Mass expulsion of academics and Council staff

This can’t be legal, surely?

 

The Rookpot Today and Rookpot News are reporting that First Councillor Rigel Sayce has issued a decree “disemploying” academics from the university and staff working in the Council Chambers.

According to a Council statement, read out by a representative from the reputable law form, Whittaker and Piper, the action was taken against thirty one academics and twenty five Council employees for propagating lies and mis-truths regarding the re-establishment of relations between Rookpot and the wolvern Clans (although at this stage the only Clan to have sent representatives to Rookpot is the Bloon Peaks Clan).

We have not seen the statement, but some quotes that appeared in the media include:

 

“We need a united stance to deal with this unprecedented contact with a species alien to our own … At this time we cannot afford disunity and frivolous debate …”

“Funding needs to be directed to approved research and rigorous investigation at this crucial time … Academics and researchers are encouraged to take this opportunity to apply for funds for research, and are encouraged to approach the new Council Department, the Office for Inquiry Mandate, with their proposals and ideas …”

“ … The First Councillor has taken the bold and brave decision to re-structure the Council Chambers to become a true public-serving service, representing the united front we present to outsiders …”

 

Yeah … a lot of bureaucraticspeak there, folks.

According to the reports, the affected “disemployed” were told at the start of the day that their services were no longer required. More than a few were forcibly escorted from their offices by the First Councillor’s new Appeasers.

The Schools most affected in the university are the School of Farynshire and its People and the School of Research, Myth and Legend. The Council Departments where most staff have been removed from are the Civic House and the Tourism Office. The Office of the Seal has been closed down completely.

As of yet none of the newly vacant positions have been filled. There is no word as to whether they ever will be.

There are demonstrations in Dameg Square against this action – and we will be joining the protestors. Numerous law suits are being filed against wrongful dismissal. But the Council’s law form is Whittaker and Piper – so I, for one, hold out no hope of any success in this area – but we will continue to report on the attempts, at least.

 

Stay safe, vigilant and always ask questions.   Ammaceadda.

Travels through Farynshire: EassenBren

These travelblogs were written by Mabel Govitt before all the changes in Rookpot.  I’m going to continue to publish them as a reminder of what joy Farynshire once was, and the hope it can  be again.

                                                                                                               Ammaceadda

 

I realise we are already three posts into our Grand Tour and we haven’t left Rookpot.  I promise we will!  But we have to quickly stop off at EassenBren first.

If Dameg Square is the administrative and cultural centre of the city (and the county), EassenBren is its artistic heart.

It sits on a slope.  The Raven Theatre overlooks the Square from its elevated position.  It has been inspired by the temples of Ancient Greece, but each classical pillar is a bright block of colour: rich purple, blood red, sky blue, sun yellow, lime green.  On either side of it down the slope are two rows of very different buildings.

On one side is a terrace of five storey, pastel coloured Georgian houses, with baskets on chains hanging outside the front doors that pedestrians have to duck to avoid.  The baskets are full of geraniums, peonies and sometimes herbs.  These face the artists’ workshops: protected by a long roof covered in slate tiles.  The smells of oils, paints and clays waft around the Square.

In the middle of the Square is EassenBren’s fountain.  Dameg’s fountain was designed by an architect and was made of black oblongs.  EassenBren’s is a perpetual work in progress.  It is an evergrowing collection of earthen artworks produced by the craftsmen in the covered workshops.  Every artist creates a small figurine, usually a grotesque caricature of themselves, which is placed in the fountain.  There are also some larger pieces loitering near or in the water.  A carpet of coins from all over the world and from different eras glint under the water.

Felix headed straight for The Lilac Beech.

This is the lavender building in the middle of the Georgian terrace.  A faded wooden sign, adorned with what looks like a peeling painting of a bunch of grapes but is more probably a peeling painting of a tree, hangs over the door.  The large cross-latticed windows display piles of pristine books, and posters advertising upcoming events.  As Felix pushed the door open the bell above us tinkled and we were hit by the smell of new books.

