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Graciana fiddled with the end of her braid that was draped over her shoulder. She couldn't resist playing with it even though she knew it was a sure tell that she was losing her temper. It wasn't that the fact the prince was deliberately dragging this out that was annoying her, it was the fact that she couldn't work out why. The woman clearly wanted something, so why not just spit it out? Dealing with citizens of the League always set her teeth on edge.

Eventually, after an interminable pause as the prince pretended to study the paperwork, her non-existent patience finally snapped. "I need your support Reyhan and It doesn't matter what it costs. The Imperial Senate can pay whatever price you name."

Reyhan von Temeschwar, the merchant prince of the Hod Hands, was a broad-shouldered woman with a muscular physique honed by years of hard manual labour. Still she smiled sweetly as she looked up from the documents. "That's very reassuring Graciana, and I shall certainly bear what you've said in mind. However, I rather suspect it does matter what it costs, it just doesn't matter to you." She cast her eyes down as if she were still reading, but she carried on speaking just the same. Her tone changed slightly though, perhaps a sign that she was finally getting down to brass tacks.

"I have in fact already seen the plans drawn up by your department, and I'm keen to be involved. However any support that my guild can offer for this new endeavour will be contingent on two requirements being met. First that any brickwork for the new building will come directly to the Hod Hands - for a reasonable price of course. And second, that the new Imperial title will be a national League position with a clearly stated responsibility to use its position to enrich the League."

Graciana blinked in confusion at the woman's words. Having expected the financial demands to outweigh the political ones she was a little surprised to be hit with the reverse. She still had enough composure not to let this moment slide through her fingers. "Fine - I'm more than happy to include that in my report. The Senate can decide if they want to proceed on that basis."

"Excellent! In that case you'll be pleased to know that I've already taken the liberty of discussing my proposal with Istella, Nikolai and Gregory and I'm pleased to say that my fellow princes are all a similar mind."

Graciana couldn't place Nikolai, but the other two names she did recognise. Istella von Temeschwar, was the merchant prince of the Grey Slate Cartel, the biggest guild of roof layers and slate cutters in the city. Gregory was presumably Gregory di Vargat, his guild owned three of the largest timber forests in Northern Temeschwar and his carpenters claimed to build the best roof trusses in the League.

She'd been planning to speak to both of them, now it seemed she would be saved the effort. This was all turning out to be easier than she'd expected.

Il Volpe.jpg
Lorenzo Macelliao "Il Volpe" von Temeschwar, pictured here shortly before his tragic Winter 383YE demise, was responsible for commissioning numerous ambitious projects around Temeschwar and indeed the Empire as a whole.
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The Imperial Senate has instructed Graciana i Lòpez i Guerra to look into the potential to construct a university in Temeschwar, one that will increase the number of commissions the Empire can initiate each season by at least one.

The appraisal will not be easy. It would be relatively uncomplicated for Graciana to look into ways the Empire might increase the number of commissions they can handle each season, and equally possible to consider the opportunities that might be had by constructing a new university in Temeschwar. What makes it much more challenging is trying to do both at the same time: to find a way to increase the number of commissions available to the Empire by building a university in Temeschwar.

Graciana's report makes clear that these restrictions have meant that she has not been able to consider all the possible benefits that a new university in Temeschwar might have provided. Moreover the options she has identified for increasing the number of commissions are more expensive than they might otherwise have been. The prognosticator already has a well-deserved reputation for creating expensive solutions to problems, so these options must be particularly expensive for her to feel the need to call it out.

A motion to appraise an opportunity to construct an Architectural University in Temeschwar that would provide the Empire with at least one additional build slot. The appointed prognosticator is Graciana i Lopez i Guerra.

Proposed: Karsk, Seconded: Miekarova

Temeschwar's Strengths

When Imperial citizens think of engineering or universities, it is Holberg they imagine. The great city is famed for its huge walls, the largest in the Empire and possibly in the world, but it is also the home of the Empire's first university. It is widely accepted that the University of Holberg is the foremost centre of learning for medicine and engineering in the Empire, and the recent plans to expand the University and create the new title of Chair of the Wolf reflect the city's predominance.

