CHAPTER 1

From Jaye Richards Blog with kind permission

Once upon a time, in a country not so far away, there were two cities. Let me call them Big City and Little City. Many people sent their children to school in both cities, and as time passed and technology advanced in this land and the King decreed that this new way of accessing knowledge and learning should be spread far and wide across the kingdom into all the classrooms so that the children could benefit from a modern way of learning and teaching. So the king instructed all of his nobles who administered his laws in all places across the land to make his latest decree happen. And it came to pass that a vast amount of information began to flow through cables and across the airwaves to every part of the land. Magical almost, this information was able to transform the lives of the children in the schools up and down the land. No place, however remote and far-flung, was excluded from this amazing new fount of knowledge and all the nobles wondered at the transformative power that could now be brought to bear on education in their schools. The children too, and many of the teachers saw the potential and seized upon this magical sage filled with interesting facts and different ways of communicating with each other. And across the land this wondrous new technology spread empowering the people with real ways of interacting with each other far and wide. And they remembered the words of the prophet Freire who had long ago told them all that dialogue resulted in communication and that with communication, there could be real education. But the nobles worried about other things the prophet Freire had foretold about the true power in the land being based upon gaining knowledge through education and they were sore worried about this threat to their omnipotence. And so most of them started to control this magical new knowledge-bringing technology. They restricted parts of it so that the children growing up could only see little glimpses of its power. They stopped the children and their teachers (many of whom they regarded as dangerous subversives) from truly sharing and communicating with each other. And worse of all, they restricted all access to the marvellous invention that sent this new knowledge whizzing out of the walls and ceilings directly to the receivers (which were called ‘computers’) to a few select trusted minions so that the children were unable to wonder at its power except in a very few places and at limited times.

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And across the land the people and their children grew frustrated and the schools even started to abandon the wonderful, magical new knowledge source which started to grow dimmer and dimmer, tied down by the frightened nobles and the officers who did their bidding. The teachers went back to the old ways, also frustrated by the new laws restricting their access to the new knowledge and so the skills started to die out. Only in a few small meetings did a few subversives risk meeting to share ways of using the new knowledge, and even then, only spoke about their skills for seven minutes so that everybody would have a chance to speak in case the meeting was broken up by the shutting down of the buildings and the turning off of the new knowledge source. And even these small gatherings only happened once or twice a year.

And as the nobles clamped down even more on the new power, the people wailed and moaned and complained to the King. But the king was powerless to help them because the nobles were too strong and feared losing their power and control to the people and so the new knowledge started to dry up as the people and their children were unable to use it in their schools. And the knowledge grew dimmer and dimmer and the children started to tell tales of its mythical power as they were able to use it less and less.

But in a far-flung island at the edge of the kingdom, where the writ of the nobles was less powerful, the children were allowed to use the magical power coming from the walls and ceilings and were given their own receivers so that they could use the new knowledge wherever they were in the school. So although the knowledge they could receive on their machines was still limited by the noble who ruled their island, they could at least tap into the new knowledge. And they grew stronger did these children, empowered by the new magic signals coming from their walls, and they started to send their message, via their teachers, to the lands beyond the kingdom. And lo, visitors from far and wide came to this wonderful island to marvel at the children’s achievement and to partake of the mystical golden waters with magical restorative powers which many of the islanders would make in their strange, large dome-shaped copper vessels.

And just as the people in the land were about to give up, and the source of the new magic was nearly extinguished, there arose in the east of the lands, a champion of the people. A true noble who would be the saviour of all in the land who thirsted for knowledge and who wanted to get together to use the new magic source of information for the good of all the people.

But this new noble from the east had many battles to fight, many people to convince, and the rest of the nobles watched from afar, worried and frightened, and many turned their faces away from the people. But the people would only be ignored and marginalised for so long before they started to fight back…

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CHAPTER 2


The noble from the east, sensitive to the anguish of his people, realised that he could not fight this battle alone and he journeyed long and far to the College. The College housed all the great and wise advisers to the Kingdom and met that year in the ancient place called Comar nan Allt. They listened politely to the noble’s pleas. “We’ll find the answer for you! Come back in one year’s time” they said.

“But I do not have a year. What takes so long?” The wise advisers paused and stroked their long beards (for all advisers must have long beards even the women advisers which made life difficult for them) and said, “What takes so long? Why we must look up all our parchments and devise big, white folders. We must carry forth these big, white folders throughout the land and pass them onto our many local wise advisers who will carry them forth to the teachers, who will…

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The noble interrupted “Why don’t YOU use the new magic too?” and he was sore frustrated and went from this place back to his small city in the east. And he thought long about days of old when the new knowledge had been discovered, and how the magic of its promise had inspired the people. He remembered the times when the first subversives journeyed from far and wide each year to the big city in the west to listen to the originators of the new knowledge. From the country to the south and from over the oceans these sages and magi came, and when they arrived in the big city, in a gathering by the river, they gave out the keys which opened the minds of the subversives to the power of the magic coming through the cables and airwaves. The good and kindly noble from the east also thought of the brave men and women from many parts of the land who had laboured hard for many years gone by to spread the word of the new knowledge. Men such as the dark named one who lived in the west by the sea, and the man of the sand, both of them who had shown the people how to send their voices through the cables and the air so that it reached the receivers of all the people who had them in those early days gone by. He thought of those folk from the far-flung island of the golden waters and of others, men and women from the middle shires of the Monksbrew, and from the northern lands of the snowy mountains and lakes. And he remembered perhaps the greatest of them all who had transformed the land with his vision of the new knowledge and its potential power and magic. His mind took him back to days long ago, to lands far from his own in the east.

There was at that time an aged sage, living in obscurity in the misty peninsulas of the West (though not as far West as the Isle of the Restorative Potions) who had long unknown been using the magical powers to contact the subversives, for indeed she had given birth to the one fond remembered of the eastern noble, a man of tongues who would one day travel the world spreading the word of the new knowledge. And it even came to pass that lo, in some areas where she had prophesied the power of the Word, some of the religious authorities began to realise the potential of the magical technology for their own ends, and to encourage their acolytes to acquire the Knowledge for themselves. And so the flame of the word was kept alive. There were also many others who in days gone past had travelled to the meetings of the seven minutes in the big city by the river in the west.

The good and kindly noble smiled at these thoughts and his heart was warmed by the memories as he travelled home to his city in the east....

But when news of this reached the powerful nobles their reaction was swift and merciless, and they used their great and omnipotent powers to block the new knowledge. And so the flow of the magic to the schools across the land slowed down, despite the efforts of the noble from the east and the subversives across the land. And non more so than the kings greatest counsellor a cruel and heartless woman. She cast a wicked spell, which came to be known as lex concordat. This powerful hex tricked the nobles into believing that they had an abundance of treasure which disguised the fact that they had very little. This meant that the teachers and the children in the schools could not buy receivers to reach the new knowledge and the magic of the cables and the airwaves was allowed to fall into decay.

