Since my recent and protracted adventures in the undiscovered land of Ultima Thule, I've had time to recover from the experience and to find out what's been happening in the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria.
A lot has happened, and the universal excitement has increased to boiling point. I sought out my friend Feaxede the Fox, who was curled up under a hedge, fast asleep. After some gentle persuasion and a nip on his ear, he woke up, and once he'd established from me what day, year and month it was, he gave me a rundown of the recent events in the Kingdom.
It appears that Dagwald Caedmeron - the Principal Dancer and Chocolate Teapot of the Tree Faction - has promised the Kingdom a Great Count to determine whether or not the Northumbrian people want to remain as a vassal state in the Holy Roman Empire (which is as holy as pig droppings, as Roman as Valhalla, and whose resemblance to an empire is - to say the least - tenuous). This has arisen following a series of disasters that have befallen the feckless Empire, the most recent and ongoing being the influx of entire nations, fleeing war and pestilence in the Orient and hammering at the doors, loudly demanding food and shelter in their fancied destinations. This has understandably caused no little concern in this part of the Evil Intergalactic Federation, and the prospect of hordes of Bactrians, Persians, Arabs, Berbers, Ethiopians, Vegans and Vegetarians flooding into the marketplaces, coughing in strange languages, dressing in bedsheets and introducing new barbaric customs and homeopathy has filled the average Northumbrian with fear, dread and foreboding, and the perception is that the Northumbrian Anglo-Saxon culture is under siege. So then, any opportunity to escape the clutches of the Empire would at least free the Realm from the strictures of Holy Roman Empire laws, which are currently being generated at a rate of fifteen thousand per second. The Northumbrians consequently feel that the very act of drawing breath will imminently become illegal and under the punishment of death.
Naturally, Caedmeron and his fellow politicos are largely in favour of remaining in the Empire, since it guarantees them comfortable incomes and inestimable glory. However, not all politicos are as enthusiastic about remaining in chains; many have vocally pledged themselves to an independent Northumbria, and even some Redistributionists have made similar noises.
The Moses to lead the people through the Red Sea is Beoris the Blond, the charismatic and bumbling rival to the affections of the Tree Faction, and Caedmeron's nemesis.
However, he will only lead them through the waters so that he can do a U-turn and lead them all back again. Moses didn't do that...