However, there are universities with their own schools of learning in every city in the League, and Temeschwar is no exception. Regrettably, the city has no great tradition of studying engineering that might be expanded upon. The University does have three well-respected departments; the Vacastrian School of Metallurgy, which studies the use of metals and produces many highly qualified artisans; the Faculty of Mining, dedicated to researching and teaching new techniques for improving mines and the Barred Doors, a small but important college that studies wards and warding magic. All of them have some potential for expansion, but none seem guaranteed to meet the criteria for the appraisal.

In the end Graciana is forced to acknowledge that the existing academic facilities in Temeschwar don't lend themselves to the requirements of the Senate appraisal. However her investigations do reveal an appetite in Temeschwar to work with the Prognosticators Office and she soon finds a number of ambitious citizens beating a path to her door. Together they are able to put together some options, any or all of which could be enacted by the Imperial Senate.

A Prestigious New University

University of Temeschwar
Commission Type: Folly
Location: City of Temeschwar, Hanuri (in Temeschwar)
Cost: 60 wains of white granite, 30 wains of weirwood, 180 Crowns, six months
Effect: Creates Master of Rings title
Limited: Remains available until the end of the Summer Solstice 385YE
  • A new university building would require 60 wains of white granite and 30 wains of weirwood, and cost 180 crowns. It would have to be constructed in Temeschwar in Hanuri and would take six months to complete.
  • It would create a national League title, the Master of Rings, which would need to be appointed by the Imperial Bourse by Tally of the Votes
  • The Master of Rings could announce one civilian commission in the Imperial Senate which would not count against the maximum number of commissions the Senate could authorise each season
Temeschwar Project.jpg
Proposed plans for part of the new university.

After lengthy consultation with a number of wealthy Temeschwari citizens, Graciana outlines a grand plan to create a new university building in Temeschwar. A set of dishevelled slums on the north side of the city would be demolished to make way for the grand edifice. The centrepiece of the designs is a curved glass dome over a central atrium leading to large lecture rooms on all sides of the chamber. The new facilities would raise the profile and prestige of the University of Temeschwar to rival that of Holberg and Sarvos. While the planned school of engineering might take decades to develop a reputation and pedigree as impressive as that of the City of Holberg it would provide valuable instruction to a new generation of architects and engineers.

Crucially the expanded university would address a wound which has long festered in Temeschwar's side. Although it is possibly the richest of all the League cities, many Temeschwari will privately admit to a belief that the inhabitants of the other cities look down on them. There is a common view in Temeschwar that folk in Sarvos, Tassato and even Holberg consider themselves a cut above their northern cousin. Graciani has taken advantage of this by appealing to the Pride of the merchant princes of Temeschwar - getting their support in return for their backing for a commission that would firmly establish Temeschwar as every bit the equal of the other cities.

To this end, if the Imperial Senate aggress to commission and fund the construction of the new university, then wealthy inhabitants of Temeschwar will provide a number of generous endowments to support academic excellence at the new university. This support is crucial to Graciana's plan as it will allow the city to provide the oversight needed to handle a single civilian commission each season. The merchant princes propose that alongside the construction of the university, the Imperial Senate create a new national League title, the Master of Rings.

Master of Rings

Master of Rings
Title: League national title
Appointment: Annual; Tally of the Votes
Powers: Commission (via Senate Announcement), Contributions (Ministry)
Responsibilities: Increase the wealth of the League
White Granite
75 crowns3 wains of white granite
150 crowns6 wains of white granite
75 crowns3 wains of mithril
150 crowns6 wains of mithril
75 crowns3 wains of weirwood
150 crowns6 wains of weirwood
  • The Master of Rings would have the power to announce a single civilian commission each season that would not count against the limited number of Senate commissions

Appointed annually by the Imperial Bourse using Tally of the Votes, the Master of Rings would be able to oversee a single civilian commission each season, announcing the work in the Imperial Senate. This commission would not count against the normal maximum number of commissions available to the Imperial Senate. The requirement that the Master be allowed to announce civilian commissions is very precise - it would include the ability to commission a fane, as well as any future commission types that might be uncovered. There is some concern about whether the Senate would be prepared to give that kind of power to a new title, but Graciana points out that a fane is useless unless it is ceded to an eternal and that power is in the hands of senators.

