Knowledge. Fred and George seem remarkably knowledgeable for princelings that have not discovered newspapers and have very little experience of the world outside Castle Marsh. The secret is in their education, which ensures that all young persons within the castle can read, write, count, tally and do basic tasks to make the castle function properly.
Despite Fred and George’s avoidance of some of the more mundane tasks they do know how to do them and everybody in their castle is expected to join in. This is not necessarily the case in all castles, some of which (Vexstein in particular) are more feudal in their approach. Whilst in principle education is open to all, there appears to be a suppression of knowledge in some areas, deliberately, so that the lords can keep the ‘masses’ under control. This is likely to cause trouble in the future.
Young persons tend to be brought up in loose groups of the same age, with mothers and fathers participating in tending and teaching them. There are usually one or more ‘schoolmasters’ in each castle, with the skills to teach reading, writing and tallying. The parents teach the group their manners, what is good to eat and how to find it in the wild, how to grow things, to wash and clean themselves and their surroundings, and the basics of their own trades. They also are taught to understand the basic principles on which all aspects of castle life are based, so why things work, how things are made, where raw materials come from, and most castles also include rules and traditions. In this way all young people gather a broad range of subjects and then can usually enter into a sort of apprenticeship to learn skills of a trade or occupation.
Some bright young things enter occupations that require advanced study, such as engineering, manufacturing and business. Some of this study is laid down in a syllabus held in any castle’s library, and most of the books required will be held there too. This means that some of the education is standardised, and occupations can be taken up in different areas. Some castles have a speciality in one or more areas of advanced study and may hold events for sharing knowledge, have students attending classes on their premises, or have students carrying out their studies and interacting with the castle through a correspondence course. This is how Victor, a barkeeper, is managing to further his education in business administration.
George has studied the engineering syllabus at the library at Marsh, but not all the texts were there. He has been ingenious in combining the knowledge he gained from the textbooks with a technique known as ‘working from first principles’ to design many useful machines for Marsh. He sees a need, considers how that might be solved, then works out how to make something to solve it. He has the advantage of being able to talk about his problems with Fred, who has developed advanced thinking skills, so that he can apply knowledge of other subjects to George’s problem. Fred is a Natural Philosopher, so many of the new ideas he brings forward are analogies of how something is achieved in nature. More of that under N.