Queen Mayanna House represents a typical lay college, a common establishment in Sai Herthe.
Queen Mayanna House is what is known as a Lay College. There are many of them in the West, and the main reason for their existence is the same as the reason for the many Brunettes’ Clubs (and in recent times Blondes’ Clubs too) as well as small residential hotels and pensions. In times past, and still in the East, when a maid was unmarried (as maids often are in Sai Herthe since the procreative need is rather smaller for such a long-lived and harm-resistant people) she stayed with her extended family or, if she were a magdalin, with the mistress to whom she was apprenticed. In the West, with the decline — though by no means death — of the guild and apprentice system and with so many of the more modern type of unmarried girl preferring to place some distance between themselves and their families, new places grew up in which such a girl might live.
To take a flat alone is not unheard of, but it is very rare. Individualism of the late-schizomorph kind has made little headway in the Motherland. Even if they move away from some of the more traditional ways of life, Herthelans require an in-group in which to live and move and have their being.
The Clubs create one such group. They often have particular activities associated with them such as fencing or poetry, and they may meet other like-minded clubs for contests, exchanges of ideas or joint exhibitions of work. Another is created by the Lay Colleges, some of which have filial ties to the great Universities, others of which are simply small private establishments. As they are primarily living places, their courses of compulsory study are often small. Queen Mayanna House simply requires one essay or major poem per year as a condition of membership: but these essays and poems have often taken their place among the most admired literature in the Western World, for the Annual Opus (as it is called) stimulates the best efforts of some of the finest minds in Trent and Novarya.
Queen Mayanna is a daughter-house of Goldcrest College, Milchford University, and nearly all its members are Old Goldcrestiennes. This gives the college a somewhat cosmopolitan character as girls from all over the Western Empire, and some from the East, go up to Milchford, and a few of them move on afterwards to Queen Mayanna House; so while the College has a largely South-Trentish and West-Novaryan character, it does contain girls from many different lands.