King Gandogar Killisson was sat in his throne, made of black marble with white veins and intricate patterns of inlaid gold. It was taller than him by some five feet, and there was a ruby the size of a dragon egg sunken into the stone, and it appeared to be lit from within. The throne room itself was a feat of dwarven construction, with a roof fifty feet high, held up by twenty fluted pillars each fifteen paces around. The walls were lit by diamonds, the size of fists, which had been infused with ancient magics which had been lost to the race, embedded into the walls themselves. Each diamond alone was worth more than many people hope to earn in a lifetime of hard toil. The hundred that lit the Hall were priceless. Guards lined the wall, still as statues and each armoured with full suits of silver armour, precious materials decorating the plates, and each armed with a two-handed hammer. The Hall was the pride of Kazel, capital of Kerin-Curan, and no-one but the dwarves could have accomplished such architecture.
Before him, at the foot of the steps which made up his low dais, stood three Guild-Lords, all old dwarves with grey growing into their long, intricately plaited beards. The king was obviously listening intently when his oldest son approached the throne and stood at attention slightly behind and to the right. Prince Farin’s eyes narrowed slightly as he understood what they were asking of his father.
“- is desperately needed, Your Majesty. We’ve made it so far without a central place of learning for our Engineers, a repository of knowledge, but there is a growing feeling amongst the Mechanists Guild that they need one, and I agree.”
The two other Guild Lords, of lesser repute than the speaker, mumbled their assent, but quietened at a look from the imperious king. The speaker himself was Guild Lord Snorri Snorrisson, descended from the dwarf who had designed the first Ironclads. His family was a legend. Very powerful, and a lot of influence. It was a ploy, and one well played. To refuse a dwarf of such high honour would be a snub against his ancestor. Even Gandogar, a living legend, would be unable to do that and escape without reprise from some quarters.
“I understand your wishes, Guild Lord, but such an expense is an additional burden on the Treasury. I am sure you are aware of the happenings in wider Kolnur, and I have responsibilities to the entire population of Kerin-Curan, not to mention the countless refugees we are currently housing. There are many groups lobbying for Royal gold right now, although, granted, few are willing to match my investment as you are.
“My generals and admirals tell me of the need to expand our fleet and armies, my stewards tell me that we need to purchase and stockpile foods from the mainlands. I ask you, why should I listen to you over them?”
The king’s pure white beard, a mark of his great age which had earned him the name ‘The Elder’, moved as he spoke and caused the priceless gems - rubies which shone with fires like the forges of Kazel themselves, emeralds which gleamed like the grasses on which the humans tended their herds of horses and ponies, and sapphires that glimmered like the sea at noon - and rings woven into it to shimmer brilliantly. The movement also revealed another priceless artefact - around the king's neck was a ruby similar to the one on his throne, albeit smaller. Not many knew it, but the two were linked with workings lost in the mists of history.
“A good question, Sire, and one that I am prepared to answer. I would, though, ask that we have the Hall to ourselves ... And the Royal Guard, of course. It is a ... Delicate matter, and one that should convince you. Revealing it to early might not have the intended impact.”
Farin scowled at that, clearly unhappy about the possibility of being asked to leave, but he knew he would have no option if he was. Even as the king's oldest son, prince to Kerin-Curan and the heir to the Marble Throne, his father expected nothing less than total obedience. Indeed, it was expected more of him than anyone else.
“Of course, Guild Lord. Of course,”
was the answer, accompanied by a sigh. A number of nobles, courtiers and advisors whose curiosity was now piqued were ushered out of the hall, through tall, arching doors emblazoned with the symbol - tribalistic wolfhead, lines trailing behind it, underneath an anvil - of Clan Tri-Kazelim.
An hour later and Guild Lord Snorri Snorrisson emerged from the Hall, flanked by his two Guild-Brothers and looking grimly pleased with himself. The king was distracted when the group, a mix of dwarves and humans, was allowed to re-enter, and soon called an end to the petitions. The only thing he would say to Farin was that the Guild Lords had their funding. Work on the Mechanists Guild School would begin immediately, near the dock warehouses, built directly into the cliffs beneath the city.
Province 12 - Build Science Academy (called Mechanists Guild School)
Province 11 - Build 100 ships
76, 77, 78, 86, 87, 90, 91, 92 - 100 Ironclads each
88 - 200 Ironclads