Bold claims and outrageous statements did their job — they created engagement. Patriarch Irfan got the perfect opportunity to reveal me as the fraud he thought I was and get rid of me once and for all without too much hassle, rather than keep dismissing me as a spoiled lapdog of a frivolous wermage.
The opportunity he undoubtedly took, while I was entertaining the rest of the thumb by acting like a wilful murk that refused to stop running. While taking a page out of Albin’s playbook was hilarious, I did it all for a reason. Every person had an agenda. They had their wants and needs and they made their impressions on me based on how I fit into, or interfered with, their life.
For the First Spear, I was a chore that she got stuck with by the decisions of her superiors. Not a bad place to be in, since I came in with the attached influence of my status not to be treated with impulsive stupidity. At the same time, she didn’t harbour a particularly positive attitude toward me either. At least, that was what I assumed about her — the First Spear had a plan for me before I even walked in, but wasn’t particularly concerned that this plan would make Irfan antagonistic toward me. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was intentional as well; my arrival ruined her day so she ruined mine by making sure my direct superior would see me as a threat to his position.
At least she didn’t try to add sexual tension into the mix. The last thing I wanted, after leaving Samat to avoid Kamshad barging into my sadaq, was to end up as the target of irrational hate and jealousy from her boyfriends, husbands, or whatever they were.
That would’ve been concerning. Irfan’s current attitude was expected and, objectively speaking, rational. As such, I had a general idea of what he would or wouldn’t do and how I could redirect his actions and avoid unnecessary friction. His concern about the loss of his duties meant that he was less likely to attempt something rash and further jeopardise his position. Likewise, his anger could quickly subside if his concerns were addressed in one way or another. Or if they were shown as insignificant in comparison to something else. In contrast, emotional anger was harder to placate and could easily break through social constraints if one managed to rile themselves up too far.
This was why I stood boldly in front of them. This was also why I mentioned almost a little bit too much about myself. Rather than a hot potato which they could throw aside as soon as they were able to, I was a live grenade with the safety pin pulled out. They needed to be absolutely sure they knew exactly where and how to throw me, lest I shred their guts in turn.
And it worked. It only took me about an hour of running with full gear on my back until Patriarch Irfan approached the commotion and ‘concluded my test’ while looking like the mere act of me moving was an affront to nature. The peanut gallery tried to grumble a bit at the interrupted entertainment, but he quickly sent us off to build target dummies for the next day’s weapon practice.
He was curt and ignored my individual existence, but the rest of the unit took his orders in stride so I could assume that was how he usually acted. So off we went to acquire sticks, straw, and ropes for the afternoon arts and craft club.
Compared to the commander of all ten fingers of the first maniple and her adjutant that oversaw the ‘right’ thumb, the rest of the unit likely had rather basic expectations about me. Based on the quips of dialogue here and there, the general concern was that the decadent murk would add a weakness to their formations. So I tried my best to be… familiar. I wasn’t a Navigator, whom they had no idea about, nor was I a daimon that they couldn’t predict. To them, I was a murk that had some basic training at the courtesy of Aikerim’s Manor and a will to persevere through given challenges. I panted and wheezed throughout my run as an average murk should rather than trying to alienate them with a display of augmented power.
“So, mule boy…” One of the spearmen leaned on his pick nearby. “You and a wermage, eh?”
I glanced at him but kept digging the hole for my dummy post. “Aren’t you a bit young for such conversations? Eyeing a girl you wish to impress with some experience?”
Apart from the sound concern about safety, entertainment was definitely second on their list and the new clown was in town. I was pretty confident that my unfortunately rocky digging area was more than just a coincidence.
Well, kids always wanted to have fun.
“What? You think I’ve never pleased a woman!?” he sputtered. I could understand why — with long curls tied in a bun and a bright smile contrasting with the darker skin, he drew more attention than the rest of the soldiers in the finger. He stood tall and proud, eagerly displaying his height and health to all that could see.
I shrugged as I kept digging. “Well, you are asking.”
He scoffed. “You aren’t special, boy, I-”
“You speak like the free-born murk that you are, Sassan,” another, older, soldier joined in, shaking his hand. “Former slaves don’t ask stupid questions like that.”
“I am not asking about his time with a master or even a mistress! He got a wife!”
“So what?” The gruff man shrugged his shoulders. “Never heard of wermages doing something fancy? You saw how much stamina the kid has.”
He turned toward me. “Listen, kid — don’t go around boasting about your status. You might think that their love is eternal but your winter will come sooner than hers. Learn some humility and respect your elders because one day all that will end just as suddenly as it began.”
“The old man is right,” a third man piped in. The same one who previously stood guard near the First Spear’s quarters a few hours ago and was now tying a bundle of hay to his dummy. Apparently, his shift already ended. “Your wife is Three Horns knows where right now but we are here; no one cares who you fuck in the middle of the Forest, so if you think you can strut around like a peacock, then you are a fool.”
