Paul was riding his horse, escorted by several knights. Horseback riding was not the most comfortable thing, but if he was going to quickly reach the great lake to the north, he had to ride there. Alexander was up there in charge of several major engineering projects. He was building canals, locks and dams, so that in time a boat could reach the lake from the capital. He was also in charge of the aqueduct project. The great lake had plenty of water for the entire nation for centuries. They just had to get the water where it was needed.
As the group traveled along the road, Paul knew he was only a day or so out when they began passing Europeans, Arabs, and Indians. Ever since Paulsland came into contact with the other nations, they had been buying their slaves and hiring their architects, engineers, and other experts. Paul desperately wanted to tie the great lake to his nation, and the best way to do that was through a canal system. Paul also desperately wanted to tie the rest of his nation to the great lake, and the best way to do that was through aqueducts. The faster these systems were built, the faster the two parts of the nation would be tied to each other. One day the great lake would be the heart of the nation. And so more slaves would be bought, and brought to Paulsland before being freed and offered a job opportunity at the great lake.
As they traveled, morning turned to noon, and noon turned to late afternoon. In the late afternoon Paul began noticing children collecting green leaves from the plants and trees near the road. Paul smiled. Those kids were helping their parents. Most children helped their parents before and after school. It's just how life is in a world before automation. Girls helped their mother spin thread, weave cloth, sew, prepare food for cooking, and cooking. Boys helped their father in whatever trade he had. Whether he was a carpenter, blacksmith, farmer, rubber smith, or something else, every extra hand, no matter how small, went a long way to helping the family put food on the table. In fact, parents often had to pull their children out of school because they needed extra hands for a project.
As they continued up the road, the children started taking their large bags of green leaves to their parents, and in the distance, Paul saw their destination; elephants.
Elephants ate two or three hundred pounds of food a day. Most of the elephant handlers had a bunch of children. The more food their children gathered for the elephants in the morning and evening, the less food they would have to feed the elephant themselves. If the elephant handler had five children and each gathered an average of twenty pounds of food for the elephant each morning and evening, even an elephant with the biggest appetite would only need an extra hundred pounds of food. The children were doing a very important job because the projects Alexander was working on were using hundreds of elephants.
Each elephant was able to lift between seven hundred and twelve hundred pounds. They were making the projects go much faster than with human power alone; even when it came to setting up the Roman style cranes, they made everything go much faster.
As they drew closer to their destination, they passed more and more elephants, construction sites, and throngs of people that were of several different skin tones and nations. One of the more grand sights was seeing an elephant in a harness pulling a plow that would have taken at least ten oxen to pull. It was ripping up ground for the canal.
The closer they came to their destination, the more complete the projects became. Paul saw parts of the canal that were complete, locks and dams being built at the edge of waterfalls; at other places, the waterfall was too big to build a lock and dam, so instead, they built canals around it and were working on a series of locks to bring boats down to the next level of water. Some locks were built at rapids, raising the water level far enough above the rocks to make it safe for passage.
The aqueduct was a different sight altogether. When Paul first noticed it, they were pounding logs into the ground to give it a stable base. As he drew closer to his destination and the start of the aqueduct, he saw elephants carrying huge rocks to place on their new foundation. Then there began to be scaffolding that allowed the workers to put the rocks in an arch. The further he went up the road, the more complete the aqueduct became, and eventually, he saw completed portions of it. It even had water flowing if for no other reason than to give the workers and elephants a nearby source of water.
Paul knew they were near their destination when they began seeing completed work, and he directed his horse from a walk to a trot. After some time, he saw the small lake his son told him about. For some reason, the great lake had a rather short river that formed a small lake before flowing out into what was being called the Great Lake River. Off in the distance between the small lake and great lake, Paul saw permanent buildings. He squeezed his horse's ribs until the discomfort made it go into a fast trot. Paul was in a hurry to see his son Alexander.
As Paul approached the town, he enjoyed seeing the weird shape they had to make the walls in order to fit between two lakes and alongside a river. At the right angle, the walls looked like they were being squeezed by the bodies of water. Off in the distance, he saw the outline of a Roman waterwheel. This was the only place in Paulsland with a stable enough water level to have them on land. Alexander informed his father in a letter that it was being used to cut stones. To the west of the great lake and northwest of Alexander's town Paul could see the mountains where they were cutting out three different kinds of granite and marble. The granite and marble were used to make the town wall, and they were artistically cut and made a beautiful display. It reminded Paul of a scrap quilt pattern.
