As we settle down into our routine in the Summer Palace of the Southlands, I find that my biggest daily challenge comes from the overbearing presence of the King’s Mother. To understand fully my frustrations, you must first understand that the King and I are joint Regents of this Kingdom: I from the North and he from the South, our Kingdoms were united in marriage and we rule with equal authority. However, in the mind of the King’s Mother, I am now in her territory, where her son is King and I should assume a subordinate role. I am sure you can imagine that such a position would be untenable for me. Yet, as befits my breeding, I must needs treat the King Mother with dignity and respect. However, as befits my status, I expect the same from her and thus, we are at times brought into conflict.
The King Mother regards the Summer Palace as her own (which, indeed it is), though as Regent of the Kingdom, when staying there I should be treated as though it were my own also. But she needs must direct: from every small point (the silverware and practices of the maids in the scullery, how the meat should be cooked – in my opinion, always overcooked – the hours of the children’s bath and bedtime) to larger matters of state (how the army of the Southlands should be best placed to defend against Koronin’s forces should they make any advance towards the coast). The King, as chief military strategist, has his own ideas on this matter, so in this instance mother and son are brought into conflict. I try to detach myself from any such embroilments for the sake of my sanity.
I am grateful to have a household staff once again, and this means time to myself: an opportunity for reflection and to make plans of my own. I take the children for long walks along the sea front and tell them tales of the lands beyond the sea. I tell them of the medicine which is coming from Vaccinia and will enable us to return to our former home of Caer Nonpareil (I do not mention that first we must defeat Koronin’s forces, for I do not want to worry them). I do not know when the weather will change, nor when the rebel fleet might arrive. The only news which could come to us by land might be of a sighting on the nearby coast, and as there is no such news, I assume they are still far off.
Determination and Resolve
Despite the King Mother’s constant meddling and interference in household affairs, I trust her with the care of the children. They have a close bond, and are happy in her company. I trust the King to manage the army of the Southlands while I ride North with the rebels to reclaim my rightful throne. The Castle of Caer Nonpareil was my birthplace, and I was ruler of Quarantinia before I became Queen of all Lockdownia by marriage. So I must return there with the army as a symbol of the power of legitimate rule. I know the dangers that lie ahead. I do not fool myself. But without my leadership, the rebel drive means nothing. I have magic of my own, as I have already demonstrated: not strong enough to defeat Koronin and his usurping forces, but combined with manpower and freedom from pestilence, it may do much. Lives will be lost, but I have no intention of losing mine. I accept that it could happen, and if it does, I know the Southern Kingdom and my family within it will be well-defended. If I do not travel North with the Rebels, the whole Kingdom of Lockdownia stands to fall.
One advantage of the fleet’s delay is that slowly the land begins to warm. I hope the snows of the Northlands will be thawed by the time that I make my return.
As for the King Mother, she will have much to say by way of criticising my decision, but in her heart of hearts she will be glad that it is I and not her son who will be heading North to risk her life.
Read the story so far in the Chronicles of Lockdownia archives.