- Don't annoy the Fairy Queen or Eileen. They will react badly. And anyone with a wand who reacts badly is not likely to be sending you to a health spa with their next spell.
- Avoid dragons. Always good advice. You know full well a dragon will flambe you, bite your head off or claw you to death so best to give these creatures a wide berth. (Or at the very least always carry a fire extinguisher - but this can be inconvenient).
- Don't be Roherum. The Fairy Kingdom, despite its vast size, has only room for the one mildly annoying but avuncular and popular with the public journalist.
- Don't join the fairy squad unless you want a life which is constantly endangered tackling dragons, trolls, the Chief Witch and so on. (Hanastrew does not have a life insurance policy. These things do exist in the magical realm but nobody will insure her. She sees this as a compliment, as did Eileen before her).
- If you must go for a woodland walk, avoid talking wolves. Nothing good can come out of this. Also don't try to mark a trail so you can find your way back again using bread crumbs. You may as well not bother. And there are plenty of creatures who would see the bread crumbs as the first course. Guess what would be their second, main course? Let's just say these creatures are not vegetarian.
My latest Chandler's Ford Today post, Writing, Blogging, Social Media: What's Your Favourite Form of Writing?, takes a look not just as writing platforms but at the history of writing and shares my thoughts on why writing can be bad for your health.
This is equally true in my fictional Fairy Kingdom. Eileen had upset the Queen with her alternative versions of Kingdom history (and Eileen pulled no punches in finding fault with the fairy royals for some of their behaviour). Eileen is also well aware it was her status as Heir Apparent that saved her from serious trouble. The Queen scuppered Eileen here to a certain extent by insisting anyone wanting to read Eileen's books (they weren't to leave the Palace) had to leave their name and address. This put people off, much to Eileen's annoyance.
So in your fictional world what role do writers play? Are they revered? Is there true freedom of expression?
And magical writing, especially spells, contain enough dangers in themselves. Just what are these? Does anyone unleash them and what are they hoping to achieve by it? There are some stories to be found in answering those questions!
My post urges people to support writing in all its different formats so how does your fictional world do this? Or is writing looked down upon?
(Oh and it is equally true in my Fairy Kingdom that the negative responses of critics do not go down well. Some things cross dimensions and realities!
Clearing Up the Aftermath of Traffic Accidents
For those crashes which don’t lead to instant incineration, this job is carried out by the fairy squad. They don’t like it but as Hanastrew says “there is nothing quite like it for getting you used to the sight of blood. The clever bit is to ensure the blood is not yours.”
Instant incineration tends to happen when the accident occurs at great speeds or when the broomstick owner has a death wish and has cursed their vehicle to explode on impact with anyone else’s (some of the older witches see this as an honourable way to exit the Fairy Kingdom).
When it comes to clearing up after accidents where flying took place using boot power (mainly the sprites), these tend not to be fatal (given the limited power of even the best quality boots) but the fairy squad inevitably will be breaking up the fighting taking place between the sprites in the accident.
Highway here is a pun given the roads are considered to be not only those on the ground but corridors in the sky for broomstick and other flying methods. Both types of highway are policed. And there is nothing more detested by the fairy squad than having to clear away dead bodies because witches were offended and cursed someone, or because there have been accidents.
Here accidents tend to be caused by speed. The realm condemns this not directly for the speed but because it meant someone couldn’t handle that speed. The attitude is if you can’t handle it, you don’t do it and this applies to other areas of Kingdom life as well.
Hanastrew is more involved with the criminal catching side of the fairy squad’s work but she does oversee the traffic side from time to time. In certain areas where congestion is a pain on the road and in the sky, she persuaded the Queen and her Council to bring in speed restrictions. Hanastrew would be the traffic warden’s traffic warden!
Hanastrew likes the CCTV cameras we have on Earth and is working on a way of bringing into a magical equivalent. Copying the basic design and build is no problem but protecting them from being magically obliterated is full of difficulties given all magical beings can and do use imaginative uses of magic to get rid of what they don’t like. Until Hanastrew can bring in something that would be 100% magic proof, there probably isn’t a place in the Kingdom for speed cameras.
Hanastrew also likes the Stinger which is thrown across roads, usually motorways, to bring speeding cars (usually well over the limit) to a halt by puncturing and slowly deflating the tyres. She wants an equivalent that will pull bristles out of broomsticks and make it impossible for the broomstick owner to replace them. Hanastrew works on this spell in her spare time. When asked she says it is under development but this has been the case for months. This scenario is unlikely to change much. Her attempts to instill some kind of discipline are welcomed by the government.
It is compulsory for all magical species to do everything within their respective powers to avoid accidents. Any suspicion that this has not been the case will lead to arrest, trial and, if convicted, a stiff jail sentence.
The Queen and her Council are only too well aware that accidents can be a very convenient screen for murder so insist on the tough line being taking here. Yearly everybody who flies has to prove that they can stop flying at different speeds and are aware of flying room spacing requirements for their own species and the others.