His name was Roshan, if I remembered correctly.
He glanced around and shifted a bit closer. “Your wife probably has some cuts…and likely gave some for you, if your boasts about her love are true.” His eyes drifted down to my clothes. “Without a doubt… Think about it, kid. Don’t you want the warriors who will keep you safe within the Forest to appreciate your presence a bit more? Hmmm?”
“You have a specific suggestion in mind?” That wasn’t a bad option, all things considered. If I was going to give gifts to the general, some cuts to smooth things over with ‘the boys’ would be appropriate.
Roshan grinned. “I am sure that a person of your status has little need for the pittance we call soldier’s pay. And the boys would be happy to have a feast before we depart.”
I rolled my eyes. “If you think I would relinquish my pay in perpetuity, then you are wrong. I didn’t get to where I am right now by being stupid. But a feast sounds appropriate.”
“I have no fucking clue what you just said, but,” he threw his arms in the air and turned toward his silent companions, “we are getting drunk, boys!”
“Are you, now?” The First Spear crinkled her eyes at the frozen stiff Roshan. “How come you didn’t invite me to the feast?”
“I, er… I mean…” Roshan rapidly wilted under the eyes of his commander. “Do you want to come?”
“Fool!” She slapped him upside the head. “Get back digging because I will personally check your work tomorrow! If your dummy shifts from a single punch, I will have you digging latrines and eating nothing but barley until we return!”
Her glare left Roshan and panned over the rest of us. “That was meant for all of you!”
I had to give it to her, the First Spear knew how to bark orders. Picks immediately flew into the air and started gouging the ground once again. Neither of us dared to contradict our commander. She huffed and started walking among us, mercilessly critiquing our work.
“What the fuck is this flimsy excuse for a target?” She stopped in front of mine. “Are you training to fight chickens here?”
“Apologies, First Spear. Master Akhtar Kiymetl Siamak was satisfied with my thrusts and instructed me to work on my aim, he-”
“This isn’t Samat and you are not a weapon dancer! You are a spear of the arm now — your task is to hold your shield in front of the palm and hold the spear so that no enemy can reach you… Roshan!”
“Since you are so eager to feast at the expense of the rookie — build him a proper target so that he knows what to build next time! We can’t have him think you are ungrateful, can’t we?”
He scowled as the others chuckled but made sure not to show it directly to her. “It better be a good beer, kid.”
I shrugged noncommittally; I wasn’t particularly sure what was considered a good beer in these parts and, most importantly, where to buy it.
“You,” her finger poked my chest, “come with me.”
The seat groaned as the First Spear threw herself in it.
“Beer. Mine. Now,” she commanded the nearby servant.
As he scrambled away to fulfil her order, the light-brown eyes of the wer zeroed back on me. She watched me in silence for a few seconds then sighed.
“What is your name, murk?”
Her eyebrow rose up. “Just Erf? I expected that your Domina would give you a name appropriate for your status… and gear.”
“It was the name given to me by my mother.” I shrugged my shoulders. “If you ask me — that is the best name I could have.”
“A filial son? Good. Traditions and ancestors should be respected. Just as the oaths.”
Now I raised my eyebrow in question.
“Your oath. The one that you swore to this arm and Emanai herself when you joined our ranks.”
“I did swear on the name of the goddess herself. And neither have I broken it previously nor do I intend to break it in the future.”
“Just making sure you remember where your loyalties should lie…” The First Spear paused her speech as the servant walked in with a jar. She let him fill her mug and quickly shooed him away. “Why are you here, Erf? And don’t give me that sob story about your freedom. If your freedom was that precious to you and you were that precious to your Domina, you would have joined some garrison arm along the Babr Mountains that sees the glimpse of a Creature once every ten years.
“Moreover,” her wooden staff reached out and lifted my chin up, exposing my neck, “I have spoken to my kin from the capital. Your Manor is ill-known for treachery and hypocrisy. I suggest you speak truthfully and hide nothing from me just as your oath compels you in the name of the Goddess. Because my oath compels me to enforce proper discipline and order. With proper punishments if necessary.”
“I am here because my wishes aren’t absolute. I might be content with a quiet duty somewhere else, but others think otherwise.”
“And who is so ‘wise’ to demand you join Kiannika out of all arms?”
I shook my finger. “Not me — my wife. And my guess is this was all orchestrated by the Kamshad Matriarch. Roshanak Gulnaz is intent on marrying her son to my wife and having both of them serve in the same palm might greatly speed up the process. Or so she thinks. Placing me in the finger was the most appropriate course of action — I am within the same maniple so the Kiymetl can’t chastise her for intentionally splitting our sadaq, yet far and busy enough that I won’t meddle.”
