Monday, February 26, 2007


Ennis’s back became infected. He tossed and raved and it was all we could do to keep him held down so he did not do something terrible to his injuries. Amira, the medic, told me not to pick the maggots out of the worst parts, for they help to clean the wound, though they look horrid. Instead, she packed the rest of the burns with a foul-smelling compound made, I think she said, from minerals found by the bogs to the North, mixed with a few herbs for relief. He screamed when we applied this, before the herbs numbed his pain, and I held his arm with my teeth clenched. It was not until the herbs had stopped the pain and he was sleeping that I found that my face and the front of my dress were wet. I must have been weeping unnoticed.

Amira took me aside afterward and complimented me on my fortitude. She charged me with the care of the infected parts, giving me a solution with which they must be bathed every four hours; and the maggots were not to be disturbed in their work.

Sure enough, today the wounds are looking cleaner. Most of the maggots had crawled away and cuccooned themselves in small, brown pellety things, which I brushed away, and the blood was coming clean and bright. I applied some of the salve Amira had left, and Ennis groaned. He opened his eyes and looked at me, and his gaze was clear.

He said, “Here she is, my heart is easy,” and closed his eyes, and did not open them again.

Monday, February 19, 2007


These Hands are shaky tonight, and ill-looking. pale and chapped with saggy tips, as if their person was not drinking enough water. When they were beginning to type for me, I saw a cat’s tail curled near the screen. I did not know the Hands had some company; it makes me feel better for them. Oh Hands, who are you? How may I help you?

I will not write long tonight: the Hands are not moving well.

Suffice to say, there has been a terrible fire. Ennis’ wine-barn and all in it have been burned to the ground, and Ennis badly burned with trying to save his things. His secret is found out. He is in grave condition, with burns on his arms and face and back, and I sat out the Festival of Elementals next to his bed, though my sister came to take me home. I refused her. I will be fifteen in a few weeks, I can stay if I please, and help his father care for him. I think his father may be grateful for the assistance...but oh! Ennis’s poor skin...

Father came to tell me the Steam-Beast wept this year.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Festival of Elementals

Tomorrow is the Festival of Elementals! I am terribly excited. Every year, with the coming of winter, we celebrate the Elements: Fire, Water, Air, Flesh, and Metal. Every gear-turnier will be out with their best inventions, inviting everyone to notice how well-tuned their creations are to the Great Arts.

My father, who has some knowledge of Machines, will bring out the great Steam-Beast from the Museum, as he does every year; and as with every year, the Beast will show us some new delight. My father swears that he does not tinker with the Beast between-times, but no one believes him. He says the Gods bring the Beast forth each year in a new guise, and we all humor him, because it is such glorious fun - and a little awe-making, too.

I escaped Hieram for an afternoon and walked out to the wine-barn where Ennis has his workshop, but he wasn’t there. The door was locked, but I could see through the corner of the window that he has some large Thing bundled away in there, and I have high hopes that he will show everyone his wonderous skill - even winning the prize for best Machine!!!

Though how he has found time to work on it, I don’t know. I have seen him, in the town and around the Palace, working extra hours to get the younger horses used to the Machines before the festival. They have a Thrummer and a Banger, which makes a loud report, out in the field, and are spending a lot of time walking the horses back and forth in front of these and other Machines, to get them used to noises and flashes of light. It is not an easy job. The poor horses are terribly nervous and liable to jump and flinch, and lose their heads. Many grooms have been injured at this time of year. I will pray for Ennis.

My sister Hemila is here for a visit. She is pregnant with her first child and is staying with our mother, as is custom, while she goes through the first bit of nausea and weakness. When she is stronger she will go back to her husband, but for the moment we are enjoying having her here, as her unease seems only to strike for part of the day. The rest of the time she spends helping our mother and making jokes about my future as a Curator, and generally being her cheerful self. She has us all wrapped around her little finger, and none of us mind. I envy her this easiness she has.

I love Hemila, and she is fun to have around, but she does not take to studying like my father and I do. She does not understand why the Museum is so important. When I

Monday, February 5, 2007

Stupid, stupid

I am getting better at feeling when I will wake and leave the Hands. Last week I could feel it - a swimming sort of feeling, as if I was rising through water - so I did not try to finish my thought. Perhaps I will be able to avoid broken sentences in the future.

Hieram is a menace. He follows me about, lurking in doorways, trying to catch me unawares. He thinks, because he is a young man of the Blood and I am not, that he can force his will upon me; yet he does not quite have the courage to do so, because I am the Curator’s daughter, someday to be Curator myself. This puts me in a category of which he is not entirely certain, so he alternately watches me threateningly and tries to woo me, in the knowledge that any young woman not of the Blood is bound to be lacking in morals - or perhaps simply stupid.

After the shoeing, therefore, when I went looking for Ennis, all I found was Hieram. He followed me, despite my entreaties and my testy remarks. When I found Ennis, Hieram was in midstream, telling me how my eyes were like two pools, etc.

Ennis of course only raised his eyebrow at me, and I rolled my eyes back at him, but it was embarrassing anyhow, and I left, with Hieram in tow. I was nearly able to talk to him, and Hieram has spoilt it. Hieram will never get lucky with me. Why can’t he see it? Stupid, stupid.