And so it came to pass that the people suffered greatly, from the big city in the west where the light of the new knowledge was the weakest of all, and in the middle lands of the Monksbrew, to the northern lands of the islands and the mountains, and even to the island of the restorative golden potions. Only in the small city to east, by the sea where the good noble heeded the advice of his counsellors and his people was the buzz of communication allowed to grow and prosper, and the light of the new knowledge glowed brighter each week. The rest of the country looked on in envy and wondered why they were in bondage to the old ways and the fears of times long past about the magic of the cables and airwaves. The voices of dissent and dissatisfaction grew stronger and louder and the evil king’s counsellor and the bearded nobles and advisors were sorely afraid. And with good reason, for the men from the far-flung island of the restorative golden potions had begun to stir…..



CHAPTER 3


The Eastern noble pondered long and hard about the evils besetting the land which had closed down much of the new knowledge to the people. He gathered his council around him – wise men and women all. He knew he could trust these true sages to advise him wisely. Had they not, together, devised the way of communicating with each other across the wires and airwaves which had proved so successful in uniting the people of the east, and did it not still continue to work despite the efforts of the King’s cruel chief counsellor and her evil spell lex Concordat ? These same wise men and women, learned in numbers, science and the workings of the sub-atomic particles (which begat life itself) and of the strange moving maps which brought the whole world to the children of the east had shown the way in using the new knowledge and their powers were legendary. Indeed, the great man of tongues, born of the wise woman from the misty peninsulas had himself been one of these true sages in days gone past before moving to the shadowy subversive group in the big city to the west (who’s job was to keep the flame of the knowledge aglow ready to relight the fires across all of the lands far and wide).

And together with his counsellors, the Eastern noble decided to set his people free with unfettered access the new knowledge. And as the magic began to flow freely again through the magic cables and airwaves, they even gave gifts of the receiving machines to the children in the schools. And thus, all of the lands looked on in envy at the lands in the east and were in awe of the children's’ achievement and their sparkling white receiving machines. And so it came to pass that the eastern noble and his wise counsellors were truly loved by their people. The other nobles in the land, enslaved by the King’s counsellor and her evil spell did not set their people free to use the new knowledge, and thus, it withered on the vine…

But there was another group of wise people, learned in the new knowledge. A shadowy band still, for their powers were still not recognised and appreciated by many of the people. They were led by a man, anointed Eques Jedi in a land far away. They had created a strange new way to bring the people together, even though they were scattered far and wide across the lands. The wise men and women (who included the man of tongues, the dark-named one from the coast in the west, a wise woman of words skilled in the workings of the new way of communicating, and many others) went forth across all the lands. To the Islands of the north they went, on the wings of the magic iron birds, and across the seas in boats. To the snowy lands of the mountains, the middle lands of the Monksbrew, and to the cities and towns they travelled, relighting the fires, because that was the people’s only desire. Relighting the fires, because they needed the love of the new knowledge to be given to all the land. And if they all stood up in the name of this love, and indeed, they stated the case of what they were dreaming of, then, if they only dreamed of the love of the new knowledge, the fires would indeed be relit across the lands.

And so it was that they were strong enough to walk on through the night, knowing that there was to be a new day on the other side. They had hope in their souls to keep on walking. So the new magic through the cables spread across the lands, despite the evil women’s spell. More and more people had their passions for the new knowledge awakened by the shadowy team (which was by now becoming less shadowy), led by the man anointed Eques Jedi. And they stood up for what they believed in, lived within the possibilities, and so the world went wild for that dream, not turning away, but listening to what they had to say.

The men in the west from the island of the restorative potions saw all this happening and were planning their own battles against the nobles who would clamp down and control the new knowledge. They were secretly organising a gathering of the enlightened subversives in the forthcoming midsummer season. News of this spread around the land like the twittering sounds of the birds. And the subversives made their plans to travel from far and wide to the gathering. Many tales would be told of battles fought and won. Many songs would be sung, and vast quantities of the restorative golden potions were prepared in advance to quench the thirst of the weary travellers. And from this gathering would spring forth a new vision for the knowledge and the magic coming forth from the cables and across the airwaves. A vision that would forever loosen the grip of the King, his evil counsellor and the nobles in his thrall by showing them the true way forward, and one from which there would be no going back.



CHAPTER 4


And so across the land discontent was the watchword. The people seethed and bubbled, discontented with their allotted status. The nobles kept themselves in their ivory towers and surrounded themselves with ever increasing bands of acolytes whose job was to praise their noble masters, prevent the true feelings, ills and woes of the people from reaching them, and to devise ever more complicated schemes to restrict the way in which the people could use the new knowledge. And whenever the nobles sallied forth to pass through the land, they were surrounded by these acolytes who protected them from the growing anger of the people as they did the work ordained by the King’s evil counsellor and proclaimed in the Lex Concordat. Of course, the nobles had to bribe their acolytes with great rewards in order that they might stay loyal, and so the dwindling wealth of the nobles began to be used up. There was no money to pay for the schools and so the teachers were thrown starving into the streets and the children made to go to huge buildings so big that they wandered around from room to room in despair. The teachers began a wailing that was soon heard across the entire land, but the evil counsellor devised a cunning plan to keep them under her control. She decreed that the places of higher learning should create vast numbers of new teachers, and caused these places of learning to do her bidding by awarding their principals vast riches. And blinded by her wicked spell they duly did her bidding. Large bands of teachers, skilled and learned in the language of learning and babbling in the strange tongue of Jargonesque ( which was understood by very few except the Counsellor, the nobles and their acolytes) roamed the land far and wide looking for schools in which to practice their arts. They used the strange babbling language whenever they met the nobles or their advisors in the hope of finding favour with them, but even with the ability to speak with the strange tongue, few were successful in finding favour. And so the evil counsellor and the nobles felt safe and more secure with the certain feeling that few of the teachers would dare to speak out against them for fear of being replaced by one from the large Jargonesque-speaking bands now roaming the lands.

And in the deepest darkest depths of the land, hidden in the very bowels of the earth beneath the schools were clever gnomes who could do wonderful things. They had often been disciples of the shadowy organisation (the one lead by the man anointed Eques Jedi ) of men and women (who included the man of tongues, the dark-named one from the coast in the west, a wise woman of words skilled in the workings of the new way of communicating, and many others) who had sallied forth across the lands relighting the fires of the new knowledge at strange gatherings far away from the King’s castle such as the place known as Sruighlea. The gnomes would come to these meetings and listen in awe and wonder to the tales the shadowy band would tell of ways to use the new knowledge, of strange machines, and virtual worlds which glowed strong in their hearts and minds. As the evenings lengthened at these gatherings, stories of long treks to worlds far away inhabited by beings half human and half robot, and of strange costumes bought in the summer markets and worn in the quest for freedom, excitement, and the new knowledge. Watchwords and codes such as Uhura and barada nikt were whispered and strange songs were sung as the gnomes looked on in wonder at the shadowy band of the ones skilled in the new knowledge. There was no more talk of darkness, wide-eyed fear was forgotten. The gnomes and other disciples knew that nothing could harm them and the words spoken warmed and calmed them. they were given a promise that all that had been said was true. Indeed it was all they asked of them. Their heads were turned with talk of summertime and that they were needed always. And so the gnomes went back to their schools and regaled their friends with these tales of the shadowy band of knowledge-givers. They tried to enact the strategies and training given to them by the followers of the man anointed Eques Jedi but were trapped by the Lex Concordat spell of the evil counsellor in the dark world of minimal costs and further constrained by the tax on the land for the bribes paid by the nobles to their mercenary bands of followers which ensured their safety. That they could do wonderful things was of no matter to the nobles who truly believed that their regime of minimal costs was the only way to control the new knowledge and the issue of the strange receiving machines which had the power to let the children and their teachers enter the virtual world beloved of the shadowy band which glowed brightly in the ether with every month which passed. A new champion of the virtual world which glowed brightly with the magical power which came through the airwaves and the cables arose in the northern lands of Ceann Rois. This legendary man, a wizard of Wikius no less, was endowed with great powers of understanding and persuasion, had started to use the virtual world which glowed and had indeed been a true prophet of it’s power to transform the lives of the people in all the land for some years. Others had even witnessed the sacrifice of the great white bird which had done so much to spread the word of this great virtual world and the new knowledge it brought with it into the schools which were not shackled by as yet by the evil counsellor’s laws and the slavish kow-towing of most of the nobles of this troubled land.

