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. 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. The Starwifeship is not hereditary, and is passed only to those who are worthy of it.
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. Another term for a Starwife is the Handmaiden of Orion. This is in reference to the constellation of Orion, the hunter.
The Starwife always wears a necklace with a magical silver acorn pendant. Until Audrey Scuttle's reign, the Starwives had a Starglass with which they could look into the future and perform spells. Young squirrelmaidens 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.
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. On top of everything else, 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:
- Morella (unofficially, as she took the throne during a revolt; the powers did not transfer to her)