The ground floor of the shop is open plan with displays scattered throughout.  Every wall is lined with books, floor to ceiling, except at the far end where there is a large fireplace, occupied by a huge earthen pot filled with rose and lily petals in the summer.  It was surrounded by squashy armchairs, wingbacked chairs, and a few beanbags.  The children’s area is on the far side of the shop from the fireplace, usually strewn with cardboard books and toys on colourful fluffy rugs.  Rising up from the middle of the shop is a wrought iron staircase wound tight like a corkscrew.  The door to the courtyard at the back of the shop was open to let the warm summer sun in.

It was tempting to sit by the cool fireplace, browse a few books, and maybe have a cup of sweet tea, but we had a train to catch.

Felix bought Walking and Wine in the Bloon Peaks, The Living Forests, and Meyricks, Musril and Mermaids – all useful guides for where we were going.  Ivor flicked through a guidebook Felix had decided not to buy.

“Are you really planning on doing this entire trip on public transport?”

“It should work,” said Felix.  “The trains go nearly everywhere.  We can get coaches into the forests.  It’s less stressful than driving.”

“Cheaper too,” I added.

“Maybe cheaper,” Ivor conceded. “But not as much fun.  And you’re bound by where the trains go – you can’t just go off on your own if the mood takes you.  And it will take you ages to get anywhere.”

“It’s only a few hours to the mountains from here,” said Felix.

Ivor snorted.  “I could do it in about an hour and a half in my car.  Want to race it?”

“We’re leaving now,” Felix pointed out. “You have to get your car from Eassentor.”

“And I’ll still get there first,” grinned Ivor.  “Hen Ffydd, yes?”

Felix and I exchanged a shrug. “Yes.”

Ivor was halfway out the door.  “See you there.”  And he disappeared, presumably to race back through Dameg Square, over a bridge, and down to our house on Eassentor.

“What car has he got?” I asked.

“Peugeot 205.”

There was no need for us to rush.  Our train would not depart for another twenty minutes, and would not leave earlier just because we were apparently suddenly in a race.

I think the best way – certainly the most dramatic way – to leave Rookpot is via The Drop, which helpfully also leads down to the train station.

On maps, The Drop is Newton Hill, the steepest street in the city.  There are handrails on either pavement to help pedestrians stay upright.  There are frequent petitions to the Council to have a chairlift installed, but this is not considered a good use of public money, and would negatively impact upon the medieval aesthetics; and besides, exercise was good for people.  I do feel for anyone who has to work on The Drop, though, especially the baristas at Lacey’s, the coffee shop that sits at the top, looking straight down the hill.

Thinking of Ivor trying to run in the sweltering crowded city, we decided we had time to get an iced bun from Lacey’s.  The important thing about the buns is not the flavour – often not discernible beyond sweet and bordering on sickening – but the colour.  You can request any colour of icing.  Felix chose turquoise; I always had forest green.

Walking down The Drop with dignity takes practice.  I will strongly advise now, though no one will heed my heartfelt warning, not to attempt this whilst drunk, no matter how much money is involved in the dare. Doing it sober is challenge enough. Those of a nervous disposition use the rail; the more experienced manage to keep upright by themselves; children run and quite often do not end up in a crying heap at the bottom.  Perhaps a wiser investment than a chairlift would be crash mats at the foot of The Drop.

We landed safely enough and made our way to the grand Victorian train station, finishing off the iced buns as we boarded the train.

“Do you think he’s left yet?” I wondered.

“Who cares?” said Felix.  “We’ll have the better journey anyway.”

When Felix had said, right at the start of planning the trip, that we were going to take the long way round to his family home on the coast, he wasn’t kidding.  The first place we were going to from Rookpot was the Daggerrock Mountains – in the exact opposite direction from the coast.