So the people bore their misfortune and adversity with great courage, their hopes kept alive by the increase in the number of the gnomes who were the disciples of the shadowy band lead by the man anointed Eques Jedi. They made their plans in secret for the journey to the mystical far-flung western island of the golden restorative potions where the midsummer gathering (of which the people hoped would be the catalyst for the revolution which could end the power of the evil counsellor and the nobles for ever) was to take place. And so the folk of the islands prepared well for the gathering, even laying in stores of the potent green brew beloved of the people ( and their strange but wild pets known as homos nedusi) of the Monklands, and particularly of the legendary (!!!) white witch of Camas-Long, skilled in the arts of the virtual glowing world, who was to travel far across the seas to the island and be inducted as a follower of the golden restorative potions…



CHAPTER 5


In the land of the eastern noble, the children were happy and their parents contented, blessed by the bountiful and wise ruler and his council of advisors who together had given them all the little white receiving machines so that they could all receive the new knowledge which now flowed freely from the walls and ceilings and through the air, bringing it’s magic directly to their eyes. And they grew strong and knowledgeable because of these gifts and proclamations from their ruler. The noble knew that when the King’s sheriffs came to examine the school teachers and the children,as they did all too often and with very little warning, they would find that all was well in his lands and that with the benefit of the little white receiving machines and the new knowledge, the children would mightily impress the sheriffs of the king and their commander, the High Sheriff of the inspections himself. For had it not been decreed by the High Sheriff that the use of the new knowledge was to be more widespread throughout the land? and had it not also been decreed by the very same Lord that the children must be able to use the receiving machines in their classrooms so that they increased in understanding and reasoning? Now all this of course was true and in the lands of the small city to the east ruled by the kind and bountiful noble and his wise band of followers the decrees of the High Sheriff were considered and acted upon. The teachers knew this because they all were governed by their own sets of parchments issued forth from their own ruling council. The teachers trained long and hard over many years before they were granted their own parchments which allowed them to set forth throughout the land offering their considerable knowledge and powers in the learning arts to the nobles who governed every corner of this country and the schools within it. Their own ruling council resided in a castle on a hill, surrounded by trees to the south of the small city in the east. From this castle were issued many proclamations and parchments setting out the laws governing the teachers and their chiefs. These indeed were the standards by which all in the schools up and down the lands were judged. The King’s High Sheriff much favoured this ruling council of the teachers and instructed his sheriffs to use the parchments issued forth from the castle in the trees when they made their judgements on the schools that they visited. And of course, the High Sheriff knew that the parchments had much to say about the new knowledge and the ways in which all the teachers across the land were expected to use this magic now coming from their walls, ceilings, and through the air. And indeed he and his happy band of sheriffs were mightily impressed by the bounty shown by the eastern noble who was indeed high flying, adored by his people. A rich beautiful thing of all the talents. And he would have despaired if they hated him, been drained of all energy.
But in other parts of the land, the nobles, instead of copying the actions of the eastern noble, turned their faces away from his example. They refused to let the children use the little white receiving machines and the new knowledge coming to the schools and were aided by many of their teachers who ignored the parchments and proclamations coming from the castle in the trees by the little city in the east. They refused to use the new knowledge, even though they had agreed to do so when they received their parchments after a long and arduous instruction in the arts of learning. Saying of the new knowledge and receivers that they were illusions, and not the solutions they promised to be, and that the answer was there all the time. In the books and rote of olden days. And so never inviting them in (though it seemed to the world that they were all they desired)
They closed their minds, their eyes and ears to the needs of their children, safe in the knowledge that the High Sheriff of inspections and his junior sheriffs might not visit their schools very often, and that even if he did, there were ways of blinding the eyes and ears of these sheriffs by using spells known as evaluatus selfus which caused the officers of the High Sheriff to fall into a happy state of euphoria at the very mention of the words contained in the spells, such as qualitatius indicitares and capacitatius quartarti, and the truly wicked powerpointius mortus maximus The teachers who ignored their parchments became adept in using the black arts of these spells (very similar to the strange tongue of Jargonesque spoken by the large bands of new teachers trained at the behest of the King’s evil counsellor) and the High Sheriff’s junior sheriffs left their schools well pleased that their proclamations were being obeyed when in fact they had been blinded to the true state of affairs by the spells of the disobedient teachers who were disregarding the conditions of their parchments and their masters and mistresses who condoned this ignorance.
So still the majority of the people and their children suffered in all the lands from lack of the new knowledge and receiving machines to let them use it. From the lands in the west where the King’s censors restricted the content to the middle lands of the Monksbrew where the nobles would only allow the teachers to use the receiving machines and where the acolytes had even stopped the new knowledge from coming through the walls and ceilings and the airwaves because they did not trust the people and their children and wanted to know exactly how the new knowledge was being used by the children in their schools. The Gnomes, disciples of the shadowy band (who followed the one anointed Eques Jedi ) living in the deepest darkest bowels of the schools slaved away at the difficult task of breaking the spells cast by the teachers who ignored their parchments issued from the castle in the trees. Their numbers grew, and included the Lady of the Wheel (skilled in the new knowledge and who had been granted a special golden charter by the ruler of the castle in the trees) and the Wizard of Wikius from the northern lands of Ceann Rois, and the people of the flatlands in the very far north of the country (who included the man learned in the ancient academic disciplines of the natural sciences who had for a long time past been sending the benefits of his learning through the airwaves to his pupils who listened in awe and wonder at his explanations of the difficult and fiendish laws of φύσις). The man of the sands was now bringing his learning to the folk of the middle lands of the Monksbrew whilst a wise woman of tongues from the wild island of Tobar used the new knowledge wisely to the benefit of all the children given unto her for learning. Indeed, many of these had been showered with gifts by the shadowy band of followers of the anointed one. Such wondrous gifts they were. Writing implements, parchments joined together in books, holders of keys, strange symbols which could by means of a cunningly hidden pin, be attached to clothes. Some had even been recipients of the magic goblets (although not the white witch of Camas-Long who had been promised her goblet by the one from the shadowy followers with the brightly coloured and multi-patterned robes although it had somehow failed to arrive at her secret lair in the lands of the Monksbrew, and she was sore troubled by this, I can tell you) which glowed brightly when filled with sweet tasting libations, and even dark coloured robes, and all embossed with the secret glowing symbols of the shadowy followers led by the anointed one.
And so it was that the shadowy followers of the anointed one, and the gnomes who were their disciples, and the eastern noble and his acolytes were the only people in all of the lands who were a force for good and trusty advocates of the new knowledge. They laboured long and hard, often in the face of great adversity and distrust particularly from the teachers who ignored their parchments and the nobles who ruled their lands with the regimes of minimal costs. More and more planned to journey to the midsummer gathering on the island in the far flung west of the land where the people, fortified by the golden restorative potions grew happy and strong in the new knowledge. The list of travellers grew longer and longer and the voices of the pilgrims twittered across the lands like birdsong in the springtime. These pilgrims included the one who had first conceived the way of using the new knowledge which glowed brightly in the receiving machines of the followers and their secret disciples – the one who now travelled in majesty on the iron-winged birds to lands far and wide. A true and learned sage taking the ways of using the knowledge to peoples all over the world. The tall man of the magic maps was travelling from the east, as was the man with the brightly coloured robes (apprehensive at craving audience with the white witch of Camas-long no doubt, after not sending her magic glowing goblet for which he should be truly scared, by the way, the white witch not being one to be trifled with !) A man of the caves skilled in making useful things from the trees for the good of the people was ascending from his deepest lair (in the Reiver country of the strange structures known as Peel towers) to travel with his enlightened master. Others were also travelling from foreign lands, bringing their learning with them for the benefit of the people of the oppressed country.
For the ordinary folk of this land of Saint Andrew not yet skilled in the ways of the new knowledge it was a time when certainties disappeared. ‘Where do we go from here ?’ the people cried. What did they do to for their dreams to survive and how did they keep their passions alive as they used to do ?
Even so, the people came to feel that they should fool themselves that their dreams would come true,and being used to trouble, they anticipated it, but all the same, hating it. Time and time again they said that they didn’t care, that they were immune to gloom through and through. But every time it mattered their words deserted them and anyone could hurt them…and they did
‘You must love us, and believe in us’ came the reply from the ones learned in the knowledge. And indeed this became their refrain and their secret code. And when ever the question ‘where do we go from here?’ was asked, the reply ‘ you must love me’ was the secret sign that one who was indeed learned in the knowledge (in these lands of saint Andrew) was there to help.
However when all was looking more promising for the people of this land, and when the green shoots of the new knowledge were beginning to take hold, the King’s evil counsellor (she of the Lex Concordat) fearing plotting all around her, had one of her trusted acolytes dismissed and banished to the wilderness of the Banflands. She appointed a replacement from her military, feared and much hardened in battle abroad, who was to carry out her orders and decrees. The people were now sore afraid and looked even more to the shadowy followers, their disciples, and the folk of the far flung western islands of the golden restorative potions for redemption…




