Lore from Steamalot

Avalon and the Origins of Steamalot. 

    In 391AD Pope Theophilus of Alexandria convinced the Roman Emperor that buildings holding pagan insurrectionists, including the library in Alexandria, should be destroyed. Not wanting to destroy such a vast amount of knowledge, an order of soldier scholars convinced the Roman Emperor to let them remove a majority of the texts held there and relocate them to the furthest edge of the Roman Empire for safe keeping. Just off of the island province of Britannia was a smaller island, that was selected to house the trove of information. This tiny island would serve as an intellectual sanctuary for future generations. As the first library was located in Alexandria, a name meaning the "defender of man", this island's new name would represent the fruits of man's intellectual labors. This new name was derived from the local language's name for apple, Avalon.

    In the following century many scholars passed through Avalon. They not only benefitted from the island's concentration of information, but they also deposited more research, thus adding to its already impressive cache of scientia. Brittain also benefited from the island as its scholars would pass through there and even set up residences there in order to have easier access to Avalon. Britain eventually became a valuable centre for research. Britain was such an important region that it became an independent tributary state of Rome with its own ruling body.

     As the Roman Empire declined in the middle of the 5th century, Britain became a separate allied state. It still depended on Rome for occasional military force and guaranteed trade routes, but it was otherwise independent from the once ever reaching empire.  The centre of learning, culture, and governance for Britain sprouted from the small shore town closest to Avalon. The town, named Camelot, grew into large city due to its importance and gained its contemporary nickname from a new technology its researchers developed there. Steamalot, is the home for the new and flourishing technology, developed by the Avalonian scholars.

~Typeticus, scholar, gentlemen, philanthropist, philospopher, affineur


Profile of the Great Engineer: Merlin

 

Merlin was the only child of a widowed baker. He was raised by his mother and aunt just outside of Camelot in the small village of Cogswell. Normally Merlin would have apprenticed into his father’s trade or a trade of his father’s choosing. Since his family situation was unusual, Merlin’s mother let him decide. Merlin, who always liked to be helpful, decided that he would become an engineer. This way he could fix up his mother’s baking equipment and make her life easier.

                Merlin was able to find an engineer and Avalonian scholar that would take him as an apprentice. He was lucky to find such a person to take him under his wing, but it meant that he would be away from home for long periods of time. He made that decision reluctantly, but came home every chance he got to show his mother what he had learned and apply it to making her ovens and mixers work better.  The extra work Merlin did when he visited actually helped him understand different ways technology could be re-engineered and propelled his learning in his apprenticeship.

                As Merlin became more skilled he became more and more obsessed with improving the functionality of everything around him. When he wasn’t working for his master he spent evenings and mornings walking around Steamalot tweaking devices for people he knew and a few complete strangers. He often would not even look at the person before starting to “fix” something he thought could use a little upgrade. His tenacity was usually misunderstood as he would generally dart for the most expensive a person owned and start manipulating it. Shouting and threats wouldn’t phase him and people’s anger would turn into curiosity as the young man would simply stand while tinkering with whatever bit of machinery he had grabbed. If Merlin was particularly obsessed he would often not say a word until he was done working; which usually ended up with a presentation to the bewildered owner.

                On one of these mornings Merlin spied a particularly interesting piece of machinery attached to a horseman’s leg. He walked right up to it and started inspecting it. Being completely absorbed Merlin didn’t notice that anything was wrong until two men grabbed him from behind and forced him to the ground. He started screaming that he was being attacked. A gruff voice leaned in and asked Merlin why he was trying to steal. Merlin then started screaming that he wasn’t stealing. He was just trying to help improve the piece of equipment he saw.

A voice, presumably coming from the rider, asked what Merlin would know about his riding brace.  Merlin said he was just curious, but could likely make it work better. He was just trying to help.  The voice chuckled and asked what actually qualifies him to touch his brace. Merlin quickly replied that he was an apprentice engineer and often helped those around his master’s shop with repairs and improvements. Although Merlin was not known by name, locals had been talking about a strange boy that ran around town providing unsolicited repairs to baffled citizens.  The rider admitted he had heard rumors of the rogue engineer that was performing good deeds, he had one more question for Merlin. He asked what qualified Merlin to touch the King’s riding brace.

Merlin was a little surprised. He thought the king would use a piece of equipment that was in better repair. He stated as much, and was quickly lifted off of the ground put face to face with King Arthur. The King’s guard instructed Merlin to apologize at once. Arthur signaled the guard to stop and told Merlin that if he could improve his equipment he would not only forgive this entire incident but he would bring all of the Crown’s special engineering needs to Merlin and his master.

Merlin was able to improve the King’s riding brace and brought a lot of business in for his master. After years of working for the crown Merlin’s master bequeathed his shop to Merlin and Merlin became the official engineer to the crown. 


~Typeticus, scholar, gentlemen, philanthropist, philospopher, philanderer 

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