“It’s a prototype, of course.” Diryid ran his hands over the long shafts of his new machine. “And I still believe the river-boat was more practical. Our rivers and canals, after all, are smoother than our roads. But this will go, and if you stack the wood properly in the back by the boiler, and if you keep this little pocket here loaded with the proper fire-aether, it will go nearly as long as my river boat. Which is to say, it will get you easily from city to city in less time than a conventional carriage.”
He tightened a nut and burnished a shining piece of brass, smiling all the time at his audience. Finally, Syadaia cleared her throat.
“But what is it? I thought you were working on a dirigible?”
“Oh, that.” The engineer waved his hand in the air. “That is much easier, although its distance is, at the moment, more limited. We do not have a proper way, yet, to contain the most flammable aether. And wood weighs it down, you see. But it will go.”
They all looked over his head, where he was pointing, but they were in his garage, and there was nothing to be seen. It was Syadaia, youngest of the group, who was delegated by eye contact to ask, again.
“Where is the dirigible? And what is this… thing, Diryid? What does it do?”
“This. This is a goatless carriage. It will go, as I said, from Lannamer to the Arran cities in two-thirds the time it will take a two-goat conveyance. And, unlike that monstrosity your other contractor was working on, it will not blow up. Nor will it eat its passengers.”
“It never…!” Tallgua’s denial was only half-feigned. The “other contractor’s” conveyance hadn’t actually eaten anyone. But he’d been using wild aether. Nobody used wild aether in something that close to people!
“But the dirigible?”
“Dirigible, dirigible.” Diryid stomped his foot. “You will have your damn dirigible. But anyone can design one of those. This… this is my masterpiece, and you all will admire it.”
There seemed nothing to do but make the appropriate noises. They needed that dirigible, if their plans were to succeed. And to have the dirigible, it appeared, they needed… this.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/359150.html. You can comment here or there.