The Matriarchal Eden Ethnicity in The Void Between | World Anvil

The Matriarchal Eden

Friends in high places...

Unity - The Battle Of The Pillars
Francis trembled in the arms of her mother. Her mother brushed away the ash and dirt In her hair, clutching a wound that would soon take her life. Rail guns fired massive rounds into the sky, some piercing through the silieu ships hovering just above Unity.   A heavy step rattled the floor beneath them. Francis whimpered, but didn't turn away. The beast stepped into view with snarling teeth and scaled skin. It raised a weapon and she merely narrowed her eyes.   Her mother pulled her head away, forced her to look elsewhere. Francis resisted, even as the weapon charged and the soldier prepared to fire. She expected the sound of gunfire, but instead heard the sound of crumbling stone. An arm burst from the wall behind the creature, grabbed it, and pulled it back. The metal frame bent, the bricks falling to the ground. The creature flew back, thrown to the opposing side of the street. Standing between Francis, her mother, and the soldier, was what looked to be a woman, an eden dressed in a sleek, black suit of battle armor.   Francis cowered at the sight, and the eden removed their helmet. They looked human, and possessed an aura, as if their mere presence radiated holy light. The soldier stood, shaken by the sudden attack. The eden turned to face it, their brow furrowed.   The beast roared, a deep, bellowing cry of rage. The eden tilted their head, then bent forward, giving a battle cry of their own. Francis stared in fear and wonder. The eden's roar scared her more. Nuclear flashes in the sky cast light on the eden as they screamed. Somewhere between moments of darkness and illumination, the little girl saw something inhuman. It was brief, an image that faded as soon as it appeared, the image of a monster.   The siliue looked around for its weapon, then settled on charging forward, its claws swiping at the eden, and its gaping maw opened wide. The eden reached forward, took the force head on, and gripped the upper and lower jaws with their hands. They pried the mouth open wider, dislocating the bone. The soldier fell to its knees, shrieking in pain as the eden ripped the lower jaw from the body and struck a killing blow. When the eden stood to meet the girl's stare, the cuts on their hands dripped blood as black as night.   Francis darted forward, wrapping her arms around the eden's legs in a tight embrace. The eden seemed unprepared, staring down with wide eyes as if afraid. The mother sobbed uncontrollably, her hands clasped together in the only form of thanks she was able to give. The eden nodded, knowing the mother would die soon. They raised their hand and rested it on the child's shoulder, then pulled the girl closer...
It's surprising how long it took for us to understand the eden on even the most basic level. They are one of the most technologically advanced species in the galaxy, or what we call a late stage civilization. Consider their mastery in the field of medicine, along with how genetic manipulation is the hallmark of their species. They have been able to genetically modify every single aspect of themselves.   For example: Before approaching a species they've never met, members of their race volunteer in infiltration projects. These volunteers are genetically modified, altered to be indistinguishable from the species they are infiltrating. It isn't perfect, but it's highly effective. The volunteers will work their way to high positions of power and prepare the species for first contact with their race.   Sadly, humanity didn't get that far. They were preparing us for their arrival before The Battle of The Pillars. Shortly after the battle, several high level officials stepped down of their own volition. Did you notice they were all women? Their species has evolved around their technology and the consequences of that technology. The eden are a species made up entirely of clones. The genetic manipulation was so invasive it rendered the entire species sterile.

The Eden Matriarchy

The eden are ancient. Over time, they developed a radically different understanding of ethnic groups. To them, biological sex is a cultural trait. Biological sex is optional, and it's a choice made by every eden when they come of age. This choice helps determine their ethnicity. Their genetic alterations allow the option to alter their decision after the fact, as well.   This concept is so ingrained in their culture, their society is fractured into different ethic political powers on the ground of gender as opposed to nationality, skin color, cultural roots, and even ideology. All Eden are born without gender, and when they choose it, they join a social group that shares that similar identity. Most here on Safeharbor believe that all eden are female because we were contacted one of several ethnic groups,   The Eden Matriarchy was the first to contact us and controls nearly a third of all eden controlled space. Their warlike, despite their calm demeanor. They have their own religious tendencies, social norms, and culture. They even have separate naming conventions and aesthetics for their ships compared to other eden cultures, and they are the only ones who really cared about humans in the first place.


No one knows what the true form of an eden looks like. Every eden we come into contact with looks like Us. Other groups have contacted us, but they don't have the same level of investment in our species as The Matriarchy. No one is allowed in their cloning facilities. Don't test them on that.   What I can tell you is this: an unmodified eden looks nothing us. Their planets shouldn't even be able to support life. Most of their worlds have no oxygen, no magnetic field, and not even the slightest bit of water. This is a preferable environment for them in their true form.   Why do we trust them? Do you think there's a choice? Why would we deny the technology they offer? Why would we say no to the protection they offer as allies? The only reason we learned anything about the galactic community is because they saw fit to tell us, and gave us the tools to see for ourselves.

