Great Mine of Briante Revision as of 11:54, 13 February 2018 by Rafferty
The Great Mine of Briante is located in Briante in the Freeborn territory of Kahraman. Custodianship of the Great Mine grants an Imperial title; a seat on the Imperial Bourse; and a seasonal bounty of valuable mithril.
In the Freeborn territory of Kahraman, in the Serra Briante, lies the great mine that shares its name with the region and the town that surrounds it. Perhaps the deepest mine in the Empire, it has been dug deeper and deeper over the centuries to excavate the precious mithril that is found far beneath the surface.
The bulk of the mithril mined in Briante lies deep underground, but advances in Imperial mining techniques mean that the miners can reach it no matter how far from the surface it lies. The Mine takes the form of a great shaft, cut almost vertically into the ground, on the walls of which can be seen dozens of workers. The Freeborn stonecutters pride themselves on their courage and skill, scoffing at the use of safety-ropes or nets and preferring to free-climb, seemingly completely oblivious to the fatal nature of any slip or fall. In recent decades their numbers have been swelled by a surprising influx of League workers from fallen Holberg, and a great deal of friendly rivalry exists between their bands.Tunnels riddle the rock beneath the Briante valley, pursuing the rich seams of metal ore as they extend from the central shaft. Some of these passages make use of cunning pumps that ensure the workers have breathable air no matter how far the tunnels might stretch beneath the surface.
The town of Briante itself is notable for its peculiar structure. Initially a mining village built on the edge of the workings that would later become the Great Mine, the settlement has spread around the outside of the deep shaft that forms the heart of the industry. With traditional Freeborn disregard for danger, the inhabitants have strung rope bridges across the shaft to connect parts of the town, arguing that "nobody in their right mind would walk all the way round the edge when they can just go across the middle". More than a few buildings actually lean precariously over the edge of the shaft itself! The majority of these structures are those that house the great cranes and lifts used to get miners and ore alike between the surface and the depths of the shaft; however, some civilian structures also poke out over the abyssal depths, built on wooden balconies and walkways by a populace with a great deal of experience of supporting heavy loads. The bridges and teetering structures are a regular source of conflict with the mine overseers, who complain that they endanger the operation of the great ore cranes used to pull mithril ore (and other valuables) from the lower tunnels - or present a potentially fatal hazard to anyone working below them.
There is some archaeological evidence that the Imperial (and pre-Imperial Freeborn) excavations here are nothing new. The remains of mine workings stretching back at least to the Terunael period, and in some cases much further than that, have been found along the walls of the valley. Indeed, some scholars who have explored the area around the mine claim to have evidence that the entire Briante valley was originally formed by a great open-cast mine intended to get at the most accessible mithril, abandoned centuries before the Terunael first settled the mountains south of Liathaven. They are largely dismissed as crackpots, however, and seem unable to muster up anything conclusive beyond wild speculation.