She took the rod off my chin and grabbed her mug of beer. “I will not help you thwart his advances. I am busy enough with my own tasks to meddle with who has the most dicks in her hand back at the capital.”
I raised my hands. “I wouldn’t dare to ask something so brazen of you. Anaise Hilal knows what she wants. She stood tall and proud in front of the goddess herself and she can definitely stand her ground in front of the Kamshad Matriarch and her son.”
The First Spear choked on her beer. “She saw the Goddess herself!?”
“Why do you think the Kamshad Matriarch is so eager?”
She closed her eyes and finished the mug. Her hand grabbed the jar and, after a moment of contemplation, she started drinking straight from it.
I leaned closer. “What is it that you seek, that my presence unnerves you so?”
The earthenware jar smashed into my face, shattering into tiny pieces and splashing me with the leftover beer.
“You are in no position to threaten me here!”
I sighed and plucked the stray shard of pottery from my hair. Surprisingly enough the Emanai beer tasted rather sweet, with a rich herbal tint and lacking hops. “I am not threatening you in any way, shape, or form. You and I are very much alike — both of us were peacefully living our lives until someone decided to meddle into our matters. You are ambitious — content people don’t become First Spears. The question is — how do you think my presence will interfere with your ambition?”
Her fingers gripped the staff. “It will not. The Kiymetl has no say in arm promotions no matter how rich you think you are. And you will not bribe me with drinks just as you tried to do with my men.”
“Do you know what makes a truly great general?”
She blinked at me a few times, her previous thoughts completely derailed by my sudden question. “What?”
“The ability to succeed against all odds. Anyone can win if they have an immeasurable number of arms against a weak opponent. It takes skill and talent to defeat an overwhelming enemy. To take a challenge and turn it into a personal success.”
“Are you going to teach me strategy, now?”
I couldn’t help but smile. Aikerim would skin me alive if I got myself a new student. “No, I am going to give you an opportunity to show off your skills in front of your superiors.”
“Is this how you seduced your wife?”
“This is how I try to speak in general, First Spear.” I pulled out a small knife and started twirling it in my hands. “Those unfamiliar with me often ignore my threats and belittle my expertise. While I can prove them wrong eventually…”
My fingers slowly bent the blade in half.
“I try to avoid the hassle of doing so. There are more opportunities in cooperation than otherwise.” I threw the now-useless chunk of metal on her table.
The First Spear glanced down at it but didn’t react otherwise. My display of strength was either not flashy enough or she expected something like this anyway. “Speak.”
“What do your superiors think of me?”
She started to say something but froze before even a single word left her mouth. A frown of deep thought. A glimpse of understanding…
“They do not think of you at all.” A small grin started appearing on her lips.
“Exactly.” I nodded. “They gave you trash, the scraps off their table; expecting you to obediently throw them outside, away from their sensitive noses. Not find a pearl within.”
“And you are that pearl.”
“I am the oyster that makes pearls, First Spear. And I am willing to share one with you. Just as I am willing to share drinks with your men. The question is — whether you are willing to accept my offer and see where it leads to, or throw the oyster into the garbage pile.”
“And you? What do you want?”
“I want the chance to prove my honour. I want to serve and be judged by my actions. I want to be punished for the mistakes that I make, not because someone’s cousin said so. I want to stand proud with a shield in hand and keep enemies of Emanai at bay without worrying about ones at my back.”
She stood up and walked across the room, tapping her fingers on her staff. “I am not sure whether you are trying to insult me, or offering your talents for something that you would get already. Unless the light banter of my spears is too unbearable to you.”
“I didn’t come here to make demands. I wouldn’t mind a piece of a recently deceased Creature, however.” I heard some rattle behind my back. “Or even a full corpse. There are many alchemical trials I would like to perform.”
I turned around and frowned. “Are you alright?”
“Never have I been better,” she gritted through her teeth as she got up from the floor. “The fuck are you asking, boy?”
“I don’t mean actively hunting one, no. But, if an opportunity presents itself, expect to get a virulent poison that will drop a Creature with a single stab of your spear. Think about the glory such a strike could earn you.”
She stared at me, owl-eyed.
“A like for the like.” I smiled. “Respect for respect, a Creature for a Creature. And many other things in-between. I didn’t earn my title as the Alchemist of Kiymetl by cosying up close to the Lady of the House. I earned it by creating the impossible.”
The staff rapped on the door.
“Sif!” she bellowed. “Beer. Mine. Bring another mug!”
“What is this room?” Amir asked with a frown. “A dusty storage place?”
“It once was.” Yeva nodded, ignoring the murmurs of lamuras behind her. At least their bipedal servants were quiet. “But today this is the perfect spot to have our first lesson.”
“A lesson about what? How not to sneeze?” one of the lamuras asked. “Our Manors teach slaves in better conditions.”
