Given on the eve of her burial by her great-great-great-granddaughter, Gwenovith ‘ja Roarer.
Good evening and good tidings to you all. To my family, for taking the time out of their busy schedules around the Empire to return to Amalcross for this somber occasion. To our friends and admirers from the Hundred Houses and beyond, who have braved the protests outside to join us in loving memory. To the Executor of the Imperial Catechism and his cadre of Catechists, blessing us with their presence. To the Commander of the Amalguard and her troops, granting us the unbreakable protection of the realm. Thank you all for being here.
Anyone who knew my Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie knows at least one thing about her: She had an unquenchable thirst for life. And, thanks to her boundless vigor, she was able to enjoy herself to her fullest for the entirety of her long, eventful, joy-filled life.
One of my earliest memories of Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie was the time she took me on one of her annual trips to the City of Glass. Now Gwenovith, I can hear you saying, the City of Glass is no place for a young girl. And normally I would agree with you — but whenever I was with Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie, I always felt completely safe. She may have looked old and plump, and she may have had gray hair, and some of her attitudes and habits may have come across as old-fashioned. But I tell you, Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie was the spryest women I’ve ever seen. I never felt I needed her protection — she was always too charming and could talk her way out of anything — but I always knew I was protected.
Over the course of her life, Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie bore dozens of beautiful daughters for House Roarer, as well as a few sons. And I feel so privileged to have come from her line, from her very first daughter and my great-great-grandma Euclessia. It was Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie’s daughters and granddaughters and great-granddaughters who helped return House Roarer to its historic glory. And it is us, now, who will ensure such glory never again wanes. But always — always! — we all acted with the guidance, the tutelage, the vision of my beautiful Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie. Always from the wisdom of our beloved matron, Lucretia ‘ja Roarer.
Now. We all know the rumors. And we all know the whispers. Yes, I’m raising this now. I heard them all growing up, heard them spoken softly when my back was turned, sputtered halfway to silence when I arrived in rooms too soon, shrieked in crowds of rabid commoners protesting the latest House Roarer success. Pray tell me, the grieving great-great-great-granddaughter of a glorious, powerful, self-made, self-empowered woman: What need has House Roarer of men?
It has always been as such through the history of this house. How could House Roarer make such profits? Find such success? Secure such admirable deals and contracts? When all of it — every single bit of it — is fronted by those who bear children and not cocks?
Such is the insidious snaking sneer that has slimed our House since time immemorial, and Houses Bramble and Gedworth, as well. The “womanly Houses,” we are called, even though women and those woman-like from across the Distant Reaches have time and time again proven to their lesser counterparts they are as worthy and frequently more capable.
Instead of asking about Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie’s everlasting youth, or her endless charm, or her all-knowing wits, or her impressive lineage, all we have ever heard are yowls and smears.
Critics ask, Where were the men who guided Lucretia ‘ja Roarer’s signature?
I answer, No men!
Peasants ask, Why does a house of women need so many male servants?
I answer, None of your business!
Conspiracists ask, Whatever became of Lucretia’s husbands and lovers and sons- and grandsons- and great-grandsons-in-law?
I answer, Who cares!
Not a one of them admired Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie’s incredible life, or her wondrous successes, or her always-beautiful skin. Granted, perhaps they could not afford to see her, as she preferred to come out at dark. But have you thought, perhaps, that Lucretia ‘ja Roar benefited not from the presence of men, but rather from their absence? After all, this is a woman only two years shy of her own bicentennial!
I’m sorry. I’ve strayed from my prepared remarks. I’m still bristling from the Imperial Magus’s insistence on driving no less than seven stakes through Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie’s heart. To ensure her timeless rest in the Deathless Fields, he said. But we at House Roarer know better.
We have many more speakers, so I’ll finish. Let me say — Great-Great-Great-Grandmamie, thank you for everything. For all you taught us and me. I love you so much and I already miss you. May your memory never die.