In addition, the Master of Rings would receive contributions from the wealthy citizens of Temeschwar, and from the other University faculties. Large amounts of material passes through Temeschwar both from Varushka and via the Northern trade network, and such support would allow the Master to secure amounts of white granite, mithril, and weirwood each season. While the obvious intention is that these materials could be used to help build whatever commission the Master was working on, they could also potentially be sold at a profit to secure other materials or pay labour costs.

However, the wealthy citizens of Temeschwar are not prepared to provide this support without a quid pro quo. They insist that the Senate motion make clear that it is the responsibility of the Master of Rings to use their power to generate as much wealth for the merchant princes of Temeschwar, and for the rest of the League, as possible. They are interested in supporting the Master of Rings because they want to create new economic opportunities for their nation and its citizens; to allow them to benefit from the Empire's prosperity. The wayleaves have demonstrated the worth of the power to commission; Graciana's proposal would increase the number of commissions the Empire could undertake each season, while granting the League an opportunity to benefit from that. The merchant princes supporting the new faculty would look to the League National Assembly to ensure that the Master of Rings was using their power responsibly, and to take action if they were not.

The title cannot be created without this responsibility, and without the title the commission will not do anything.

An Exemplary Scion

Lorenzo's Inspirational Tomb
Commission Type: Inspirational location
Location: Hanuri, in Temeschwar
Detail: A clear symbol of the Butchers' Bank
Cost: Minimum 30 wains of white granite, 60 Crowns, 1 dose of True Liao, three months
Effect: Creates Blood Red Builder title
Limited: Remains available until the end of the Summer Solstice 385YE
  • The Imperial Synod could declare Lorenzo Macelliao von Temeschwar to be an exemplar of Ambition
  • This would allow the Imperial Senate to commission an inspirational tomb for La Volpe in Temeschwar
  • A suitable inspirational tomb would require 30 wains of white granite (minimum), 60 crowns and one dose of true liao, and take three months to complete
  • Once complete, the tomb would create a new Imperial title, the Blood Red Builder

Lorenzo Macelliao von Temeschwar, La Volpe, to his friends is the most famous citizen of Temeschwar in living memory. In fact if it weren't for the Imperatrix, his heirs could make an argument for him being the most famous Imperial citizen in recent times. As the head of the Butcher's Bank, La Volpe and his associates amassed an unimaginable fortune from investments on the Bourse. After most of the Butchers withdrew from public life, La Volpe spent the Bank's fortune establishing great works the length and breadth of the Empire.

La Volpe's legacy is not to everyone's taste. The garish symbol of the Butchers Bank, a giant pair of blood red axes, now adorns some of the most important structures in the Empire, and not everyone is enamoured of the Bank's aesthetics. What nobody can deny however, is his towering Ambition. He made little secret of his desire to become a paragon and worked tirelessly to further his ambitions and to leave a legacy that would benefit the entire Empire.

His recent passage into the Labyrinth has robbed the city of its most prominent scion and now there are a number of citizens in Temeschwar who would like to see his accomplishments suitably recognized. They are calling on the Imperial Synod to declare that whatever his faults, Lorenzo Macelliao von Temeschwar is an exemplar of Amibtion, and for the Imperial Senate to authorise the construction of a suitably impressive memorial. Such a work would require suitable grandeur, as well as a dose of true liao. Once complete it would inspire ambitious citizens everywhere and remind that it is virtuous to put their ambition in service to the Empire if they can - provided it was built in Temeschwar of course.