The fairy squad is not exempt from this and indeed are expected to set a very high standard to the rest of the realm when it comes to flying safely. They manage this well. Hanastrew would expect nothing less. It is a matter of pride to her that she and her girls are the Kingdom’s best flyers, bar none. It aggravates the witches, which is another reason for the fairy squad to maintain this record.
The sprites are not great at accident avoidance and are often fined for this. It does not improve their record. They just pay up, fly on and crash again. There has been talk about bringing in jail sentences though this has led to an outcry amongst the lower magical species. Their argument is they simply don’t have as many powers as the witches, wizards, fairies and so on so should not be punished because their overall capacity is naturally lower.
The Council’s argument is regardless of your species, you should be able to look where you’re going. The Council’s view is likely to prevail but the Queen has not signed this into law yet. It is felt she is trying to be kind to the sprites. She is known for this, much to the disapproval of the Council, but it has meant whenever she visits a sprite community, she always receives a warm welcome. Pixies and imps know who their friends are.
Witches and wizards are more cautious when flying now knowing that any accident will be reported and investigated to ensure it was an accident. Such investigations come under the preview of the fairy squad and everyone knows they will not give up on their enquiries. Nor are they afraid to inflict punishment they consider suitable.
Witches and wizards know full well the Fairy Queen and her Council are highly unlikely to disagree with Hanastrew and the fairy squad here. In fairness, the latter will not act unjustly (they have too much pride for that sort of thing) but it is not overly reassuring for those of other magical species to know they are relying on the squad’s honour here. The squad feel this is a good thing and witches and wizards ought to be kept guessing.
Candidates have to pass the theory test before being allowed to try the practical test. Basically the Kingdom needs to know you will be safe with a broomstick before letting you near one or to ride it in areas where you will come across the general public. (If you fly in lonely areas and crash, that’s considered your bad luck. Don’t expect sympathy here. That way you can’t be disappointed).
There is no limit to how many tests you can take (though it is considered bad form to go beyond 3 on each. These few unfortunates are generally avoided. It is suspected they are probably accident prone which is why they took so long to pass).
The theory test has two parts to it - a written, multiple choice paper and a hazard perception test. On the face of it this is the same as the Earth based driving system but the hazard perception test is far more difficult in the Fairy Kingdom.
Magic complicates things and creates far more hazards than can be listed here. Candidates are expected to be able to spot and stop 100% of those that are fatal (literally if you fail you die), 80% of the ones likely to cause major injury (nobody spots them all and risking injury in the magical realm is an occupational hazard from everyone from the Fairy Queen downwards) and 75% of the ones likely to set off revenge attacks on you and/or your loved ones. It is so easy to offend a witch here. And it really isn’t worth it.
The Fairy Kingdom does realise that with all the differing kinds of broomsticks and other flying devices available, there will be many from all the magical species who will want to race their devices and try to get the best out of them.
Certain areas of the Kingdom are set aside for this purpose. These sites are out in the country with plenty of space for flying and the bigger places also have an arena so people can sit and watch. Most, however, watch flying races on FNN. Not only is it safer, it is a lot more comfortable.
Hanastrew will sometimes join in with the races on her own personal broom (as opposed to her work one, it pays not to advertise too much how fast that goes). She usually does reasonably well though Roherum has wondered aloud on FNN if this is because a lot of folk have worked out it probably pays not to get the better of the head of the fairy squad. That comment did not go down well with Hanastrew.
Usual Kingdom Code rules are suspended for racing but the chief one that remains is there must be no deliberate causing of accidents or obstruction of other flyers.
The Code requires all flyers to service their broomsticks and/or other flying devices regularly and to be able to prove that this has been done. The witches have no problem with this, even though they generally don’t like co-operating with the fairy government. Witches want their broomsticks to be instantly responsive to their guidance so see obeying this requirement as very much in their own interests.
Wizards tend not to fly so much but share the same attitude here. Sprites, who use boot power to travel short distances, have to submit their boots to government officials so these are tested out officially. This is not a pleasant task. Sprites are not best known for their personal hygiene. FNN call this test The Great Cheese Factor given that is the predominant smell!
I hope to resume my mini series, The Magical Highway Code, tomorrow, but thought I would flag up my latest Chandler's Ford Today post here as well given the title of it also fits into my fictional Fairy Kingdom. This post is The Magic of Words and is my reflection on David Bowie and Alan Rickman, two men who did work a kind of magic with material they originated/performed or "just" performed.
Of course in my fictional Fairy Kingdom, words are considered very magical. Not just the ones used to cast spells (every charm needs recitation, whether out loud or in the more magically strong's thoughts) but words used in stories, the FNN nightly news broadcasts etc, all are considered to be powerful. And rightly so. There is a deep appreciation of the power of words because the magical realm knows only too well what can happen when that power is abused. Parts of the realm have been made barren by too much magical fighting, all triggered by the wrong words being said and then even more wrong words being used to cast spells to do as much damage as possible. And that damage was irreversible. This is something I've written deliberately. Magic has got to have consequences.