CHAPTER 6


Now the King’s evil counsellor had gathered around her a formidable and powerful armoury with which to oppress the people and their children and with which to control the teachers. The sorry tale has already been told of the High Sheriff and his team of sheriffs who travelled around the schools inspecting their practices and the workings of the teachers, and of the Nobles who used their treasure to reward the ever increasing numbers of acolytes who slavishly protected their noble lords and carried out all of their commands and enforced their edicts upon the schools, using up the treasure of the nobles and forcing the schools into penury and poverty. There were fevered whispers amongst the people that the nobles would soon be declaring that some teachers must indeed leave the schools and search for work elsewhere. For the King’s Evil counsellor had been deceived by her nobles who had forgotten how to use the ancient charts and formulae that were known as the laws and rules of Workforce Planning and thus they had made the mistakes which had caused the Evil Counsellor to instruct the institutions of higher learning to train the vast quantities of new teachers who now roamed the lands in search of places in which to do their work, speaking in the strange tongue of jargonesque in the hope of finding favour with the nobles and their acolytes and of course the King’s evil counsellor had cast the spell (the wicked and powerful Lex Concordat ) which deceived the nobles into thinking they had vast sums of treasure when in fact they had less and less as each year passed. The castle in the trees in the east of the lands continued to issue forth parchments to the teachers, and had great plans to strengthen it's control on the very small number of teachers who had studied long and hard and gave of their hard-earned wages to receive the special Golden Charters (whose numbers included the Lady of the Wheel, and the wise Lord of Fìobha, the one who sent out the special Vox Populae recordings through the airwaves of news which helped and informed the teachers across the land). All these instruments of power, the King’s evil counsellor used to exert her will and force the teachers in the schools comply with her every command. But she had another organisation to do her bidding, stronger and more powerful than all of these others (who were quite strong and powerful anyway). This secret brotherhood whose name was whispered with dread was feared by all across the land and pressed it’s influence on all the children and their schools. It spread out it’s tentacles far and wide so that there was not a place in the land which remained untouched and every year thousands of the children were forced to submit to the terror exerted by this organisation’s authority of whom few dared whisper its name. Because of this, most of the time the children spent at school was concentrated in a never-ending race to commit to memory, the facts and numbers proscribed by this powerful authority who granted them the certificates without which they could not progress in the arts of learning or obtain the training they needed to find places where they could offer their labours in return for money to feed their families. Every year the children of the land were herded like the animals of the pastures into the testing rooms of the schools where they were forced to spew forth the information they had been made to memorise. Indeed, many of the children despite being clever and able, were not able to remember enough of the proscribed facts decreed by the organisation in their instruction parchments issued to the schools and known as the Documentia Arrangementatiae. Indeed, there was no part of the education system in the land which remained immune from their awesome powers. The work which went on in the schools was dominated by it’s demands and the few teachers who dissented were beaten back into line by the leaders of their schools who were sore afraid of the power of this authority. The nobles seized upon this fear and made it many times worse by using the results of the yearly tests of memory to compile tables (full of awful magic words and phrases feared by the schools such as decilus and comparator and the dreaded three-star negative) which ordered the schools into those which were successful in hiding those children with poor memories and those which were not. The acolytes and their nobles descended upon those schools which appeared near to the bottom of these tabulations to instruct them in the ways of mechanisms and procedures such as qualitatus assurance cosmeticus which were designed to force them upwards in the tables, escaping the wrath of the nobles and so that some other place of learning might appear lower in the tabulations instead of them and thus cop for it instead. The leaders of the schools in turn used these tabulations to control the teachers in their schools and therefore they were forced to drill the children in the facts and numbers alone in order that the children might do well in the annual tests of the King’s evil counsellor’s authority and thus the schools were ruled and ordered by the tables and not by the learning which was sore needed by the children. And so it came to pass that the children, although drilled to remember facts were unable to find these facts again unless shown by their teachers and thus the learning was shallow and oft forgotten by the poor children once they had satisfied the requirements of the certificating authority of the King’s evil Counsellor. And so it came to pass (yet again, for many things did !) that this authority of the children’s qualification certificates became more and more omnipotent as an instrument of control in the land. The schools lived in fear of the publication in the national parchments and proclamations each year of the tables of the results of these tests which allowed the King’s evil counsellor and her advisors to draw up lists of schools ordering them by the success of their children in the memory tests. Indeed those who tried to defy the authority found themselves cast into the wilderness, forced to make their complaints and publish their thoughts through the medium of the new knowledge so that their words came through the cables and airwaves with the new magic to the receiving machines for they were not listened too anywhere else. A few subversives within the feared authority itself tried to work quietly to change it but they were at the time, voices crying in the wilderness as the oppressive certification machine rumbled on crushing the hopes and needs of the children in the schools. For the authority did not yet recognise the new knowledge and the learning which resulted from it’s use and conspired with the nobles to suppress it by forcing the teachers to drill the children in the memorising of only the facts proscribed in the Documentia Arrangementatiae, leaving no time to develop the use of the new knowledge and the receiving machines. And so those blessed with good skills of memory prospered in the land whilst those who were not so blessed suffered terribly. The people cried out and petitioned the King and his advisors and counsellors that all the different and varied the skills and knowledge of their children should be recognised by the authority of the tests, and that the ways of instruction in the schools be changed to include skills not tested by memory, but their please fell on deaf ears for the fearful authority had persuaded the King’s evil counsellor that their ways were best and that to change to ways which recognised learning and skill rather than the memorising of the facts was impossible to do without using up all the stores of treasure in the land.

