribe was less because two women loved each other. And so the three sisters married, but not each other, for they truly thought of each other as sisters. But they lived with their husband and wives in the House of three, with their adopted children and eventually Mitcos blood children.
And so the tribe allowed men who loved men and women who loved women to be open about their love, and these couples frequently raised orphaned children from the tribe and from tribes lost to the False King.
And the Three Sisters continued to teach the free peoples as long as the free peoples grew their favored crops together.