Yeva sighed and calmed herself down. “I wasn’t tasked to give you knowledge — Erf asked me to teach you, so teach you I will. Rather than giving you a fish, I will teach you how to fish yourself.”
“Is that not the reason why we came here?” Amir asked as her head snakes hissed others into silence. “To learn how to craft those lenses.”
“That you did. But I am unwilling to teach you just that part.”
Now it was Aikerim’s turn to frown. “Yeva?”
“This knowledge demands respect, my Domina.” She formally bowed to her — they had an audience. “To disclose a mere part of it is akin to betraying what it represents.”
Yeva turned back to Amir. “The knowledge of making lenses is the fish. I will teach you how to catch that knowledge yourself. So that you can return home and keep catching more. Please extinguish the lamps. All of them.”
Servants doused oil lamps one by one. Eventually, the whole room was cast into darkness, apart from a tiny hole in a tightly shut window.
“Are you familiar with such a curiosity?” Yeva asked after some time, letting them get accustomed to the darkness of the room.
Amir glanced at the projected image on the wall, cast by the pinhole. “Yes. Our codices speak of this, but they claim it to be upside down.”
“And this one would’ve been too, if not for the tiny lens at the pinhole.”
“So the lens can correct the wrong, just as it can correct the poor eyesight.”
“A lens does nothing more but focus or disperse light. The extent it does so is dictated by its shape, but we will return to that at a later time. I would like to speak about this room first and what it represents.
“A very long time ago, a wise man by the name of Hasan Ibn al-Haytham…”
Aikerim sucked in the air, her eyes as wide as two plates.
“…had found himself inside a room much like this. My Domina?”
“That name… It reminds me of the other one that Erf mentioned in the past.” She glanced at the Esca delegation.
Yeva smiled and shook her head. “Yes. It was a golden age of learning and culture, giving birth to many wise men. Naturally, some of the names would sound alike.”
“A few tendays ago,” Aikerim picked up her tail and dusted it off, glaring at silent Shahin, “I would have kicked you all out and sent your ships back home, as soon as I heard this name. Make sure you appreciate my generosity.”
“It is a strange name, indeed.” Shahin nodded. “But I am unfamiliar with the context, my apologies.”
“The number system that my Manor uses has the same origin,” Aikerim quipped.
Yeva could feel the sheer smugness emanating from the lamura.
“It appears that I have struck quite a bargain, indeed,” she murmured and glanced at the rest of the group. “If any of you hiss a single sound without being asked to…”
“They will behave, cousin,” Amir agreed, sending her own glare just in case.
Yeva coughed. “He had found himself in a similar dark chamber. The camera obscura. He wasn’t the first to notice it, but his research on light and its behaviour was monumental. His discoveries were numerous and immense — not only due to the extent of time he dedicated to this cause,” she walked to another window and let a small beam of light inside, “or his perceptive mind that could see the beam of truth in the darkness, but the new method of learning he employed.”
She swished her arm to the side, raising the dust into the air. “You’ve asked me how I can teach you the truth about light with a blindfold on my eyes, and I said that the truth doesn’t care about my blindness. I know that there is a beam of light passing through this room and I know its direction due to the time of the day and the position of the Sun in the sky. And, with the dust in the air, you can see how it travels.”
Yeva reached into her pouch and placed a glass prism right in the path of the beam, casting the light to the side. “Al-Haytham used a technique that was later named the scientific method. Rather than just relying on his observations of the world around him and the logic of his mind, he created tools to perform experiments, to ask direct questions to nature itself and then observe and reason the results he obtained.”
She kept taking out more and more prisms and lenses as she spoke. Some of them landed into light, but she was mostly laying them on the table for the lamuras to witness. “In doing so, he plucked the fruit of knowledge rather than waiting for it to fall into his hands. But the method doesn’t end there. Others noticed that it could be repeated again and again. They could make an assumption, ask nature about it with an experiment, learn from the response, and then use the new knowledge they had just obtained to make another assumption. They learned that it was possible to take the fruit of knowledge, plant it into fertile soil and grow another tree from it, full of new fruits.”
Yeva spread her arms, gesturing to the multitude of glass trinkets in front of her. “What you see in front of me is but a mere fraction of fishing lures to learn what optics is. To learn how lenses behave with such intimacy that you can predict their effect from the shape alone. Or another way around — so that you can calculate the necessary shape of a lens no matter what task you might need it for. Whether you wish to see the stars or peer into a tiny droplet of water on a leaf.”
“He does it all the time…” Shahin murmured.
“Erf. He kept asking me for batches upon batches of glass, each slightly different from the other, despite often knowing exactly what he wanted.”
“Yes. Because the scientific method is more than just a tool. It is a way of learning, and learning never stops.” Yeva noticed the irritated twitch in Aikerim’s tail and turned toward Amir and others. “Why don’t you familiarise yourself with those trinkets? There are covered oil lamps that can make additional beams of light for you to use. They will make future lessons easier to understand.”
