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Focused and Methodical
The League; Highguard, and the Brass Coast; Senators; Priests
Last season master architect Frederick di Sarvos offered to design something impressive under the guidance of the Cardinal of Ambition. The architect has instead spent the last few months visiting prestigious centres of learning with an eye toward turning one of them into something truly notable.
He now presents four ambitious proposals to the Empire: to expand Holberg University; to renovate Diora University in Sarvos; to rebuild the Lepidean Library in Bastion; and to create a new school in Siroc.
The only drawback is that the strong-willed architect will only actually draw up the plans for - and work to build - one of the four, and is waiting for the Senate - or the Bearer of an Imperial Wayleave - to decide which that will be.
“To build a college you need to have invented writing, and built a big enough city that you’ve got space for layabouts.”
Vauban winced slightly. “I hear they prefer to be called students,” he said carefully.
“Ha!” Frederick was in a volatile mood, full of dangerous energy and enthusiasm. “I wasn’t talking about the students. Most of them actually want to get something out of their education. They’re ambitious. I was talking about the professors, all too keen to rest on their laurels and just teach people by rote. Half of the professors I know haven’t had an original thought in the last decade.”
Vauban shook his head and rolled his eyes behind Frederick’s back. The master architect’s caustic opinion of his fellow academics had made him few friends at the University. The man himself just considered this to be more proof of the limited vision and thin skins of his so-called peers. Many of the students privately found it entertaining, especially when the Master Architect used his acerbic wit to puncture one of the less popular professors in a public altercation. They regularly speculated that far from quitting the Civil Service in pursuit of greater challenges as he claimed, he’d actually been thrown out by the Consitutional Court for his sharp tongue and inability to suffer foolishness.
“Obviously I don’t want to appear over-cautious,” began Vauban taking a different tack. “But they’re not small projects and…”
“Iron triangle.” Frederick interrupted testily. “Cheap, fast, or worth a damn. Pick two.”
“That’s not really an answer though is it?” Vauban tried again.
Frederick was paying him no attention. Instead, he was gazing out across the water to where Menno van Ritsjhof’s newest design was being made manifest. He had his hands raised, framing the scene, chewing his moustache with a speculative look in his eye.
Sensing an opportunity, a young Freeborn lass launched into an engaging spiel about the fine fruit she was selling. Vauban had not realised quite how hungry he was - Frederick was an early riser who considered breakfast to be a trick designed by the slothful and lazy to steal an hour of the day away from the ambitious. Money changed hands, and Vauban leaned against a wall to slice up and eat his oranges.
He had no clear idea why they were in the City of Sails. Over the last few months they had visited each of the League cities; the White City in Bastion; beautiful Seren; the bustling grand market town of Meade; far Kalpaheim in the west; and even made the trek to chilly Gildenheim, City of the Orcs. Siroc was impressive enough, it was true, but it was hardly a place Vauban associated with “academic excellence.” With the Winter Solstice barely two weeks away, Vauban was beginning to feel a little homesick for Holberg.
As Vauban finished his breakfast, Frederick pulled out his notebook and began scribbling furiously in it, occasionally glaring accusingly at various buildings along the waterfront.
The younger man threw the remaining peel aside put his knife away, and joined his mentor by the railing.
“We’ll need to dredge part of the harbour, obviously,” Frederick was muttering to himself as he wrote, “and we’ll need something a sight more durable than canvas…”
He paused for a moment, staring intently at something only he could see, his dark eyes flashing, his expression one of absolute focus. After three long heartbeats, he snapped his notebook closed, slipping it into a pocket an running one hand through his salt-and-pepper hair as a broad grin swept across his features.
“But it can be done.” He finished confidently. “It can definitely be done.”
He appraised Vauban speculatively as if seeing him for the first time.
“Thoughts!” he barked. “I assume you’ve come up with some while you were wasting your life eating oranges?”
“Is now the best time to be working on universities?” asked Vauban a little testily. “Only the Empress has obviously declared that white granite…”
“Not my problem”, interrupted Frederick breezily. “I’m the genius who designs and builds the things; someone else will have to deal with the politics. Anyway! We’re done here,”
The master architect patted the packet of papers he had tucked inside his jacket. “We’ll spend the rest of today putting together my proposal for Siroc, and the tomorrow morning you’ll find us a boat to take us back to Sarvos. Time to head home I think.”
As Frederick took off along the quayside back toward the inn where they were staying, Vauban hurried to keep up.
“I think they prefer to call them ships,” he said. It was part of his job to challenge Frederick and his assertions whenever possible and he liked to give good value.
“Ships!” Frederick barked a laugh, gesturing expansively around the docks of Siroc. “When our new school opens - assuming that’s what they decide they want - they’ll blush with shame at the idea that they ever called these things ships!”
Master architect and lecturer at Holberg University Frederick di Sarvos has presented four proposals to the Empire, following guidance from Cardinal de Coeurdefer of the assembly of Ambition.
He is offering to draw up plans for, and oversee construction of, ONE of them. You can learn all about the proposals here -> http://bit.ly/Wof_Focused
The shortlist consists of three prestigious universities, any one of which would become the Empire’s premier centre of learning, or a new School in Sirroc that Frederick confidently predicts will be the premier centre of Imperial learning within two centuries.
We’re only putting up two Winds of Fortune this evening - recent unforseen circumstances have played havoc with out plans - but anticipate seeing more of them over the next several days.
Oh - before I forget - its the late booking deadline at midnight. If you haven’t booked yet, but want to avoid paying on the gate, now is the time to do so.
#SomethingAboutStudents, #WhereToBuildYourWonders, #IfYouBuildItTheyWillCome