Walkways and Flightpaths

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All walkways must lead to home – and a grouse to safety

Article 247 of Grouse Lore

It may be agreeable at this point, to leave Patriarch Gilb as he makes his way along the Whiteheaps Walkway to the ant farm, and to take a look at some of Nookton Fell’s infrastructure which assures the safe continuance of Nookton’s social contentment. This brief digression will ultimately help us to understand what the Nookton grouse believe is their cosmic purpose.

Nookton Fell is a vast area of heather which is, in grouse terms, immeasurable. Of course, from a raptorial perspective Nookton Fell is quite big but not that big. From a raptorial perspective only the sky is immeasurable. In contrast, from a human perspective everything is measurable. In fact, humans love nothing better than to measure those things that other animalian species find immeasurable.

There exist many avian societies that allow its members to move across its territory freely and unencumbered by the need for any sort of administrative authorisation. This is not the case for many grouse colonies. The Nookton Colony is an example of an avian society that requires a strict adherence to the rules governing flight and to lesser rules governing movement in general. It is believed, by such societies, that regulations have been ordained by the cosmos and are designed to assure comfort during a grouse’s passage through their avian existence.

In Nookton, flight has to be authorised except when life is endangered and if flight is the only means to assure safety. When such unauthorised flights occur, late authorisation must be sought. An Emergency Flightpath application must be submitted to the Flightpath Office within three cycles of the cosmic ovum. When flightpath regulations are not adhered to, a grouse might find themselves volunteered for Distraction Team duty which will mean that, at the next shoot, they will be expected to fly close to the shooters to distract them, while the young and elderly flee to safety.

Official walkways are free for any grouse to use and no authorisation is required. There are many walkways, and all dens, both private and social, have access to at least one walkway which will itself, give access to all other walkways. There are many millifeet of walkways in Nookton which give safe access to all the places any grouse should ever want to go. When a grouse wishes to explore beyond the official walkways, authorisation must be sought. The types of acceptable reasons why a grouse may wish to move beyond the walkways include, den hunting, mating, fleeing a predator, and disorientation. When a grouse goes beyond an official walkway without authorisation, an Emergency Walkway application must be submitted to the Walkways Office within three cycles of the cosmic ovum.

The consumption of nettle-sting wine is often at the root of many unauthorised flights and walks. Intoxicated grouse will often stray from an official walkway or take an unauthorised flight, without realising they are doing so. In this case there will be a failure to apply for an emergency flight or walk. Most volunteers for Distraction Team duty have been those grouse who have succumbed to excessive nettle-sting wine consumption. If an individual grouse is identified as having an addiction, the grouse will be sent to the chapel for counselling.

Dens, walkways and flightpath regulations, ensure the comfort and safety of all grouse, important or unimportant. This ensures not only a happy society, but also the continuation of healthy meat. Nookton’s grouse mythology proclaims that after falling from the immense dark, the seed of the Cosmic Flower fell onto a heap of stones where it could find no soil to root itself. It was a kindly human lord who took the seed and planted it into the ground where the Cosmic Flower was able to bloom. In payment it was agreed that the human species had the right to take the meat of the grouse for their own pleasure. Failure to honour this agreement would result in the return of chaos and disorder to grouse existence.

Whiteheaps Walkway is the most ancient of all walkways and begins in the heart of the Central Hub. It leads any grouse, or weasel for that matter, across the entire breadth of Nookton fell. It culminates at the Whiteheaps Dam passing through a section of the outer territories. The Whiteheaps Dam was built by humans for their now abandoned, mining activities.

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By Adam Lee
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