She walked around the crowd and approached the sulking Aikerim. “I do not believe there is cause for concern.”
Domina pulled out a rune of silence and deftly activated it. “You were rather blunt about the significance of this method. Knowing what I know now, you might be even understating it. Just like Erf usually does.”
“Undoubtedly. If they take my lessons to heart, their speed of discovery will increase many times over.”
“Are you hoping that they will appreciate the gesture?”
Yeva smiled. “There will be a lot to cover during these lectures and the material will need to be written down. What do you think about having a codex on optics, as well as a codex on the scientific method added to your collection? Written by Shahin Esca, perhaps. Or some other lamura that is eager to have her name spread across the continents, solidifying it in the annals of Esca. And you can gift your copies to your cousins and aunts. I am sure they are wise enough to understand the significance just as the Esca do.”
“And use the pressing machine to craft hundreds of codices at the same time.” Aikerim chewed on her lip. “Still, you could have asked me to provide you with a scribe for something like this. Are you certain it will be worthwhile?”
“The worth is relative — a tortoise is much faster than a snail. Moreover, with the experimental approach, I wouldn’t need to leverage my position every time I am about to teach a new concept. Nor do I wish to waste my time if they choose to memorise my words rather than comprehend the core of my lessons — if we are to take Esca under our influence, it is preferable for them to be competent at what they do.”
Aikerim hummed. “There is a story about an eagle hunting the tortoise. Just because one of them is faster by nature, it isn’t wise to relax. While you and Erf might be the eagles of mundane knowledge, you are very much snails at the topics of the arcane. And you just made tortoises out of a handful of wermage lamuras.”
“We have two magic eagles, however. And you can make as many Kiymetl tortoises as you wish. Besides,” Yeva couldn’t help but grin, “Erf is still trying to understand Flow using this method. The recent results had been rather… explosive.”
Domina rolled her eyes. “I do not need to know the details about what my daughter does in bed.”
“Oh, I am being literal here. He found a link between the moisture of the air and the intensity of fire spells, cast within it. And if there is enough moisture present, the combustion can turn into deflagration and even detonation. Something that Anaise was quick to remind him about.”
She waved at the glowing rune in front of her. “Do you realise that you are standing right in front of a handful of fire mages?”
Yeva glanced at the lamuras. “Err, no?”
“Fire mages that are well-known across the seas.”
“Well,” Yeva scratched her head, “it does make sense. Yusuf is a rather dry place according to Shahin. And if they were able to cast fire magic in such an environment, it is quite likely that their spells would be devastating on the open seas…”
“It means that you are lucky I have maintained silence with my magic.”
Yeva grimaced. “My apologies. What does this mean in the long term?”
“It means we either know yet another secret of Esca that they will undoubtedly be willing to kill for. Or we know a key to their strength that they do not realise themselves. Either way, it means that you can proceed and teach them earnestly.”
Domina placed her tail into her arms and gently stroked its hair. Her face was neutral with only a hint of a smile as she watched lamuras and a few of their glass artisans trying out different prisms and lenses.
“After all, I wouldn’t want them to be incompetent.”
I love the passion for learning, it's incredibly engaging
Are you posting 1 hour earlier or is there some daylight time change shenanigans going on?
Poor Hajar never stood a chance against Erf's charm. Practically no defense.
And Yeva continues speedrunning her tech tree
"I do not need to know the details about what my daughter does in bed."
I am sure that AIkerim would not ask for it, but if Erf were to ask for it, she wouldn't say no.
Yes, there was a time shift where I live.
Catching up is a bittersweet feeling. This chapter is really good. Both PoVs, Erf's and Yeva's are really interesting. I'm eager to see Erf worm his way into the camp. And when the crisis with Esca glass is on the way of being resolved entirely, another crisis, an even graver one looms, with the discovery of the secrets of the "Escaflame".
Thanks for the chapter!
I wouldn't say it would be a similar crisis in comparison to glass as Esca now has a healthy respect for Erf and Aikerim's Manor but welcome to the weekly wait
Why is it I suddenly remember making pinholes in cardboard for watching an eclipse in grade school? Oh, and the image it produced...
Well, that is exactly what camera obscura is. The dark room is only necessary for less bright light.
Yeah, I know. It's just that it was a grade school thing for me. Not sure what point I actually could have by that feeling odd to me.
@Himself1901 Well a lot of our childhood memories have odd feelings to them almost like deja vu sometimes.
@Snusmumriken Ann Arbor used to have a great hands-on museum for Littles with a wonderful camera obscura room in it. It was a remodeled fire station I believe. It's been a while.
