Armand’s First Letter. Amelia’s First Letter.
13 Norwich Street, Yorke, Cumbria
30 March 1016
My dear cousin Amelia,
I received your last letter with great joy, and with an increased eagerness to meet your husband and shake his hand. It is distressing, to say the least, that he has put himself in harm’s way on the false premise that the Maréchalists have carried you off to Malague—but it is a noble error, and I honor him for it.
I wish there was something I could do to guide him in his search for you, some way to let him know you are safe in Toulouse. Two words would suffice. But even one of my message arrows would not be enough, not over so vast a distance; some obstacle would surely prevent its safe passage, even had he the target block in his possession.
As it is, I have no idea how I would find him in the vastness of the Navarrines, even were I to take the Anne-Marie and go hunting—presuming I would be allowed to fly her.
I suppose, if he had the target block and I had one of the arrows made from it, I could use the arrow’s attraction to guide me. And if wishes were packets, beggars might fly.
Anne-Marie, I should say, is the name I have been honored to give the packet we have been building at Camp Moorhen. It is nearing completion, requiring only furnishings and provisions for an extended voyage to be capable of going anywhere in the Old Worlds.
That is, I should also say, if I am to be permitted to fly it. The Shipwright’s Guild has gotten wind of the Anne-Marie, and despite my evident success with the war-wagons they have been endeavoring to have my work banned on the grounds that it is unsafe. In my darker moods I rather wish they would succeed: their writ does not run to Armorica and they cannot prevent me from proceeding with my work in my own country. And then, when I am successful, as I shall certainly be, Tuppenny Wagons would have no established competitors in the Old Worlds.
Bah. I grow morose.
I have informed the Admiralty that I will gladly undertake to fly the Anne-Marie to any place at any time, single-handedly if need be, though of course I should prefer to bring a skilled navigator with me to ensure that I do not go astray—and I have acquired a book on navigation, which I have been studying in the evening. I have proposed a jaunt to Toulouse and back as a good test, and I have every hope that I shall be allowed to make it. Do not be surprised if you should find me on your doorstep.
Your affectionate cousin,
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