Whatever world you're in (or currently visiting - books are fantastic for this!). words have the power to make you laugh, cry, rage at the injustices you've just read about and so on. And yet we take them for granted all the time. Words are just there to be used, yes? Yet they're the one tool writers, actors etc cannot do without and maybe we should all appreciate words and their ability to touch lives more than we do. Certainly when rare talents leave this world, having worked magic with the way they used words, maybe it is a time to reflect on our own use of words. And for writers to inspire us to work more magic with the ones we use?
Extensions to the Code
While the Code is predominantly about traffic conditions and laws, knowledge of what the road/air signs mean and so on, there are some extensions to it. There are a wide variety of hotels, inns and guests houses dotted along the main traffic routes and it is expected that the proprietors ensure their guests uphold the Code while on their property. This is important given most of these places advertise direct access to Yellow Brick Road A1 Section 1, Section 2 and so on as one of their many advantages.
What the Kingdom does not want are drunken guests going straight on to the highways and causing trouble/accidents. Those proprietors who uphold proper conduct by their travelling guests are rewarded with tax breaks. Those that do not get visited by the fairy squad and the only way to avoid a return lecture at length about behaviour and threats about what exactly it is they can do with their wands must amend their behaviour at once. Hanastrew, squad leader, is renowned for her lecturing qualities. Once heard never forgotten. She’s been known to set off avalanches on a “good” day!
Littering is strictly forbidden on the ground or by the maliciously magical who like nothing better than to artificially place objects in the sky for fliers to crash into and fall off their broomsticks. This is happening less since the late Chief Witch instructed her people to obliterate those who did this, which led to the belief she had been a victim of it, but she refused to confirm or deny this.
Everybody has to be re-tested on their knowledge of the Code every ten years. The latter stages of magical education introduce students to it for the first time (though the general do’s and don’ts of flying are introduced at the very start of their schooling). Teachers are also re-assessed. They take the equivalent of the Advanced Driving Instructor exams based on Earth and are stripped of their licence to teach if they fail. You can always tell when a teacher is about to be re-assessed. Anxiety levels (and therefore general grumpiness) go through the roof. On the plus side, teachers tend to have every sympathy for students revising for exams. There is a kind of “we’re all in the same boat” mentality here.
Other Sky/Road (yellow brick or otherwise) Users
Always be wary of the wizened old man or woman. The clue is in the word wizened. These people are almost certainly witches and wizards and will know or have used more curses than you have had hot dinners. Don't get in their way either (a) generally or (b) when it comes to sky and road use. You will regret it (though whether you would live to regret it is beyond the remit of this Highway Code to confirm or refute).
Always give plenty of braking room whether on the ground or if flying. It is good practice, nobody can accuse you of cutting them up (and you never know what such accusations might lead to as in this world there is plenty of scope for imaginative revenge and you don't want to be on the receiving end).
Just because some old woman is sweeping the porch with her broom and looks totally harmless, that doesn't mean she is so be aware she could take to the skies at speed on that same broom at any moment and you do not want to get in the way as she prepares to take off. Witches don't like that kind of thing and have myriads of ways in showing that dislike, all of which will hurt.
On the opposite end of the scale do watch where you walk. Most dwarves are very conscientious about the locations of their mines and other workings but some are not. And there is always the (usually) young inexperienced dwarf who comes up to the surface at the wrong point. Mole hills can be a hazard but they are nothing compared to an annoyed dwarf who has just been trodden on, which is a foolish thing to do since he/she will have an axe on them and they won't be afraid to use it. The fact they emerged in the wrong place will be lost in their anger at you. Dwarves are phenomenally sensitive about their height so being trodden on simply will not help improve their mood or your likelihood of getting through the rest of the day in one piece. There are road signs at vulnerable points (i.e. where this has happened in the past and could well happen again). Where the fairy government gives alternative routes, take them.
Don't get in the way of any passing unicorn(s). As well as the horn being capable of giving a very nasty injury, the animal is perfectly capable of trampling to death anything and anyone getting in the way. Forget your rights of way in situations like this - focus on safety (yours!).
When the fairy squad indicate you are to pull over, just do so. Nine times out of ten it is so they can pass you on their way to an emergency. Only occasionally will they specifically need to stop you for something. This is usually some sort of traffic infringement or to warn you of incidents in the area that might affect your journey. Under no circumstances should you try to out-fly them. It is not funny, they will beat you hollow and if you fly into the emergency they were on their way to deal with, nobody is going to have any sympathy for the plight you then find yourself in. You will also be booked as not allowing the fairy squad to pass you or to pull over when they tell you to do so is both a civil and a criminal matter. (The squad will assume it is for criminal purposes you don't want to pull over for them and from their viewpoint it is an unreasonable supposition).