 

Mabel Govitt (by kind permission of Ammaceadda)

Travels through Farynshire: Dameg Square

These travelblogs were written by Mabel Govitt before all the changes in Rookpot.  I’m going to continue to publish them as a reminder of what joy Farynshire once was, and the hope it can  be again.

                                                                                                               Ammaceadda

 

The most famous city in Farynshire, possibly the only place anyone over the mountains has heard of, is Rookpot.

It sprawls over a steep tor that is cut in two by a deep dark gorge, along the bottom of which flow the cold waters of the Darkflint River.

When people think of Rookpot it’s the Squares surrounded by cobbled streets and Cuts that come to mind.  This medieval heart of the city is great to explore: there’s always a new boutique, gallery or bookstore to discover in the warren of narrow alleys that no car could ever get through.  That’s the other thing everyone notices: all the bikes, scooters, and lately segues and blades – because these are the only modes of transport that can go everywhere in the city.  Buses have to skirt the outside of the medieval centre in the wider roads built since the Plantagenets were kicked off the throne.  Trains came in at the city’s only station, at the base of the tor.  We had decided that this is how we would leave Rookpot.

If students are lucky they will get accommodation on Wessentor – which is the half the city with the Squares, history and night life.  Felix and I had been in halls at the bottom of Wessentor, in our first year, which is how we had met.  In our second year we had had to move and the only affordable place we could find was on Eassentor.  Eassentor is not a bad place to live or anything, but it’s just so ordinary compared to what’s over the gorge.  There are streets of terraced houses on Wessentor’s lower slopes, as well as some discreet luxury apartments near the centre, and the very expensive villas close to the summit of the tor.  But most Rookpotians lived in the dull suburbia on Eassentor, which was encroaching slowly and inevitably off the tor and into the countryside below.

Neither of us wanted to leave Rookpot from Eassentor.  So, with our backpacks making us look like tourists in our own city, we made our way across one of the many bridges that span the gorge, and went to Dameg Square.

Dameg Square is the centre of Rookpot in every sense.  It is halfway up the tor and the gorge cuts through its ancient cobbles and the neat rectangle of grass that is crowded in the summer and muddy in the winter.

I have spent a lot of time in this Square.  The Museum, with its wide white steps, and the Library stand next to each other, face the ancient Cathedral (started in the thirteenth century) and the Council Chambers.  The green in the centre of the Square is home to a solitary oak tree that seemed to be dead for all of the time I had been at university, it is bent almost double, long branches dangling down into the gorge.

The Square is always busy, night or day.  We bought mint and cucumber slushes from Rhewogydd, whose pink van chugging on the edge of the gorge is a sure sign of summer.  Rhewogydd had been providing ice slushes to the Council workers, parents, tourists, and students hustling through Dameg Square for at least twenty five years.  His ever-growing menu is bound in a novel-sized tome.  I recommend the cherry and rum for pure velvet indulgence, but if you want refreshing coolness on a sweltering hot day – and you don’t fancy jumping into the fountain – you have to go with mint and cucumber.

We sat on the wide Museum steps to drink our slushes and people-watched.  It was a hot day in June so the bustle was a little fatigued, except in the fountain where children and students splashed.  The office workers, shirt sleeves rolled up to their elbows, ties untied, looked like they were having the least fun during their brief escape from their offices.

A story time event had just finished in the Library, and the parents with prams were milling about outside, the adults chattering loudly, their small children chasing each other around in the safety of the Square.  When I had first arrived in Rookpot as a fresher I had been horrified at the sight of small children – or drunk students, or Council workers staring at their phones – shrieking and playing excitedly close to a chasm plunging hundreds of feet to a fierce river below.  But I had gone completely native, and the children’s reckless proximity to certain death did not bother me at all.

There was nothing – no barrier, fence, not even cones – to stop anyone from plummeting into the gorge, yet nobody ever seemed to.  Only seven people had ever died this way in the whole history of the city.  The gorge was narrow in Dameg Square, and brazen Rookpotians casually jumped from Eassentor to Wessentor on their way to work, hardly breaking their stride.