@Himself1901 yeah it is a very visual experiment, gets children thinking. main reason why Yeva would try to use it too
Dont know if Erf would be willing to or not, but he could teach the 'First Spear' the basics of Sun Tzu's Art of War.
He will have to be creative because Sun Tzu never met people who can yeet fire and boulders from chicken leg huts.
I think there would already be a good deal of overlap in terms of basic tactics and general doctrine, as Emanai arms are basically medieval armies with the living force multipliers that are wermages.
If they did end up reading Sun Tzu, there would probably be a lot of nodding and murmurs of "Yeah, same," and "Well, duh."
@Tupperwarez thats what i meant by "he will have to be creative". Most of the things in art of war will either be painfully obvious, since Emanai was waging wars as its way of life for a long time, or entirely irrelevant, due to the vastly different individual capabilities.
And in any case, Erf said he didn't want to enhance Emanais military aspects directly, as its not as profitable for him. Of course, if he overhauls other things that can be useful for the military, then oh well.
Sun Tzu didn't create those stratagems - afaik he simply organised something that was known into a book. Emanai is likely aware of them anyway and likely have their own that fit their magical fighting style.
Why did Erf see First Spear on the ground? Did First Spear attack him and fail? Trip? Drunken stumble?
I think Erf's casual mention of wanting a piece or entire corpse of a Creature shocked Hajar so much that she tripped and fell. Erf kind of has that effect on the locals, lol.
Hmm. That makes sense. I suppose it would be like a US soldier on deployment in Africa suddenly telling his CO that he wants an ebola virus sample.
@SiliconWolf yeah that.
Dang caught up with everything. Anyways Back in Book one, with all the talk of the Navigator’s past and humans. I do wonder about a matter of not if but when. When other humans (re)discover Tana. Does Erf trust them, will there be conflict. Could it be one of the reasons why he is advancing technology, improving conditions of Murks (including low standing Wers)? Be it that it may be an excuse for other humans (where some organizations with special interests) to invade Tana when they discover their fellow kind in a derelict social standing, unless it is improved upon by Erf by the time they arrive which will just be all political power plays.
Another thing I want to know is the fashion. Erf is wearing Khalat, or oriental wears, then there is the rag robes or clothes for the lower standing ones or slaves. Will there be introduction to suits with different styles seen in classic parties (think 1920s Great Gatsby), political arenas, business, workforces (White and blue collar). I’d love to see the native’s reaction when mere murks wears a trench-coat and fedora or flat caps, one in tuxedo, one in vests and long-sleeve shirt with ties, etc. Oh and potentially when or if there might be human soldiers; one dress service uniforms (for ceremonial purposes) and another one for combat purposes. I mean you gotta dress to impress.
Speaking of military. Wermages will scoff at the idea of human soldiers. When most of the population are farmers and slaves it makes me think there is a pool for Erf’s military candidate. Especially as industrialization progresses. There will need to be more buildings, factories, housing, and for the sake of well-being, recreational areas. One around Aikerim’s manor and then one day around Anaise and Erf’. And there probably won’t be enough allied warriors to defend against murder, sabatoges, or even frequency of skirmishes or some unknown forces. I imagine them to be more akin to self-defense force at least until forced otherwise. But still would be interesting to see how natives react to human military. I assume Erf would want to hide some details of how they would fight until a later time. All the Wers and Wermages would see at first are a bunch of well dressed murks, marching in unison in their aesthetic dress uniform, some in battle uniform, doing ceremonial drills with their hands and feet and some sort of weird looking spear, while drums, trumpets and other orchestrate music plays. Who knows some female wermages might fall for a murk in his service uniform (would give a me a Great Gatsby Vibe). Probably first time seeing such a clean, sharp looking murk, shaven or well-groomed hair for modern military standards, standing tall and confident with those boots, and has a good jawline. Anyways there will still be plenty who will still see them as weak until they realize how big the murk military is in addition to a fraction of the power they’d witness or if they f*ck around and find out.
So, there can be no buildings higher than Aikerim’s manor, right? Is that where the land Erf is looking for would want to develop? It would cool if a city were to form around Erf and Anaise’s manor. At first it starts of with many surrounding buildings. But then with more people means more buildings for housing, for hospitals, for factories and industrial sites, for military sites, schools and r&d institutions. Oh, and will need administrative building to introduce Murks into politics and municipal management. Then that includes infrastructures for electricity, sewage and drainage systems, processing plants, garbage and recycling centers, mining, maybe even public roads and transport. Probably Erf would keep it as secret as he can but knows it will get out eventually about his estate’s prosperity. Many activities will expose his place such as industrial sites, military or police patrolling, lights, logistics between Aikerim’s estate and Erf’s or even allied estates. But who knows it could be Erf’s peaceful way of showing the Wers what they are missing out on or showing his power and possibly lift the social standing of Murks and even lower class Wers. Plus, it will give him an edge on trading and exchanges. Whether a murk or wer, or wermage of any status, they’d be shocked at seeing a city with such unique architectures; Glass buildings, multi storied buildings, weird aesthetic shapes, clean looking marbles, clean tiles, ceramics, coated wood, colorful paintings, concrete, etc. Oh and you see more technological marvel from horseless taxis to public transits. So many Murks, clean, well fed, well dressed, healthy, doing their jobs. Again, assuming this all happens this could happen after Anaise has kids and even that probably won’t happen until Erf’s military service is over, right? So a long time? Unless of course Erf works on more nanites to put on other people which would still take time.
