Cassie Fine and Naomi Adams owners of Harold’s role-playing games shop Dungeons & More Dungeons are once again petitioning the Home Office to allow them to accept Azure cards for payment.
‘The Azure card is issued to refugees seeking asylum in the UK who don’t have the right to work. The Home Office chooses which shops can accept it and the only one in Harold is Tesco Express,’ said an angry but determined Naomi Adams. ‘We’re petitioning the Home Office to recognise that geekdom is international and allow us to serve Harold’s refugee community.’
Ceaserina Okereke fled her native Nigeria to protect her two daughters aged nine and ten from female genital mutilation and forced marriages to much older men once they reach the age of eleven says that life without cash is tough. ‘The Azure card gives us the equivalent of £5.23 a day and any savings over £5 are erased at the end of the week. The Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide is not only against the rules but at £25 it’s far beyond my means.’
‘Harold is an inclusive place,’ said Adams. ‘Cass and I were proud to have the reception for our civil partnership in the back room of The Squirrel Lickers and our twin boys Caramon and Raistlin are both doing so well at St Mary’s and have never been teased for having two mums. Apart from in their first term but that teacher has left now. It breaks our hearts that we’re forced to discriminate and deny some new Haroldites the chance to game.’
Reza Yavari escaped Iran after being arrested and tortured for his Christian beliefs if he went back he would face execution. ‘The Azure card is limited to food, toiletries, clothes and mobile phone credit,’ he explained. ‘I can’t buy a paper or a bus ticket and I most definitely can’t rebuild my collection of Call of Cthulhu minatures which unfortunately I had to leave behind along with everything else I owned when running from the Mutaween.’
Browsing the shelves of Dungeons & More Dungeons while occasionally letting out a whimper of longing was Akram Behzad a member of the Haraza minority ethnic people of Afghanistan who left the country in fear of his life due to Harazas being systematically persecuted by the Taliban.
‘Akram ran with just the clothes on his back. He lost everything even his Magic: The Gathering collections which included a pristine Alpha Set Black Lotus,’ whispered Naomi Adams sadly from behind the counter. ‘We try not to mention it as it still upsets him.’
‘These people have suffered hardships that most of us cannot even imagine to come to Harold and begin new lives,’ she went onto say. ‘Surely if anyone has earned the right to stick on a daft hat and pretend to be an Orc or a mage of an evening it’s them.’