Armand’s First Letter. Amelia’s First Letter.
17 Rue Thomas, Toulouse, Provençe
15 January 1017
My dearest cousin Armand,
It lacks two weeks ere you will receive my last, regarding the discovery of a block of stone at the intersection of three ley lines in Toulouse: a block that is at one and the same time a node, as Cumbrian magic defines such things, and an objet de Belazel as Jérôme Lavigne calls it. Which is to say, an object that is the product of the art of wizardry and the craft of forming working in harness.
It is the first magical object anyone in Provençe or Cumbria has ever found in relation to the known ley lines; and it is a fascinating discovery, for it must have been placed not less than three centuries ago, and perhaps far earlier.
Cumbrian mathematical wizardry began not quite a century ago, and is still not much known in Provençe; and the connection between the homely craft of forming and the wizardly Stream of Belazel was quite forgotten until we re-discovered it this past year. And yet these things were once known in Provençe, as our nodal block attests; and quite well known, if such a thing was placed at each point where ley lines meet.
And that makes it a deliciously sinister discovery as well, for the near-universal absence of these nodal blocks implies a concerted effort to destroy them—one might even say, to eradicate them—and one cannot help but think those responsible were also successful at eradicating the knowledge of the very principles upon which they were constructed. Did they kill the makers? Or did they simply take their secrets to the grave with them?
We have so many questions. Why was the ley line network made? What purpose did it serve? Why was it destroyed? How did it all this escape historical notice?
For the first two questions we need better access to the node below Good King Guy’s statue, which must wait until the snows are gone; and we need you. And once we know the purpose, perhaps we will also know why they were destroyed. That leaves the fourth question, which is one of historical research, and to that, accordingly, we have turned our attention.
We are proceeding on two fronts. The first is to determine the date at which the first statue was erected atop the node in the Place de Provençe; for we presume that the destruction must have taken place after that time, or this node would have been destroyed with the rest. The second is to look for Provençese records concerning the ley lines and their construction. We have great hopes in this direction; it is not a subject to which budding Provençese wizards have been drawn, at least in recent centuries, and so it is not a well-trodden path, much picked over. There may yet remain much for us to find.
We are all three of us—Maximilian, Jérôme, and I—somewhat hampered in these endeavors, for many of the sources are in an antique form of Provençese, and many more are in what Jérôme calls “Old Langue d’Oïl“, a distinct but related tongue once spoken in the northern reaches of Provençe. Several of the masters here are familiar with these archaic languages, as being relevant to their streams of wizardry, and so we have tutors; but it is a slog.
Our research also requires much time in old, frigid archives; and it is too, too vexing, for I am forbidden to use my new-found skills to keep warm, for fear of setting the records alight. Maximilian and I huddle in our warmest greatcoats, studying one page after another; and when we can no longer stand it we go out into the snow, where I am free to warm us up by means of the Fleuve de Johannes. The irony has not escaped us.
Even out on the grounds I must take care; the first time I warmed us in this fashion I melted the snow all around us and we found ourselves ankle deep in a muddy flower bed. That ended our research for that day!
There is much I could say of our travails, and yet there is nothing to say of our findings, for we have made none. Still we hope; and not least that you will be able to join us, and that soonest!
Your muddy-footed cousin,
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash