We arrived on the colony as planned. It was much as they said it would be and yet...it didn't feel like the land of new possibilities, not really. The geologists had told us that there were stones under the earth, so very many rich deposits of gems and minerals that we could mine and trade back to the home world. They told us the land was fertile and rich in the valleys, that we could grow much food, perhaps even enough to export, once we used the tools we'd brought and planted the seeds. They told us many things, and we came. And we came, and all we could see was rocks, treacherous mountain-tops on hard, cold earth. It was darker here than the home-world...the nights stretched on and on and there was only one single moon to illuminate the sky, meagerly. There were rodents that scrambled about and bits of old bones in gullies and we were overwhelmed.
So we opened the shell. We opened the shell where she, our princess, had slept, had waited out the longer journey from our world to this one. She alone among the court had chosen to come with us, to this new world, this new adventure, this new place. She arose from the shell with fresh flowers still braided into her her and she grinned, looked around and grinned at all of us. She raised her arms in toast, in possibility. Her beaver-familiar, always presented, mimicked her, and we all felt lighter, somehow. She would see a way through this for us, we thought then.
And she did. Where we saw cold earth she saw the possibility of plants, of lions running about through verdant grass, of vines and blossoms curling over the rocks, of glittering gems fashioned into wreaths. We followed her vision. We followed her vision of zebra-stripped trees, of valleys of flowering grass, of fresh fruit and greens. We introduced wildlife, and we did not cage them or run from them. The lions and monkeys played with our children, learned from them, taught. We scrambled among the mine-caves, the branches of trees, swam in the long winding rivers that were the closest thing this world had to a sea. The short periods of light saw all of us outside, basking in the rays, and in the dark we built sea-shell shaped torches that glowed white and gold and here, here our children grew taller, climbed higher, knew more, this world of strange possibility where lions could sit on zebra-striped trees and through hard work we could grow rich.