Lyn Thorne-Alder (aldersprig) wrote,
Lyn Thorne-Alder

Road Map to..., a story of Steam!Reiassan for the Giraffe Call

For kelkyag's prompt

Reiassan has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ; this is a story of Steam!Reiassan, far in the future of the Rin & Girey story

The city had been mapped before.

Everything on the continent had been mapped in one reign or another, the oceans around it charted, the flows of rivers, of aether, called sira now, even the ice movement diagrammed. But as the science grew, so did the methods of charting, mapping, and diagramming, and now, under the Emperor, the entire city of Lannamer was being mapped again.

They picked a corner to start from, drove a deep bronze pole into the ground, surrounded that with a stone compass rose, and settled the whole thing against flood, earthquake, and storm with judicious use of aetheric shifting and quite a bit of praying.

From there, engineers who would otherwise be idle, now that they were in a time of peace, were turned to surveying, measuring with a stick marked off in precise hoof-widths (the hoof in question having been cast in bronze off the original goat some centuries past).

Katyebah, who had joined the Emperor’s engineer team to design weapons of war, was a little disgruntled to find herself measuring buildings and surveying sun- and moon-lines down the streets. But the Army had paid for her education, so the next seven years of her life, whatever her feelings on the matter, belonged to the Emperor, so measure and survey she did. And because her team-mate was a pleasant sort and a grandson of His Majesty, she tried to do so with a smile.

“These old buildings,” Oton told her, “with the sixty degree angles? They were paying homage to the Three. But it certainly makes mapping the streets tricky, with nothing in the old neighborhoods at a right angle…”

“…And everything in the newer neighborhoods all square,” she agreed. She was, at the moment, frowning over a place where one of the oldest neighborhoods met up with a shiny-new set of construction, built on fill over what had been swamp and flood plain. “Pass me the protractor?”

“You think they’re difficult to draw, you should try getting a laden cart around these corners when you’re coming down a hill.” The voice surprised both of them; Oton dropped the brass protractor with a clatter. “Or, worse yet, coming down a hill in winter during the busy time of day when someone’s planted a stand in the middle of the road. If the Emperor wants the city easier to navigate, my lord and lady, he might think of widening the intersections.”

Katyebah had, during this speech, turned to look at their visitor, who appeared to be, from his dress, a carter of some skill and success, with the most astonishing blue eyes she had ever see (to be fair, they were the first blue eyes she had ever seen, as well). She worked her mouth, trying to find the words to tell him that this was just mapping, not decision-making, that she didn’t know if the Emperor even knew he had a traffic problem, that she sympathized with his troubles… But all she could make out, from a throat suddenly dry, was “I’m not a Lady.”

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.
Tags: giraffecall, giraffecall: result, steamcallanthe

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