Letters from Armorica- Regions of Safety (22 April 36 AF)

First Letter

Dear Jack,

Thank you for the material you sent me on—

Oh my, has it been that long? Yes, looking at my journal I see it's been over a week since I received it. I beg your forgiveness—your sheaf of notes was exactly what I needed to make progress, and I have only just now come up for air.

What I have done, Jack—mostly, anyway, I suspect I will be filling in the corners for some time—what I have done, I say, is work out the mathematical laws by which greedy and generous formed objects interact. As a result, I am now able to design sky-chairs and other similar vessels that will contain both—and indeed a plethora, nay, a superfluity! of other things—and with perfect safety—

I am not very coherent today, I find.

I shall take a deep breath, and try again.

It has been a very long week, Jack. It began when I received your letter, and since then every waking moment has been consumed by my work. I have been elated and snappish by turns, and I have hardly left my workshop even to sleep. On the second day my Amelie took to leaving me plates of food on the counter, and that evening, smiling serenely, she left me a pile of blankets. "You will come out when it is done, n'est-ce pas? " And I believe she must have spoken to Jacques-le-Souris, for it just now occurs to me that my usual crowd of old men, my village elders, have been absent for most of that time.

Or perhaps they simply peeked in the window and were driven off by my unkempt hair and wild manner.

No matter. It is done, Jack. I have proven mathematically that it is possible to build self-powered flying vessels that will not self-destruct as my early efforts did. Yes, certainly, we knew that was possible—the sky-freighters and warships that ply the Abyss prove that. But I now know the relationships between the degree of hardening and the degrees of lift and motive power that are safe; and more than that, I know the range of designs that are workable, that fall within what I call in my head the region of safety. It is a much broader region than the shipbuilders of the Lands of the Abyss seem to think.

This will change the craft of forming forever, Jack. And it will provide a fortune for Amelie and my daughters, and for my friends here in Bois-de-Bas.

And now, Jack, I need one more thing of you. I shall be coming to Mont-Havre in a day or two, and I need you set up a meeting with M. Suprenant, Lord Doncaster—my thanks to him!—and myself. And you, of course. I will need funds, experience in trade, and the good will of the government to bring this off—and quite aside from that, I remember my friends.

And now, I believe, I must go sleep in a real bed. Amelie will see that this gets sent to you, at least, if she is not completely out of patience with me.

I have done it, Jack. I am happier than I can well express.


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photo credit: Mooganic fallen via photopin (license)

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