Winter has come to the mythical kingdom of Lockdownia, coating the shadow side of the valley in glittering fairy dust. Surely some subtle magic is afoot.
As crimson light gilds the high peaks to the North and the moon rises, the Queen grows weary. It has been a week of ups and downs in the Kingdom of Lockdownia.
Shifting tides of mood and challenges
For the Queen, the week began well. She was suffused with a sense of positivity and purpose. But as the week progressed, her heart darkened. Outside, the land was bright, from daybreak to sundown seemingly calling her to go out and delight in the treasures of winter. But within, shades of the prison-house began to grow.
The Elder heir to the Throne of Lockdownia had been set trials of mental endurance by his Governess, who spoke to him every morning through the enchanted device with a crystal screen. The language of Lockdownia being new to him, this proved a challenge, but being heir to the Kingdom, he needs must learn. His mother the Queen also finds her tongue falters at the words which are foreign to her. But to address her subjects, in time, she needs must speak.
The Younger heir has been growing more rambunctious in confinement, and all week sought new forms of entertainment which included but were not limited to: daubing the Castle walls in pigment; scattering the flagstone floors with crumbs, perchance in hope of attacting stray rats which he might tame and keep as pets and filling the old stone basin to overflowing, as if to create a replica of the great Lake of Lockdownia on the kitchen floor.
Perspectives on domesticity
The Queen was feeling the lack of domestic help, as all of her people had likewise been confined in the nearby village of Quarantinia. Hers was now to gain a new perspective on the ordinary lives of folk who lived beyond the Castle walls: laundering stockings in the scullery; preparing banquets nightly and (perhaps most ignominious of all) emptying the bedpans and swilling out the latrine regularly. Such perspective made her glad she had not been born into a life of domestic servitude.
All the while, the King laboured in his bedchamber at another crystal screen, not unlike the one through which the Elder Heir communicated with his Governess, except that this one had been cursed with a Dark Magic which meant he could not leave the screen for any reason other than to make use of his bedpan.
As the week draws to a close
The Queen reflects from her bedchamber. For all the challenges she has faced, she is still, at heart, a Queen. She is blessed with good health and her sons are Heirs to the Throne. She hopes for a return to better times in Lockdownia, and eagerly awaits the return of her staff to the Castle: not least the Groom of the Stool, that she should no longer have to take on bedpan-emptying duties for herself.
And, alongside all her other blessings, there are the consolations of the crystal screen. For the Queen has her own magic screen through which she conveys to you, far off reader in a distant land, her message: May peace, good health and comfort reign throughout the land of Lockdownia and in all the wider world beyond the hills.