But fear not, dear reader, because even in this dark dark place there were signs of change. A few good people had recognised that this authority had to change and were working from within to bring the new knowledge into the system of tests administered by it. This had happened because the King of this land had in years gone by decreed that the teaching of the facts and numbers had to change, and he had instructed his advisors to devise a new way of teaching for the schools, a curriculum which was to be very excellent indeed. His was to be a way that allowed all the different skills of the children to be developed for the good of all the land. But the King’s evil counsellor, and her advisors, and the nobles and their acolytes were worried at the great cost to them and indeed of losing their power (gained from the tabulations of the memory tests each year) of allowing this new way of teaching and learning and the excellent new curriculum to be introduced into their schools. They feared that all their treasure stores would be used up in giving instruction in the new ways to the teachers who rightly demanded time to become accustomed to the new ways, and that there would be none left with which they could reward their acolytes and keep them loyal. As this would result in them losing their power, they kept their treasure locked away, and built up their reserves by the use of the Clawbaccus, a fiendish instrument of torture which was greatly feared and which at the command of the Nobles, descended into the treasure-room of every school and removed everything which remained in these places spiriting it away to the treasure rooms in the castles of the nobles. The evil counsellor granted the teachers in the schools across the lands a mere two days in which to devise ways of using the excellent curriculum and the teachers felt sore oppressed by this as a desperate race began to write the lessons for the excellent new curriculum while the evil counsellor and her nobles congratulated themselves because they thought that the people had indeed been fooled. Because of these terrible conditions there was no money left to buy the receiving machines necessary for the children and their teachers to be able to use the new knowledge which was coming through the walls and ceilings and through the airwaves, and to pay for the excellent new curriculum and so the children wailed and had to be pressed to continue in the old ways of the memorising of the facts set out in the Documentia Arrangementatiae of the powerful and all-seeing authority.

But even though times were hard and the people lived in fear of the nobles, and the King’s evil counsellor, and the different groups which did her bidding (such as the authority of the certificates, the high Sheriff and his slightly lower Sheriffs, and the castle in the trees which issued the parchments of control) here were signs of the coming change – a revolution, no less, which was being plotted by the shadowy band of subversives (led by the one anointed Eques Jedi) and their followers and disciples. They continued to meet up in the far away places such as Sruighlea and the latest gathering held in the Reiver country at a place called An Geal Ath . Many folk travelled long distances along the winding paths and tracks to this isolated place where the man of the caves had convened a special gathering. And when they all came to this place, the words of the prophets were written on the studio walls, and the shadowy band and their disciples and followers were amazed at the ways the new knowledge could be used that they were shown here. The numbers were swelled by new followers who joined the ones told of earlier in this tale. Men and women of tongues were there, and the one who had conceived the way of delivering the new knowledge which glowed ever brighter (and who was not at this time travelling the world in majesty, for a few days at least). The Wizard of Wikius from the northern lands of Ceann Rois had planned to travel but he had sorely damaged his chariot whilst attempting a daring manoeuvre in the snowy wastes from whence he came and had thus been forbidden to journey forth. But others did come from far and wide. A man learned in the ways of the new knowledge, a giant in his field, rushed from the place of higher learning in the west to talk of strange riddles in the airwaves. A golden-haired maiden, imbued with a wisdom of the plants and animals, and greatly skilled in the ways of the new knowledge (and who made a yearly sacrifice of a large fish so that the learning of her pupils be greatly increased) always attended these gatherings and was there from the land of the benevolent eastern noble, as was one of his advisors, he who knew the workings of the sub-atomic particles (which begat life itself). Men and women from the middle lands of the Monksbrew were in attendance. Even the wise woman of words from the shadowy band learned in the new ways of communicating appeared like a ghostly apparition through the airwaves using the magic new knowledge to make her appearance, but unfortunately, she arrived through the receiving machine appointed for this purpose at a time when the words of the prophets had been suspended on account of the fact that everyone was partaking of the wondrous comestibles made by the man of the caves and quaffing of his finest brews and potions which she listened to with awe and envy whilst gazing at the large white screen erected to display the wise words and pictures of those in attendance but which remained white whilst the quaffing and troughing continued unabated.

The shadowy band was growing in strength as their work became more and more widespread throughout the lands bringing the new knowledge and the way of receiving it that glowed to more and more of the places across the country. The white witch of Camas-long herself had journeyed to their headquarters (known as Optimus Maximus) to receive the long promised magic glowing goblet from the man who wore the brightly coloured robes. He had grovelled at her feet and made his due penance in supplication as the goblet (which had been inscribed by him) was presented and she was escorted forth to a local hostelry (where unfortunately she had to use her own treasure to pay for the warming libations promised by the be-robed one, an occurrence with which she was all too familiar with, by the way). This magic glowing goblet became the subject of much discussion across the lands from folk who were covetous of the gifts bestowed by the shadowy band led by the anointed one. And again the voices twittered across the lands like birdsong as the people compared their gifts which were many and varied, much to the chagrin of the White Witch of Camas-long who was only in possesion of one small goblet. However, some folk had sorely mistreated their gifts of magic goblets and were afraid of receiving their comeuppance for this sin, including the Lady of the wheel (she with the special golden charter), who had dared to send a portrait of her tortured and mistreated goblet to all parts of the land misusing the new knowledge for this very purpose. Luckily for her, the noble ruling her own particular lands had decreed that the shadowy band and their glowing way of using the new knowledge were not yet welcome in his lands, and so she had yet little to fear, although her time of freedom from the Goblet’s awful and terrible revenge was not indefinite…(by the way).

