Of course I am still in my land of Estaria for the short story series called Masked. This story goes back in time a wee bit before the leaves have turned.
Cymbeline is the royal songstress. There is power in her voice. She is able to speak to birds with it, and she may have some other tricks up her sleeve. For now, the first sign of turning weather has arrived on her doorstep:
The dawn of a new day broke across the small farm. Cymbeline stepped onto her porch to absorb the energy of first light. The colors had yet to begin the change that would mean the masquerade would come.
On this morning, though, change was in the air. A bright red Chinea bird fluttered to the railing. The Chinea was a unique bird in Estaria. Unlike most other birds that departed for warmer locations once the weather was ready to turn, the Chinea hibernated in warm weather and emerged at the first sign of cold.
The red avian twittered and chirped a song a greeting. Cymbeline smiled in return. She drew her lips together and whistled the song back to the bird. As it lifted from the railing, she held out her hand as a perch. Their songs meshed for a moment before the bird landed.
“Well, my friend, welcome back from the land of sleep. Princess Ani will be glad to know that the time for the masquerade will be here soon.” She pet the bird along the head with one finger. “Have you brought your friends?”
The bird tweeted in the affirmative, fluttering its wings.
“Good. Then let’s have you all take flight. I have a song to prepare.” She lifted her hand toward the sky, in the general direction of the castle. While a small murmur rose from the bushes she lifted her voice in song along with them.
Her unique gift would let her song drift along the wind with them. Though she preferred her quiet life on her small farm, she was the royal songstress. The turn of the season meant her busiest time, and sacrificing her freedom for a few months until the Kingdoms two largest holidays had passed.
“Farewell, home sweet home.”
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