The engineering corps is the most important corps in the army and the alchemy manufactory is where the most important work of all is done! All ammunitions and uniforms for the army are created here—and we're also the only battalion that can blow up one of the biggest cities in France and all of its inhabitants if we make a mistake! This adds a nice pinch of spice to our daily job!
The history of the manufactory
The army has one alchemy manufactory and it is located in Lyon. This is where all ammunitions for the canons are made before being transported to be stored in the arsenals. Thus, it is a very strategical place.
Of course, all those weapon manufactories and those people we will not name in Saint-Etienne think they are more important, yet not one of them would dare go on a battlefield without the protection of one of our uniforms! And there are many of them but only one of us, so who is replaceable here?
The choice of Lyon has been made because of its ancient history as one of the capitals of Gaul under the Roman Empire. At the time, potions and alchemy were already in use in battles, although it was highly limited by the absence of stabilisers, preventing them from being sent at too high velocity. Because of its central and strategical location, Lyon was the main site of production in Gaul for potions and alchemy. Since then, Lyon has kept its highly qualified alchemist and potioners and so it has always kept at least a few workshops, even when the city itself lost its prominence.
When the silk trade restarted in Lyon, a very natural association was done between the canuts and their silk and the alchemists and their dyes, for the profit of both. At the same time as weapon manufacture developed under the royal authority in the 17th and 18th century, the kings opened royal alchemy research laboratories in Lyon. Contrary to weapon manufacture however, ammunition creation quickly required enormous vats and large runic circle, and so big lands and monetary resources. It has also always been extremely dangerous for everyone in its surrounding, which is why it did quickly go under full royal control and has not changed even under the revolution and its defence of free trade.
Because of its dangerousness, the alchemy manufacture was first located outside of Lyon itself, on the left bank of the Rhône that was mostly empty at the time, with only small defensive castles and fishermen houses. However, since the city has recently grown and expanded to that bank, this has caused many safety concerns and nearly missed disasters.
Scandal in Lyon!
Because of the king's negligence regarding the safety measures at the military alchemy manufactures, a reaction went out of control and threatened to engulf the entire city! By miracle, young Colonel Lucien Esselin was able to set a filtering ward over the whole city, breaking all time and scale records in the process! Two hundred thousand individuals owe him their lives!
— Newspaper clipping
New administrative map of Lyon by AmélieIS
The manufacture is located in zone 7, Guillotière-Sud, inside of the wards of the city represented in red.
The manufactory is under the direct control of the engineering corps, with one of their colonels, Adalinde, directing the production and the research labs. She has an entire battalion of engineers under her leadership, including [redacted name of the sergeant]. The engineers are responsible for the research labs, the management and the protection of the manufactory and its resources, and the supervision of the workers.
Only thing to remember is we're the most important people around!
The workers are all soldier-workers, fully enrolled in the army and so enjoying a number of benefits and obligations from that. This includes strict discipline and working hours, and roll call, with the compensation of having a fixed salary, guaranteed jobs and retirement pensions. The most important rule, however, is in the secrecy of all that they do inside the manufactory, since this is where the most innovative military technologies are created and produced, including the uniforms and their revolutionary silicone layers. Any contravention to the secrecy rule is punished by the death penalty.
If they cannot serve us alive, they will serve us in death and go fuel the border barriers!
Another traitor has been caught attempting to smuggle our uniforms to the English! It has been announced that he will go in front of a court martial tomorrow. Let us do away with the formality, I say! Directly to the guillotine with all of those disgusting animals!
The workers are all free to live inside the city of Lyon itself or in the new residential areas built in the direct surrounding of the manufactory, although some barracks have also been made for immigrant workers newly arrived in Lyon without any family in tow. For the engineers however, quartering in their barracks is mandatory. Those are also located directly next to the manufactory so that they can better ensure its security and supervision and that they can be the first to know in case of a problem—and the firs to die too.
All living together under the close watch of the colonel... But I assure you, we always find ways to have some fun nonetheless!
The manufactory covers an immense ground area that has been elevated by a few meters so as to be protected from the flooding of the Rhône river—highly necessary given how frequently this occurs. The whole ground is also completely surrounded by an enormous runic circle so as to set double wards to both protect the manufactory against outsiders and to attempt to contain any catastrophe inside of it. The site is then divided into different zones, each with their own protective wards as well as wards to achieve different effects such as prevent outside magic from contaminating the potions.
At least that's the theory... I swear since Lucien Esselin left the warder division to become king, nobody knows how to raise a proper ward!
Several buildings are located inside each ward. Most of them are made of one big room with metres-height ceiling so as to fit the enormous vats, distillation tubes and other chemistry and alchemy equipment. More runes and geometrical patterns are traced everywhere inside and linking all equipment together. Those are either painted on the ground with special solutions, either to be permanent or to be erased regularly, or they are directly dug inside the ground to then be filled with different liquids or melted metal depending on the needs. The equipment itself is made in metals or glass with different molecular components depending on the effects required.
Another favourite punishment from the colonel is to set people to clean those grooves. The workers always appreciate being able to stand back and laugh at the attempts of misbehaving soldiers!
Among the zones of the manufactory, one is reserved for making the dyes and silicone, and cleaning solution for the uniforms. Most of the other zones are dedicated to the production of different types of ammunitions, and one is where all the coal powering the alchemy reaction is located. The favourite section of all engineers, however, is the research laboratories, where they can experiment with smaller scale alchemical reactions and have fun with their magic and creativity.
Alchemy is the most interesting magical field to experiment with—it's the only one where making things explode is considered a success!
What, deaths? We've only had a couple ones during the experimentations! Couple of imbeciles blew themselves up by mixing the wrong chemicals—I'm joking of course!
Built directly next to the manufactory external wards are the engineers' barracks, the workers' barracks, and a smaller barrack for the medical officers who are responsible for all military personnel stationed in Lyon. Having them nearby is very helpful when workers manage to poison themselves with the fumes of the compounds they are working with despite the protective wards and equipment they have to wear...
That's where the leeches are kept and where we sent recalcitrant soldiers!