So the King’s evil counsellor exerted her will ever more strongly over the Nobles and the lands they ruled, although many knew that she had not the learning for this task. Cast in this unlikely role and ill-equipped to act, with insufficient tact, she put up barriers to keep herself intact. And so the shadowy band and their followers were forced into difficult treks, even taking strange names and disguises to avoid being recognised by the nobles or their acolytes and so be able to do their special work. Having submitted to a strange and devious test on their receiving machines, they renamed themselves and some even adopted different skin tones and disguised their features with the cunning arts of the new knowledge in order that they might live long and prosper in these difficult and trying times. Their followers followed suit, speaking in strange tongues at times to avoid being recognised, the man from the Burnslands to the south even taking the form of an alien being in order to carry on the work of the new knowledge in his part of the kingdom. Many adopted these disguises and their enterprise was varied and wonderful to behold, unphased as they were by the skills needed and thus they were transported to many parts of the lands to do their secret work, some of them marked out by the badges bearing the sign of the 'G'. Despite these cunning disguises however one other thing continued to mark out the subversives and identify them to the world. This was their mode of contact with each other, for they were possessed of the strange communicating devices with ever shifting symbols on their smooth black faces and marked with a sign of the fruit. these communicators marked them out as different from mere mortals in this land, and enabled them to play strange games known as Apps, and do wondrous things like stunning the assembled throng into silence with their magic, and such as the tossing of a coin without actually having to have an actual coin. Sort of….and some of them even displayed the mark of the fruit on their receiving machines in the belief that this somehow gave them extra powers said to be derived from a secret allegiance to the great lord in the sky known as the Emperor Jobbius. Others did not recognise this extra power though, having had their eyes blinded by the sworn enemy of Lord Jobbius, the wicked and powerful count Gatesbill who was trying to cover the whole world with his evil vista.

And across the misty peninsula to the west (where the wise woman who had begotten the man of tongues skilled in the ways of the new knowledge lived) and over the seas to the far flung islands the words and deeds of the people blessed in the learning twittered. The preparations for the midsummer gathering continued as the time for the favoured few who would start the revolution drew closer. The list of those making the long and hazardous journey lengthened, the bubbling and brewing in the strange dome-shaped copper vessels increased as stores of the restorative golden potions were laid down in preparation for the gathering and the people of the land hoped and prayed with all their hearts that this would indeed be the revolution which would at long last, set their schools and their children free from the oppressive organisations and instruments of oppression beloved of the King’s evil Counsellor…



CHAPTER 7

Now the goodly and wise noble from the east, advised well by his wise counsellors (who of course included the tall one who knew the workings of the sub-atomic particles and the difficult and fiendish laws of φύσις, as well as the man of the Number who feasted regularly at the sign of the large rock and other wondrous places known for fine comestibles and she of the fish sacrifice who was about to leave the service of the goodly and wise noble) was well pleased with the success of his new laws freeing up the new knowledge so that the children and their teachers could use the magic coming through the walls and the ceilings and through the airwaves for the benefit of their learning. This wise noble had plans to change the way the children received their learning in other ways too. He wanted them to have their own individual plans of learning which might indeed be different from those of others. And so it came to pass that one day in the year of the fox
came a time remembered well, when this strong wise man of the eastern land heard the tolling of the great college bell. One day in the year of the fox when the bell began to ring, meant the time had cometh for all to go to the college of the king.

And he journeyed forth again to do battle with the King’s evil counsellor and her advisors at the college ( The College housed all the great and wise advisers to the Kingdom, they with the long white beards). Their was much stroking of beards and much scratching of heads (for this is what they did when they had stroked their beards too much). They were truly puzzled by the eastern noble and his band of advisors who wanted this change in the old ways of doing things and tried to persuade him that the old ways were best.
“have we not spent a whole century – one hundred years and more –perfecting our model of schooling” they said. “Is it necessary for us to change?” And there was more stroking of beards and scratching of heads around the table in the college, and more meetings of the college were arranged to discuss the plans of the eastern noble some more. And then one of the college spoke up.
“Have you forgotten our excellent new curriculum” he said. “ Have we not decreed that you should have two days to plan the new ways we have decided that the children should be taught. Is this not proof of our generosity and love of our people ?”
But the eastern noble just sighed, and his advisors also sighed, because the other nobles and the king’s evil counsellor just did not get it.
And as it grew dark, and the discussions raged on, the noble from the east started to dream of better times to come. There in the middle of the circle he stands, searching, seeking. With just one touch of his trembling hand the answer will be found. Daylight waits while the old man sings “heaven help me (and all the children of this country)”. And then like the rush of a thousand wings it shines upon the one….and the day had just begun. And the meeting started all over again, and there was indeed much scratching of heads and stroking of beards, or the other way around. They sat in their great college circle talking of the excellent curriculum, as they had done for so many days gone by, and of their great white folders which would eventually be carried forth from the college to all parts of the lands where many people would stand by while the great copying machines whirred and groaned weighed down by the thousands of sheets of parchment spewing forth from their inner workings imprinted with the copies of the great white folders of the original excellent new curriculum. For so it was, is now, and ever shall be in the schools of this country they decreed, as they sat in their meeting circle in the college. And the eastern noble saw all this and despaired of ever being able to change the old ways. Far from the circle at the edge of the world he's hoping, wondering. Thinking back from the stories he's heard of what he's going to see. Then suddenly he cried out, and all stopped their deliberations and put down the libations and comestibles (which were always provided at these meetings, for the treasure chests of the evil counsellor were deep and oft used at these meetings of the college to bribe the nobles with good food and drink to dull their powers of thought and lull them into submission to her will, by the way).
”There in middle of the circle it lies, Heaven help me”
Then all could see by the shine in his eyes that the answer had been found.
And as he was about to speak, and reveal the wisdom which he had suddenly received, a great noise arose which drowned out the words issuing forth from his mouth. The nobles panicked and dispatched a minion to investigate the huge and terrible noise which was unfamiliar to them. The minion quickly returned with the news of the source of the great noise.
“There be a great gathering of….CHILDREN outside the college doors” he said. “They are here to visit the college and observe the workings of the good and the great of this land”.
The King’s evil counsellor and her nobles then gathered up their great white folders and fled from the college table in terror. For they were not used to being in the presence of the children. This was unfamiliar to them and they were very much afraid of having to meet the children and answer their fiendish questions. Indeed, they did not like the children and were nervous in their company for it distracted them from their true purpose of meeting and talking and issuing forth more great white folders, as well as stroking their beards and scratching their heads.
The noble from the east and his advisors were left in the college of the king and the children rushed in. The eastern noble welcomed them in (for he was truly child-centred) and tried to explain to them why the evil king’s counsellor and her nobles had fled.
“But we have been promised audience” they wailed. “We were wishing to ask about our machines for receiving the new knowledge which we had been promised. Why will she not honour her promises?”
“Ah, my dear children” answered the eastern noble “you have fallen prey to the false words of the evil counsellor. And this must be a lesson in life for you”. And he spoke forth some more to them, saying, as they listened in sad but attentive demeanour…
“The ending is just a beginning. The closer you get to the meaning.
The sooner you'll know that you're dreaming. So it's on and on and on.
It goes on and on and on, it’s Heaven and Hell.
Well, if it seems to be real, it's illusion. For every moment of truth, there's confusion in life”.
And he continued…
“They say that life's a carousel, spinning fast, you've got to ride it well
The world is full of Kings and Queens, who blind your eyes then steal your dreams ...it's Heaven and Hell.
And they'll tell you black is really white, the moon is just the sun at night.
And when you walk in golden halls, you get to keep the gold that falls,
it's Heaven and Hell…”
And the children left for home, weighed down with more white folders which the college minion had delivered unto them. these, they were told contained important documents pertaining to their health and safety on the long journey home. They were sore weighed down with these white folders which contained weighty tomes known as assessmentius riskius, one for each mile of their journey. The children and their teachers were so weighed down with the folders that they had not the strength to ask questions of each other and truly experience the wonders of their journey back home from the college.
The noble from the east also journeyed back to his own lands with his advisors. he tried to make sense of all that had happened at the meeting of the college. For although he was filled with the wondrous foods and libations of the King’s evil counsellor, he was left with an empty feeling of despair for the schools, and the children of the lands. For he could see dark clouds gathering on the horizon. The people of the country were starting to believe the stories of the evil counsellor about the excellent new curriculum being the answer to all the ills of the land. Her influence was beginning to spread, helped by the spreading of her treasure to blind the eyes of the nobles. Even the leaders of the band of subversives (they with the strange communicating devices marked with the sign of the fruit) were not immune to this for they had been lulled into a sinister plan hatched by the evil counsellor which made them journey forth to all corners of the land talking about plans for a second glowing platform which would deliver the new knowledge to the children. Of course this meant that they were spread very thinly over the land and could not concentrate their efforts where they were sorely needed, on perfecting the first glowing platform which delivered the new knowledge to the schools and the children, and so it was in danger of starting to fall into disrepair (virtually, of course). The sickness of the meetings had also started to spread, another plan hatched by the evil counsellor and her nobles, who engaged the subversives and their followers and many others in discussions about many things, most of which would have no effect upon the learning in the actual schools, but which distracted many from their true calling. The wheels of the big metal horses grew hot, and the wings of the iron birds soared through the skies on many journeys but the learning in the schools still did not move forwards as the country was becoming distracted from the task in hand and the sickness of the meetings spread far and wide…