Never get in the way of a giant (big and friendly or otherwise) as nothing good will come out of this, especially for you, unless you want your fate to be part of a squashy lump found on the boots of said giant when he finally gets home for the day and kicks his footwear off.
Unless you know you can out-run the wind, do take all sensible precautions when the weather takes a turn for the worse. In stormy conditions, expect to see witches about flying and screeching. Expect the dwarves to be cursing as they get picked up and hurled about by a playful storm force wind. Just don't get in the way here. If you do know you can out-run the wind, be prepared to be interrogated by the Queen’s Council. They will want to know how you inherited that skill.
Also the weather will not be normal by anyone's definition of that word. Storms will always be far worse than on any other world you could name. Items are prone to be picked up by the wind and thrown and blown about for miles. Nor is it unusual for a farmhouse to drop on someone. Witches are particularly vulnerable to this. So don't bother taking an umbrella. It might shield you from the rain but it won't shield you from flying farmhouses and the like. The FNN weatherman does broadcast a daily forecast as to which items are likely to be sent flying that day so you would do well to ensure you always tune in for this. Avoidjng the days when buildings are up in the air is a very good idea.
Watch out for talking lions. They are usually on their way to another world but can pass through here on the way through. Be as polite as possible. Decide to do otherwise and you won’t live to regret it. (On the plus side, it’ll all be over very quickly).
Also beware talking wolves. They may or may not be on their way to Granny’s house but it is definite they are not vegetarian. And anyone prepared to cross-dress to get their next meal will probably stop at little else to get what they want. They certainly won’t be looking out for strange travellers (i.e. you) with your good health and well being as the first thought in their heads.
Those who offer to accompany you should be treated with caution and the more you can find out about them beforehand the better. You can get the cloaked strangers (who usually turn out to be a long lost king who is just beginning a mission that will restore him to his throne) but you can also get the spies who work for whoever the Dark Lord might be. (They always are dark incidentally. I have yet to hear of a light one!). So the sensible thing to do is ask for a guide but who do you ask? How can you check that they are okay? The good news is if you after reading this Code you apply to the Palace for its latest guidelines on this issue, you will get a discount off the RPP. The guidelines are fairly thorough. The bad news is that anything anyone sends in to be put into the guidelines has been taken on face value and it is not unknown for beings to lie. Definitely buyer beware.
What the realm could do with is a kind of Trip Advisor here, though in this world those tending to give bad reviews are unlikely to be published. This is because they have been eaten, turned into something nasty or on the run with the hounds of hell after them so are not going to stick around to give you the advice you need to hear. You are on your own. However, there is one thing that could help you. Make friends with the elves. Show them you are courageous and of good heart. They may help you (it would assist if whoever it is you are trying to get away from is after world domination as it is in the elves’ interests then as well to give you a hand). Oh and a stout, loyal gardener can make an excellent companion so never look down on someone’s background.
There really is one place to appeal to in the light of injustice and that is to the Queen via her Council. This has not so far been done for traffic offences as it is widely known the Queen hates traffic congestion, careless flying and so on so it is assumed it is best to take whatever punishment the fairy squad see fit to hand out and get it over with. The Queen does not mind this at all!
However there is the Court which she heads when it comes to magical crime as a whole and it is felt it is only a matter of time before some incident involving traffic control ends up here. She has urged her fairy squad to make sure they cannot be sued for anything. Hanastrew would like to see anyone try that - she always was game for a decent magical fight.
The biggest one is speeding. The second is careless flying. The third is flying without undue care and attention (the witches are particularly bad for this). The fourth is careless behaviour by a pedestrian which covers everything from suddenly stopping dead in the middle of the High Street to veering around and whacking the person behind you who was not expecting a sudden change of direction.
Pedestrians are expected to be considerate to all around them including those behind them (and one good side effect of this is the mass reduction in pickpocketing as with people being more aware of those behind them, they are less likely to fall victim to this). Pedestrians are welcome to report incidents that have happened to them. This usually involves careless flying and the pedestrian in question getting a broken limb or two as some junior fairy or witch still trying to get used to their flying machine overestimates their ability to control it and crashes into some poor sod beneath them.
Drink driving is an issue at celebration times as it is on Earth and the fairy squad clamp down hard on it. Offenders usually get a decent dipping in the nearest water trough before spending a night in the cells. Given the water troughs are always ice cold (made magically so given the Kingdom's climate is generally mild), most offenders do not come back for a second go.
Magic mushrooms are generally used as a spell ingredient and if you're on the receiving end of that charm, it is highly unlikely you'll be driving anything for some considerable time (and possibly permanently if the Witch performs the spell). Littering offends most species in the Kingdom (the exceptions being the sprites who get zapped by the other species if they're caught doing this).