A Designer Genome

They don't have a way of emulating the asymmetry most organic bodies have naturally. Their bodies are way too symmetrical, and are often uncomfortable to look at, especially with our eyes. The delayed reaction present in human vision from our own genetic tampering can cause extreme anxiety if you stare at any human modified eden for too long.   Our eyes look for asymmetry, our brain trying to account for something that isn't there. It tends to make us uncomfortable because the brain is not entirely sure what to feel. This can make human modified eden appear very attractive, but don't get any ideas. It's also terrifying. It wouldn't matter anyway. Most of their species would identify with something on the asexual spectrum, given the drive to reproduce no longer exists for them.   The Matriarchy struggled to adapt to us, and we to them. They understand but fail to empathize with our species. They get upset when people stare, usually internalizing the anger. They fail to understand our cultural concepts of courtship. As well as our concepts of gender and sexuality. This has led to some uncomfortable situations for both parties involved.

Gender roles

The matriarchy tends to prefer feminine traits, but they don't share the same idea of what it means. Feminine attributes include compassion, patience, and grace, but the eden also view independence, aggression, and dominance as feminine. Humanity often labels these traits as masculine.   Eden society Is huge, and they don't have many social pressures placed on them to conform. The eden tend to gravitate to what best suits them in their opinion, which leads to a remarkably cohesive society among the different ethnic groups. There is next to no variation. Almost all those in the matriarchy will feature some combination of the aforementioned traits.   As it would happen, the eden translation for masculine and feminine ends up being the same word, a word meaning the nature of one's character. They don't differentiate the two like we do. The Eden are born without gender, and actively choose their gender and biological sex when they come of age, if they choose to have either. They don't have gendered words in their language. Their language features no gendered pronouns, meaning the only pronouns are usually translated as them, and they.



The Eden don't quite understand our rituals of courtship and the idea of marriage and even monogamy baffles them. The Eden have some concept of romance, but it's usually a brutally honest affair. They don't dance around the topic like we do, waiting for someone to muster the courage to speak up as they probe one another with flirtation and innuendo. Romance among the eden species moves fast and is completely emotional.   Let me say that again: they will blatantly address their attraction and seek romantic interests with little care for tact, yet most have little to no sex drive. While the asexual spectrum is broad, there are few who have the slightest inkling of lust, and those who do usually need to achieve a deeper emotional connection first.   Xenophilia is not common nor advised for the faint of heart. They seldom have successful relationships outside of their own race. It's not for lack of trying. Their idea of relationships can be strange at best, to completely foreign and alienating for most species. If you're considering pursuing a matriarchal eden, consider this: Humans have a long list of romantic scenarios to share with their significant others. I understand the battlefield is noticeably vacant from that list, yes?

Eden medicine

While the matriarchy is most known for its development of military technology, the eden species possesses unprecedented knowledge in medicine. Their age and technology helped, but this occurred primarily through frequent contact with other species throughout their existence.   The Eden species have a keen understanding of biology and learned fundamental patterns of life that no other species could boast. Every species they meet either teaches something new, or affirms what they knew to be true. This understanding Is how the species managed to foster so many allies in the galactic community.   The Eden's method of infiltrating species wouldn't be nearly as effective if they couldn't handle the exposure, but more importantly, they need to be sure they don't pass their own biological contagions to their would be allies. For this reason, eden physiology is both incapable of catching or spreading any known contagion. We have no idea how they accomplished this, but we believe their genome functions so differently from others, that the contagions are just not compatible.

The Eden Void Navy

While it is a natural consequence of war, destroying an Eden vessel is regarded as a destruction of their culture. Some of these ships double as their gods. Every vessel is unique. They are a culture that has been traveling the void for so long that the ships they build are their primary form of art. This has a profound effect on their navy.   Vessels are never made obsolete, nor are they ever decommissioned. They either reassign the ship for a more suitable line of work, or practice their idea of art restoration and update the ship with new technology and more effective weapons. There are vessels in their navy that have over a thousand years worth of history behind them.   The cultural significance of their ships bleeds into the tactics used in war as well. Eden ships don't take risks. They always bring more firepower than needed, and believe the best offense is great defense.


