Three Oaks-on-Wear

The year:  Roughly 1901

There are few obvious reasons that one might find themselves in Three Oaks-on-Wear, if one did not know about the town in advance. The village lies a few hours easterly from the coal seams that are even now in full production further downstream along the Wear, perhaps four hours by cart from the nearest railway station. The prevailing winds blow down along the winding river, toward the North Sea and away from the collection of storefronts and houses. Explorers in the middle ages in search of local granite and the valuable petrified coral prevalent through the region found the town already established, full of patriotism.

The absolute British patriotism of the town has never been questioned, for thousands of years before there was even a Britain. In fact, here and there around the village and countryside are monuments to the extreme patriotism of the village dedicated to whoever announced they were ruling the region at the time. Viking cairns and mounds litter the clearings along with Saxon altars to Eostre and Ing through the light and heavier woods. Stone carvings to every deity that was official in worship can be found half-buried under the mossy swards by the footpaths along the river and through the woods, with bits of stone and metal found now and again at local fishing holes and in meadows.

Three Oaks is proud to say that they have fielded a unit in every major battle in England from Edington to Culloden (though other, more official records in London and Edinburgh cast doubt upon this assertion). Still, a local militia drills and practices every quarter upon the green, and all the village comes out to picnic and cheer them on as they go through the motions of being ever ready for action; even if that action is more often than not doubling as the fire brigade, building contractors, and pecuniary support for the local tavern.

The good wives of Three Oaks have seized with glee upon the creation of the British Red Cross, and for three decades have sent collections of elaborately crocheted blankets to the main chapter house in London along with reports of how they maintain the local doctor's office. Even the well renowned Dr. Watson frequently visits from London to approve of the small dispensary and clinic ready to support the war effort.

On the north of the village are the remains of a modest Ste. Osana's Chapel. What remains is an earthwork mound and a low, broken dry fitted wall. The Chapel was very popular in medieval times through the village though little is now known or taught about her. A smaller Church of England kirk is set up, and zealously attended though a very long series of parish priests. Curiously, few linger long, claiming reasons of damp, nerves, or the failing health of relatives in Distant Cities calling them away.

Indeed, propriety is very keen in the village. It exists side by side with the touch of uneasiness found deeper into the woods, where the older sites of sacrifice and worship catch the oldsters by unpleasant surprise, the youth with wild imaginations. Hunting in the deep forest is forbidden by town writ, down in the books for reasons that no one can remember precisely but is pronounced with dire warnings of 'over hunting' and diminishing the population of deer and birds. Fishing is done entirely by the locals from the shore, as the river itself has proven treacherous from boats with undercurrents and submerged rocks that have claimed the lives of many an unwary tourist or foolhardy teenager.

Despite these occasional mishaps, Three Oaks-on-Wear is a pleasant place to end up on holiday, a respectable and honest sort of town where no one ever notices anything that is less than upright. They are proud of the number of poets and playwrights that have spent summers in their idyllic time, of the large number of Important Personages that have for their own purposes found reasons to linger in the Village over the years. It enjoys a carefully built reputation of being a modern community, valuing scientific thought over the superstitions and fear-ridden culture of centuries past.

The ladies of Three Oaks are planning at Harvest Festival a celebration of Queen Alexandra, recently admitted as the first ever Lady of the Garter.