Overtaking offences only apply to the road - if flying it is expected that folk will ensure there is plenty of room to do the manoeuvre safely. Get it wrong and you will be the one tumbling from your broomstick or other flying vehicle of choice at several hundred feet up. That kind of fall will hurt.
Practicing magic in a prohibited zone. This usually means anywhere near the Palace. The Queen gets twitchy if she senses witches or wizards brandishing magic anywhere near where she lives. She also believes it holds up traffic unnecessarily. She is right on both counts. The penalty for disobedience here is death by instant zapping by the fairy squad. They query why anyone would want to practice magic near the Queen's major residence and refuse to believe there could be a good reason for it.
The misuse of mirrors. Mirrors are meant to be attached to flying vehicles and to be used in a similar way to those on vehicles on Earth. However, mirrors are often used to reflect magical power, sometimes to even intensify it and again the Queen and her Council take the assumption anyone doing this cannot possibly be up to any good so give the fairy squad free range to tackle offenders. Again offenders are unlikely to repeat the offence (it is difficult to do so when what's left of you is a smoking pile of ash).
Creating traffic hold ups/causing problems on the road for other road users. Known as the Audi/BMW Gambit (by Jenny when she discovered the Fairy Kingdom's Highway Code and wanting a parallel with life on Earth), this kind of behaviour is not tolerated in the magical world. Sprites, known for their mischievous streak, were the best known for this but got tired of seeing their colleagues being zapped for it so this is not the problem it once was. The Queen wants it to remain on the statute books however to ensure the sprites continue to know if they go back to their bad old ways here, so will the fairy squad who are amongst the finest aims with wands in any known dimension.
The Fairy Squad
Originally set up by Eileen to get help policing the wilder magical elements of the realm, they've now diversified into specialist traffic control. They have units which tackle speeding flyers (usually by shooting their broomstick out from under them). They have units which tackle road traffic (including issues affecting pedestrians).
The fairy squad is generally welcomed for its efforts against magical crime but it is the opposite when it comes to enforcing the Highway Code. Almost everybody thinks the fairy squad is being far too officious, they of course say they are upholding the law and if people behaved half reasonably in the first place, there would no need for them to deal with traffic control. This is not a view shared outside the squad.
The Queen and her Council of course back the squad though it has been embarrassing when both Her Majesty and various Council members were all fined for speeding within a week. The Council members concerned did pay up. The Queen's "offence" was quietly dropped as it was felt all courts are in her name so she could hardly prosecute herself.
The squad are the ones who set speed limits (one reason for their unpopularity on traffic management as witches and wizards feel the squad are biased against them and locals of other species tend to find the limits are set too low and are forever getting fined. They increasingly think the whole business here is not to ensure road and sky safety but raise revenue to the government. This would be less resented if some of the money was spent on fixing potholes in the yellow brick road and so on).
The squad are biased against certain species known to be guilty of darker magical practices given the squad are so often the targets of those practices. The squad genuinely are trying to ensure safety and regularly point out that everyone thinks they're a good, responsible flyer or driver or what have you but accident records indicate otherwise and they are employed by the Queen and her Council to get these dreadful statistics down. A lot of loose magic gets released when there is a multiple broomstick pile up and that is to say nothing of the inevitable fights that break out between those caught up in said accidents.
Hanastrew is the current squad leader, her great grandmother Hanacrill also held the position. Both saw Eileen as a mentor so it gives some idea how long fairies can live if they're (a) lucky and (b) frighteningly good at their job. From the "punter's" viewpoint, it means whenever they're caught for an offence, they cannot claim it is a first one as Hanastrew will remember whether it is or not. Lying gets punished severely.
Hanastrew herself tends to focus on dealing with magical crime and threats but will accompany the traffic division sometimes to see all is well and she says it helps boost her flying skills no end as the traffic division have to be fast to apprehend offenders. The squad designed the Highway Code road signs. They used Earth's code as a basic template and adjusted. One major difference is that in the Kingdom there really is a sign saying "Here be Dragons"! Only the very foolish or brave ignore that one (with the exception of Fresdian who studies all natural life so sees dragons as an interesting case study but the rest of the realm feel she is both foolish and brave on this particular point).
Minor infringements are always punished with on the spot fines and many in the Fairy Kingdom complain that the traveller is being used as a cash cow to supplement the fairy government's revenues (something they deny, naturally). Those who can't pay up at once get zapped by the fairy squad (the degree of zapping and therefore pain is dependent on the seriousness of the offence).
Anything that causes a crash or injury to someone has to go before the fairy Courts and prison sentences are imposed. Fairy prisons are not pleasant places given they contain the dregs of the magical world who have been capable of killing and are really not the kind of people anyone with any sense would want to be locked up with.
Most in the Kingdom then take care to ensure any traffic offences they commit are minor. This has improved flying safety and has acted as a win-win situation for the government. (And they get more revenue).
