Monday, May 14, 2007


I have begun working on my Machine project, and it is far more interesting than I bargained for. I had a sort of idea of a machine that would change color, and climb about on buildings. It seems to me that most of the machines stay close to the place they are designed to work - in the street for a parade, or around the feasting-tables, or in the throne-room of the King - but it seems to me they should be all around, like flags flying. Think how it would look, with these colorful machines clinging to the buildings, changing colors! The whole village, the whole palace could look as if it had put on feast-clothes!

The tricky part, for now, is understanding how to create a carapace with a changing color. It's a new idea, putting a carapace on the machine. It goes against tradition, and may be greeted with horror. I'm not certain what the reception will be like. I think perhaps the Hands - my fine writing friend Eleanor - are to blame for this idea of mine, for I had never conceived of machines with clothes on before I came to your world.

In any case, not only am I imagining a sort of shell, or flag, or banner on the back of this Machine-creature, but I want it to be able to change colors. Do I make it change at a signal from me? Or change according to something around it? Or is it simply a decision the Machine makes, a random thing? And how do I effect the change?

So I have been sketching and reading about this.

Yesterday morning, as I was deep in the midst of temperature and color-changes in metals, I felt a presence behind me. It was Ennis. He was looking at what I was reading, and I caught, for the first time in months, a look of interest on his face. But immediately afterward his expression closed up like a fan and he turned away, the angry set back in his shoulders.

Since then, he has walked through the courtyard where I work far more often than usual, but I have not caught him looking. Still, I think my plan is making progress.

The King has returned from a trip to Alyr.. 7 .. SORRY I'M ..xb

Monday, May 7, 2007

In the Labyrinth

I am so happy to see Eleanor, my excellent Hands. I have been thinking of you, and wondering.

For the past three days I have been in the Labyrinth with my father, working on our secret. Each day, on the way to where we are working, I stop at the Steam Beast's lair and marvel at how it changes. I cannot see how it is done. My father has the only keys to the Labyrinth, and I have been with him all the time recently.

He claims the Steam Beast does it itself. I know the Great Machines are capable of many things, but I cannot see how a machine could recreate itself. My father, who has faith that I seem to lack, says that the Great Machines have their own minds, built long ago by the great craftsmen, and that they sit in their places, dreaming of what they will be next. They live, he told me, for their yearly unveiling. To me, this seems a form of sorcery, but my father says it is not, only a very great skill that has mostly been lost.

He is already drawing up plans and setting out his workshop for the next great festival, the Midsummer's Feast, planning a new version of his Fireflower Machines. This new secret, the project we are working on, will only take up his time for a little longer, and then he wants to spend his free time in the workshop. The Curator always gets a good place in the Festival Machines, but they are not always as skillful as my father.

So: now I have to think of a Machine-project I want to work on. It will be my first, as I am only just through my Passing Ceremony, and I will need help with it. Plenty of drawing out plans in public places, I think, and some judicious, obvious cursing - and perhaps a little poor work with the cogs and gears ought to do it; a certain someone is bound to try and help me. I'm excited to see what happens.

But more of that later. Let us see if I'm successful before I disclose any further.

Hieram has, thankfully, gone back to his family's manor, three days' ride to the West. I hope they will keep him busy enough to stop him interfering. I was heartily glad to see him go! Any longer, and I feared someone would offer me to him in marriage, he was so persistent. And yet I cannot see him wanting a Curator for a wife.

But then, I think it is not perhaps a wife he wants. I wish I knew more about men!