The Flower Court
When I went to build out the world in my Forgotten Empires trilogy, I put my heroic and embattled Queen Euthalia at the center. I wanted her to be ruling over a small island of peace in a chaotic world. I made this true in a literal sense, in that her kingdom of Calanthe is an actual island, and a paradisal one at that. But I also created a metaphorical oasis of art, pleasure, and knowledge.
I called it the Flower Court of Calanthe.
Calanthe is a refuge, a place of asylum in a world where the finer things are either stolen or destroyed. I took some of this from tales of art being smuggled out of the Louvre and hidden in barns ahead of the German invasion in World War II. The Nazis had a reputation for taking the good stuff and burning the rest. Thus, art from the many scattered and forgotten kingdoms has found its way over the years to be hidden and preserved on Calanthe.
Not only physical items have found refuge on Calanthe, but also people. The scholars, artists, poets and wounded denizens of destroyed kingdoms have made their way to the Flower Court of Calanthe. One reviewer compared it to the House of Medici and that’s not inaccurate. All sorts of people have flocked to the Flower Court, and it’s become a place where knowledge is power.
Of course, a lot of that takes the form of gossip.
Still I love the idea of a place where the flowers are both literal and metaphorical. Queen Euthalia is the good and true blossom at the center of a palace and realm draped with flowers. And her court is decorated with the flower of humanity in art, intelligence, and sensibility.
Welcome to the Flower Court of Calanthe.