These are based on our own Highway Code. The Kingdom saw no need to invent its own with the one proviso they needed signs to control traffic in flight. Stationary clouds are used to magically fix air based road signs to and it is an offence to tamper with these in any way. It is also an offence not to obey them. Red traffic light jumpers are always punished here and pedestrians are treated with respect (this is partly because everyone is a pedestrian at some point. Nobody spends all their time in the air).
It is compulsory to wait for roundabouts to clear, whether they are on the ground or in the air, before another vehicle enters them at all. This is to allow for the fact huge speeds can be reached on a broomstick and the only sure way to ensure a safe braking distance. Nobody disobeys this rule either. Mid-air collisions tend to be fatal, especially at speed.
The signs are more colourful than ours and some of them have "live action" cartoons on them to demonstrate what happens if you disobey them. (Mostly these are showing pictures of horrible demises as the main result of disobeying any Kingdom Highway Code rule is death. Cross a witch or wizard whilst out and about and it won't be the squad that punishes you). There are speed restrictions around the Queen's Palace and the bigger towns. The villages have a more relaxed attitude given the locals all tend to speed in and around their home area. (They take the view that if an accident happens, it means you weren't a good enough flyer/pedestrian in the first place and it serves you right for not looking where you were going).
All magical creatures have to take a theory and practical test based on whether they can fly or not. Those that can have to prove they can control their vehicle or broom of choice. Those that can't have to know the signs of when some flying idiot is about to crash in to them. Broomsticks, in particular, make a unique noise when they are failing and folk need to be able to recognize this.
Being able to hear a witch scream as she plummets to the ground is not deemed enough to pass the test - that just proves you've got good hearing. In any case screams can be misleading. There are many causes of screams in the magical world so being able to listen to the more subtle sounds of a broomstick or other vehicle is deemed to be more important. It's useful in any case as it gives you more time to get out of the way.
All need to know what every sign means. All need to be able to do an emergency stop on the ground or in flight.
This now forms part of FNN's bulletins and is usually read by the weatherman prior to his going into the forecast. Roherum finds this demeaning and takes every opportunity to say so but for the weatherman it is more time on air (and correspondingly less time for Roherum to be on the air) so this can only be a good thing.
The realm is divided into 7 regions and the main points of the traffic news are listed for each region. As with Earth, there are notorious local black spots but we do not have warnings telling us to beware of witches gathering in strength near so-and-so. In the magical realm this is vital information. Only an idiot would want to disrupt a gathering of witches and it also warns folk the skies around this particular area are likely to be crowded for some time. There isn't a witch yet that doesn't like to show off their flying skills given the opportunity.
Locals are encouraged to report traffic problems they come across. The "eye in the sky" system has been adopted here though the flight machine of choice in the Fairy Kingdom is a broomstick and not a helicopter. Traffic bulletins are broadcast live and occasionally the entire realm has been entertained by the sight of various magical folks fighting on air as they disagree about the causes of the accident they are reporting or who is to blame for the latest hold up.
The Queen and her Council are not entertained by this though Eileen, when still resident in the realm, thought it a useful forum for airing differences (she took the view such fights showed her who the trouble makers were in a particular village or town so when she went there on a mission for the Queen, she was well prepared to deal with said trouble makers if they dared to try to argue with her).
The standard bulletins are at 8.00 a.m., 8.30 a.m, 9.00 a.m. and again from 3.30 p.m. (school run), 4.30 p.m., 5.00 p.m., 5.30 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. There is never any shortage of material for the bulletins as if the skies aren't crowded, there are bound to be problems somewhere along the Kingdom's system of yellow brick roads.
Roherum always wraps up the traffic report line up with some sort of quip. All wishes he wouldn't, his puns really are dreadful, but in his case Roherum has no ability whatsoever to see himself as others see him. It may be as well. What he'd find out would only depress him.
Schools/Colleges/Universities of Magic
These have their own specialist Highway Code signs in and around their campuses. Mostly these restrict speed but others control how and when students fly (never when drunk, though this is a rule more often breached than kept and is still the biggest cause of flying accidents in the Kingdom).
Drugs are not an issue here. Given everyone can cause and experience illusions with a handy spell, why take an artificial substance to create something that would be inferior to what can be magically produced? Alcohol though is one of the most popular imports from Earth and not just for students.
There are also signs banning magical fighting on the public highway (there is nothing covering side alleys, so presumably it is okay to fight there). Part of the Highway Code also covers magical etiquette on the grounds if you follow this, you will obey the vast majority of the Code anyway.
Students have the largest chapter on how to behave with their powers, wands etc as it is considered they need telling. One of their specialist road signs is the specific banning of magical showing off. People get tired of it. Too many innocent magical beings have got in the way accidentally and been turned into a species they weren't originally born into and the fairies especially became tired of rectifying this. The witches loved it. To have so many new toads, newts etc on tap for use in spells had been wonderful. They didn't care then these things weren't originally amphibians. They still don't care. (So don't get turned into an amphibian in the magical world - you're unlikely to have a long and happy life).
