The Elms, Wickshire, Cumbria
4 March 1015
My dearest cousin Armand,
It will not surprise you than in the week since the dinner party at the Willoughbys I have conceived an interest in wizardry! I have always been curious, as you well know; and just this morning, my darling brother Edward remarked that he found me curious indeed.
I had not given wizardry two thoughts before that day, other than being aware that there was such a thing as the Royal College of Wizards, nor had I any idea as to what wizardry consists of—any more, dear cousin, than I have any idea as to what your profession of forming consists of. If put to it, I suppose I would have said that they were much the same kind of thing. This, I have learned, is almost as grave a solecism as shoving the—well. As grave a solecism, then, as pushing a darling of the ton into a duck pond.
And yet, I still can’t see why one ought not to compare the two.
In part, this is due to the deficiencies of the library here at The Elms—one would think that no Montjoy had ever exhibited any curiosity regarding the magical arts. Although, when I consider my brothers, I suppose one must think that, for Jack is too unstudious and Edward too dull to dabble in wizardry—it is the very word he used to me today at breakfast. “So, Amelia, are you going to spend your day dabbling in magic again today? It is a good day for it.”
As you can see, he has chosen to be amused and dismissive rather than alarmed and dismissive, from which you will have rapidly inferred that he knows nothing of the cause of my new interest. It keeps me in the library, where I am safe, instead of out and about where I might dangle instead of dabble, and so he is pleased.
Not that there is danger of danglement—is that a word, do you think, Armand?—this week, for it is now March, and though I do not normally associate blizzards with lions the wind is indeed roaring about the eaves and making the windows rattle.
I have found little about wizardry in our collection—well, other than colorful and highly romantic events in various novels and sagas, with which I was already perfectly familiar. I cannot take them for a guide, though; I rather doubt that the King that was had Lieutenant Archer’s great-uncle strew the landscape with enchanted castles and pavilions so as to tempt His Majesty’s knights errant away from the path of virtue. In fact, I do not believe that King Simon had any knights errant, and judging from the stories that have come to my ears, I do not believe virtue was of great concern to him. And while it would be enchanting, in both senses of the word, to give Edward the ass’s ears he so richly deserves, I do believe my father would be disappointed in me.
Nor have I determined just what forming involves, precisely, which surprises me not at all given your father’s insistence on what he calls guild secrets. One would have thought my grandfather would have done some research before allowing Aunt Jane to marry a former, but if he did the proof is nowhere at The Elms.
In the old tales, if there is any truth to them, there does seem to be a distinction between wizards proper and enchanters. The terms are used loosely, but an enchanter seems to be a person who uses magic to permanently modify objects in some special way—which is more or less the little you’ve told me of your craft, whereas wizardry seems to be used more in the moment, if you see what I mean.
I am not sure I do.
If the weather improves, I shall take the sleigh to Stourton and visit the library there; if they have Anaxagoras, perhaps they shall have some work on wizardry that is, in all likelihood, similarly lonely.
Your curious cousin,