Author's Note: Although I do call this a 'steampunk' work, much of the science and technology that I will describe won't come till later chapters. I felt it was more important to let my readers get to know my characters, then slowly introduce the world they live in. I have yet to set an exact date for the time this would be taking place in but as its alternate history I don't guess it really matters. Unless I denote otherwise, the point of view should be in third person. I generally write in first person so I may slip up at some point. I have a rather extensive cast of characters, I will do my best to give a quick introduction of anyone new and important to the progression of the story at the beginning of the new characters first chapter. As this is the first chapter I won't be introducing any characters because you will have enough time in later chapters to get to know her.

All characters, events, and places are mine unless otherwise specified. In some cases I use the name of real locations of which I do not own. If you wish to use or borrow any characters or other information from the story I can be contacted via the e-mail found in my account. Nothing is to be used without my expressed permission. Thank you! Enjoy!

Dearest Gabriella,

Thank you for replying to my last letter so quickly. I'm so happy to hear that Grandmother Emerald is doing better and I could point you to the right book in time. Please continue to watch her closely till spring as the cold air could easily cause her to catch cold. You know I write that but I know you will without me saying it, your as accomplished scientist as I.

I have good and bad news to report. So I shall start with the good. I managed to dodge another of Ruthvan's social gatherings and this time without having to blatantly lie. Do you remember the sample of the white flower I sent? I was speaking to Logan's grandmother (she was the village midwife and knows all sorts of remedies!) and upon her suggestion took a closer look at the flower. Now I haven't tested it yet, but I think it would make a very good deterrent to infection. It seems to have similar properties to the Noxia blossom father documented before his disappearance. I will look into the matter while I am still here and have access to the flower fresh as I don't know how well it will travel.

I don't know how to say this eloquently so I will just say it. Michael went in his sleep about a week after your last letter arrived. I still don't understand what happened to his or what sort of sickness it was. It came on so suddenly. One day we were exploring and he was leading the charge, the next he was babbling, and within a week he was bedridden. I know I've read of an illness like this before, personally I think it has something to do with the caves we were in. From the maps I've seen I have reason to believe they connect to an old mine that Lord Ruthvan the 1st had closed. The strange part is there are no local records pertaining to why the mine was closed. I will have to press Lord Ruthvan II for any clues before I leave. However, I am confident that if Michael had been in any condition to travel and if I could have got him home he would be perfectly fine. I tried everything I could come up with and all the local remedies as well. I will be bringing his body home directly, and I will send you a message by telegraph when I arrive in Paris so that you will know when to expect me.

My apologies for the length of the letter and lack of detail, I'm trying to get all of our effects in order before I leave. Once I arrive I will be happy to entertain all questions you and everyone else. I wish I was coming home on happier terms dear sister. Please send my love to Grandma and Grandpa and the rest of our friends. Until I arrive.

Yours truly,


March 18, ~

Will be arriving on 10 A.M. Tunnel Train. Bringing guest. Please send carriage.