And in the far-flung island to the west of the misty peninsular, the people of the golden restorative potions sent forth a shimmering parchment through the magic of the airwaves. This set out the plans for the midsummer meeting and the topics which were to be discussed. There was much fiddling about with this strange shimmering parchment for the masters of the potions who had set up this device were concerned as to it’s ease of use. The people who received this shimmering parchment were astonished at how detailed and yet simple it was, and that they could add their thoughts to it, together with everybody else who wished to contribute. It shimmered through the magic of the airwaves through the receiving machines into homes and some schools (at least those schools who had not had their access to shimmering parchments blocked by their nobles). This truly amazing thing set out the arrangements for the gathering. Boats, and birds with iron wings had been commanded to carry the visitors to the island. Places to rest had been ordained, and the hostelries had been put on notice to serve up great quantities of the magic restorative potions, which came in all shapes and ages, but not in different colours, for they were indeed all golden.
The country held it’s breath (well, metaphorically. this is a fairy tale, after all) and waited. Waited for the revolution to come….




CHAPTER 8


And so, as the sickness took hold, the meetings multiplied across the land. From the snowy wastes of the north, to the cities in the west and to the east, all of the people watched as the nobles, their acolytes and the leaders in the schools were drawn into this malevolent malaise. The King’s evil counsellor saw all of this and a cruel smile passed fleetingly over her thin lips. Her plan was working and the sickness of the meetings distracted the people from the ills besetting their schools and the education of the children. Many of the teachers in the schools were infected with this cruel malady, or it’s mutant offspring sicknesses, the working group and the workshop. And no where else was this more apparent than in the place known as Sruighlea where once the shadowy band of subversives had met and talked with their followers late into the evenings, telling tales of enterprise, whispering the watchwords and codes such as Uhura and barada nikt and singing their songs of cetaceans. But now at this place, the sickness of the meetings took hold and the people queued through the grounds and into the village, waiting in line for their different meetings to start. And there were also those who waited for working groups and workshops to begin. And they were sore unhappy as even though the sickness of the meetings had compelled them to travel vast distances from all corners of the land, no refreshments were made available to them before the hour of nine o'clock unless they were able to pay with their own treasure. They were even forced to pay for the new knowledge coming through the airwaves with their own treasure and so many people became greatly peed off with this. And the meetings achieved little but promises to form new committees and working groups and greatly distracted the people from the work which needed to be done in the schools. The nobles and their acolytes also held more meetings to discuss the big meetings, and they formed working groups to discuss matters discussed in the meetings in more detail. The working groups issued forth more of the great white folders and these were carried to all the schools. Many of them contained the details of the excellent new curriculum which the schools were expected to use in their classrooms, except that all the treasure set aside for the training of the staff had been used up by holding meetings, travelling to meetings, and issuing of the great white folders. The King’s evil counsellor was well pleased with her work in spreading the sickness of the meetings to the people in education. She continued with this wicked work, throwing in the occasional 3-star Michelin chef to entice the nobles, their acolytes and the school leaders to come to even more meetings. For had this approach not worked in other areas of the government of the country? The king’s evil counsellor asked of her advisors, did not the Kings other counsellors hold many such meetings of their nobles and acolytes. And did they not also issue forth great white folders ? And she smiled again, the cruel thin-lipped smile to herself as she saw the teachers in the schools set against their leaders, and the nobles and their acolytes set against their people and their schools. The arguments and ill feeling continued and less and less got done. Many of the people became drunk with the intoxicating power of the lists sent to them in advance of their meetings. These lists, known as minutiae caused them to babble incoherently with strange jargonesque talk at the start of each meeting and took up even more time., multiplying the power of the sickness greatly. The people staggered from these meetings intoxicated with the feelings of power and importance thinking that they had put the problems of the world to rights, when in fact, all they had done was babble incoherently with strange jargonesque language using words and phrases such as ‘curriculum architecture’, ‘IEP’, ‘baseline assessment’ ‘disapplication’, and others which are too wicked and evil to repeat in a fairy tale (even a digital one). And the worse one of these was quickly picked up by the nobles and used as a weapon with which to attack schools which tried to dissent from their laws. This word, dear readers, is so terrible that you must, before reading, cross your fingers and toes (and anything else you can reasonably be expected to cross), for it is so awful and badly used out of context that the greatest levels of protection are necessary before uttering it’s evil syllables, each of which drips with the poison of a million misuses…..for this sorry collection of letters spells...... ‘Inclusion’…
But amidst all this sorrow, there were some signs in the land of things getting a little better for the children in some of the schools. The children living in the lands of the Monksbrew (where the fierce local people and their strange pets Homus Nedusi lived) had been allowed by their noble to use the new knowledge coming through the air like magic. This had been welcomed by all the children and their teachers but the noble in these lands, fearful of being thought to be too kind (and therefore a pushover) decreed that although the children could use the new knowledge, they had to give up their receiving machines because the treasure stores of the noble were running low (due to the evil spell Lex Concordat ) and the receiving machines cost too much to buy and maintain from the magicians who hired them out to the schools and kept them working. So things were not actually getting better at all….actually.
Even the wonderful new glowing platform which carried the means of using the new knowledge through the airwaves, beloved of the shadowy band (led by the one anointed Eques Jedi , but who was soon to leave the shadowy band by the way) and their disciples and followers, was suffering the wrath of the nobles and their acolytes. For fearful of the power gained by the people from the spreading and sharing of the knowledge, the nobles ordained that everything within the glowing platform had to undergo long and rigorous testing and assessment designed to slow down and stop the sharing of the new knowledge. For they were fearful of others claiming this knowledge as their own and of the wars which might start between the different nobles. This slowly spread across the land, even to the parts of the country that had no plans to use the new and wonderful glowing platform (or even it’s second version) for their nobles were fearful of being left out of the rigorous testing and assessment of the knowledge created by their teachers. And this caused great concern across the lands. The people cried out to the shadowy band, their followers and disciples to deliver them from this bondage, but the shadowy band, occupied with other things, did not hear their wailing and gnashing of teeth. It fell to a wise man of Dùn Dèagh to answer their cries. This man, learned in the ways of the new knowledge, and who having noted the effect of the strange shimmering parchment sent out by the people of the far-flung island (which carried the news of the midsummer gathering far and wide across all the lands) sent forth his own shimmering parchment across the airwaves to which people could add their own words. This allowed the people to have a voice about the nobles and their plans to restrict the sharing of the knowledge through the new glowing platform for all the people were very afraid of the power of the nobles to do this. For they had become (many without realising it, by the way) slaves to the nobles as all the work that they did with the new knowledge and the glowing platform belonged to their nobles and not to them, and their nobles could decree that they were not to share it in any way at all. And so the shimmering parchment was quickly filled with the complaints of the people against this terrible slavery. And other shimmering parchments began to spread out across the land, allowing the people to make their feelings clear without fear of censorship by the nobles and their acolytes. The wizard of Wikius from the snowy lands of the near-north also sent forth a shimmering parchment which let the people give their true views on the excellent new curriculum. For many were worried that the true benefits of this would not be passed onto the children in the schools because of the King’s evil counsellor’s spell Lex Concordat which had caused great misery as the treasure stores of the nobles dwindled away leaving nothing to pay for the training needed to start using the excellent new curriculum, and that the nobles had turned their faces (and their ears) away from their pleas for time and resources. The shimmering parchments floated through the airwaves like magic giving the people a voice. They were the antidote to the sickness of the meetings for the people could give their views and voice their thoughts without having to travel to the meeting places and become drunk with the intoxicating power of the minutiae and injured from the carrying forth of the great white folders. The people saw them and were cheered up from their miserable oppressed state. They used the shimmering parchments as their one true voice, gave vent to their feelings and felt better. The sounds of their voices grew loud and strong as they sang the praises of the shimmering parchments coming through the airwaves like the magic of the new knowledge. They hoped that the King’s evil counsellor would hear them…
“We have the chance to turn the pages over. We can write what we want to write, we’ve got to do this now before we get much older.” they sang.
“We’re the voice, try and understand us. We make a noise and make it clear, woah. We’re not going to live in silence, we’re not going to live in fear” they continued
“This time we know that we can all stand together, we have the power to be powerful, believing we can make it better”.
And they sang of an end to the slavery of the King’s evil counsellor, the nobles, their acolytes, the white folders and the evil spell Lex Concordat. As they banded together, spurred on by the feelings of togetherness and awakened from the sickness of the meetings by the antidote of the shimmering parchments, their voices grew stronger and louder as they protested over all the wrongs in the land…
“We’re all someone’s daughter, we’re all someone’s son. How long must we look at each other down the barrel of a gun?”
The revolution of the schools and the education of the children had begun all across the land.
And of course, the other shimmering parchment sent out from the far-flung island of the restorative potions also continued to fill up with the people’s writings. The midsummer gathering was growing larger and larger and many wise and learned men and women had signalled their intent to travel to the gathering. The people of the island hoped that the many ills which beset the land, from the cities in the east and the west to the snowy wastes of the north would meet their end at the gathering when the wise and learned men and women might provide the answers to the malevolent power of the King’s evil counsellor and her nobles, helped, of course, by copious helpings of the golden restorative potions made by the people of this island…..



