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[OL-FB] Ice in the New World
Keymonus posted a topic in Brethren of the Brick SeasBreshaun, Le Bellan, August 622 Imagine you are an Oleander nobleman in Breshaun or a rich Eslandolan merchant in Weelond. You are having breakfast, and you would like a croissant or some butter on a slice of bread... but cows don't fare well in the tropical weather of the colonies, and the little imported butter is often almost rancid. You have lunch, and your servants couldn't find anywhere the seafood you wanted; still better than a few weeks before, when the Count's buffet ended up in a massive food poisoning. Soon it will be dinner time, but drinking anything colder than the temperature of your wine cellar is out of the question. Life in the colonies can be so unfair! But now, thanks to Rimbaud Shipping Enterprises, things are going to change! Fresh butter every time you want it, fish as good as in the moment it was caught, cold drinks in front of the tropical Sea of Storms are just a few doubloons far! Initially, the idea was considered halfway between clever, and absolutely foolish. Ice in Altonia is almost worthless, especially in winter; instead, there is no ice in the New World, so a seller could set any price. On paper, it would make sense, apart from the thousands of miles between Altonia and Breshaun. However, if you are brave enough to fill a ship with blocks of Altonian ice, pack them with sawdust, and sail South as fast as you can, you would arrive in Breshaun with almost two-thirds of the initial cargo. A ship used to transport ice requires more maintenance, and sailing during winter in the rough Altonian sea can be extremely dangerous, but the reward of a successful voyage is high. What in Altonia is worth a few silver guldens -the pay of the cutters and the cost of the transport- in Breshaun can easily be converted into a little chest of golden doubloons! The captains of the winter ships soon discovered that they could also make a fine extra profit by transporting perishable goods in the hold: deer meat, barrels of butter, or cheese would, in fact, arrive in Breashaun almost as they left the port of Ulrich. A little amount of ice is not unloaded from the ship: it will keep the hold cold enough to deliver some fresh products- mainly tropical fruit- to the motherland. Pineapples and bananas started to appear more often on the tables of Oleander nobles, even if they are still considered expensive luxury foods. The Ice Queen has just arrived in the port of Breshaun. With several tons of ice and a dozen barrels of butter, her voyage could be considered a success… provided that the goods didn’t melt in a few hours! The precious ice cargo melting on the piers would be a terrible sight for the captain! A few icehouses were therefore built in Breshaun harbor. These warehouses are built below the ground level and allow safe storage of ice and imported goods. At the same time, they offer the opportunity to preserve fresh fish, meat, and seafood for a longer time. —————————————————— The ice trade from Ulrich to Breshaun is organized and controlled by the Rimbaud Shipping Enterprises. The Rimbauds, as several minor families of the little Oleander nobility, invested their money in the New World, while the most important families remained more focused on their crops and estates in the motherland. The flow of gold and silver arriving from the colonies is now shifting the balance of power among the Oleander noblemen, with the most conservative families remaining behind. On the ground floor of Breshaun offices, the representatives of Rimbaud Shipping Company organize all the steps of the ice trade, from the cutting on Altonian lakes to the maintenance of the icehouses. Ice, however, is only one of the activities of the Company: gunpowder and silver on Ile de Zeus, gold on El Oleonda, and soon copper on Ile Dionysus... all these activities require supplies, workers, armed guards, transport ships, and even the building of infrastructures. Stacks of letters and accounting books are therefore required to organize the net of activities and trade routes. Here, a captain and a representative of the Company have just concluded a transport agreement for the next cargo of ice, that would be harvested in Altonia in a few months. This deserves a toast! On the upper floor, the director's office is far more comfortable. The most important agreements are discussed there, and the most important letters are written there. The destiny of whole fleets, and of hundreds of doubloons, is decided in this office. However, at this very moment, the director is relaxing for a while, enjoying a cold dessert prepared with fruit, sugar, and, obviously ice... one of the advantages of his position! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The other building dominating that area of the port is one of Breshaun commodity markets. Sometimes cargoes are delivered on commission but, more often, they are simply transported to the settlement and sold to the highest bidder. This process practically defines the price of any commodity in Breshaun and, as a consequence, in the whole Empire: wood and copper, silver and wine, fruit and spices... any good can be bought or sold in the largest settlement of the New World! The cargoes are sold with an auction system. The merchants should theoretically sit on the planks and place their bids with calm and order, but this is rarely the case. More often the buyers stand immediately in front of the auctioneer -where some of the goods are exposed- and yell their offers. Dozens of pieces of paper, where the merchants scribble numbers and calculations, must be collected every day from the mosaic floor! Upstairs, additional agreements are signed between merchants and captains. Not all of them are completely legal... in some cases, they involve trading with Lotii merchants, smuggling in Terraversan settlements, or delivering goods to pirate settlements. However, as an ancient proverb says, gold never stinks! Additional pictures: A fortune teller, reading cards in an alley. Overall view: Without the ship: The Ice Queen: -------------------------------------------- Writing the story took longer than expected, but I didn't want to lose the selected pictures. I had planned something similar years ago when I launched a (completely unsuccessful) minichallenge on the ice trade (The Ice King). I'm very happy with the result, even if some parts of the ship are still a little too blocky; I wanted to add sails too, but the masts are not stable enough. I tried to depict Breshaun as more "civilized" than other settlements I built into, with people wearing modern clothes (including servants wearing a livery), elegant musketeers instead of the usual bluecoats, and decorated buildings. About ice trade: I introduced it in a rich and important settlement, but I don't want to expand it too much. I think that ice as an expensive commodity for the richest, some expensive tropical fruit for the motherland, and similar things are perfectly fine in our time frame, while an era of refrigerated food and massive transoceanic trade of fresh goods is not. I hope you like the result!
Life in a vineyard - D'Offren vineyards at Breshaun, Le Bellan (FB
blackdeathgr posted a topic in Brethren of the Brick SeasIt's time for grape harvesting at D'Offren vineyards, Breshaun, Le Bellan. Everybody is running up and down. Grape gathering, squeezing, tasting, putting into barrels and transferring them to a big shadowy cellar. Who needs rum when you got mother nature's sweet wine? P.S: Sorry for the lame photos (taken under really bad yellow lighting and cat continuously pulling the white tablecloth i am using), but i don't know if i have the time to build me any type of enterprise till the end of the month, and i wanted one licenced. If i find time till then, i will shoot the MOC again under sunlight (we do have plenty here in Greece when i am working ) Life in a vineyard by Spy Tha, on Flickr grape gathering by Spy Tha, on Flickr grape squeezing by Spy Tha, on Flickr fresh wine by Spy Tha, on Flickr olive tree by Spy Tha, on Flickr