Empty Nodes

Armand’s First Letter. Amelia’s First Letter.

17 Rue Thomas, Toulouse, Provençe
8 November 1016

My dearest cousin Armand,

The latest from Yorke is more of the same: much banging of drums and the occasional call of a trumpet, but as yet no marching of boots. His Majesty appears to be impressing a need for calm upon Parliament, and the Prime Minister, accordingly, is spreading this calm over the hot-heads among his subordinates.

It seems likely that Lord Doncaster will be recalled to Yorke, though whether in disgrace or simply to explain himself depends on whom one speaks to. It is equally likely that His Majesty will send an envoy to Mont-Havre—though, again, the expected name depends on whom one speaks to.

I should add that the Grand Parlement‘s manifesto was recently published in full in the Times, and many in Cumbria have been greatly impressed by Armorica’s evident desire to swear allegiance to His Cumbrian Majesty. And by “many” I mean “those who are not Members of Parliament.”

It seems to me that you may have gotten away with it, you and your “rebellious and ungrateful” friends. But there is no accounting for Parliament, as Lord Ellesmere says; I would not get too comfortable just yet.

Maximilian and Jérôme Lavigne have spent much of the past month traipsing around the countryside in the vicinity of Toulouse, tracking ley lines and examining their nodal points. Maximilian tells me that the lines are fainter here than in Cumbria, and that, as in Cumbrian, few of the nodal points have anything special about them. Most have been in farmer’s fields; one or two have been at significant crossroads; but there is little if any indication of any “nodal residue,” as Maximilian puts it.

You have a sharp eye, Armand, and have no doubt been eyeing that word “most.” Indeed, there is more.

Together they traced two ley-lines across the city of Toulouse to a spot on the grounds of L’École du Sorciers: a spot where no grass grows, though there is no sign of the sort of craters and undulations that are all too common elsewhere on the grounds. They found a slight tinge of nodal residue there; and from that spot traced a third ley-line out into the city, to a square called La Place de Provençe, and indeed to a monumental sculpture of King Guillaume III that stands in the center of that square.

There is a node there, Maximilian assures me, for there is a strong degree of nodal residue—by far the strongest he has ever seen on a ley line; but he is certain, and Jérôme agrees, that the statue is not itself the node. Rather, it seems that the true node, whatever it might be, is contained deep within the statue’s base. If only they could get at it, per impossibile, they might be able to determine what spell or spells it was used in aid of.

In the meantime, they have formed two hypotheses: first, that at one point Provençe was criss-crossed by the nodes and lines of a massive spell; and second, that at a later time the spell was destroyed by removing and destroying the nodal objects. Presumably the node upon which King Guillaume is resting was omitted because of the monument above it. But Good King Guy is not the first bit of sculpture to stand in that place, so when the node might have been placed there remains unclear.

This second hypothesis is strengthened, in my mind, but the complete lack of any knowledge among the Masters here concerning the nodal point on the grounds of L’École. It seems that the spell was not only meant to be destroyed, but also forgotten!

Jérôme is now combing the archives, with the permission and, indeed, the aid, of Dr. Guisman, for any indication of what the nodal object was, and when it was destroyed.

Your increasingly curious cousin,


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Photo by Polina Rytova on Unsplash

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