Ivor Gwynne joined us in Dameg Square.  He shared a house with us on Eassentor, and had not yet decided what he was going to do over the summer.  He had been visiting the exhibition in the Museum – advertised as Coastal Treasures on the listless banners hanging over the steps.  I had been a week before, and it was an interesting exploration of the expeditions and research focussed on the coves and beaches along Farynshire’s coast between Tropsog and Sylnmouth, and the shipwrecks and treasures that had been discovered beneath the waves.  Felix was inspired to go scuba diving when we reached the coast.  I was less keen, and hoped he would forget this notion by the time we reached the sea.  He was also inspired to buy a few guide books, which I was much more on board with.

Ivor picked up an apple and celery slush from Rhewogydd, and we ambled along the edge of the gorge to the Cut that linked Dameg Square with EassenBren.  Rookpot was riddled with these Cuts: long, winding, red-bricked alleys lit by old iron lanterns even on a sunny summer day.  This was the most famous and well-used Cut as it linked the two most important Squares.

By Mabel Govitt (with special permission from Ammaceadda)

Travels through Farynshire: The first post

These travelblogs were written by Mabel Govitt before all the changes in Rookpot.  I’m going to continue to publish them as a reminder of what joy Farynshire once was, and the hope it can  be again.

                                                                                                               Ammaceadda

 

So this is the first post on this website.  Big responsibility.

I should explain what’s going on.

My name is Mabel Govitt, and I’ve just graduated from Rookpot University.  Last summer me and my friends decided to explore this extraordinary county.  Adam Court (something to do with the Tourist Board, I think) asked us to write about our experiences in a series of blog posts.  This is the first of those.

So, just before my final Musril in Context exam at the end of my final year, Felix came up with a plan.  A plan he had come up with that morning over breakfast.

“Mabel.  Why don’t you come with me this summer?  Stay at my house, meet the family.”

There was always a slightly odd emphasis on family whenever Felix spoke of the extended ap Hullin clan that seemed to occupy one small village on the coast.  Before I could scramble up an excuse, he went on:

“We can go the long way round – see a bit of Farynshire.  Go to the mountains, the big forests, Sylnmouth and Riversouth.”

This was a more attractive prospect.  I had spent two years at Rookpot University, and I although I felt I had got to know the capital fairly well in that time, I had not explored the county of Farynshire at all.  I was studying its history, culture and languages, most of my lecturers had local interest or specialism, and I had visited exhibitions at the Museum, Library and various galleries on the city’s steep slopes.  But I had never ventured into the mountains that separated the county from the rest of England, or visited the dramatic coast where Felix was from, or the forests and countryside inbetween.

I didn’t want to spend the summer months waiting at home in Bristol to see if I had made it into the third year (spoiler alert: I did). I needed a distraction.

We used the time between studying for exams, panicking about exams, an taking exams to research our trip.

I had thought that Felix, born and raised in Tor Calon on the coast, would know a lot more about his county than I, a more recent student of its wonders, did.  But, as it turned out, I knew more about why Musril was spoken most widely in Riversouth, how Rookpot came to be the capital, and who the robber councillors were.  He had heard of all of these things, but they were just background noise to Farynshire natives.  This was one of the reasons Felix wanted to travel: I was always educating him on his own county, which he found interesting, but:

“You can’t learn it all from books and museums.  You have to go out there and live it.”

I agreed.  There were so many places in this small county that I wanted to see – and visiting Felix’s family could be interesting to.

By the time of my last exam (Museums, Masques and Festivities: Cultural Appreciation Throughout the Years) we had a rough itinerary.  We did not want details because the whole idea was to be spontaneous and adventurous.

The obvious starting point was Rookpot.

Please join us.  🙂

By Mabel Govitt (with special permission from Ammaceadda)