Crissendumm and Earth
Crissendumm and Earth are what you might call "parallel universes", except that in this case, Crissendum is like a smaller globe that fits inside our globe and there are portals between the two. As you've often heard, Earth-folk reference this world frequently, only they are prone to spelling it wrong. (Christendom) Crissendumm is the older of the two, or at least feels itself the hands-off observer-protector of our world. The inhabitants are more or less content to leave Earth-folk alone, except when one falls down one of the portals, and then the Earth-person will find himself rather patronized. Crissedumm is the older sibling who seldom takes risks because risks are ridiculous. It is the steady sister, the rocking, wide-bosom'd ship that our world falls back on for wisdom when they're out of their own. "In all Christendom," is a common term heard here, or "What in Christendom?" which is an equally valid term, considering that Crissendumm does things a bit differently than we do here. Accents, language, literature--all are very similar to our England's, with a few additions.
At the time of the events of The Baby, Crissendumm is not far behind in things than Victorian England. At least in the knowledge of things. But in typical older-siblings-who-does-things-better fashion, Crissendumm has kept to many of the "old ways" that have become medieval elsewhere. They absolutely refuse to build railways or use automobiles, for instance, but have clocks and pocket-watches and other paraphernalia. The Castle is rather ancient in design, but the manor-houses in the valley, such as Darrow-Dwelling are quite what you'd find in Derbyshire or any other prosperous county in England. So you see, anything they do not have at the time of the story that England does have is simply a matter of taste, not of lack of invention.
Clothing is, of course, essential. And the inhabitants of Crissendumm move more slowly in their fashion than Earth-folk. The Queen Veronique, for example, wears a little something like this:
|//the baby pinterest board//|
They are not much given to wearing hats unless they are caps, and those only among the middle-aged, married women. The men almost never wear hats, unless they are porters, post-men, etc. In general, the men go for strong looks of leather and metal and other things like that. Knee-boots, gloves, belts, and daggers are all common wear. They like facial hair well enough, especially in the case of Lord Darron Ap-Brainard who is characterized by his wealth of dark, unruly hair on his head and face. We don't particularly think that attractive, but he will wear it that way.
The prime religion of Crissendumm is Christianity, though whether Protestant or Catholic never quite has been stated. The monks at Whiskin's Abbey are involved closely enough with the government of Crissendumm, Brother Aristophenes in particular serving as Lord High Chancellor to the queen, but otherwise there is very little religious tension between denominations.
The monks are considered to be among the most well-educated in Crissendumm, and to be a teacher at an Abbey school is a coveted position with strict life-choices. The teachers must live at the Abbey by the same rules and regulations the monks do for a contracted period of four years during which they will not make a salary at all--such a position is honor enough for any young man, and whoever holds this position is required to live literally like a monk. This causes trouble for some vibrant young men who don't relish the thought of living four years doing nothing but teaching.
History & Mythology
Crissendumm's history is still being revealed--I am not certain of all the parts and pieces of it, only that the royal family has always been peaceful and little-given to fighting expensive wars. There are plenty of conflicts within the place itself, that the main events in recent history have been passages between Earth and Crissendumm now and then, and of course the events of The Baby, which haven't yet transpired. Crissendumm breeds stronger men, perhaps of a less-diluted variety than the Earth-folk do, so there is a rich history of heroes of the Crissendumm race. In Starling's view:
Lord Ap-Brainard stood larger n’ life inside her head: tall, good-looking, brawny. Someone who might go well alongside the people in Crissendumm’s stories: Verog with his pair of bulls and tattooed arms, or Salisbard the Mighty--so large a man, they said, that the birds built nests in his beard, thinking his legs were tree-trunks. And Lord Darron Ap-Brainard was just as alive in her mind. Some folk thought the legends were made up by silly old men long ago, but Starling wasn’t so sure.
The people of Crissendumm are clannish and a bit quarrelsome at times with each other, though they present an united front in the face of any 'foreigners'. There are common social classes, but each citizen is generally a bit wealthier than the average citizen in London. There are very few slums, for Crissendumm is still very much tied to the agricultural system and there is always work to be done for those who have the will.
The mail is carried by "fleets" of birds, usually crows, who work in the same fashion as passenger-pigeons, and are overseen by an "admiral" who is responsible for their care and well-being.
When it comes to food, Crissendumm is a rich world with a good appetite. Any of the plummiest dishes are made, and made frequently with a very high and British fondness when it comes to tea and toast. Banquets are not unusual affairs, especially in September and October as the harvest comes in.
So. I hope you've enjoyed this bit of a world-building study, and that you will feel free to point out any categories I've missed! I also hope that by now you've got a better grasp of Crissendumm, and will be able to follow the story even better now that I've set forth a few things in a bit of a clearer light!