Wandrel moving fort

Developped by Wandrels, based on librarian technology, Moving forts are said to be the safest, easiest way to move merchandise from one town to another.   These hulking vehicles, that have become a staple of the Great Roads in the Sheherp and the Middish Plains, are often as tall as a dozen men, just as large, and even longer. Because no carriage could efficiently move such a behemoth, the forts use the modern Ghostpowder motors technology to move. They travel slowly, barely faster than a walking man. However, they do not stop, not even at night or to refuel. As a result, they have now become the main actors of merchandise flux between cities.   In addition to being massive trading vehicles, moving forts are also a precious military asset for their owning wandrel families. A trading vehicle can easily be armored and adapted for warring purposes, and vice versa. As a military vehicle, a moving fort becomes a mobile base of operation. It is both an impenetrable fortress, and a powerful siege weapon.
Wandrel moving fort
by Pouaseuille
 

Manufacturers

  Most Wandrel families have their own moving tanks, that they have owned and repaired for centuries. When new engines are required, they are either built by the Wandrels themselves, or bought at the Myrgos company.  

Price

  To purchase one moving fort, one should count ~ 100,000 Merinos Blocks.

In the book of Fyaril

  The following document is an extract from the Book of Fyaril, an odd testimony written by a teenage perrot stricken by the Call of the Wall. The extract is about wandrel forts.  
 
Dear Book,   How are you? Hope you are well, whatever 'well' may be for you.
You know I'm alright. How are you ? Where are you ?
As I'm writing this, I am moving away from Merinos at a regular pace: I'm still wanted by the Church, as well as the government. Aneutral has convinced some Wandrel traders to take me with them, they are moving toward the East to sell some clockwork pencil, some jewels, and a bunch of other expensive things against some plants and seafood that they plan on selling back in Merinos. Although their final destination is still under the influence of the Merinos trading network, it is far enough that the Common Cult has less influence there, and I should manage to move further away and get free. I only hope Aneutral is doing well back there.
...
Since there's not so much to do, let me just describe the thing I am in. I think it is called a Moving Fort, or something similar. Although the tribe I'm moving with has adapted the vehicle for trading, I'm pretty sure if was first this one was first conceived as a military thing. But, you know, not like an animal-drawn car meant to charge toward some infantry line. More like, well, a mobile fortress. The engine is capable of transporting a huge mass at a time, but it is not too fast. It is meant to move at walking speed on a variety of terrains, from rocky cliffs to muddy plains, to roads.   Although they didn't tell me much about how it works, I gathered some information from the crew members' minds. Apparently, moving forts are used a lot among Wandrels. Some serve as mobile bases of operation when they wage war against each other or other nomads. I think this one used to be that, and in these situations, the walls are reinforced and a ton of arms can be fired from roughly everywhere. Such a mobile base can follow fleeing enemies over vast distances, or flee itself while remaining a working center of command. The rest of the time, the forts are used to carry goods everywhere. They have such power, and carrying capacity, that a single trip between two cities can bring enough money for a small wandrel family (like, 20 people) to live for a year !
Damn. How does it work? Is it animal-drawn?
No, it isn't : if it was, it would have to stop from times to times to let the animals rest. No, this thing is powered by a Ghostpowder engine.
Ah yes, I remember you mentioning ghostpowder. So how does that work?
It is straightforward, really. You have one large circular furnace, with an axis at its center. The furnace is filled with stone cogs that are engraved with consuming ghostpowder. The bigger the engraved surface, the better. Fuel is dispensed on that furnace, for it to be consumed by the ghostpowder. And the cool thing is, that's it for the engine !
Really ?
Yes. The ghostpowder used here has the property to directly transform the energy it obtains from consumption into movement, with a great efficiency. Because the engraved ghostpowder in the furnace is always toward one specific direction, as soon as you add some fuel, the axis starts rotating with a great power. Then, it is just about using clockwork to turn this rotation into the rotation of wheels, and the adaptation of the vehicle for various terrain.
That seems simple, but also very expensive.
Yes, some other engines exist that are based on burning things, using the heat to boil water, and use the movement caused by the steam. However, ghostpowder engines have a much higher fuel efficiency, which is the reason why military and big trading vehicles have them.
That makes sense. And is it really safe for you to remain close to something full of ghostpowder, which is something that has a massive presence in the spirit world, as you are stuggling with the Call of the Wall ?
That is a good question. I guess it isn't really, but I can't do much about it. At least, I'm safe from the church. Not to mention, it may seem weird but the proximity of the engine both in the physical and spiritual worlds is soothing, to some extent.   Anyway, I hear it is meal time. I'll talk to you later, Book.
The Book of Fyaril
by Pouaseuille


Cover image: by Pouaseuille

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