The Eden have several religious belief systems. The matriarchy differs from other groups in the species. Their religious system sees the world from a warrior's point of view. They worship the very idea of war and honor. It's an ancestral religion, but also polytheistic. It's fascinating how many similarities there are, when compared to old religious systems of our own, back on earth.   This isn't to say it makes sense. There are some strange beliefs present here. The Eden matriarchy views their oldest ships as godly avatars. This is taken both literally and figuratively. This complicates their idea of what worship and belief is. Their religion is a blend of literal and figurative beliefs. There are mentions of a dualistic afterlife and every matriarchal eden wishes to go there, but there isn't a straight answer on how to spend eternity in paradise as opposed to eternal punishment, and no eden would ever claim either place exists.   They claimed these contrasts are evidence of religious drift, minor details lost to time as the millennia stacked up. I don't consider that as a minor detail. The pantheon of their entire species feature gods that are less like gods and more like saints. They know these ancestors are long dead, and can't hear their prayers, but they will still pray. What's fascinating is their religious texts speak as if these holy men and women built this afterlife themselves. It's the first time I've seen a religion where practitioners became the pantheon before the religion was even founded. There's a story here, and we've barely passed the first sentence.

War Saints

The War Saints are something unique to The Matriarchy. Like humans of old, ships of the matriarchy often carry relics. Sometimes it's a body part of the saint or maybe their prized possessions. In times of need, they test their faith. They pray, In the middle of a battlefield surrounded by enemies, you can see them kneel to the ground and bow their heads with their hands stretched to the stars as they mutter their mantras of war. If they are deemed worthy something extraordinary happens.   The saints 'wake up' and join the fray, wielding weapons our science can't explain. Every relic is stored in a special pod linked to the vessel it's in. It can also be launched to the surface of a planet if needed on the battlefield. Perhaps these entities are not the saints, but recreations of them. Are they clones, advanced AI, chosen disciples who the saints choose to channel their might through?   I conducted an interview of those who fought alongside the matriarchy on Unity during The Battle of The Pillars. I don't know what It means or how they did it. They refuse to explain it, but make it clear that nothing supernatural is happening, despite believing otherwise themselves. I've studied many species in the galactic community, and this is the first time religion has blended with technology. It's more than the techno-theocracy of The Matriarchy. This kind of thing pops up all over eden culture.
Dawn - Present Day
Argus pulled her eyes away from the moon in the sky. The memories retreated back as she shed a tear. She turned to the mirror and traced black stains on the skin of her shoulder. "A mark of Eden," she was told, "a blessing for one destined to do great things."   Argus turned to a knock at the door, and an eden stepped into her quarters. Argus struggled to look at her. While appearing human, the perfect symmetry of her form always made Argus feel uneasy. Argus wiped away the tears. With long, black hair and dressed in the Eden officers uniform, Diavae hadn't aged a day.   "Welcome back, Francis", they said. "Did you have a pleasant voyage?"   The tears flowed as Argus stepped forward without warning. She wrapped her arms around Diavae on instinct, then quickly pulled away when the eden's body tensed up at her touch. "Sorry." Argus said, her eyes glued to the floor. "I missed you."   "Why apologize?" The eden asked, their arms out to usher Argus back into a loving embrace.   "You don't seem to like it," Argus replied, "you always tense up, so I just stopped doing it. Can't help it today, it seems."   "No," Diavae shook her head violently, pulling away so Francis could see their eyes. "That's… no, I always loved it."   "Really?"   "Yes. When your mother died, I was put in a rare position." Diavae stepped to the side and sat on a nearby cot. Argus sat beside her, unwilling to let go. "The matriarchs thought it'd be a wonderful experiment. I'm sorry if I was a distant parent. Humans don't like being touched. I didn't want to upset you. I tense up because It's always a surprise for me. A pleasent one, as well."   "You were never distant."   Diavae nodded. "The Eden are sterile. We don't admit to it, but I imagine most of us long for a child's embrace. We watch our children grow in vats. you're touch is a rare blessing. Now come, I've got plenty of time, and it's all yours. Tell me of your adventures."

