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Before he can even think about starting construction on the House Singlance "manor", Grant Knight tasked Thurgood Singlance to start the mining operation for the newly discovered mineral Vulcanium. The first step of this mining operation is, of course, excavating the shaft. Like all other underground mining operations, this shaft will be the only opening to the surface, bringing workers, machinery, and even the extracted material down and up, at least eight hundred feet each way. The first piece of machinery on the scene, in parts, is a heavy gantry crane that can haul the blasted rock up from the shaft. It's waiting as Thurgood drives up in his Ford F-350 with his steam shovel on a flatbed trailer, to dig the soil away from the shaft. The site already has a hole down to the vulcanium, from when he cored down for petroleum exploration. Without a word, Thurgood starts a wood fire in the shovel's boiler as the rest of the crew starts assembling the crane pieces. If this is a good strike, then House Singlance and House Senaria can completely arm the Veluriyam Empire's military, and possibly inject some epinephrine into Ursa Madeum's economy.
Port Thea is a study in warm colors, and the way the sun dapples over the buildings, the sand-yellow bricks, the deep blue ocean cresting on the horizon makes something ache in her chest. This is the first time she has ever set foot on the shores of Thraece, and Varda tries her best not to recreate the expression of a lost puppy as she gazes at the sights and scenery from her vantage point near the carriage window, moving leisurely through the streets on their way to House Senaria’s seat of power on the island. Jasper has it in mind for House Hildebrand—and by extension, Lady Hildebrand herself—to pay courtesy calls to every other noble house in a gesture of goodwill. Having just recently visited House Dali, and for Iyalon to have visited House Uldwar as her representative, Varda had decided to visit House Senaria next, knowing very little about the foreign-born nobles. The wildlife and water conservation projects she has heard about only bolsters her interest. Nai is silent from where he sits across the carriage, dark eyes scanning through the book in his hands with single-minded focus. In truth, Varda knows he had not wanted to come, had not wanted to be displaced from the comfort of his herbal workshop and the diligent care of their ailing mother’s health, but Lady Hildebrand had insisted, and so he had gone. Though Aspen would have been a better fit, more attuned to the relationship of nature and the land than her brother, Varda had a selfish reason for wanting otherwise: it has been too long since Nai had taken a step out of Hildebrand lands, and this foreign visit is one way to drag him out of his shell. She only wishes he’d actually take some time to look around. “It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it?” She taps his shoulder to punctuate her intrusion into his personal bubble. It takes a moment, but then Nai lifts his gaze to catch hers, confusion evident on his face. “What is?” “The city, brother,” Varda rolls her eyes even as she smiles, gesturing out to everything outside the window. “Isn’t it beautiful?” “Ah.” He pauses, adopts a pensive look as he shifts his gaze to the scenery around them. “Yes.” A startled laugh bursts from her lips, and she clamps a hand over her mouth, glaring playfully. “Nai! That’s all you have to say?” He smirks at her, then, about to turn back to his book when the carriage makes a sharp turn, and then there it is, leaving all prior conversation forgotten. Solaria Estates stands proud and sprawling, its facade overlooking the Thraecian coast. The sight of the greenery so close to that brilliant blue beyond sparks a longing in her chest that has only very rarely been addressed: despite her love for the ancestral lands of her youth, Varda had always wanted to live near the sea, where she could farm within sight of the rolling waves framing the horizon. It calms something in her, the idea of that quiet life. “We are here, my Lord, my Lady.” Iyalon appears at the foot of the carriage, outstretched hand ready for her to take. Varda clutches the bouquet of white roses entwined with chicory tight as she alights from the step onto the ground, gazing up at the estate. The color of the stone looks almost like the wheat of her fields; if anything, she thinks she would not feel homesick, not within view of that familiar color. Nai hovers behind her, and soon, the words come spilling out so easily. “Imagine waking up to this view everyday, brother,” Varda smiles, casting her gaze out to the beautiful, restless sea, “with the wind and the waves so close. It’s, um—it’s peaceful.” Nai turns to her, follows the direction of her stare. “You wish to live like this?” He hums in thought, tilting his head as he shifts his eyes back to her. “I can understand the sentiment.” They share a half-smile for one brief moment, then they turn their attention back towards the estate, waiting for their noble hosts to meet them. @danzilla3 @Sleepy Seal
The building was one of many structures that had been abandoned during the reign of the tyrant king, its former purpose now lost to history. It had been left to decay after its builders dispersed, as the tyrant's brutal rule crushed efforts for business development, while at the same time depopulated the capital. After Taen's invasion, several property barons obtained, then exchanged ownership of the structure over the course of the next several months, yet none were able to put it to use. Built of grey brick and timber, this building had likely once served as a guild hall for a now disbanded organization though one couldn't be certain. Either way, it now seemed that the awkwardly large building could no longer find a purpose. At least, it didn't until the arrival of Norkotian Ambassador John Kessler, who immediately concluded that the building would make a more than viable embassy. With permission from from the Taen Empire, he had the old hall purchased on behalf of the Norkotian Union. Using the state funds allotted to him, Kessler had the structure remodeled into a proper office setting, with all the necessary electrical and water lines being installed, even if the city itself was lacking in those services. Kessler had no doubt that Ursa Madeum would be undergoing a rapid technological revolution soon enough, so it made sense to be ready when modern services became available. In the meantime, the building was still comfortable and modern on the inside, despite its rustic exterior. A single black, white and grey Norkotian flag hung above the main door, clearly marking the owner of the structure. Just inside the door, a pair of soldiers in grey uniform stood guard. Another soldier patrolled the balcony above, overlooking the main business space that was mostly of open floor plan. A few walled-off rooms were located to the rear of the building, beneath the balcony, where private meetings could be conducted. On this day, Kessler was scheduled to take part in meeting between three parties. He would represent the Norkotian Union's interests in the affair, particularly the wishes of Grand Executor Joseph Tynes, while Duchess Abigail Karradeen of House Karradeen would be present to represent her own house. Representatives from House Senaria were to be the third party, and were the ones who had sought this particular meeting. As the matter related to a proposed trade agreement between Senaria and Norkotia, the meeting required both the Union ambassador and a representative from Karradeen, due to their own treaties on the subject. Any arrangement would require approval from both of them, as Karradeen had exclusive transportation and resale rights, while Norkotia had to vet and approval all sales conducted with other houses when it pertained to certain goods. And the most important of those goods was taking center stage for this negotiation... @danzilla3