Flintlocks & Fireballs
Elfholm castle once stood on the edge of the great forest as the first line of defence against a possible elven advance. The Empire eventually removed the worry of elves (as well as most of the forest) with a sustained campaign of cannonfire and in the year 400AS Elfholm castle was left to fall into decay, presiding over a cracked and scorched wasteland.
More recently, with the advent of the Industrial revolution there developed an increased demand for cheap land to site manufacturing facilities on, and the now-barren alkali flats of Elfholm found a new purpose. Elfholm Castle was purchased by wealthy industrialist Sigmund Schmidt, who saw in it both a business opportunity and (more importantly to him) a chance to gain respect from the established nobility of the Empire. Soon, Elfholm castle was not only a centre of industry but of education in the applied sciences.
Much to Schmidt’s chagrin, his new foundation was not only viewed as a poor competitor to the longer-established institutions which had focused on the new flavour of the month, the study of magical etherite crystals. Elfholm simply chugged along, producing engineers and architects.
The big change came when Schmidt announced that Elfholm’s researchers had achieved the impossible: they had discovered a means of marrying etherite magic to technology, industrialising it, creating a technology that anybody could pick up use — anybody who could afford it, that is. Magitech was born.
Despite Schmidt’s financial success with magitech, he clearly wasn’t cut out for life in the limelight. His public persona was, well, unpersonable. Ugly rumours began to circulate that the technology had been stolen, that its inventor hadn’t been credited or paid a penny for it. Amongst nebulous scandal, Schmidt stepped down as chief administrator of Elfholm Castle and sold the lot to the Empire.
Today the college is much larger, the original castle having been expanded both above and below ground. The area within the castle walls is filled beyond capacity with the homes of students and college staff (the cleaners, cooks, and other essentials – the actual professors live in the upper reaches of the castle itself). Nearly half of the castle is under high security and devoted either to producing the essence canisters that power magitech (still a top secret process) or to laboratories covering the testing of military-grade magitech weapons. The castle is linked by rail to Selfheim, a half-day’s travel by train. The castle also has a second railroad, seperate from the main system, leading from the castle walls into the depths of the wastelands. This secondary line is used solely for transporting technomancers and their equipment to a safe distance from the castle.
There’s a good reason the area within the castle walls is so over-filled – the ruins of the great forest were bad enough when the college started, and now they’ve been destroyed by forty years of magical testing, populated only by the results of those tests: some intentional, others just warped versions of the natural forest-dwellers.