- “Aye, we are in the heart of the squirrel domain and here the Starwife lives, but there were Starwives before this oak was an acorn and before this very hill was made. The Starwives go back a long way.”
- ―Thomas Triton
Starwife is a title given to female black squirrels (the one exception is Audrey Scuttle, a mouse). The Starwife is the highest ranking member of royalty among squirrels, above their other queens. As the Green's regent on earth, she wields all the power of the heavens and possesses awe-inspiring magic. Her realm is the only one of the original five royal houses of black squirrels to have survived to the present day. Unlike the thrones of the other squirrel houses, that of the Starwife is not hereditary, and is passed only to those who are worthy of it. Maidenhood plays a part in eligibility for the Starwifeship. Audrey's marriage to Twit did not stand in the way of her becoming the Starwife because it had not been consummated.
Another term for a Starwife is the Handmaiden of Orion. This is in reference to the constellation of Orion, the hunter. It can be deduced, then, that the Starwife serves Orion in some capacity, but it has never been explained how this figure from human Greek mythology is connected to the animal lore of the Green Mouse.
The realm of the Starwife is Greenwich Park in London, England. She dwells in a chamber below an ancient oak tree and sits upon a high throne carved from wood. The Starwife always wears a necklace with a magical silver acorn pendant. It is a symbol of their knowledge and wisdom. According to legend, it was found hanging from a branch of an oak tree by the first squirrel to awaken in the deeps of time. This squirrel would go on to become the original Starwife.
Until Audrey Scuttle's reign, the Starwives had a device known as the Starglass with which they could look into the future and perform spells. Young squirrel maidens had to unite the silver acorn with the Starglass in order to officially become the Starwife. Doing so would begin a process during which "the powers" would channel through them. Blinding white light would issue from the Silver Acorn and an icy chill passed into the maiden's veins. After this was through, the Starwifeship was irrevocably theirs. The Starglass, however, does not need to be present for the aforementioned ritual, as the Starwife of the original trilogy was able to transfer her powers over to Audrey without it. The Starglass was destroyed when it fell from the grasp of Jupiter. There were rumours by seafaring folk that pieces of it fell all over the world afterward.
Though to be chosen for the Starwifeship is an honour, it's a lonely position of terrifying responsibility that no one truly wants. According to Robin Jarvis, at least one squirrel maiden committed suicide upon finding out she had been selected as the next Starwife. To make matters worse, Starwives (much like Holy Ones) are granted extended lifespans of several centuries. Ysabelle is said to have reigned for nearly three hundred years.
- According to the Lady Ninnia, Starwives usually have experienced great grief in their lives and this helps them know how to be compassionate to others.
- Derogatory terms for the Starwives (used by their enemies to taunt them) include Harridan of Orion and the Drab of the Firmament.
A list of known Starwives:
- The Starwife (The Oaken Throne)
- Audrey Scuttle
- Morella (unofficially, as she took the throne during a revolt; the powers did not transfer to her)