27 July 1016
15 Rue des Lapins, Mont-Havre
You will not recognize the direction inscribed above; but it is the location of the hall of the Confrerie des Thaumaturges d’Amorique here in Mont-Havre, my castle, my demesne, my home away from home while I am here in town.
Not that I am often here; Cousin Jack and my good friend, mon cher ami Leon Suprenant, attend to most of the day-to-day matters that involve Tuppenny Wagons here in Mont-Havre.
But today I am here not in my person as principle partner of Tuppenny Wagons, but as Grandmaster of the Former’s Guild and consequently, to my surprise and consternation, a member of the Mont-Havre Guild Council.
I say, to my surprise and consternation; but the consternation has been rather wide-spread.
It seems that when the first colonists arrived on the Pont Neuf, they brought everything they thought they would need, including members of a number of guilds. The colony was established under the Articles of Founding; and those same Articles of Founding established the city corporation of Mont-Havre, and the government of the city by those same guilds, much the way the “City” of Yorke is still in theory governed.
This ambitious structure fell to pieces in the famine and disease that followed the First Landing, as did the majority of the guilds, the Former’s Guild among them. The colony was ultimately saved by the Second Landing, the Deuxième Débarquement. The most revered name in Armorica is that of the Argenteuil‘s captain, Jacques Durand, who took charge of the colony in those desperate years. When the dust had quite settled, the plans for the city government had been abandoned—but not wholly forgotten, for they remained “on the books”.
Why do I dredge up this ancient history? This week Le Grand Parlement is having talks with Lord Doncaster, the Crown’s Governor-General, regarding the future governance of the colony. I will not go into the details of that—I have no doubt you will be reading about them in The Times in due course, where I pray they may cause as much consternation in Yorke as the Mont-Havre City Charter has here. But our local hommes de loi have been busy, and it seems that Le Grand Parlement has taken powers to itself that belong legally and by right to the Mont-Havre Guild Council—which has not met since the colony’s first year of existence.
Nothing would do, it seems, but to gather this small but select body (there being but four guilds currently active in Mont-Havre), and then have it formally dissolve itself in favor of Le Grand Parlement. And thus I was summoned to Mont-Havre.
The council meeting was a convivial affair, held in one of the town’s largest inns—there being no formal council hall—and attended by all the most prominent men of the city; and it was saved from utter frivolity only by the presence of the Parlement‘s attorneys, who were watching closely to ensure that we members of the council dotted all of the I’s and crossed all of the T’s in good and proper fashion.
As we did, and so my grand and exalted station as a member of the ruling council of Mont-Havre is no more. I can only imagine what Father would have made of the whole affair—I cannot believe he would have let loose of such power so lightly as we did. Such theoretical power, I should say, for it was clear to all present that the Guild Council was a dead letter, not to be revived.
And yet, despite the laughter and merriment this was an important step; for there will be those in Yorke who will dispute the actions taken by Lord Doncaster and Le Grand Parlement this week, and we wish to provide them with no cause to overturn our decisions.
Thus I have played my small part in putting the colony on a sound legal and governmental footing; and perhaps I shall get a footnote in the history of the times because of it.
Your oh-so-eminent son,