Weaving a new way, a story of Reiassan, just-pre-Steam!Callenia, for the Giraffe Call (@lilfluff)

For [personal profile] lilfluff‘s prompt.

In the era of Empress Eetanasaria; before the Emperor in which most of the Steam!Callenia stories are placed

“But what is it?” The head of the Textiles Guild stared at the contraption, keeping a good distance back, in case it bit, or exploded. Down in the ironworker’s corner of the city, things were prone to doing that.

Byornon smiled, and fingered the glass beads in his beard. “This, Sir, is my life’s work. I have spent every moment not dedicated to the Empress’s Army on this machine, and on the machines necessary to build this machine. I believe it will change your life forever, and mine as well.”

“But what is it?” The Guildhead stepped back a bit further. A machine made by one of The Empress’s engineers that could change his life… if it blew up, it was likely to be on purpose.

“Let me show you.” That didn’t reassure the Guildhead. “Better yet, let me show you and three of your best weavers.”

“My wife and daughters are my best weavers. I will not bring them to this… place.”

“Then I’ll show you, and you can then show your wife and daughters.” Byornon was undaunted. “Just take a couple more steps back, and I’ll get it heated up.”

The Guildhead was more than willing to step back. “But what is it?” he repeated.

“Oh!” Byornon tossed a handful of coal in a boiler, and three of the aether-filled red stones that powered some of the Empress’s great war machines. “It’s a loom.”

“But we already…” Byornon threw a large lever, and three smaller ones, and gears began clanking. A small brass shuttle began whirring up and down on a wire as the frame clicked from one side to another. “We already have…” The shuttle, which looked like nothing so much as it did a small weasel-kit, dragging a long tail behind itself, was setting up the warp. “We already have a loom,” the Guildhead wailed. His weavers were not going to be pleased.

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0 thoughts on “Weaving a new way, a story of Reiassan, just-pre-Steam!Callenia, for the Giraffe Call (@lilfluff)

  1. Come now guild head, you can make this a win-win. Establish some sort of junior mechanized loom operator level of guild membership and get the crown to recognize your authority over such. Then play up the craftsmanship of hand woven goods and jack up the prices on such by a large margin. The public is happy (cheaper fabrics, fancier clothes for all!). The artificers get to keep making their nifty toys, with backing even. The merchants who back the machines get to make nice tidy profits. And the workers have guild membership (even if at a junior and less respected level) and a powerful backer if the factory owners try and lean on them too much… Yeah. As likely as any other utopian fantasy to actually work out right.

    • That requires an awful lot of foresight. The engineer might have a chance of forecasting some of that, though given how his presentation is going, he hasn’t planned out the human side of this much. The head of the possibly tradition-bound guild, with his whole family involved in it, and possible phobias about steam tech? He’ll be doing well if he doesn’t pretend he never saw the steam/aether loom.

        • Eventually. Possibly even now. But it sounds like a bit of social engineering might have made this go more smoothly. (Geek enthusiasm for devices scaring non-geeks? Nah, that’d never happen …)

              • True. But I like there being a bit of a disconnect between the workers and the artificers. It fits their mindset.

                • I’d argue that the Guildmaster could be pretty far removed from being a run of the mill worker, though perhaps his wife and daughters keep him connected. I’d be curious to know what they’d think — though it being an Empress’s reign, I doubt they’d disagree with him where he could hear regardless. Wrenching social changes caused by technical changes are very industrial revolution, yes.

  2. Oh my! It’s like the goatless carriage, just as game-changing! I wonder if the clothes get less ornamented in the Steam! setting, since while more people can afford nice fabric they probably can’t afford the embroidery…

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