How did I come up with the idea?
Well, I guess my psyche goes back to a true story about one of my great-grandmothers. Sarah Munn didn't stand idly by while a trapper shot her husband, Edward, she jumped on the stinky trappers back, causing him to crash to the ground. You have to take into account that Sarah was 5 foot tall in her shoes and unarmed except for her courage. She had guts and so do the Eyes.
Role-models changed from the time I was a little girl. Women no longer like to play the weak part and pretend to be victims. Most of us like women who are strong enough to be gentle, but to take care of business. I knew as I was writing COS, which seemed like such a man's world, that I needed the equivalent for the ladies - their strengths are different, but compatible - equals. Besides, I can't stand the out-moded idea of women standing against a wall, wringing their hands while their men get murdered or fight the monster all by themselves.
The first "Eye" was Marisena, wife of one of the beings knows as the Five Creators. If you read the prequels to the Chest of Souls, you will learn more about her. No one in Books 1-9, including Mari, understands the concept of an organization of women dated back to antiquity. Once the Five have been missing for millennia, the knowledge was lost for millennia and reared its head again in Mari - who is a descendant of Marisena.
In books 1-9, the women who become Eyes are orphans. They are taken in and raised by Loni, later, as Loni observes each girls strengths, she talks to Mari about it and Mari makes the final decision.
The first orphans at Ryn House were the Ryn girls themselves. The first non-family orphan that became an Eye was Ketu Modae. The Eyes are trained to blend in. Under the watchful care of Loni, they are tutored in many kinds of skills - even apprenticed out to learn whatever art they choose.
Once they are chosen to be Eyes, they are personally trained by Mari, who dishes out the assignments. If they mess up, the consequences are life-threatening and yes, they lose many over the years. Eyes are active participants in the tapestry that will help take down Sogo, not wallpaper. They are clever, very dangerous women.
In spite of what Hadasha Ryn (Haddy), the youngest of the Ryn sisters believes, missions come from Mari - period.
What began as a personal vendetta against Nez became much more than Mari and Loni ever dreamed.
Haddy, of course, has her own path to follow.