Righty-o, readers! In last week’s article, I mentioned that the homin races are industrious and inventive folk and that this world has indeed seen an industrial revolution. This revolution began in 754 P.W.D. with the first waterwheel powered textile mills. Soon, people began moving on from water power to steam power, which eventually led to the use of coal and oil and the building of electrical power plants. The industrial revolution was in full bloom…but every rose has its thorns.
Unfortunately, the geomancers surveying the sites for oil wells and coal mines found that these resources were limited and would eventually run out if energy consumption continued to grow. Not only that, but coal mining was dangerous work due not only to the possible danger of cave-ins, but also the possibility of methane gas explosions caused by the lamps used to light the dark mineshafts and a terrible and deadly lung disease which was caused by inhaling coal dust. On top of the dangers of coal mining, there were the environmental effects of burning all of those fossil fuels. Forests were being dusted with black soot, the rain was being tainted with corrosive chemicals…and then there was the terrible toxic smog incident in Innis Bend in which three hundred people were killed and many more sickened by a fog which had mixed with factory smoke and become poisonous.
While the average Joe and a few good eggs on the political scene were trying to get regulations passed to reduce the damage being done or searching for less dangerous fuel sources, the fledgling corporate world and the politicians they happened to have in their pockets tried to pass these things off as cases of malevolent application of black magic or isolated incidents which had since been “taken care of.” There were protests, there were propaganda campaigns, people chained themselves to trees, a civil war broke out in Wyvernly over the issue of industrial expansion into the nation…in laymen’s terms, it was a hot damn mess. But, just when things were beginning to look bleak and terrible, help came from an unexpected source—the elves.
You see, the entire period of industrial revolution did not leave the closed-off elf territories untouched. The great mages of the Elvish kingdom of Arcadia had developed a powerful energy source called the magicel. Magicels were created by taking the pure, natural expression of an element (a drop of water, a tiny flame, a spark of static electricity, a little pebble, a ray of sunshine, etc.) and then placing it into a special container and amplifying it through a special magical process to create a usable energy source for machinery. The problem? None of the machines that the elves could develop were able to actually handle the power of the magicels! They’d blow up, break down, or burst into flame after only a few weeks.
The elves needed better engineered machines, but they just didn’t have the mechanical know-how or talent to build them. Eventually, the Elvish King Runan IV—seeing his people’s frustration over the fact that they had this amazing power source and nothing to use it on—decided to reach out to the other nations of the world and repair the bond between elf and human which had been sundered at the onset of the War of Destruction. And so, in the Janu (January by our world’s calendar) of 921 P.W.D., negotiations began and a treaty was signed. With that, the age of coal and oil was at an end and the age of the magicel had officially begun.
Of course, the transition over to this new, cleaner, more efficient power source wasn’t without casualties. Many of the millionaire and billionaire industrialists who had made their fortunes on mining, drilling, refining, and selling fossil fuels lost everything or just about when magicels hit the international market. They were cheap, plentiful, non-toxic, non-polluting, long-lasting, perfectly renewable…and allowed for the invention of machines such as air ships and refrigerators because of the fact that magicels of certain elemental types can grant the attributes of that element to whatever machine they happen to be powering! In short, the fossil fuel industry was sunk practically overnight. The companies which did manage to survive the transition did so by abandoning fossil fuels and electricity and switching over to the manufacture of magicels.
Fast forward to the 1040’s P.W.D.—Wolfsbane’s time. Magicels are the main power source for everything from airships to the family toaster. The tech level of the world is currently, for the most part, roughly equivalent to our world in the first three decades of the twentieth century. There are trains, airships (dirigibles, blimps, and the occasional “sailing ship in the sky,” but no airplanes or helicopters), streetcars, people listen to music on with records and record players, there are telegraphs, a few larger cities have radio stations…but there are no automobiles, no computers, and no T.V. There are magic mirrors which people can use to communicate over long distances like cel phones. However, these mirrors have only very recently come into common use by the civilian populace and not everyone has one yet. They’re spreading fast, especially among young people and professionals, but they likely won’t be as ubiquitous as our own smart phones and flip phones for another few years or so.
Well, that does it for this week’s blog entry. Join us next week when I interview the protagonist of The Star-Runner Chronicles, Wolfsbane Bendis! Until then, remember that book 1, The Rebirth and Awakening of Wolfie Star-Runner is available now on Amazon.com (kindle and print editions) and Createspace.com (print edition). Makes a great gift for yourself or a friend… What? The holidays are right around the corner! Jingle-jungle, man!