The Quest for Glorious
In the ancient Kingdom of Onuvar ruled by a Queen, life was pleasant and the economy was thriving.
The weather was semi tropical and so warm most of the time.
The dowager Queen Amanda was the last monarch descended from the ancient hero Bonamor. She had one son, Prince Neno, now in his early twenties.
The kingdom’s population was mixed between white, black and oriental people that had great respect and love for their Queen.
Queen Amanda had dark brown hair with a light Mediterranean complexion, as did most of the people of her kingdom.
In ancient times, King Bonamor abolished slavery and there was freedom in the land.
There has been peace for two hundred years, since the great warrior King Bonamor defeated a terrible invader that had conquered and subjugated all the land.
That ancient King was the son of a farmer prince and after an illness that killed many people and most of the royals, he was the only survivor left to rule the kingdom. Something he did very wisely until that dreadful invasion.
The kingdom had guards to deal with the city walls and the gates but no army.
That invasion was terrible. The people were terrified and didn’t know what to do.
He was hiding with his Queen and children inside the forest using it as a refuge until he decided to do something and became their freedom fighter.
On his own at first and then with an army made up of everyone who rallied to his flag – a white background with a blue shield and golden crown in the centre and a shining sun on top with its rays pointing in all directions.
In the final battle, he killed his enemy but arrows mortally wounded him.
He died surrounded by his close friends and after the battle; they put his body in a tomb at the site of the battlegrounds.
Years passed and a rumour started that they buried him with his flag and the sword known as “Glorious”.
According to the legend, all his strength came from that sword given to him by an old and wise woman who lived in a cave deep inside the hills at the foot of the mountains south of the forest.
Legend has it that the good magic of the earth created the sword and the fairies polished it.
Since that famous battle, many Kings and Queens had been in the throne.
The palace was a tall building in the east of the city with several towers and balconies all around with embellished corridors showing many vases with fresh flowers on console tables attached to the walls.
The throne hall was at ground level with the royal quarters above and there was an avenue flanked by tall trees between the palace gates and the city square.
The walled capital city was big with towers and catapults at certain distance of each other all around though nowadays gathering dust.
A walled canal under several bridges runs through the city with its waters filtering into many wells providing drinking water. It comes into the city from under the west wall running on the west side of the city square.
Some small boats bringing goods from the countryside used the canal that starts well inside the forest fed by a river. It comes out under the wall on the east side of the main gates on the north wall and under a wooden bridge wide as the road that comes from the east. It is flanked by many bushes and after, it finishes close to the seaside where the overflow finishes in a small cove.
The east of the country is a desert and after it is the territory of another kingdom. There is a forest in the west that stretches all the way to the sea in the north and close to the mountains in the south with many hills, gorges and ravines carved by a couple of small rivers and streams. The prairie is on higher ground with mountains overlooking it.
In a small village, a short walking distance from the city and facing a bay, there were many young people including a young man and a young woman who used to do many things together since they were young children.
In fact, it was mostly him playing games while she enjoyed herself by helping him. Since she was little, she followed him like she would an older brother.
His name was Eloy and her name was Pearl. They both had light brown hair with a lovely suntan, which was the result from living by the seaside.
He was in his early twenties and she was eighteen.
Like most of the women in the kingdom, she was wearing a light-yellow dress just under her knees though very colourful with plenty of embroidery showing mainly flowers.
Eloy’s clothes were very simple like the majority of men in the kingdom. He just wore brown trousers and a brown sleeveless jacket on top of a thick multi-coloured shirt made of cotton. He wore leather sandals the same as his father and most of the people in the kingdom though some people wore shoes obviously make by cobblers in the forest villages.
His father was a prosperous farmer and Eloy used to help him in the fields where they had a couple of oxen to pull a plough.
Hedges with many bushes and trees marked the boundaries surrounding all the farms’ fields.
Her father was a fisherman, but his main income came from fishing for pearls in the bay where the water was not too deep for him and his daughter to dive and well protected by a natural rocky wall with a narrow entrance for the boats.
He always said his most precious pearl was his daughter and that’s why he gave her that name.
In the kingdom, the only religion they had was the worshiping of the Holy Spirit and though they never had a temple or priests, for hundreds of years they had one priestess and now Pearl’s mother was the one. At the same time, she was a herbalist dealing with people’s health – helped by many other women in the city. One of her main jobs was to perform weddings during weekends.
It was common for everybody in the village to get up early.
After helping her mother to prepare breakfast, Pearl’s hobby was to practice every morning in an area outside the walls on the right side of the main city gates with the bow as a sort of exercise and after she help her father pushing the boat to the water.
