Preparing to Leave
Voyages – Story Cube Challenge #3 – Feb 4 to 18, 2018
As the sun slowly rises above the emerald waters of Lake Mirabel, Finnola, the young queen of the small country Miravan, lifts the heavy bejewelled crown from her head. Catching the flickering candlelight, the rubies and sapphires sparkle as she gently places it upon the purple velvet pillow resting in a glass case on a shelf in her jewel room. Running her fingers through her thick blonde hair to smooth the tousled curls, she wonders how many weeks or months will pass before she can return to her beloved home snuggled here on the quiet shores hidden deep within the mountains, to once again wear this crown.
On the 10th anniversary of her coronation, as every ruling Monarch of Miravan has done since it became an independent country, she prepares to leave the turrets and comforts of her castle to embark on a census tour of the country. To anonymously visit every hamlet, village, town and city within it’s borders, to return to her roots, so to speak. The first decade tour is undertaken as a way for the Monarchy to re-acquaint themselves with their subjects, what they want, and need to be prosperous and happy, and to determine the state of the country, it’s needs and strengths.
The people of Miravan live in either the capital City – Miravanshire, or in one of the three towns, six villages, five small hamlets or the multitude of individual family homesteads scattered throughout the lush countryside. The towns and villages pose no hardship to reach, it will be the hamlets and the small sporadic settlements that will be difficult to access, where the landscape and roads become unpredictable.
To maintain her anonymity, she will travel disguised as a merchant searching for new trade partners and to purchase artisan crafts to sell abroad.
The glad-handing and posturing for the cameras always takes second place to the primary objective, usually a clandestine government investigation or research. This year, samples of soil, and river, lake and rainwater will be scooped up into various flasks and beakers to be sent to sterile labs in the capital to determine the health of the environment. Over the past three decades the climate has been changing, the full effect on the environment needs to be investigated. Additionally, selected farmers will be provided with seeds developed by the royal horticulturalists to flourish in any climate. The experiment is to cultivate and establish the viability of these hybrid beans as an environmentally stable food source.
Planning for this project has been on going for the past 2 years. The Royal Designers have fabricated a Coat of Arms, shields, banners, and insignia for her company to display and wear. They will be a small tight knit group able to move freely throughout the country, following wagon tracks and deer trails when necessary. She will be attended by Gillian – her personal companion, Cyrus – the Purser/Administrator, Thomas the biologist and four well trained guards, David, Brian, Melissa, and George. Each traveller will be mounted high upon a magnificent black war horse followed by a string of sturdy pack horses transporting their personal supplies, food, and camping gear, in addition to gifts significant to each municipality’s Trade Minister.
The journey is expected to take just under six weeks but could stretch to three months or more depending on the weather, unexpected events and who and what they may encounter along the way.
Her hair finally smooth, Finnola grabs her riding gloves, buckles her sword belt and leaves her private room looking forward to the thrilling adventure of meeting her beloved people.
Cheryle February 2018
Beans or Seeds, Coat of Arms, Crown
Ax, Mountains, Flask
Camera, Sunrise over Water, Rain