Region: New World Union


Graz in Steiermark, The Montgovian Commonwealth
Today is a beautiful day in Graz in Steiermark. The breeze from high has come down from the mountains to gently blow spring away, and soon summer will set in. And then as the august days grow shorter, the Mountain Girlrs will die, the Edelweiß will wilt, and the Stars of the Alps will shine no more, left only in the memory of Montgovians. But in the streets of the Styrian capital, nobody thinks of such passing of time, only of the passing of the seasons, and fondly of the summer to come. Farmers have wheeled their produce into the city squares, and flowers are sold to lovers and hopeful admirers. In bouquets wrapped with traditional Montgovian Tessiner lace and small cantonal bows, roses from the Royal Gardens are taken through the city, wishes sent in the wind.

Marie Strasser makes her way down a white gravel path, and with every step the Schloss Eggenberg, in its resolute stature, grows smaller in view. Within it has met the Rachel Akerman & Marie von Najmajer Academy Society, one of Montgovia's premier literary, poetry, and journalism organizations. Just outside the gates, Strasser mounts her bicycle, and putting her books in the front basket. She begins to pedal, and through the cobblestone roads she flies eastbound. Down the Eggenberger Allée, she passes through the Hotel Area, its shiny office buildings the tallest in the city, home to the thriving Styrian bio-technology sector. Then direct into the Consulate, home to many cultural organizations and schools, and soon she has arrived to the Mur. Locking her bike into the rack, she walks to the river, her brown hair softly tossed over her shoulder. Approaching the guard rail, she takes out from her pocket twenty three Edelweiss flower petals. One for every year she has, she will welcome the summer by throwing the pressed flower petals into the Mur, and letting twenty three wishes out into the world. It is the traditions such as these, differing canton to canton, that measure the Montgovian year - the bittersweet adieu to spring on the Mur, and next shall come the annual lemon celebrations on Lac Léman, and then Solstice Week in Ticino, where the mountain towns on the River Ticino will turn off their lights for one week.

Marie Strasser has wished for good health, good luck in the next vacation lottery at her workplace, Anzeller & Ambelt Consulting Group, as well as a marriage proposal from her boyfriend of one week, and twenty other things of varying importance. But regardless of how these wishes go, she is for the most part happy. Her small country of only twenty-one million people has enjoyed peace and stability through an ever-changing world, as well as sustained prosperity. With free healthcare, education, child care and public recreation, Strasser feels her home country gives a safe and healthy life with a bright future for families. This weekend begins her vacation, and she will take the train to her Chalette in Wallis, her small summer cottage in the mountains. While the National Government is scheduled to meet in Graz for an important upcoming meeting, so has she chosen to escape the hustle and bustle. Perhaps next year she might vacation abroad - to somewhere tropical, or mediterranean, hopefully the Adriatic Coast if she can get a visa.