Collected Letters of Francis St. James, Letter 14
The Magnetic Sea, as ever
My dearest Theodora,
Ah, my love, how long it has been since I have written you. Wendel tells me that he believes it to be over a year since he has boarded, and I recall that I wrote to you shortly thereafter, before lapsing into a lengthy period of silence, misery and studies. How I’ve missed you, my love; how I’ve yearned for your embrace; how I wonder and delight at your face: has it changed? Have these long years sculpted new beauties in that wond’rous visage that I see in that creased and faded daguerreotype that I kiss each morning. I wish that I could know the span of this expedition, that I could plot a single ending to my ordeal, that I could chalk my calender with a marking that would say ‘Here. Here is where I will return to my one true love. Here is where I will kiss her with kisses like roses. Here is where I will take her in my arms and make her my wife.’
Would that were so, my love - alas, ‘tis not to be. No one knows how long we shall be out - I know not how long it has been since a sighting of land - over a year, I take it, since when I last set ‘pon land was when Wendel came ‘aboard.’ Since then we have sailed through the distant dark, seemingly without design or destination. Only Glasikis and the chaplain seem to have any notion of what we are doing, but they grow more reticent with each passing day, as though the dark that surrounds has crept into their mouths, clotting the words with dust and doom. And I scarcely wish to talk to either of them, so strangely do they look at me - if I did not know better (and thank gods for Wendel’s assurances that this be so), I would think myself become a ghost doomed to haunt this ship to the end of time.
But all this is beside the point; tangential to my intent in writing you today: my heart has become light as that feather that Anteas stole from me long months ago (I am sure it was he - Wendel told me), and my spirits are lifted. After untold agonies and struggles, after going up one ‘blind’ alley after anther, I have finally done it: my final (and I say final, not meaning that I shall never build another, but intending rather that the results is produces shall be the final ‘nail in the coffin’ of those small men who have long slandered myself and Zakharov) machine is complete and functional; a long night of testing has confirmed it, and confirmed that it proves everything. No more will they laugh at us, my love, no more will I labor in dark disrepute - I have done it.
I will write more soon. Until then, I remain, triumphantly,
Francis St. James