(Animas) A Report on Prime Minister Lark’s Public Picnic – June 30th, 1082 CR, Eleheim Citizen

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This is the second installment of the ‘Animas’ stories, the first of which can be found here. They are connected, but one can be read without reading the other. Right now, I’m focusing on shorter pieces so that I can build up the world before tackling a big project. So if there’s something you’d like to know about this place, let me know in the comments so I can write about it!

Disaster and frayed nerves were on the menu at Prime Minister Lark’s public picnic at Queen Crisantha Park earlier today, as this reporter shall recount.

The weather in the morning appeared fine and indeed, it continued to be so – too fine, as it turned out, as the heat increased to an intolerable level and clouds and wind failed to appear themselves. Even the mosquitoes found it too warm a business and kept away, one of the few mercies to be found during this picnic.

At the commencement of the so-called ‘festivities’, Prime Minister Lark made a short welcome speech. As she was unusually and entirely sober, this speech was forgettable and I struggle to remember any of its contents. There may have been the words ‘enjoy’, ‘Norland’, ‘picnic’, and ‘prosperity’. When the speech was finished, she retreated to her husband, Mr. Tybalt Catherson, to exchange words. Their expressions were both severe, but whether they were in the midst of an argument or were giving vent to their frustrations concerning the event, I cannot know.

The repast on offer consisted almost entirely of variations of macaroni and cheese! Now, this reporter does not consider herself to be snobbish sort, but she does feel it necessary to point out that a well-run picnic should have other dishes on offer, such as potato salad, sandwiches, and pies of both sweet and savory varieties. Furthermore, the refreshment available was extremely lacking, with little available in terms of lemonades, punches, and beers. What was there rapidly diminished to perilous levels, as the heat and the oppressive atmosphere wrought by the macaroni and cheese sharpened the need for cool drinks.

Nor was the afternoon positively noteworthy on the matter of entertainment. It appears that the band that had been scheduled to play has been stricken with canefra via the consumption of questionable ‘Estrelian’ wine, leaving only one guitar and banjo player apiece unafflicted. The two opted not to appear in order to properly tend to their fellow musicians, which is commendable, but did us no good. No other adequate band could be found on such short notice, and the organizers were forced to resort to an acting troupe from the Royal Theater. They performed pieces from several classical comedies, favoring Helanon, and in any other circumstances, I would say that they performed excellently. However, the weather was too hot for theater of any sort and it distracted from conversation with one’s fellow attendees.

At around one o’clock, those attendees had begun to drift away, believing that the situation was unlikely to improve. At several points, the Prime Minister looked about to step back onto the stump, but witnessing the mood of the crowd, thought the better of it. At about 1:27, however, with renewed confidence, she stepped up and exhorted the thinning crowd to stay, as “Our salvation is nigh!”

Prime Minister Lark is hardly known to be religious, so we all had a fair notion as to what this ‘salvation’ entailed. This managed to halt the exodus until 1:35, when this ‘salvation’ indeed appeared:

The marital team of Grace Baisby and Rishard Shore, beloved proprietors of the Queen’s Knuckles, arrived with a wagon laden with full kegs of Baisby’s Original! They lost no time in tapping the kegs, assisted by a peculiar and slightly unsettling young man they referred to as ‘Primus’, and distributed the golden elixir which is so rightly beloved by our city of Eleheim.

Prime Minister Lark, stein in hand, gave a rather more successful speech this time, as I assume by the way every sentence was punctuated with a ‘hurrah!’ from the crowd. I, however, was too busy observing this ‘Primus’. His features were too regular and his movements too mechanical to be entirely natural and I could not help but be reminded of certain experiments rumored to be conducted by certain so-called ‘scientists’ on either side of the sea. When I inquired about him to Baisby, she brusquely replied that he was a ‘nephew’ and returned to her work. This is hardly an appropriate inclusion to a report on a campaign picnic and you are experienced enough to know better. Any more of this nonsense and I’ll shift you to the ‘Prattler’ – AB

Mr. Catherson did not seem mollified by the happy turn of events and maintained a dark countenance, even as he donned a force smile to join his wife in the shaking of hands and kissing of babies.

It is true that the Prime Minister managed to salvage the event in the end. But I am not certain that her administration can survive the blow to the public’s confidence this incident represents, especially in the light of certain telegrams that have recently be unearthed, more on which shall be reported by our chief editor in tomorrow morning’s edition.

There you are. If you enjoyed it, please consider throwing a tip my way via PayPal or Patreon. Again, if there’s some little aspect of the world you want to know about, put it in a comment and I’ll see if I can’t write something about it. Cheers!

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