Letters to Armorica- Sky Islands (27 Août 33AF)

First Letter

Dear journal—

Silly as that sounds to my ears, it is a blessed thing to write it down at last. I have been walking all day, and such sights I have seen and such thoughts I have had! They buzz in my brain, and I have been longing for nightfall and the chance to record them.

The road from Petit-Monde to Honfleur is well-maintained—I am still close to Mont-Havre, after all—but runs through the most picturesque forests and rocky crags. There are few grand-blaireaux remaining this close to Mont-Havre, and I am told that they have learned to avoid the road; I have also been told that I would be foolish to leave it, and I have no intention of doing so.

The road is lonely, though not quite empty; I was passed by any number of carts and wagons traveling in either direction, but never more than one at a time. I also passed two small villages during the day, and purchased food at one of them. I was careful to speak little and only in Provençese. I have little fear of being marked as a Cumbrian along the way; the people of Armorica have come from all over Provençe, and so speak with a variety of accents. Madame Truc tells me that my accent is not good, but will pass as being from somewhere in Provençe if I keep my mouth closed.

I do not think to hide my passage, precisely, for I do not really expect anyone to look for me on this road; I left unseen, and even Madame Truc can honestly say she does not know where I am headed, for I wrote it down and sealed it in an envelope for her to open "in case of need". Still, I do not wish to be remembered, either. In Bois-de-Bas I will need to be myself; until then I will rest easier if I am unremarked.

From one valley, wider than the rest, I spied a floating island on the horizon, such as dot the skies of Armorica here and there. It is hard to judge the sizes of such things, but I judged it to be small, not much more than a barren ball of rock. Some, I am told, are much larger and topped with the green of trees, and I found myself pondering these as I walked.

No one visits them, of course; there is land aplenty down below, and they are quite high up and inaccessible without a sky-boat of some kind. Sky-boats are far and few between on Armorica: I daresay the only ones one would ever normally see are lashed down on the decks of the sky-ships in the port at Mont-Havre. A normal boat is easily built from local lumber by any capable woodcrafter, but a sky-boat requires a formed keel, along with other parts I am uncertain of that also require the services of the Former's Guild to fabricate; and those services do not come cheap as I have good reason to know. Sky-boats would be a luxury in a young colony such as Armorica, and an unnecessary one.

Still, it occurs to me that a medium-sized floating island in a place like Armorica might serve very well as a base for sky-pirates. It could serve as home and port; if fertile, it might perhaps provide a little food; and the pirates could purchase supplies and engage in other trade without giving away their profession or place of residence by landing well outside some small town and trekking in. Such a place could never be self-sufficient, but it would never need to be—at least, not long as piracy continued profitable.

I do not say that our pirates are doing this—indeed, at the moment I am far from thinking that our pirates are pirates at all, but rather privateers. But I spent many an hour as I walked pondering the economy of such a pirate haven. I do not intend to ever turn pirate, of course, having no taste for cutting throats and taking plunder at sword-point, but if I should happen to do so I think I should know how to go on—how to survive it in the long-term, if not the short.

Tonight I sleep in a hayloft in the grandly named village of Honfleur, a place even smaller than Petit-Monde; I should reach Bois-de-Bas in two or possibly three days.

Next Letter
photo credit: vajra55 Hayloft via photopin (license)

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