1618: viii

The Greek warily left the Artificers’ table and led Gilles further into the maze of scaffolding. They climbed to another tier and before them sat a small model of an ancient Greek warship painstakingly woven out of wicker. Instead of oars on each side it had a splayed wing and more sailcloth sat folded to one side.

Gilles folded his arms and stared at Aimée’s dragon. It had taken a long time for the Greek to construct at a larger scale than the original. His first had been just big enough to fit a single man. The craft before them could fit about four people depending on size.

“You’ve tested it?” Gilles asked. The Greek nodded.

“Yes, it lifted and settled without a problem.”

“How long will it stay aloft?” the Count inquired as he started a closer inspection of the contraption.

“A couple of hours, but it depends on weight…the outside temperature…” the Greek shrugged.

“We need some better calculations and try to dress it up a bit,” Gilles commented. He fastened his eye on the Greek. “It needs to be fit for a Queen.”

“A Queen?” the Artificer gulped.

“Yes, something to make it more comfortable without adding to the weight,” Gilles said before he hopped over the side of the boat. He rested his hands on the levers for the wings. “Tomorrow, we’ll see how it flies.”

“As you wish, Monsieur,” the Greek bowed and crossed himself with a silent prayer that the airboat would work and if not that he would die on impact.

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