The campus is enclosed by a river, a
highway, and train tracks.
The river is called the Argent, at
least by students and locals. It’s not terribly wide - four or five meters -
but its very, very deep. The speed doesn’t appear to be constant, possibly a
result of magical fallout from places where time flows strangely. Sometimes it
floods in spring.
The highway is as mundane as highways
can get. Two lanes, flat as paper, slightly worn. Don’t pick up hitchhikers
anywhere near the college. Always put something in the passenger seat if you’re
in the car alone.
The train tracks are abandoned. You
think. Sometimes you hear trains at night. Sometimes you hear the scream of
steel. Sometimes there’s the light blazing out of the fog, visible through the
trees and making the shadows move. But the train tracks are abandoned. The
train tracks are abandoned. The train tracks are abandoned. You do not ask why.
Outside the Borders
The town. You don’t know the name. It
might be Fairfield? Something-ville? Or maybe….? In any case, it’s small.
There’s a total of five named streets. Maybe that’s why you can’t ever quite
remember the name. It’s entirely generic. The townies are quiet but agreeable
enough. They don’t have much patience for damn students and the noise they make up
there on the hill.
The only thing of note in town is the
quintessential student cafe, Kenning’s. Packed with big armchairs and serving
strong coffee till late at night, it’s one of the safest places to discuss the
forbidden major, as it sits beyond the reach of the Gentry. It’s run by one
Mrs. Margaret Kenning, who’s reportedly the seventh such Kenning to own the
cafe, and certainly has the disaffected demeanor of someone with six inherited
generations of customer service. There are poetry slams on Thursdays.
Within the borders - Non-EU buildings
The EU buildings cluster largely in the
center of the several square miles of school land. Around the edges are:
The Walmart. It squats right by the highway
turnoff onto Elsewhere land. It doesn’t look big, for a Walmart, but inside it is
virtually endless. They employ a lot of students. You have probably found
yourself working there two or three times over the years, although you can’t
remember applying, or arriving at all, for that matter. No one lasts longer
than three days. This is not because of any particular danger. Rather, you quit
because roughly half the cash you accept turns to dead leaves in the morning,
and it’s taken out of your pay every time. On particularly busy nights you end
up owing the Walmart money. In every sense of the phrase, you aren’t being paid
enough for this. But at least it’s safe to visit as a customer.
(More often than not the person on the
next register has horns/five arms/hands that are more or less just suction
cups, and they seem as confused about wearing the official uniform as you are.
The Walmart is a liminal space for all entities on campus, without
discrimination. This is also the only known situation in which one of the Gentry
can be seen using a computer without something awful happening, but then the
computers seem weirdly…organic? So who knows what’s up with that.)
The Denny’s: It’s in the same Walmart
parking lot. It’s a perfectly normal Denny’s by night, and it’s possible to get
a perfectly average job there provided you only work the night shift. When the
sun rises it turns transparent and then vanishes entirely with everyone inside, leaving only ruined foundations. It
reappears at sunset, fully formed and empty. Do not be inside when the sun rises.
A particularly beloved EU tradition is
to gather on the Denny’s curb twenty minutes before sunrise the morning
following a school dance, and throw things at the building until it’s gone
entirely. It’s generally agreed that seeing what happens to a syrup cup as it
passes through a wall that isn’t entirely there is A. highly entertaining B.
literally indescribable and C. a hell of a warning.
The Denny’s parking lot segment is true neutral
ground, ideal for deals and duels.
The Forest. The heavily forested area in the south, which borders the
highway and a good portion of the river, is sometimes called Morganwode. That’s
the name that shows up on old maps, at least - the ones that date back to when
the University itself had a real name. These days it’s more commonly just called the
Forest. It looks very small on Google Earth, which shows a small clearing in
the center of a sparse group of trees. In the center, you can see the round roof of
something that might be a gazebo. No one has ever found this clearing. On foot,
the forest appears dense, enormous, and virtually lightless. Optimistic
outdoorsfolk have set up an intricate system of color-coded hiking trails over
the years, which are generally safe provided you don’t stray at all. Sometimes
people say that the deeper you go, the older the forest gets, until you’re
walking in true wild forest, ancient and untouched and uncaring, thousands of
years old - creaking oaks and cedar and birch, taller than you can see, wider
than you thought possible… But the trails do not go that deep, and so you
don’t know if this is true.
The Wishing Well: it sits on the edge of the woods, and cannot be reasoned with.
The Swamp: a boggy area in the east, the area that’s usually flooded by the river in the spring. Home of the swamp hag.