If La Volpe was recognised as an exemplar and a suitable tomb constructed (it would need to bear the symbol of his bank), then it would inspire Ambitious citizens everywhere. While some pilgrims would visit the tomb of course, its main purpose would be to inspire people to emulate Lorenzo's successes. Followers of ambition would seek to create great works - the kind of commission for which Lorenzo was best known. A suitable candidate would be appointed to oversee the tomb, and to channel this enthusiasm, creating the title of Blood Red Builder.

Blood Red Builder

Blood Red Builder
Title:Ambition virtue title
Appointment: Annual; judgement of appointment
Powers: Commission Great Work or Inspirational Tomb (via Senate Announcement)
Responsibilities: Encourage ambition
Option: If Lorenzo were recognised as an exemplar of Pride, the title would instead be appointed by the Pride assembly
  • The Blood Red Builder could commission one great work or inspirational tomb each season by announcement in the Imperial Senate
  • The Builder could not announce a new great work or tomb until the previous commission they announced was completed, lapsed or had been abrogated or vetoed
  • The title could be appointed either by the League National Assembly or by the Assembly of Ambition

The Blood Red Builder would be an Imperial title appointed by the Assembly of Ambition each year. They would oversee the tomb and help channel the enthusiasm of the ambitious architects and visionary engineers of the Empire. This would allow them to commission great works - but it would also allow them to commission inspirational tombs. Many of those dedicated to Ambition see exemplars and paragons as inspirational regardless of which virtue they are recognised for. Becoming an inspiration to others is seen by many as being a worthy goal in itself, and as such they could easily be persuaded to turn their enthusiasm toward constructing suitably grand tombs for those who lack them.

As such the Blood Red Builder would be able to commission a single great work each season via Senate announcement that would not could against the maximum number of commissions the Senate could authorise each season This construction would be arranged, overseen, and built by the virtuous - as long as they remained confident that the Blood Red Builder shared their ambitions. As such the title would also have a responsibility to inspire ambitious citizens, pursue innovative great works, and generally emulate Lorenzo Macelliao von Temeschwar - although there would be no requirement for them to make everything red of course.

Once a commission had been announced in this way, the Blood Red Builder could not announce a new commission until the previous one is completed, or is abrogated, vetoed or the commission lapses.

While he spread his great works all over the Empire, there are few who doubt that Lorenzo Macelliao von Temeschwar was a true son of the League. As such, while the Blood Red Builder could be appointed by the Ambition Assembly, it would be possible to have the title appointed by the League National Assembly instead. The tomb would still inspire the ambitious, and could still be made into a grand place of pilgrimage as mentioned above, but the title of Blood Red Builder would be a League national position, rather than an Ambition virtue position.

The Question of Pride

  • The prognosticators office has been approached to determine if this opportunity would still apply were Lorenzo recognised as an exemplar of Pride

Following enquiries, the Prognosticator's Office has confirmed that this opportunity would still be practical if Lorenzo were instead recognised as an exemplar of Pride. Obviously, the title of Blood Red Builder would then be appointed by the Pride assembly, rather than the Ambition assembly, and would inspire peoples' Pride in their nation and homes.

A Well-Deserved Break

  • Graciana will not be available to assist the prognosticators office in the coming season

A member of Graciana's family, Ailande i Lòpez i Riqueza has informed her aunt that she intends to be wed at the forthcoming Autumn Equinox. Graciana has been granted leave from the prognosticators office by Gerard La Salle so that she may travel home to Madruga to oversee arrangements for the wedding. As a result she will not be available to assist the Imperial Senate with any appraisal they require in the coming season after the Autumn Equinox.

She will return to work as normal in time for the following summit, so she can be requested by the Senate from the Winter Solstice 384YE onwards.

Limited Opportunity

  • Both opportunities remain available until the end of the Summer Solstice 385YE

Both opportunities - the chance to expand the University of Temeschwar and create the Master of Rings, and the opportunity to recognise Lorenzo Macelliao von Temeschwar as an exemplar and commission an inspirational tomb - remain available until the end of the Summer Solstice 385YE. If the new faculty, or the inspirational tomb, have not been commissioned by that time, then the opportunity to do so will have been lost.

Further Reading