Controlling the Skies and the Importance of the Weather Forecast
The big problem the Kingdom has is in trying to control the skies and it can't be said it has really succeeded. Yes there are clouds with road signs, traffic lights etc but as with Earth you get those users who ignore the lot and somehow think these things are not meant for them. You also have magical creatures that can fly - dragons, pigs, the odd cow etc - who take no notice of the signs for the good reason they can't read them.
It does seem to be a general rule if you have an exceptional talent - be fair, it is odd for a pig or a cow to fly - that will the only exceptional thing it can do. It's considered too much for it to be able to read as well. There have been many jokes on FNN about teaching pigs to read and then the weatherman makes unflattering comparisons to the main news presenter, Roherum, whose job the weatherman has been after for years.
These jokes seemed to have stopped for the time being as the last time one happened on air a fight broke out between Roherum and the weatherman with them making the news themselves for all the wrong reasons. Only a very grudgingly given apology live on air stopped the pair of them literally being hauled over the coals. That is the problem with the magical world - there is no metaphor it cannot re-enact! So be warned!
Listening or watching the weather forecast forms part of the Fairy Kingdom Highway Code for the good reason weather conditions can and often are magically changed. Fogs are often created by those on the dark side of magic for sinister purposes of their own and at least the forecast can give some good warning as to whether natural conditions would encourage a witch or a wizard to do this.
The less magic that is used on any spell the more energy the practitioner saves so if the natural forecast "inclines" towards fog, for one example, it is the easiest thing imaginable for them to exaggerate and twist those natural conditions for their own purposes. You miss the weather forecast at your own risk. The weatherman feels there is more to life than shoving clouds around on a map (to quote Roherum) but his role is a useful one all the same (and it would help if Roherum did not belittle it). Each bulletin lasts 15 minutes as the weatherman has to cover all 7 regions in the Kingdom. He also has to explain how the weather will affect traffic on the ground, in the air and so on. Also he must state whether there is any chance of incoming asteroids and what areas to avoid if you don't want to get hit or where to go if you're really keen on astronomy and want a close up view.
Pedestrians really do take their lives in their hands every time they venture out given they have to watch out for normal road level traffic on roads and pavements, dwarves deciding to come up for air from their mines (and it is not unusual to come across a dwarf that lost all sense of direction and emerged in the middle of a busy High Street) and careless flyers who have been known to free fall and land on anyone and anything too daft/slow/unobservant enough to realise something was going wrong and to get the hell out of the way.
Certain areas of the Kingdom are out of bounds for pedestrians. This isn't because the fairy government have legislated against it but would you walk about in the middle of a known troll or orc settlement? Unlike on Earth, pedestrians can be fined for thoughtless behaviour - for example switching direction and cannoning into the person behind them or being that person who got far too close to the other in front of them. This is something the author would like brought into our world.
Also stopping for no reason whatsoever unless someone is ill, asthmatic, disabled etc is banned and you have to prove you're one of the exemptions. The good news is if you don't qualify, the fairy squad will rectify that immediately and you will never need to worry about being fined for this again.
Does the Highway Code idea sound a strange one for a magical realm? Not really. Given you're got all kinds of roads (from the yellow brick kind to quaint little country lanes) to major flight paths used by broomstick fliers and the like, the need for traffic control is a crucial one. And when dealing with magical beings who may, or may not, be more powerful than you are, there has to be an automatic way of enforcing this code that nobody can argue with. Forget about fines. Forget about points on your licence. Break the code here and you die. Simple as that.
Since the code came in accidents have reduced by over 90% and even the dark side of the magical community has seen the advantages of that. They've stopped losing their best people for stupid reasons. They can focus on losing them instead in the standard all out battles with the good side of the magical community instead. Funnily enough everyone is happy with that. It is what is meant to be. The code then is a great unifier.
Broomsticks vary in range of flight and weight capacity so are grouped like our cars are in terms of what restrictions apply. The slower brooms have lower limits to stick to and all fliers are expected to know what their machine can do and what speed it should obey.
Most do (who hasn't had to get away from a dragon in a hurry after all?) but there are idiots who do not and those are the ones hauled in by Hanastrew and her fairy squad for traffic regulation infringement. The latter are widely suspected by the former of just "filling in their books" but the squad do not haul in folk without reason (and it is usually to clear the skies of idiots who don't know what they're doing so everyone else can get along with their magical business, lawful or not, without fear of being forced out of the sky by an inexperienced flier. The Kingdom has a long history of accidents caused by such people. The only positive thing from the inexperienced fliers' viewpoint is that it is better to be caught and fined by the fairy squad than by the witches. Now there is a group who really do not "do" forgiveness!).
Each magical group is tested for its flying capacity by senior members of their own group on the grounds there's no way a wizard would ever accept any witch commenting on his flying or vice versa. All magical examiners have to follow the same standards and are themselves tested on their abilities by the entire Queen's Council (which is made up of one member of each of the 22 different species in the Fairy Kingdom).