There are some hurdles in discovering Tana, which I will eventually talk about. For starters -- humans aren't actively seeking out earth-like planets anymore. They don't need to. While Erf did speak to Albin about Tana being unable to counter possible threat from other colonies, his drive to improve is more personal. Partially due to him missing amenities, partially because he wants better life for ppl around him and partially because of what he is.
I dunno about suits. The challenge with fashion is that there is no obvious "perfect" style and suits aren't necessarily an improvement over khalats. Fashion will change of the years but it will be largely outside Erfs influence somewhat (especially since he isn't likely to push for a certain style)
Emanai uses murks extensively as soldiers. To the point where they specifically force would-be freedslaves to enlist in order to earn their freedom. Emanai already has marches, drums and well-dressed warriors so this wont be too much of a surprise for them.
There are buildings higher than Aikerim's Manor. Even Samat city walls are higher than any building in her Manor. And Pillars that are not only tall but floating in air reach even further. Aikerim limited Yeva's ambitions mostly not to stick out too much.
Infrastructure development will definitely show up but it would happen a bit later. Likely in the next book.
@Snusmumriken Oh okay, they have the drills, the marches, and uniformity. Do they have like unarmed drill (JROTC guys call it happy feet), and armed drill (of some kind, instead of rifle but with spears). Though with the Emanai army being small-ish I’m pretty sure they’d be surprised at a bigger body of Murks; more numbers in platoon, company, battalion, regiment, once slavery and murks status rises to prominence. So the current army wears like what knights wear for higher status, and murks are lightly armored foot soldiers? Do they have like a separate uniform for ceremonial purposes, and if so is it only for Wermages? Does some of it look like 18th/19th century uniforms. I was thinking of future soldiers wearing something resembling 20th/21st century dress whites, blues, greens, kakhis, reds, or whatever else. And then there is the ACU/BDU ones like the tan, green, camo modern soldiers wear. I doubt this would happen unless I am wrong but if you go sci fi ACU/BDU route such as the clone trooper, Mandalorian, halo spartan armor, now that I think about it, looks like knight armor but different enough. With introduction of hot weapons and other technology that would change doctrines and drills (firearms, fire and other safety, speedier logistics & mobilization, rules of engagement, combined arms, navigation, communication) would surely be a military culture shock.
I also assumed Erf would be somewhat familiar with the design from some 19th/20th century dress and suits. But just something different to make Murks look decent from their slave clothes for a new era, as they become working class and rise in status that even other even upper wers want to imitate by wearing the new styles. Wasn’t expecting Erf to make it but kinda be the idea guy. House servants would be wearing butler suits. Miners and construction murks would wear yellow vests and helmets and maybe jackets. R&D, Medical, science lab guys would be wearing white lab coats or scrubs. When going outside either to work or leisure time they wear dresses, suits and trenchcoat.
Can’t wait for infrastructure building. Sinks, water towers, pipings, sewers and drains, electricity, roads, rides, etc. Ah. Still is it a concern that it is only Yeva and Erf doing the R&D and engineering work and that it would be that way for a while? Literacy is the upmost importance for other laborious tasks and management, effective communication, reading manuals to run machines. Schooling could take a generation or two to pump people who understand the principal (and theories) of machining, researching, and complex science stuff. Unless he readies up more nanites or finds some kind of magical nootropics along with coffee houses. And maybe a better school system that teaches better than outdated Prussian style of learning or factory memorization style of learning. I know he already has wer craftsmen and would probably find more craftsmen but maybe limited because of numbers or out of caution. I suppose the murks could also learn on the job than in a boring classroom setting with poor ventilation systems. Also, perhaps maybe there would be a sort of aptitude testing for potential murks going into engineering, art, humanities, literature, politics, economy, business, management, math and statistics, etc. It would be nice to see some idea/invention from another murk not coming from Erf, Yeva or the craftsmen working for him already.
@Jenxicorps They have a variety of drills (there was the mention of Erf running both back at home and at the fort. There were mentions of Aikerim guards training back in WB and there was a scene where they were building target dummies for spear and sword practice just a chapter or two ago.
