It is the dawn of a New Year in Lockdownia. Normally, this would be a time of rejoicing: feasting and singing; dancing in the streets of our villages and towns. This year has been quite different, especially for the Royal Family in exile.
In Caer Pathogen, as it is now called (formerly Caer Non-Pareil), we would begin the feasting on the first Sunday of Advent. Travelling Merchants would bring us delicacies from afar: preserved fruits and figs from the Southlands, fragrant and perfumed sweets and delights from Balkania, and preserved peppers from the Magyar region. With these, our chefs would prepare rich stews and goulash, full of wild meat caught by our hunters: enough to banish winter chills and sadness.
Christmastide was a most challenging time for me. I took the protective tincture from Vaccinia and visited every household in Quarantinia, to deliver gifts with Father Winter as the children slept. Oh, how my subjects welcomed me! They hungered for news of the Rebels in the Outlands, and were encouraged to learn of the tincture which could protect them if they could only survive until it is delivered. Some, I’m sad to say, were gravely sick: mainly the elders of the town, greatly beloved, and respected for their wisdom. You cannot imagine what a blow this is to my people, and how my heart aches for them; how helpless I feel.
Those who were not sick gave gifts of preserves, cakes and even meats and poultry. Everything they had, they shared with me. Though I tried to refuse their generosity, they implored me to accept it. In truth, our larder had been looking bare, and until then I had worried how we could hope to feed the family at Christmastide. Hard times indeed, when a Queen must accept charity from her subjects!
After the Christmastide festival, I fell sick. It was not Koronin’s dreaded pestilence, for I had been protected, but I woke one week ago with a most heavy heart and for several days could not rise from my bed. Perhaps I was simply heartsick at the sights I’d seen in Quarantinia. I felt most inadequate as I could not be there for my children, but by the grace of God the King managed to extricate himself from his crystal screen in order to care for them, and to bring me herbal teas in an attempt to revive me.
I prayed to be revived in time to welcome in the New Year. I was tormented by dark thoughts as I lay fighting for my health. I thought of Koronin, feasting on the delicacies in the larder of our rightful home, and I grew angry. And I fought my anger and my bitterness for one whole day and night until the fever broke. I awoke on the eve of the New Year to brighter skies and with a lighter heart. The King was preparing a simple peasant dish as a substitute for the customary New Year feast. The children ate the home-made cakes and delicacies (pictured) sent to them from the town, and greeted me with joy as I descended from my sick-bed.
It was at this very moment that I realised that I have plenty: though my lands and liberties have been curtailed, I have a loving family and have been restored to health. The air we breathe, the light of day, food, shelter and most of all love: this is true plenty.
And so with love, I take my leave of you:
Until we meet again, I am ever and most gratefully
Your Mythical Queen
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