They entered the T junction gate, and waiting for them was Alexander. He shouted, “HI DAD!”
Paul got off his horse and embraced his son, and said, “I love you, Son. How have you been?”
Alaxander had a beaming smile on his face. Paul thought his son was just happy to see him, but he had delightful news instead, “I’ve been great! Lishan just told me that she feels a baby kicking in her womb.”
Paul smiled broadly and said, “That’s wonderful. When did you find out?”
“Last week. I was going to send you a letter, but since you were coming, I decided to wait until I could tell you in person.” In this time before pregnancy tests, it was normal for women not to know for sure they were pregnant until the child started kicking, especially since so many married so young.
“I look forward to congratulating your wife in person.”
“She is cooking a large meal for you and your guards.” Alexander looked around and said, “Why didn’t you bring any of my siblings?”
“I am sorry to say that I won't be staying long. After I officially announce the university tomorrow, I will be leaving.”
“Tesla, Vanda’s oldest, is very sick. He has been sick for months and has only been getting worse. I am so desperate for an answer I sent to Egypt, Aksum, and Hymarite for doctors.”
Alexander was shocked and said, “But dad, you hate the doctors of those nations. You have always said they know nothing.”
“They don’t know how to cure anything, but perhaps they can correctly diagnose what Tesla has. If we do not fix him, he will die soon. I should be with him now, but I have responsibilities as king. Perhaps once I know what's going on with Tesla, I can help him.”
Despite Alexander’s joy of a new life coming into the world, he was saddened that a brother he barely knew might be leaving it.
Paul did not want to suck the joy out of his son, so he changed topics and asked, “How do you like governing this area?”
“Well, I am certainly having an easier time than my brothers. The villages surrounding the lakes agreed to join Paulsland immediately, although I think they thought we were more like a trade alliance or something. They liked our seeds, our roads, and our schools, but they almost started fighting when we sent their young men off to man camp. I had to promise to bring them back once it was over, with the caveat that their youths would have to stay in the messenger towers. Considering how easily they agreed to join, I did not want to fight them.”
Paul nodded as his son talked. It was an odd thing. His oldest son by blood was named after one of the greatest warriors in the history of Earth, and yet he has done the least amount of fighting and was becoming something of a diplomat. Paul was proud that his boy was able to take the great lake and its surrounding land without bloodshed. Furthermore, Alexander dealt with former slaves and hired experts from several nations daily. Alexander seemed to have a sense of how to communicate with people and work out deals.
Paul said, “I am glad you were able to work it out with your chiefs. You know I got a message from man camp about the youths from your province. I was told that generally, they are hard workers, but they do not have that warrior spirit. That killer instinct. It was an easy decision to send these youths your way, at least for a time. That said, if war breaks out with any of the northern nations, we are going to need every man we can get. I need you to use your skills to smooth over separating the great lake youths from the great lakes. They need to experience real battle.”
“Dad, that will be a lot of work.”
“We can discuss it over your wife's dinner.”
Paul and Alexander would ended up talking late into the night. Despite the lack of a warriors ethic in this part of Paulsland, Paul still had great plans, and he needed Alexander's input.
Paul, Alexander, and Lishan had a great breakfast in the morning. All morning Paul talked to them about parenthood and how they should not be worried. They would make great parents, although it would be a learning experience. Even though both had been teachers to various extents, being a parent was very different. Around noon they left the house and headed toward the river. The bridge connecting the west side to the east side was not finished yet, but it was well on its way. So they took a flatbottom boat across the river where a podium and crowd were waiting.
When they landed, Paul immediately went to the podium. The fact was, Paul called this meeting, and had his son lay the foundations for several buildings, and the people were waiting for their King, the ex-slaves were curious what their redeemer wanted, and the hired experts wanted to know Paul’s vision. Paul simply waited until the afternoon to have this meeting so as many people as possible could be here.
As Paul climbed the steps to the podium, he noticed that he was surrounded by black men, white men, Arabs, and Indians. This was probably the most diverse town in the world. At least when it came to free men. As he reached the top and walked toward the podium, he saw in the distance elephants with their handlers riding on top. Paul couldn’t help but notice that many of the elephants had children on top. Clearly, they talked the elephant handlers into letting them ride.