For Eloy, the beginning of the day was similar because of some ancient custom young men had to practice with the sword just outside of the gates under the instructions of an expert swordsman for one hour before going to the fields to help his father. It was the same for many farmers’ boys.
The practice area was on the left side of the gates and just before the wooden bridge on the canal.
At the end of the day they used to get together, and as good friends walk on the beach enjoying the fresh breeze coming from the sea.
One day, Eloy was in the fields helping his father by guiding the oxen pulling the heavy plough. Their land was between the village and the main road coming to the city from the east. At that time of the day, it was busy with caravans mainly formed by wagons.
It was heavy work for both of them because the field was big. Eloy was not doing his job as enthusiastically as he used to and his father noticed. “What is with you?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I feel bored.”
“But why? Every month we have a big party in the city square for all the young people to come together and enjoy life. There is always the chance for you to find a young woman and who knows maybe get married and have a family to make me a grandfather.” He said the last words holding his laughter.
“I know father, but the point is that there is nothing exciting happening. It is like a routine.”
His father thought about it for a moment. “Maybe what you need is to go to another country and see how other people live and I’m sure you will return happy to be here and not there.”
Eloy didn’t answer and instead he carried on ploughing.
Suddenly Eloy stopped ploughing and his father noticed. “What is it Eloy?”
“Look over there, Dad. It’s another emissary from that General Dictator probably bringing a valuable present for our Queen.”
They knew it was an Emissary because of his rich clothes and followed by two servants on horse with a mule carrying a small coffer.
“I think you are right son and as usual she will reject it.”
They looked at each other and laughed loudly.
At the end of that day, Eloy and Pearl got together and as usual, they went to sit on the rocks by the seaside.
He was very quiet and Pearl noticed. “You are too quiet what is it with you today. Did you work hard helping your father?”
“Yes, I did but that’s not a problem and there’s nothing wrong with me but I feel bored.”
Pearl was confused for a moment. “You feel bored with me? With my presence?”
Eloy looked at her and opened his eyes wide. “Oh no, I’m not bored with you at the contrary the only time I’m not bored is when you are close to me. After all you are my best friend,” and with his strong arm he pulled her closer and kissed her forehead making her giggle.
Pearl thought about it and shrugged her shoulders. “I guess you are right. I see you as my best friend too because I talk to you about subjects I never mention to my girlfriends or my parents.”
“Still I feel that I’m wasting my life here. Everything is beginning to look like the same every day, you know, doing the same things. There’s no action.”
“I don’t understand you. Every day we have plenty to do. I have my practice with the bow and after I work with my father. At the end of the day I practice my writing and reading with my mother, and sometimes I go to the library.”
“I know Pearl and I do more or less the same.”
“And don’t you forget about the dancing and music we have every month in the city square by royal command where the palace chefs cook several barbeques and there is always the opportunity for young people to make friends.
“Yes, I do enjoy those parties.”
“I’ve got an idea, why don’t you come with me on a boat and maybe you will be lucky and find some pearls. It will be a change in your routine and I’m sure your father won’t mind.”
Eloy looked at her with open eyes. “Of course, he won’t mind but me dive for pearls? I don’t think so my swimming is not that good.”
She started giggling. “Eloy to search for pearls you do it underwater and all you need is to hold your breath; it isn’t like swimming on the water.”
Eloy thought about it. “I will take your word for it but I won’t try.”
Pearl just giggled. “Wouldn’t you try to learn?”
Eloy looked at her smiling. “Let me put it in a different way. Fish swim and it is caught by people and eaten.”
Pearl started to laugh. “Eloy if you dive nobody will fish you out and eat you.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that but maybe a sea creature will try,” he said while putting his arms up with his hands like claws and showing his teeth.
They look at each other and burst with laughter.
At that moment in one of the palace balconies, the Queen was listening to the Prime Minister.
She was wearing a beautiful long green and yellow dress and the minister was richly clothed though mainly with a black robe with plenty of golden and silvery embroidery and a colourful round hat.
“Lately, we are having some problems with the extra population in the city. There are not enough houses for them.”
“Tell me prime minister. What are the possibilities of building more houses outside the city; after all there is quite a lot of empty land.”
“Yes, Your Majesty but in an emergency, they will be unprotected outside the city walls.”
“True Prime Minister but we have been at peace for at least two centuries.”
“Yes, Your Majesty it has been considered and right now I have given instructions to prepare the land outside the city on the east side though it will take some time before anything happens. The idea is to build houses with some land around to create gardens.”
“Brilliant idea Prime Minister and do carry on with it, after all we are not short of clay to make bricks and there’s no shortness of stones in the rocky desert but make sure you do it away from the cemetery.”
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