Emanai army isn't small. Arm isn't a whole army. it has a number in its name for a reason. There are thousands of soldiers in the fifth arm alone (that means there are at least 4 more arms elsewhere)
They have yellow khalats over their armours to make them look uniform it will be mentioned soon (if it wasn't already) Emanai doesnt have a lot or cheap dyes (especially blue) to paint in a vast variety of colours. stuff like red green yellow brown black white etc are common others less so.
Camo isn't very important at this level of warfare because generals need to know where their soldier are. Regiments have their flags with them anyway to appear even more conspicuous.
Even murks wear decent armour. they pay it with their salaries.
There wont be any major changes it their style of warfare anytime soon you can't just quickly change how tens of thousands of soldiers move act and train without huge bedlam across all levels that would leave Emanai crippled and unable to defend itself.
Erf is broadly familiar with designs, and might push for some that are useful in his eyes (ie to protect against hazards) but there will be significant pushback (Isra outright refused his recommendations already in terms of safety gear for herself). At the same time - he has no need to push certain styles into existence.
Yeva mentioned on a few occasions already that there will be schools and education present. The whole Esca trade revolves around creation of machinist training corps.
Those are all very broad ideas that a likely to span years if not decades. I am still dealing with the imminent events that are happening in the span of months and weeks.
@Snusmumriken I know it will take a long time and wasn't really expecting him to change Emanai's whole army (If that is the case then a pilot program for new model army could suffice that is if it gets greenlit) but Erf making his (militia, private security or defense force) which I know there will be a lot of hurdles for it out of concern of say Murk rebellion or shift in power and current tech tree. Especially with how Murks who end up prefer living in a land that gives (or potentially) them rights, luxury, freedom, respect, good working conditions and opportunities. Something that will need to be protected forcing Erf to tread carefully for a long time. Anyways, aww, I guess there is no way to culture shock to them about military aesthetics and drills, I was spoiled by other wn usually kingdom building and tech gap, royal/feudal/aristocratic classism, oh well still a good read.
I know about what Yeva mentioned. Just wondering if education would be taught differently compared to some prussian style teaching and other outdated style of education. I know it had its purpose during the industrial era but just outdated now. BDominosPizza$25Venmothanksut then again Erf or anyone isn't some board of education guy nor a concerned academic think tank, so what ever happens happens, any mistakes and blunders to be solved. But hey trade and vocational jobs should be no problem like the machinist training corps.
@Jenxicorps depends what you refer as outdated. Prussian system did bring forth mandatory education, professional teachers, and national standards. Will some of those will be implemented? likely yes albeit of smaller scale (Aikerim isn't in control of entire Emanai and the rest of Emanai won't just give away farmhands to learn how to read and write in children schools.)
In terms of culture shocks -- i prefer to stick with what i consider realistic ones as much as possible. A lot of WNs and LNs intentionally dumb down other civilisations to make MC stand out even more and that leaves bad taste in my mouth. Especially for things that were historically known for a long time.
I don't know your background or anything, but the only people I know who understand the difference between detonation, deflagration and combustion are either chemists or explosives experts. I learnt about that during a course on Combat Demolition at the School of Engineers.
I wouldn't call myself either of those but i did study organic chemistry for my degree. But i do like to learn things on the side.
“A like for the like.” I smiled. “Respect for respect, a Creature for a Creature. And many other things in-between. I didn’t earn my title as the Alchemist of Kiymetl by cosying up close to the Lady of the House. I earned it by creating the impossible.”
The staff rapped on the door.
“Sif!” she bellowed. “Beer. Mine. Bring another mug!”
Hehe. And the fairy makes another blade shine. TFTC.
why break what works
Optics lab sessions were pretty fun, from what I remember. Yeva's got a good point that it'll be easier to convince them if they're the ones making the desired phenomena happen. Plus, I get the feeling that Yeva isn't as avid a lecturer as Erf is, heh.
This does make me wonder what the ultimate end is for Esca's exploration into microscopy. It was mentioned some chapters ago that miniaturized runes were just as potent as full scale ones, but assuming the 'power draw' was also the same, cramming more into a space would just deplete the wermage faster, right?
Then again, being able to fit runes onto smaller items/devices is pretty useful too. Reinforcement runework on fine tools, maybe? Runes hidden from the naked eye might be useful too, but is stealth/discretion that much of a game changer that Esca would go to these lengths?
I don't know how much it will matter that she taught the scientific method to the Esca.
While it will give them faster progress than any other manor, it still takes a long time for this method to bear fruit. Flow might give them an advantage, but i don't see them outpacing the Daimon Duo who already have all of this ingrained in their brains.
My prediction is that they will try to do things themselves, but still end up trading with Aikerim for shotrcuts when they see the slow progress.
Well Esca wouldn't just spill their secrets that easily will they
@Waddup_Dat_Boiii Yes, Aikerim and Yeva talk about that during the eagle vs tortoise speech.