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  • Irrigation, part 2.

     Deborah updated 2 years, 9 months ago 1 Member · 1 Post
  • Deborah

    Member
    December 28, 2019 at 1:50 am

    It had been a while. The King had died, Aelbaion had expanded in size twice, and the forest had begun to grow through it in its’ entirety. And by the Chalice was managing that forest complicated. They were looking at its’ water storage trees now, the true giants of the lands that stored water within their trunks and released it when the plants needed it. How this was done was still unknown, but the Vargr thought that it happened when the trees passed water to each other through the interconnected roots–or at least the arborist-druid-biomancer that Duchess Cauvignon had brought down was sure of it. But she was a mage, and Duchess wasn’t, so her assurances were all that they had to go on.

    The Duchess sighed, doing her best to not make eye contact with the very convinced wolf-woman. Carefully, she turned her eyes to the cartographer, a very bearded man who wanted to convince everyone that he was from the Empire. He also wanted to convince everyone of where everything was, but his maps weren’t totally accurate when you got beyond 50 miles by 50 miles. Anything over 100…was a classical map of Aelbaion. His majesty had wanted to do some remapping some day.

    Thinking about his absence did bring a brief pang to Duchess Cauvignon’s heart. Everyone was wearing black for a reason.

    ‘…so, your grace, I have been able to map many of the ridges and hills, but will require some more time to fully complete a proper map…’

    Does this mean that he’ll draw some more of the dragons of it? I hope he draws some more dragons…but that means I’ll be paying him for more dragons. I’d sooner get him out of here. But then I’ll have to deal with the lawyers…

    Scribe quills scribbled in the background. The Duchess had two of them, a brother and sister pair, usually writing in shorthand.

    ‘Ensure that it is done on time, and accurately. You have been commissioned for both, and the entire duchy is relying on you to see these changes through. You are dismissed to your horse.’

    ‘As-as you wish…’

    He could draw dragons somewhere else. The Duchess turned to the Vargr mage, who was looking over a scribes’ shoulder.

    ‘I didn’t say that.’

    ‘Yes you did.’

    ‘I did not!’

    ‘You said ‘and there we shall need a rooting and basing tree on every mountain-’

    ‘I did not say mountain!’

    ‘…you said ‘mount’. That often means mountains.’

    ‘…it means hill.’

    ‘Please, scribes, do not forget that she is from the Duchy of D’Ambecon in her language. What they say there will be what she says here sometimes.’

    ‘…Duchess Cauvignon, I am appreciative of your employment, but please stop doing things with your hands.’ The mage was not used to Aelbic social norms, having been introduced to human society with the Oursuf. ‘It makes me very, very nervous.’

    Inwardly, Duchess Cauvignon was furious. Outwardly, she plastered a smile on herself a little more intensely.

    ‘…I think that we should break for lunch.’

    Food seemed to help. When they reconvened, there was much more moderated and sensible discussion, including some information about sewing seeds next to leats dugs in stone to provide brush cover, some talk about keeping roots from the insides of the cisterns, which the druid then gave a deposition on for general access. The Duchess would later send this information off to the same Chalice-men who had helped assemble the earlier irrigation system. It was to be very different this time: this was to be intended entirely to increase agricultural productivity. The cisterns would be charged by spring and fall rains, and release their water for the crops in the morning and evening of the summer, themselves being fed from numerous leats that could be cut and dug wherever necessary. These leats were not meant to be permanent, but would change with the land. The cisterns, however, were.

    Generally, the cisterns would be sprinkled around the land as needed, with water entering and leaving via gravity. Some could conceivably have animal-powered pumps, but Aelbaion preferred to have its’ animals do other things, and gravity was both cheap and easy. On the insistence (or perhaps judicious edits) of one of the twin scribes, the need for headcounts of cistern and well inspection and maintenance teams throughout their work.

    Later in the afternoon, they would produce another addition to the text: the actual use of the water storage trees that the Vargr so prized. While they could not be used to irrigate a wheat crop, they could extend their guiding sub-taproots to just about everything else. Previous difficulties with irrigation of orchards and the complex systems needed to keep tree roots from rotting could now be done away with in one hookup, fields of valuable berries and flowers could be kept flowering and fruiting, and the many, many trees and vine-nets that were grown against predators and pests would be much less vulnerable to weather conditions–and according to the druid, they would be able to warn each other of sickness very quickly. Somehow, the Vargr had even managed to convince a few of the vineyards to allow them to connect their grapes to the local tree based nutrient networks for a trial run. The fights over terroir and taste had begun already, and while some growers would never accept tree connections on their vineyards as long as they lived, the merchant lords could see avery bright path forward. These trees were truly to be centerpieces of Aelbic arboriculture and agriculture, and they had to receive the utmost importance going forward.

    In the meantime, there would need to be a far more thorough dedication to the preservation of larger amounts of water that animals and plants could consume. Animals were much less prone to illness than most peasants were, while plants did not experience illness as mammals did. Instead, they would have make use of reservoirs–large ponds, or when there were small water bodies, manmade structures. These would be significantly more expensive, but with the advent of the wheelbarrow, making such large holes was a bit more viable. Many hands were currently busy on the castle rebuilding–even now, Duchess Cauvignon could see figures moving to and fro as they carried material up earthen ramps to build the core of an inner curtain wall–but these projects would be shorter and work could conceivably take place in the winter. Stone liners would be placed on much of the reservoir bottoms, and trees would be planted along the sides to shore up the ground. Regular cleaning would have to be done of both outflow channels and the bottom of the reservoir, but they couldn’t risk the ruin brought on by a drought again. Water would have to be guarded vigilantly.

    The Duchess did not know it, and neither did anyone in the room, but these would not be the biggest irrigation projects that the Kingdom would assemble. Multi-mile-long aqueducts, buried tunnels with stone bottoms kept safe from unwanted access by trees planted above would carry water from rivers to reservoirs, and from reservoirs to the farthest fields. They would be almost as long and as important as the Kingdoms’ only civil aqueduct, the elevated Lionvesse Ladder, and would contribute directly to supporting ever greater yields of food. And in the Plowlands, down south, they would even build an artificial lake, shrouded over with trees, it’s surface hidden from the sun by a coating of large lilypads. Before the drought, and before the Eradun, Aelbaion had never considered building anything like this. But the world had changed, the patina of stability had fallen away, and they would need to prepare against it. With the foremost powers of nature on tap, the Kingdom was able to do what it never had been able to before. More importantly, it would benefit from ready water in ways that the farmland had never benefited before…

    – /u/OceansCarraway to -createthisworld
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