The Few

The Few is a religion with two key tenets; that knowledge is power and that only females can have the knowledge. In practical terms this means that, in a world where the chief knowledge store is books, only girls can learn to read.

The Few believe in an all-powerful Author who has written the stories of everyone’s lives. The teachings of the Author and of her disciples are mainly to be found in The Book, the holy scripture of the Few.

The head of the Few is called the Professarian and she holds the position of both head of the faith and political leader of the areas under the Few’s control. The Professarian’s seat of power is the Univerary at Oup. Major Few towns have Librabbies within them which act as places of learning, maternity hospitals, convents and regional political headquarters. Each Librabbey is governed by a Librabbess and staffed by Sisteachers and Novistudents.

Girls from each town and those that can be found in the surrounding countryside are brought into the Librabbey (voluntarily or by force) at the age of four or five, this is referred to as the Harvest. The girls then become Novistudents and stay in the Librabbey to study. After about five years the girls perform the Naming ceremony when they relinquish their old surname and take the name of their chosen author, thus breaking all ties with their male parent and giving themselves fully to the Few.

The police, military and communications arm of the Few are known as the Guard. The Guard’s primary objective, as an entirely male force, is to carry out the bidding of the Few. Day-to-day the Guard man the Stations and Trains and police the areas around the tracks in the Between and within the town walls. An important part of the Guard’s duty is to memorise and relay messages (as they obviously cannot write them down). The role which the Guard plays in the Harvest has made them unpopular in areas of the Between.