Cover image: by Stefano Pollio


Author's Notes

Archivist Trigger Commands
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Dec 15, 2020 06:23 by Jacob Billings

Whoo. This is a longer article for sure! Excited to dig in and see what you've pulled out in the past few days!   Hmm. So one thing that comes off as a bit odd to me is the opening. It took me until that amazing blue container to make the connection that "matriarchy" wasn't referring to the organizational government of the eden nor the name of the species as a whole. This minor disparity made the article initially read as being about the eden when it's about the matriarchal eden ethnicity. I liked the details, but a bit of relocation wouldn't hurt or a more interwoven approach to ensure the proper focus.   Typo: "their warlike" should be "they're" as they don't possess warlike and you also don't continue it as a noun.   "No one knows what the true form of an eden looks like. " Lines like this relate back to my previous paragraph. It makes it feel like even you, as the author, aren't sure whether to focus on the cultural importance of the matriarchal eden or explain the species. You should probably have a species article first so you could link it and have a better funnel into this article.   Not a bad thing, but just a note: you really like your long explaining paragraphs with little to break them up. It's something I've personally begun to shy away from to allow the reader to more easily find their way through the article, but your CSS does well enough to make me not notice the chunks of writing.   Ooookkkkkaaayyy. I don't really know how to react to the "Gender Roles" section because, in all honesty, I don't understand the gender role assignment that humans have presently. It's way too muddled and many of the masculine traits you mention while, maybe if I wasn't reading this article, I could associate with masculinity but really the first thing that came to mind while reading was businesswomen. Frankly, I think that Gender Roles should cease to exist -- but that's neither here nor there. I did like the mention of neutrality in pronouns as it makes way more sense for languages nowadays to give way to the freedom of gender expression.   "I understand the battlefield is noticeably vacant from that list, yes?" I LOVE the sass in that line. It's hilarious and I almost glazed over it at first. But holy cow, battlefields being a romantic affair for some matriarchal eden is great. Also, something that literally just came to me, wouldn't most relationships within matriarchal eden be "lesbian" as they chose to present as female?   I may have missed it, but with the medicinal advancements of the eden have they elongated their livespans to inhuman lengths of time? Just out of curiosity, though I hope you explore that in the eden article -- presuming you plan on having one on the species itself.   I love the artwork you've been using. Despite the grimness of the world, it has a soothing lavender and periwinkle color to it.   I also like all the different details about the warrior's religion of the matriarchal eden. It's pretty interesting, though I kind of wound up skimming a little bit. Sorry there, but I don't have many big comments about that.   Alright. Overall thoughts. I loved this article, as always, and enjoyed the insight into your first(I think?) alien species in the world. I would like to read more about the eden and an edit of this article to clearly define it as an ethnicity not a species wouldn't hurt. But, beyond that, another jobs well done.

Dec 15, 2020 06:52 by R. Dylon Elder

Woooot yes. The archivest is one the sassiest character I've ever written XD also yes, a romantic evening among the bodies, nuclear flares shining on the battle like candlelight. It's a thing to behold lol.   One thing I do have to say regarding the way this article shift between species ethnicity is because humans know next to nothing about the species itself. Literally everything said about the Eden as a whole is in this article. Since it's the human perspective they know nothing about the other ethnic groups. I will definitely weave it together more to make it more clear and to shift that focus when I polish this up. So you reacted as intended though I should make it clear that was my intent with the gender roles bit. I hate gender roles. It's stupid, cause anyone could have these traits, a business woman is a good example. I really struggled on this bit. The idea is that Eden can choose things we cant. They practically build their gender and sexuality themselves. On top of that, masculine and feminine are not, nor should they ever be, one or the other. They are two halves of a whole. You need functions of both in society and that's regardless of who or what you are. I am excited to have another pronoun for dialogue though as any Eden characters have to be called they or them to maintain continuity, English be dammed.   They have the liberty to choose how they are 'born' unlike us. They have the same lifespan of the species they emulate. So in this world they would live 300 years or so as a human modified Eden. They CAN change this with some tampering.   On the idea of them being lesbians, yes and no. I mean techniqually yes cause that's our word for it, but that would mean they are sexually attracted. Most Eden are asexual, so technically no as well as they have no sexual attraction or desire. We'd still refer to their relationship as a lesbian relationship, but from our perspective, it would look more like a romantic but platonic relationship, if that makes sense. Hmm that's a rabbit hole there XD

