Beneath the Stone Forest
Mistress Carson pointed to a map of the Kingdom of Wrenly. The map was worn around the edges and had begun to fade.
“Clara, please name the tallest peak in Flatfrost,” she said, looking directly at her star pupil.
The classroom was quiet.
“Clara?” repeated her teacher.
But Clara didn’t answer. She
hadn’t heard a word her teacher had said. She sat and gazed out the window, daydreaming. Her boots scuffed back and forth underneath her bench. Clara loved geography, and whenever the subject came up in school she would daydream about her next adventure with her best friend, Prince Lucas.
Madeline, the girl who sat beside Clara, nudged her elbow.
“Umph!” groaned Clara as she sat up straight.
Her classmates laughed. Clara’s face flushed. Oh no! she thought. I’ve been caught daydreaming! How embarrassing! Clara looked at her
teacher. Mistress Carson repeated the question.
“The tallest peak in Flatfrost is Mount Linton,” said Clara. She had just been to Flatfrost with Lucas, so she knew exactly where it was.
“Thank you, Clara,” said Mistress Carson. “Class, today I have a special
geography assignment. I want everyone to research a place in the kingdom they haven’t been to. Talk to the people who live there, and observe their land. Find out as many details as you can. Then write about the place and draw a map and picture of what it looks like on a piece of animal hide, which I’ll pass out. I’ll also hand out charcoal for you to draw your scenes. You will present your projects a week from today.”
Some of the children moaned at the thought of a new assignment. Others began to talk excitedly about where they might go. Clara had always wanted to explore the Stone Forest.
The Stone Forest, in the south of Wrenly’s mainland, was a grove of stone pillars and arches, formed by gnomes tunneling for gems beneath the ground. The rubble from the tunnels had piled up for hundreds of years and created a fanciful forest of stone towers, steeples, and arches.