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Thursday, September 8, 2011
Weird Days in Aldwood
Aldwood is the most isolated of the City’s districts—and not simply because of its location. Wooded, quiet Aldwood has been entirely overtaken by a fictional world.
Aldwood was a normal, suburban district until Midsummer’s Eve some thirty-four years ago. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was the night of the final Broad Boulevard performance of the musical adaptation of the popular children’s fantasy, The Magical Monarch of Mu. Aldwood residents reported hearing strange music that night, and laughter. By the next morning, the forest had grown thicker and wilder, and many trees had become animate—and opinionated. Stands of man-sized mushrooms had cropped up, and fanciful creatures were encountered with regularity.
Many of Aldwood’s residents chose to flee. Law enforcement was dispatched to investigate. They were naturally disinclined to negotiating the cession of the district with an animate, pumpkin-headed scarecrow, but attempts to reclaim Aldwood by force were repulsed by a cast-iron giant, smartly-uniformed elfin pikemen, and china doll marital artists.
The next two years saw intermittent skirmishes between the City and the invaders. Reconnaissance confirmed that many were identifiable characters from The Magical Monarch of Mu. Attempts to locate the author F. Marsh Loam for questioning proved ineffective, even with thaumaturgical aid. Ultimately, pragmatism prevailed, and a peace treaty was signed making Aldwood a reservation within the boundaries of the City.
Visiting Aldwood is allowed, though only through the checkpoints guarded by the diminutive and quaintly armored soldiers of the Monarch. Care should be taken to stay on designated roadways: The new Aldwood is somehow larger than the old, and it’s easy to become lost. Politely refusing offers of food or drink from the natives is generally advisable. Most everything in Aldwood is highly magical; “naturally” occurring soda fountains, gumdrop fruit, or moonshine distilled from genuine moonlight are novel treats, but they may also carry hidden risks.
Taking items or creatures beyond the boundaries of Aldwood is illegal, but collectors and thaumaturgic researchers are often willing to pay adventurers a handsome sum for specimens. Beyond run-ins with the authorities, expeditions carry a degree of risk. While most denizens of Aldwood are benign, some are not, and many are surprisingly resistant to harm.
Some scientists worry that the annexation of the earthly plane hasn’t ended with Aldwood, and that the bubble of fictional reality continues to grow.