The Chronicle

of the month of Skelern in the year 145

A bejewelled and glittering Lady Cox, clearly enjoying her role, opened the first meeting of the new Court of Common Council. Although lively, the proceedings were frequently disrupted by the large numbers of new councillors requiring explanations, order papers, advice on procedures or directions to the garderobes. Progress was further delayed by the many veterans who were absent from the main chamber as they intercepted key figures for recruitment in what has been described as a "feeding frenzy in the corridors of power". A number of well-known names have found new political homes in the wake of the elections. These include Sharon Brehon, Alan Griffiths, Gibian Horl, Bernard Hubold, Samuel Rucche, Alison Shefford and Olivia Warin. Back in the chamber Cllr Alan Monterey took the floor, looking surprisingly chipper after a Midwinter feast so dedicated to the promotion of his craft. "May I congratulate Lady Cox on her engagement? She deserves our thanks for her selfless devotion to the city over these past years. I am sure that her wise governance and handling of our recent troubles (what about the bread riots' shouted newcomer Alderman Rucche) will stand her in good stead in her future married life", continued Monterey doggedly. He then went on to make a rather optimistic plea for continuity in the committees. "Many improvements to our lives and the city's well-being have come from having the same steady hands directing the affairs of the various committees. There is little chance of such improvement when we continually change direction and vote in different committee heads ‘except of course to remove those who have fulfilled their duties."''

Cllr Drumm was summoned (or dragged in from the corridors) next. Ignoring past events and Lady Cox entirely, he placed an emergency motion before the Council.

That those nominated by Larken Drumm, in consultation with the chairman of Lands & Agriculture, be allowed to gather firewood from the city's forests, in the form of dead wood. That as little damage as possible is done. That there be proper working parties, with verderers to supervise. That the whole forest be available so as not to concentrate the work to the detriment of a small area. That the working parties be small and organised properly to minimise harm to and disturbance of the forest as a whole.

He continued, in a clearly emotional voice, to offer thanks for the success of his earlier firewood expedition. "The city owes a debt of gratitude to Sheriff Dixon, whose selfless generosity has doubtless saved the lives of many who suffered grave losses last year in my ward and others. For myself, I can only say that I feel privileged to have encountered and been able to assist such generosity." The stunned silence which followed this endorsement was disturbed only by the sound of Lady Cox casually stirring her tea.

Cllr Derwent next took the floor, to ostentatiously deliver the sum of one guinea to Cllr Phred Marcos, as required by last month's council motion. Equally deliberately, the Grosser's treasurer immediately handed the entire sum to a nearby Mandatien as a donation to Hahn. Before further speeches could be made, Lady Cox decided to quickly move the council business onto the important matter of nominations. The results were as follows:





Law & Order

Lambourne, Tasker


Anderson, Worton, Griffiths

Welfare & Education

Land & Agriculture



Blessop, Beaureli, Saunders


Andrews, Faithside


Tholin, Rimon


Carter, Davy, Travers

Aldermen Shefford, Pencric and Downe were therefore elected unopposed. The chairmanship of Welfare & Education became the surprise appointment of Lady Cox, a development which turned her smile of amusement into something rather more predatory. After summoning all four new aldermen in turn to the dais for a whispered interview, Lady Cox appointed the now white Alderman Rucche to the post.

Attempts by Cllr Aralan Derwent to take the firewood collecting expeditions under more official control ran into a number of logistic setbacks. Exhortations to crowds in the burnt wards, to join a prolonged journey up the river for enough willow coppicing to last the entire winter, went down well enough. The problem came as the harried councillor tried to muster sufficient wagons for the trip, only to discover that first all the grossers' wagons, and then subsequently all the vintners', had been called in to the guild yards for an overwinter 'safety check'. Further visits to borrow wagons off the skinners and mercers revealed that these had already been taken by Cllr Larken Drumm, who had also acquired the bulk of the eager crowds. As the massive caravan disappeared up the iced-over river, Cllr Derwent finally gathered a half dozen wagons from the cornmongers, some willing latecomers and a few remaining verderers still hungover from Sheriff Dixon's party, and set off in hot pursuit. A bemused Cllr Drumm, watching her progress from the warmth of the Witanmoot belltower commented, "I had no idea. If only the poor lass had said something". "Always was an impetuous filly," added Cllr Rimon.

The guild of Fruiterers has sent official notice to the Witanmoot that supplies of preserved fruit and stored vegetables are at an all time low, and that stocks are unlikely to last another month. Trade has been temporarily suspended to prevent a run on goods, and to give the Council time to decide whether to release the city stock, impose rationing, fixed prices or some other response. Cllr Fulcher commented, "There's no cause for alarm yet, I'm sure that there cabbage mountain got in last autumn will go a long way to getting us through the winter."

Alderman Hubold has taken decisive leadership in Cripplegate, issuing a spate of new appointments and streamlining the watch rota. According to the new alderman, the recent measures are aimed at freeing up citizens' time so that they can concentrate on renewing their businesses. Most citizens feel that this has been successful experiment, with clear improvements in law and order around their ward, as well as extra free time. A few sceptics, most of whom have lost out in the appointments, continue to make dark mutterings about new-fangled, undemocratic quangos. Alderman Hubold has hinted that tax reforms may be next for review, and hoped that a generous budget from the Witanmoot would help him to improve conditions in his ward.