In light of the surprising news I have just received from M. Suprenant, I have decided that I must write to my father. I do so with all due consideration and a great deal of apprehension. But Le Maréchal has declared a truce with Cumbria, a truce that may not hold for long; there is a moment of opportunity, and I must seize it for the sake of Amelie and our child. I copy the letter below, for reference.
I doubt you wish to hear from me, but I have prevailed upon Aunt Maggie to ensure that you both receive this letter and read it through. I believe you will not be sorry. A bold man must strike when the iron is hot, and such an opportunity for the Guild will not come again soon.
But first, know that I am now well settled in a small town in Armorica. I do not expect that I shall ever return to Yorke, or if so only for a short time. I have married, and my Amelie is soon to give me a child. You and I have had many differences between us, but if it is a son I will certainly give him your name, as you gave me your father's name. My home is modest by the standards of Yorke, but comfortable by local standards, and will no doubt improve even more by and by.
I had not intended to work as a former here in Armorica, but it seemed the most prudent thing nevertheless to register with the Armorican branch of the Former's Guild; yet when I went to do so I discovered that I seem to be the only former of any skill and training anywhere in this land. There is indeed a small building in Mont-Havre that claims to be the home of the Former's Guild, but it is unoccupied, and has been so for over twenty years. It seems that two formers, a master and a journeyman, came to Armorica in 12 AF, that is twenty-two years ago now. The master was savaged by a fierce beast, a grand-blaireau, and nearly killed, and the journeyman (who did not escape injury himself) took him back to Toulouse where he died shortly after. That was in the summer of 13 AF. No guild member has returned to Armorica from Provençe in all the years since.
In short, Father, there are no Armorican masters; I am the Guild in Armorica. But I am only a journeyman. Were I a master I should be able to formally re-establish the Guild here, and by our laws of the Guild would be the grandmaster. Grandmaster of not much, you may say, but Armorica is growing; and is not the Guild in Yorke greater now than when you received it from your father, or he from his?
You know very well that I might have walked the tables at any time in my last year in Yorke, should it have suited your political ends. I beg that you and the other masters in Yorke might vote on it now, and send me my master's chain with all speed. Le Maréchal's truce may not be of long duration, and worse, a master may come from Provençe at any time. Strike now, and your son and grandson will be grandmasters in Armorica; delay and the opportunity will be lost.
Should you doubt my skills, I have included my notes on a kind of flying sedan chair. I have formed one such, though there is as yet no patronage for such a thing here; but perhaps the elite of Cumbria might find it useful.
It pains me to so play upon my father's ambitions, and to feign that I share them; but a recognized position in the local Guild I must have for Amelie's sake, if I am to work publicly as a former, and that cat is well out of the bag.
My father will plume himself on having a son who has established a new branch of the Guild even in such a barbarous and uncultured place, and that it will be a Cumbrian plant in a Provençese colony will gratify his pride still further. And the good Lord forbid that he should take it into his head to send some other one to be master in this place! As grandmaster I will have a full measure of autonomy from him; as a journeyman under a master of his choosing I should still be under his thumb.
And then there is my mother to consider. This may do much to salve his overbearing pride, so that he may allow her to communicate directly with me once more.
photo credit: árticotropical Gold coated wall details via photopin (license)