There was a time when the drawbridge at Castle Ofsted was down and rust had begun to creep along the chains, as tufts of grass sprouted upon the verges. The invitation to the serfs almost welcoming – a bridge over the tar soaked ditch that cast a wall of light between the thick and heavy battlements. The myths that had once hung around that dark and ominous place lifted with the morning fog.

The peasants were happy and all seemed well at Castle Ofsted. There were invitations and conversations which brought prosperity to the people. The serfs worked hard and there was a great warmth across the land.

But, the serfs soon forgot how it had once been. They had seen the new opportunities and some wanted more. They began to question their lords and how things were done. They overstepped their standing and change began to stir within the deep waters of the moat.

Time and tide waits for no-one.

One dark night the hinges were oiled and the counter balance slowly shifted. The locals heard the iron chains take the strain as the creak of movement echoed over the valley. Slowly, at first, the bridge began to close.

Now there is an ominous silence over the ramparts of Castle Ofsted. All is not well and tales of woe and hardship are beginning to flow across the land. The once friendly people at the castle have disappeared and new laws have been decreed.  The time has come for the serfs to bow down and accept their fate. To question it is heresy.

The masters have set in stone those laws but day by day there are whispers of discontent, suffering, hardship and injustice. At first it was a trickle… but now a torrent. The peasants are revolting.

“Revolting?” said the Chief, “They are disgusting!”

With the bridge raised no one talked and the stories grew. What was once open and transparent seemed to have become ridden with suspicion and mistrust. The cooperation replaced with basic survival instincts. Collaboration between towns and tribes died on the wind and a cold winter set into the kingdom. Everyone now prepared for the worst and drew in to themselves protecting their investments and harvesting their resources ready for a visit from the New Order. To err was a terrible fate. Once great leaders either sat in darkened corners biting their nails… waiting. In some corners others fell upon their swords or packed what little possession they had left and walked out into the ice storms never to been seen again.

How long before they come for us began to be the mantra of many. When will this terrible winter end? Who will save us?

But, Castle Ofsted echoed to the war cry of, “Without Fear or Favour” and they grew even as they fell back into the shadow.