One of the great triumphs and tragedies of Dwarven society is the great geared city of Presamaesto. The city hit its apex during the great season of Hibernal, the 4 year winter. Where other workshops went underground, Presamaesto continued to flourish under the guidance of the white-beard Dwarf, Kakoan Meago and his three young disciples who were collectively known as the three bitter geniuses.
Kakoan Meago was, by far, the eldest Dwarf in recorded memory at over 520 years when Hibernal occurred. His knowledge of gearcraft and magic was second to none and it is said only his three disciples even had the faintest hope of understanding the majesty and intricacies which he toiled upon. Not only could Kakoan repair any of the mechanics of old, but also create new inventions that boggled the imagination. The entire city of Presamaesto was built upon a clockwork sundial that rotated during the daylight hours and folding in upon itself during harsh weather or outside threats. Also the city itself could ‘walk’, albeit very slowly should the need arise.
Presamaesto was indeed the finest of the Dwarven workshops and it sponsored a learning academy where the brightest would learn gearcraft and magic. It is at these academies that most of today’s knowledge of gearcraft originated. It was also a stoic place of worship dedicated to the life-bringing God of Nannaron, whom Kakoan himself paid homage. It is said that some of the walking machines he built were imbued with the faith of Nannaron.
After the end of Hibernal, Presamaesto was pressured by the refugees from lost workshops and abandoned cities. With their resources strained, the city itself suffered under the deluge of people and was forced to turn some refugees away. Kakoan found this unbearable and created many clockwork golems to aid the refugees who were denied entry into the city. Although these bronze and silver gelded golems were simple machines, they could toil endlessly and were put to good use by the thankful outcasts. The three disciples of Kakoan; Suirom, Tsande, and Jurez toiled along with Kakoan for nearly a decade creating this army of geared golems.
Eventually the refugee crisis dampened and new workshop cities began to spring up over the ruins of the lost old ones. The clockwork golems were integral to the creation of these new cities with their endless toil. Estaoculus, the summer of eyes, occurred a decade later which put these workshops to the test - thankfully most managed to survive. Estaoculus also changed the three bitter geniuses of Kakoan; Suirom, Tsande, and Jurez. Each had gained the Oculus and with it a new demeanor. Suirom, the power to copy any action he sees. Tsande, the ability to stave off age and sickness. Jurez, the power to pass his knowledge to metal.
Kakoan was at first wary of the Oculus but was eventually delighted by these new gifts granted to his students. They added to his already ingenious creations and he thought that finally someone would surpass him in his ability. It was thought Suirom would be this person, who could copy any action flawlessly. He learned much of Kakoan’s repertoire and also those techniques of the others. While Tsande and Jurez had great gifts themselves, it seemed that Suirom would be the true protégé of Kakoan.
Unfortunately Suirom had a great lust for power and he eventually learned that he could copy other Oculus powers if he saw them in use. He spent a great deal of time finding other Oculus users and copying their powers for his own use. The Oculus however is a demanding a stressful thing even in the correct hands, and it crushed much of Suirom’s former self. In order to copy another’s Oculus, he would resort to deceptions, violence and even murder. It was some time later when Suirom tricked Tsande and Jurez to copy their powers and slay them. Kakoan himself managed to intervene and a great battle ensued. Kakoan stood with Tsande, Jurez to thwart Suirom and his amassed collection of Oculus abilities. Presamaesto was devastated in the battle as the clockwork machines of the city waged battle on behalf of both sides. Despairing over the carnage done to his city, Kakoan beseeched Nannaron to free the machines from the influence Dwarves and so it was done. The machines no longer obeyed the will of Suirom, or anyone else for that matter and Suirom was routed. Kakoan unfortunately did not survive and was laid to rest in the center of the city by Tsande and Jurez.
Tsande and Jurez led the refugees of Presmesto to other workshops, who remembering the kindness of Kakoan, took them in. Tsande went into wilderness and sought hermitage. Jurez wanders the world in search of Suriom and to bring him to justice. Suriom himself is assumed to survive and is known as a great traitor although it is not known where he fled. He would undoubtedly be insane with knowledge of so many Oculus lines within him.
Tsande has mostly stayed in hiding, although a few appearances have been recorded among traveling Elves and Halflings. Jurez walks the world in search of Suirom. In an interesting side effect of this, all knowledge Jurez gains seems to be passed along to the golems that he created with Kakoan. It is unknown how many of these clockwork golems still exist, but it can be deduced that quite a few can possibly still exist. Speculative white-beards surmise that Jurez has a meager amount of control over these golems, or at least the ones outside of Presamaesto.
Presmesto now exist in a partially ruined state. In the past century the city was expected to fall and decay. This is not true however as it seems the clockwork machines have managed to adapt and still toil among themselves, bless by Nannaron with free will and their own motives. It can be surmised that Kakoan’s last prayer has had a lasting effect that still is active today. Clockwork golems and strange geared beast can be observed within the city limits. Few venture in however, as the inhabitants are erratic and otherworldly in appearance and action. Interlopers are forced to flee soon upon entering or are simply never heard from again. To make matters more complex, the city itself wanders the deep wilds, forever in motion.
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I have an affinity towards clockwork and steampunk elements in my games. I do not want these to be a dominating thing, but certainly to have elements that will leak out into the larger dark-age world. Something like pin-points of technology in an otherwise spear-chucking habitat.