I wanted to create a setting for my book that was not just a typical medieval fantasy trope. I wanted to move it up to right as the Renaissance was starting. It occurred to me that I could signal that to the reader by adding in fossil fuels (and their consequences). So, the Coal Mines were born.
In the central part of the western Betherian Mountains lies the coal mines of Celandine Valley. They are a network of spaghetti-like tunnels twisting in all directions in search of the precious fuel. The main entrance is a massive gaping maw where three carts can pass one another abreast and still have plenty of room to spare. A side entrance is guarded by two massive statues of ancient huntsmen. The mines were once a sacred huntsmen gathering place, but were turned over to the citizens once coal was discovered.
A well-worn road leads directly from the mines to the village. Deep ruts betray the number of carts that have traveled back and forth bringing fuel to the town’s steamworks. A few merchants from outside the valley also come to purchase cartloads of coal. Most of the proceeds are split among the miners' guild, the city government, and The Huntsmen's Lodge and are used to fund repairs and improvements for the village or roads.