When Paul reached the podium, all sound ceased. King Paul was not a congressman, senator, or president that had no real power, spouting platitudes that didn’t mean anything to people they never met while starting a project that helped no one except those working directly on the project. King Paul had the power of life and death over everyone in this audience. Anytime King Paul called people to hear him, the people knew it would affect them for the rest of their lives. The nation was small enough that many of the people in the crowd personally knew King Paul in some way, fashion, or form, and generally believed that whatever project King Paul started would improve everyone’s lives. Ironically although he was giving the speech, Paul could not understand how the people listening to the speech felt. He was an American by birth and culture, and political speeches meant something far different for him than the people.
Moments after the crowd went absolutely silent, Paul said, “Thank you for being here today. And thank you for all your work on the canal system and aqueducts. The capital is the head of this nation, but this great lake will be the heart of Paulsland. Some of you are from the nations of the north, and you may not know the difficulty that comes from drought. Every year we have drought. By the end of the dry season in many parts of Paulsland, the people struggle. What you are doing in building the aqueduct is ending the drought forever.”
“In fact, there is so much water in this great lake, that as Paulsland grows, we will build more aqueducts and canals out of this great lake. They will go north, south, east, and west.” There was a gasp and a few mumbles as Paul mentioned building west, as the west side of the lake was filled with mountains.
Paul smiled and said, “I hear your gasps and your mumbles. No, I have not gone crazy. In time we will dig through those mountains to the west and build an aqueduct and more because Paulsland is going to grow to the north, south, east, and west. This great lake will be the heart of Paulsland.”
“Considering that this place will be the heart of Paulsland, and many great projects will extend hundreds of miles from this place, going in every cardinal direction, we will need a school, no a university, to train the next generation of builders.”
“The purpose of the university is so that your knowledge can be passed on and improved upon by the next generation. We are making great aqueducts, canals, locks, dams, and buildings. But we can do better. If we combine your knowledge and give it to the next generation of innovators, they will make improved versions of everything you are creating now. They will build it faster, cheaper, with new and better materials. This university is not for our generation, but our children, and their children.”
“This university will have classes on math, engineering, geology, stone working, architecture, art, elephant raising, the environment, and more. This is a university meant to prepare the next generation for great projects.”
“But this university will have responsibility beyond training the next generation. The first responsibility will be standardizing weights and measures. Since this university will be responsible for training the architects and engineers of the next generation, it will be wise if everyone has the same measuring stick. This will make things much easier. Say you need a stone for your project that is three feet square. If everyone is using the same measurement, then the engineer can easily send a message to the quarry for that specifically sized stone, instead of sending a person to look cut the stone. It will make the project go much faster. Granted, having standardized measurements will change how we build things to some degree, and that is in part why we need the university. When we learn how to do things better, it allows us to spread the good ideas far and wide.”
“The university will also be responsible for monitoring how clean our water is. This great lake will be supplying water to much of Paulsland. It can not be polluted. As Paulsland grows and time passes, industry will require a certain amount of poisonous substances. But we have a responsibility to our families to make sure those poisons do not afflict our drinking water.”
“We will also be including the most advanced math courses in the world. With the help of the Illuminati, we have worked out two new two new types of math. They are called trigonometry and calculus. As this knowledge spreads, the true math geniuses the world over will come to us if they want the best education available.” What Paul didn’t say was that it took years to figure out how to do trig and calculus without a calculator, and most of the work was done by the Illuminati.
“This is the second institute of learning I have opened for adults, but it is not the last. It is my goal that in the next year or two to open up another institute of learning on the coast and one in the savannah. A wise man once said that accumulating power is easy, but accumulating knowledge is hard. Our power has allowed Paulsland to grow very quickly. We are much stronger than the surrounding tribes, but our power merely allows us to knock down others. Knowledge will allow us to grow to new heights, and so I plan on having institutes of learning all over Paulsland, and I hope in the future as our nation grows that our children and grandchildren will continue growing the knowledge of this great nation.”
“That said, these are institutes of knowledge for adults. So any man who has finished his service in the army or any woman who has finished her education at the age of fourteen may come and learn at this institute.”
The last statement caused confusion, questions, and a long explanation from Paul that although women can not lift rocks as heavy as men can, they can be good engineers, mathematicians, and architects if they have that desire. And that knowledge is extra hard to come by if you disallow half the population from giving you that knowledge.