Dec 15, 2020 07:11 by Jacob Billings

That sounds... exhilarating, though far from peaceful. What an interesting design,   Hmm. That makes way more sense. The best solution would be to have the archivist initially suggest that the matriarchal eden are the most document ethnicities of the eden, providing humanity with all they know about the species.   Well done then because boy did the gender roles section remind me that those still exist in the world of physical humans. Jumping off your comment about the reliance upon both masculinity and femininity, I'd say society would be better off without them as people would be free to explore the roles that their personality leads them to. In reality, the only purpose that sex--not gender--has in society is reproduction. Yeah, English is a bit restrictive about gender despite having way more looseness than, say, Spanish.   Ooh. That almost makes sense; however, you may need to rephrase that to "mature into" as birth implies the origin of thought and independent growth. By that standard, it would be pretty much impossible for the eden to decide pre-birth--unless you're suggesting that the parental figure picks for them. The aspect about actual lifespan works well, however.   That is indeed a strange rabbit hole to consider. I've not actually thought about what you might call a relationship between two asexual "women." Realistically, there need not be a term for it as all that matters is that it is a relationship. It's also interesting to see a whole species exploring the asexuality spectrum. From what you've written, they will have a range of actual sexuality from more grey-asexual to complete asexual. I was wondering, however, what sort of romantic orientation they might have? While it's realistic for them to be asexual, lacking in sexual interest, and also possess a low libido, I think it's still realistic for them to long for a relationship. I feel like I might have missed a bit, but some of what you say sort of almost suggests that relationships rely upon sexual lust while, in reality, relationships can form simply from the desire to have that kind of connection. Even if the eden experience that kind of desire differently, it would be logical to see matriarchal eden fighting in monogamous or polygamous relationship groups. Speaking of polygamy, you kind of suggest that the eden find this pattern to be confusing, but then don't elaborate.   Either way, there's a lot to explore there. Good luck in finding the right balance of exploration and inferencation.

Dec 15, 2020 07:27 by R. Dylon Elder

Oooohhhh all good points and I'm definitely gonna take that advice there.   ....I cant quite change it to mature.... for reasons...   One thing I'll say is absolutely sex is not the point of a relationship. Romance to them is an entirely emotional affair. I say this cause arguably, the very nature of attraction is a sexual one for humans, from a scientific or chemical standpoint at least. We would have no frame of reference for what attraction is to them, unless your asexual and in a relationship perhaps.     And finally, polygamy would be VERY strange to them. Monogamy is baffling. They cant wrap their heads around stating with one person for life, as an emotional connection can develop with anyone and to various degrees. Ill specify that their society would be considered polyamorous. polyamorous battle groups?! Yesssssss.

Dec 15, 2020 20:22

War Saints sound awesome, in the archaic sense of the word. When they come down to battle, are they flesh and blood, or something else? When first reading, I couldn't help but imagine a glowing ghostly projection unleashing pale beams of it's essence and/or laser swords.   As far as the rest of their religion goes, I believe that the eden have sufficiently advanced technology to pass as religion when looked at from a human perspective.   With the eden able to survive in a vacuum practically, I'd think that a good chunk of their number would choose to live in space with their greatest works of art; After all, what on their planets can compare to the luxury and honor of living in the archangel? I wouldn't be surprised if it served as their capitol city. well, except for maybe that fact that it does go into battle zones occasionally...   I'm getting very SG1 Asgard vibes from these guys.

Dec 16, 2020 01:33 by R. Dylon Elder

Oooo i forgot all ab ki ut sg1. Oof. Generally the war saints are definitely flesh and blood. I'll be sure to add a little flash fiction depicting them soon, but your other descriptions are pretty close. Many eden will spend alot of their lives in space for sure. Thank you!

Dec 16, 2020 00:50 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love the idea that gender is kind of what decides their ethnicity. It's such an interesting and weird concept to wrap the head around - alien, I guess.   I love how the Archivist narrates all the articles. There's just that hint of sass there that I really enjoy.   I really like the idea that their ships are comparable to gods, in a way. You could have a lot of fun with that.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 16, 2020 01:35 by R. Dylon Elder

He is sassy XD I love it. I agree they are definitely alien. Imagine living inside your god! Ooof. Crazy. Thanks so much!

Dec 21, 2020 04:55 by Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)

Very interesting concept. Despite them being able to look human-like they still got a very alien feel about them. I think it might be due to their culture and society being so different from our own. I really enjoy this world/project. It's so interesting and also different from anything I have read before.

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
Dec 21, 2020 19:34 by R. Dylon Elder

:,) thanks si much! That means alot and I'm happy to hear it!

Dec 27, 2020 23:56 by Grace Gittel Lewis

A fascinating culture! I'm a sucker for anything that twists western gender roles, to boot.

Dec 28, 2020 06:54 by R. Dylon Elder

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much!

Apr 27, 2022 01:12 by Lilliana Casper

This is amazing. So unique. I find it interesting that all the Eden are clones, and so all sterile. Their religion is also interesting, but I can see how it would also be confusing if it seems that it was created before they had anything to worship. The part about the saint relics is also interesting, I would love to read more about what those are and what actually happens. Finally, one of my favorite parts was definitely the story parts with Francis/Argus and Diavae. How sweet. Great work, and congratulations on winning the award for Worldember 2020 best ethnicity!

Lilliana Casper   I don't comment much, but I love reading your articles! Please check out my worlds, Jerde and Tread of Darkness.
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