Chapter 9



And when the summer came to this land, and the lazy heat descended over the whole of the country, it came to pass that the excellent new curriculum devised by the King’s evil counsellor was to be put into place in every school. The evil counsellor was well pleased with the dissent and dissatisfaction she had sown and sat back to watch the results of her work. All over the land there was confusion as the teachers, the school leaders and the children wondered just what they were expected to do with this supposedly wonderful new curriculum. They looked for some guidance and inspiration from the shadowy band (those once led, and now abandoned to an uncertain fate, by the man anointed Eques Jedi ) but found non as the band were all pre-occupied with other things and had forsaken their followers and acolytes. How the people longed for the far distant days when they had gathered in secret places and listened to the shadowy band sing their songs and talk about the wonder of the glowing platform and the new knowledge.
The good people in the city in the east, led by the wise noble could only look on as the rest of the country suffered. The King’s evil counsellor had put all of the excellent new curriculum into the new knowledge and it was at last able to travel through the airwaves like magic, but fearful of the power this could give to the people, the use of the new knowledge and the magic airwaves was discouraged by the use of a cunning trick known as Filteramus, and so the King’s evil counsellor ordered her acolytes to make up huge new white folders containing all of the information. There were wonderful posters to be put up in the schools, with marvelous acres of empty space around their edges and with writing so small it made the eyes of the people sting with pain as they struggled to read them (although there were rumours of a magical new app on the strange communicating devices marked with the sign of the fruit and used by the mystical band and slavishly imitated by their followers, which could magnify this small writing, even up to font size 12). These huge white folders were sent out to every teacher in the land and the cost to the government was enormous and used up much of the precious reserves of treasure left to the King. This of course, was all part of the plan for the less treasure there was, the more unemployed teachers there would continue to be and so more fear from those who did have jobs. The folders sat on the creaking shelves in the classrooms gathering dust with all of the other white folders. Many found inventive and creative uses for them (as teachers often do), such as door props shelf holders, and some even found that they were the perfect height for supporting their projecting machines which beamed the new knowledge onto the walls of their classrooms. Others used the posters with the tiny writing to paper over the cracks in their walls and to hide the damp stains caused by buildings which had fallen into disrepair due to lack of available treasure. Many people were angered by the wasting of scarce treasure on the printing and carrying forth of these folders across the land.
The spell cast by the King’s evil counsellor known as Lex Concordat was continuing to infect the whole country and the numbers of teachers employed by the nobles fell away. The numbers of children in each classroom rose as there were less and less teachers to work with them, and in some schools, there was not even the money to buy pencils and paper…The inequalities were becoming more and more apparent as many travelled all over the country in majesty on the birds with iron wings bringing the news of the excellent new curriculum and the glowing platform to the schools using up precious treasure on their fares and sustenance which was sorely needed by the schools to pay for books and pencils.
Thus it was that the country and it’s education was riven with dissent and despair at the inequality and with this feeling of powerlessness that the midsummer gathering on the far-flung island took place. Some of the travellers set out at great personal expense to themselves to journey to the island, such was their longing for the answers to the problems affecting the schools and the children’s education and such was their commitment to righting many of the wrongs which existed.