Until very recently, the term ‘under pressure’ had meant something gruesomely literal to me. It is common practice within Lockdownia to ‘press’ miscreants with heavy stones laid upon the chest until they either confess their treacherous deeds, or give up the ghost. Under my rule, of course, such barbarism would not be tolerated. But the rightful throne of Lockdownia has been usurped by the treacherous wizard Koronin, who now sits in governance from Caer Pathogen, high above the Lake.
The King and I govern in exile, from the outer lands around Quarantinia. Before the plague struck, we were raising a rebellion against the usurping wizard. Though Koronin seized power through his Dark Magic (the same that keeps the King with eyes locked to the crystal screen), the majority of our subjects remain loyal to us. They fear the tyranny of Koronin (many a would-be rebel has been hurled from the Castle cliff to a watery grave in the Great Lake) but know that when we join forces we will indeed be able to defeat him.
I have no doubt that this recent plague is Koronin’s work. He filled the town of Quarantinia with his plague rats and sent the townsfolk into hiding, locked up in their houses, afraid to even open their shutters for fear of pestilence. No chance of rebellion until this plague blows over. And so I return to the subject of this discourse…
I first heard the term ‘Under Pressure’ applied in the figurative sense via the music of the spheres transmitted through the crystal screen. I do not doubt this screen is a window on a future world, where humankind has made contact with beings from distant planets, and oh, the music that they make!
A favourite song of mine is, as I understand it, a collaboration between the Martian Ziggy Stardust and Sir Freddie of Mercury. It has the very title ‘Under Pressure.’ I understand this to mean ‘subject to internal stresses invoked by external pressures.’ Oh, how these words and their strange instrumentation resonates! Here all we have are stacks of shawms, viols and sackbuts, and I’m sick to death of hearing them! Subtle magic indeed conveys these messages from another time into my crystal screen.
And so, my friends, I find that I am ‘under pressure.’ Thankfully not being literally pressed with stones, but left with neither staff nor Governess, as I explained last time I wrote to you. I listen to the song by those humanoid aliens as I peel potatoes in the evening. I listen to it as I swill out the latrine. It lightens my load a little. I will not succumb to internal pressure, despite Koronin’s best efforts, his evil enchantment of the King and his spies posted at every corner, just outside the Castle walls. Your Queen-in-Exile remains strong within the kingdom of her own heart, deep where the dart of treachery cannot penetrate.
With these words, dear friends of the future time, I leave you. May you never be subjected to a plague, and locked in a prison of your own fear. Remember the kingdom within is our one true dominion. And if you have a direct line to either Mercury and/or Mars, please thank those dear musicians from me, for their celestial music: