Tour Guide Tuesday: The Royal Menagerie of Brightwater

Tour Guide Tuesday is pretty self-explanatory. On Tuesdays I’m going to take you to a place inside my head playground, which is Rothganar, and let you climb around in it and get comfortable. Welcome to the column and welcome, this week, to the Royal Menagerie of Brightwater.


It’s bigger on the inside. Try to remember that when you’re crawling the halls, gazing through windows at the manticores and tigers. It’s bigger on the inside, and what seems to make sense from the outside doesn’t apply here. The entire Menagerie is housed within a fold in the Real, and if you’re expecting the layout of the place to make Real Sense, you’re out of luck. That said, if you can put up with a little nonsense and follow the signs, the Menagerie is well worth the visit.

Set in a square marble building on what appears to be a tiny island, the Menagerie is actually composed of the glade of Galbatorix the unicorn. Owing to an ancient pact with the royal family, Galbatorix will allow non-virgins to enter his glade; however, it is strongly advised that they do not attempt to approach the delicate, cloven-hoofed creature lying proudly on his crimson cushions in the very last hall. He is lit perfectly with mage-lanterns, as befits a fittingly vain fellow like he is, and white as snow except for his hooves and horn, which are purest gold.

The collection of magical creatures in the halls of Galbatorix’s glade is second to none. The more dangerous creatures must be viewed through magically-treated glass, and the intelligent ones are provided with black velvet curtains, which they may use to preserve their privacy. Cyprian the faun has not drawn his curtain back in eighty-eight years, and he would be presumed dead if not for the fact that his food disappears every day. The glade plays host to herds of fairies of many sorts, and they may often be seen swirling about the halls. Some may attempt to waylay visitors, but follow the untamperable signs and you’ll be perfectly fine.

The architecture within the glade is classic and lovely, featuring porticoes and porches open to the weather, which is always utterly perfect no matter the conditions outside; fine statuary donated by famous artists, the subject of which always somehow includes Galbatorix; and several well-appointed bedrooms in a price range best described as “out of your league.”


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