Magical beings are expected to take notice of all road signs and commands. Failure to do so will, at best, lead to massive fines and possible imprisonment. It is much more likely to lead to instant incineration, especially when ignoring the Beware Dragons! Symbols dotted around the realm. It is literally a case of on your own head be it.
As for tailgating other citizens, whether flying or on the ground, are you mad? Given the Kingdom has a wide variety of magical beings with differing powers, most of whom do not practice forgiveness on a regular basis, you really would have to have a death wish (and a particularly horrible one at that) to behave like this. Even if it is "only" the law that catches up with you, the fairy squad are known for their robust approach to law breakers. No soft options here. Being hauled over the coals is a real threat here.
Regarding enchanted items such as making cars fly, they have to stick to aerial speed limits as well as those set on the roads (of yellow brick construction or otherwise). All enchanted items have to be declared to the Queen and her Council as they want to know the amount of magic used to create these things and their capacity.
It is recognized that dark wizards and witches will attempt to hide such items, certainly they won't declare capacity voluntarily, but once out and about if hauled in by the fairy squad, they risk imprisonment and the total destruction of their creation if they haven't declared it. A common way around this is to declare the item but accidentally on purpose underestimate the item's power output. It is difficult to prove under-estimation given any wizard or witch worthy of the craft can make their vehicle perform as badly or as well as they like depending on what the occasion requires.
As with our monarch, the Fairy Queen has a dispatch box of state papers to go through daily. In the Fairy Queen's case it is just the one box but it is huge and magically refills itself until Roxannadrell really has gone through all the papers issued by her Council for that day. So even if she wanted to stop early, or skip a few papers, she cannot.
The papers are mainly letters showing the Queen what is going on in the Kingdom's 7 regions. Also what laws the Council have passed (and which need her signature). The Queen in her turn sends the dispatch box back to L'Evallier who, as Council leader, archives what needs filing and implements what needs implementing. The Queen's correspondence to and from her subjects is contained in anothe rmagical dispatch box. It is no secret she enjoys working her way through that box.
Tbe Queen usually gets the Council dispatch box work out of the way fairly early on in the day and then treats herself to a ride around the Palace grounds on her unicorns before returning for a mid morning snack and the first of her sessions replying to her subjects. She works on the letters throughout the day and loves them.
The Top Ten Commandments of the Code are:-
1. You will know what all the signs mean and be able to explain them to an examiner.
2. You will obey the speed limits. They are there for everybody's safety. The code does not distinguish between good and evil. If an area says go slow, that's precisely what you'll do unless you want to die in a horrific accident.
3. You will care for your vehicle properly whether it has wheels, bristles or both. This means it does not pollute the atmosphere in any way. It also means it should not break down, as this causes inconvenience for everybody, especially at peak times.
4. You will not tailgate.
5. You will not jump red lights. These last two rules come from observing life on Earth where L'Evallier and Rodish both noted independently that all Audi car drivers and those cyclists with a death wish disobey these two rules.
6. Broomstick fliers will not startle those magical creatures who naturally live or spend a lot of their time in the air. It is considered that flying comes to them naturally. Anyone sitting on a broom is using an artificial aid after all.
7. Those who fly using boot power or are prepared to use a lot of their magical energy in one go by not using a machine of some kind will ensure they do not get in the way of other fliers as they will inevitably be slower than those who do use broomsticks and so on.
8. If getting tired while flying, you will find somewhere suitable to rest, which does not clog up the skies or cause any kind of traffic congestion.
9. When visiting other worlds, you will obey their equivalent of traffic regulations. (In these days of inconsiderate drivers you might get away with such behaviour on Earth but magical beings are meant to be better than humans).
10. You will stop when asked by the fairy squad and produce your flying licence on request. In return they will not ask without just cause and must explain it in full. It is not enough to stop someone just because they happen to be a witch.
Surprisingly nobody has argued about any of these (and Earth's Audi drivers and death wish cyclists are held in as much contempt in magical world as they are on Earth).
No real surprises here but L'Evallier would focus on non-fiction and the arts. He would read history series, books on the great artists, including musicians and would shun fiction (on the grounds he could not see the point of making things up. For the Fairy Kingdom, the fairy tales are real).
Hanastrew loves nothing better than curling up after a hard day's dragon fighting with a good book, chocolate to eat (and drink, liberally laced with cream and marshmallows) and either a decent sofa or comfortable four poster bed to relax on. Her choice of Earth books would be:-
Of course since Eileen's defection to Earth, she does have access to libraries and bookshops. Some of her favourite books would include:-
I'm Allison Symes and I write novels, short stories as well as some scripts and poems. I love setting my work in my magical world, the Fairy Kingdom, and my favourite character is Eileen, who believes hypocrisy is something that happens to other people without caring that statement is hypocritical in itself! Eileen is huge fun to write for and about.