The Duchess's Parchment

Only those like her, of fairy blood, the Duchess thought, could understand her bitter frustration—her every scheme balked, her rightful vengeance denied her. Only another miserable hybrid like herself could understand what it was to be pulled and harrassed by so many conflicting desires . . .

"What a wretched creature I am; not one thing or the other," she exclaimed ruefully. "And it is wearisome . . . wearisome beyond all measure."

The duchess's parchment

Don the spectacles to see as the Duchess sees.


"My goodness!" exclaimed Sara, catching her breath. As soon as she put on the spectacles, the hidden text and diagrams had instantly appeared. "It looks—it looks like a map!"

"It is a map," crowed Jed, craning his neck to look over her shoulder like a big excited child.

"But what a marvelous discovery," Sera said, bestowing a brilliant smile, first on the gnome, and then on Jedidiah. "This must prove of great interest to scholars everywhere. I do congratulate you, Mr. Jonas . . . and you, too, Jed! You have accomplished something truly remarkable."

"Of far more than scholarly interest—" the gnome began, only to be interrupted by Jedidiah:

"That writing about the edge . . . those smaller diagrams . . . it's the spell we were looking for: a magic spell for raising the islands, for bringing them right up out of the ocean!"

Sera removed the ruby spectacles. Her delighted smile changed to one of patent disbelief. "My dear good Jed, you cannot be serious. To raise two drowned continents, to bring them up from the ocean floor by the means of—of magic . . . that is clearly impossible!"

"I don't see that," Jedidiah replied hotly, lapsing, as he sometimes did when extremely agitated, into his old rough way of speaking. "Not when everyone agrees, your scholars and your philosophers alike, that it was magic as sunk them islands. Yes, and the gentlemen of the Glassmakers Guild reckon it's altogether possible, which is why they've agreed to finance the enterprise for us."

Sera stared at him for several moments in speechless astonishment. Recovering her voice, she shifted her gaze to Mr. Jonas. "Do you mean to tell me, sir, that you actually intend to attempt this thing?"

"That is precisely what we intend to do," said the gnome.

From The Gnome's Engine