Washer Women's Thread Item in Hallowed Legacy | World Anvil

Washer Women's Thread

If you pluck a silver thread, follow it to its end; Have a care for where it leads, To dangerous women and wicked deeds
— Washer Woman's Rhyme
  Whether the Washer Women are real or just a children's story is debatable. According to the stories, the Washer Women are a secret group of spies, working for an unknown benefactor to mysterious ends. They pose as laundresses who wash and repair the clothing of whichever group of people they are targeting. They will watch the movements and habits of those targets, gather rumors and information, then communicate their findings to other cells within their organization. Many stories insist the Washer Women communicate secretly to each other using stitches of special thread and specific patterns hidden in the clothes they wash. Thus the common saying "A stitch of silver for a secret kept."  

Threads and Secrets

The thread in question is, in fact, several different types of thread. The famous rhymes that children sing only reference the silver thread oft mentioned in other stories. The silver happens to be rarely used, contrary to the attention it's given. Each type of thread is spun with special fibers treated with different alchemical substances. When exposed to heat, thereafter, they will glow with specific colors and patterns, communicating information such as; who is moving and how far, when meetings are scheduled to happen, and when it is time to flee suspicion.   The methods used to dye the fibers are the most closely guarded secrets of the Washer Women. Sources suggest that they soak the threads in different potions under the full moon, chanting words known only to Gwyfyn. Others insist they simply infuse normal dye with crushed arcane crystals which react to oils or can be seen with special lenses.   All sources, regardless of their reliability, tend to agree on one aspect of this special thread. It is spun exclusively upon a special spinning wheel. This wheel is said to have a unique property that allows the user to weave patterns of different threads together. Each pattern represents a different message which will then be sewn into the clothing by the Washer Women. The designs of these spinning wheels are, of course, a heavily guarded secret.
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