By Douglas E. Gogerty
King Jonathan was called the "Cattle King" by the neighboring kingdoms. His lands were very dry, but they were highly suited to raising livestock. He had vast herds of bison grazing his lands. Deer, moose, and wild cow also thrived there. Much of the wild game on his lands was hunted for sport in his kingdom. He got his power and influence from the wealth he obtained in the meat trade.
After the water wars of Calmondak's southern neighbors, King Jonathan's father expanded the kingdom farther south. This land was also arid, but it too was suitable to livestock grazing. The people working these lands fit right in to how their neighbors to the north ran things.
However, there was a large desert in the southwestern portion of these southern kingdoms. With the irrigation practices of the former kingdoms -- and before -- the Great Monoran Desert had grown substantially. The aquifer had nearly vanished allowing the desert to expand.
This desert was a dangerous and foreboding place where numerous explorers had never returned. It was hot and dry. Very little could survive there. After an exploratory party entered the desert and did not return, King Jonathan forbade anyone from entering. It was labeled the "Forbidden Zone."
When King Jonathan was a fairly young man, he wed Princess Marcellina. With the marriage and its arrangements, the Calmondak kingdom gained some timberland and some orchards in the northwest. There were also some fine vineyards that complemented the ones in Calmondak. Thus, King Jonathan could slightly diversify where his wealth was being generated.
Other than from the vines and from fruit trees, very little food could be grown in Calmondak without irrigation. It was this aridness that resulted in the water wars of these southern kingdoms. The lack of water had caused destruction of the previous civilization living on the land as well. It was simply not something with which King Jonathan wanted to get involved. Thus, he would continue to import most of his required grains from Lakeland.
The acquisition of the treaty land would not change this. However, it would extend Calmondak's border to the Misery River to the west. This would be more preferable to the current border with the Lakeland Kingdom. This border was determined more arbitrarily when one of the southern kingdom negotiated for it. With the river as the border, it would prevent any disputes over land rights. In this way, friendly trade would continue between the neighbors.
Furthermore, the land of this treaty was mostly similar to the much of the southern lands that were already part of Calmondak. There was a small mountain range and some swamps, but a majority of the land was similar. Most of it could be used as grazing lands. The big difference was that it also gave Calmondak access to an oceanic gulf which could also open up trade with more eastern kingdoms.
Nonetheless, all of this was for not with Princess Angelina's disappearance. A new treaty was discussed giving Prince William and Princess Angelina control over the land should they marry. However, it would likely revert to Lakeland should anything happen to the pair. Further, there was the prophecy proclaimed by King Thorbjorn.
While King Jonathan was completely willing to allow Prince William to search for his daughter, the marriage of the pair would be considered at another time. The benefits of this union would be far less than the previous arrangement. Further, he did not particularly believe in prophecies, so anyone looking for his daughter would be welcome.
Princess Angelina was not an only child. She had an older brother, Prince James. He was the heir to the Calmondak throne. He was a tall statuesque young man. He was also quite striking in appearance. However, like Princess Angelina, he took after his mother more than his father. Thus, many thought him a bit effeminate. Of this, Princess Angelina took much offense.
There was talk in some circles that Princess Angelina was the much stronger of the pair. She was much more suited to be heir to the throne than the -- in their opinion -- much weaker prince. While the princess would agree that she was stronger, again she took offense to the sentiment.
The two children were educated along side each other. While there was a few years difference in their ages, Angelina did act much more mature for her age. Further, she had a voracious appetite for learning. She just did not seem to be able to get enough.
Perhaps this was the big difference between the two. Prince James accepted his role in the scheme of things, but Princess Angelina felt that there was always something that could be done. She was not afraid to take action. She was not afraid to step outside her role as princess and see the world differently. This made her appear strong and made James appear weak.
The two siblings were quite close due to their situation. In fact, they had spent many hours discussing the upcoming wedding. However, Prince James did not know what the princess could or would do about stopping the upcoming nuptials.
She had asked Prince James about driving the suncars. He gave her a few pointers and lessons, but he did not think she would be able to drive away by herself. He felt that she would need assistance. Thus, he was under the impression that she had been abducted.
He had been questioned thoroughly. It was apparent that despite his confession of teacher her the rudiments of the sun car, he did not know where she was. In fact, because they were very close, if she had run away, she may have wanted him to not know where she was going. Thus, he was in the dark about the events of the day of her disappearance.
Prince William of Lakeland asked Prince James some questions about the Forbidden Zone and if she knew anything about it. Prince James told him what he told everyone.
"It is the most dangerous place in Calmondak, and no one would go there on purpose. Certainly my sister knows that! If she ran away, she certainly would not head there!"