In truth, I have discarded nearly a dozen drafts of this letter.
Should I start in simplicity? Simply a note begging your forgiveness for an unknown sin I have committed against us all? No. That would give no closure.
It would not prepare you for what I have unleashed upon our waking, fragile world.
Grand tales deserve more than a quickly-penned letter of desperation, but I beg of you to; do not leave this tale without heed.
I, Giovanni Wolfhardt, have been complicit in an act of crimes against God Himself. We sought to pierce the veil between this world and the next, and we succeeded.
It began in the Solstice of 1924: The Icecrown Gala of Charinthosse. Grand stair cases, rings of dancers, live music from the finest composers and symphonies... It was a fairy tale evening underneath a genuine happiness.
Once more, the world had turned without threat to our way of life. Commoners and the Rich Folk were not at odds, and nearly a decade had passed since the Great War.
Idle hands are the Devil's playthings, and I too was guilty of looking forward, trying to outpace a perceived competition into the New World. Fielora had developed Wireless Transmission, and Norhald, Internal Combustion.
How ridiculous Charinthosse was-- how obsolete. My own city falling behind as rapidly and entirely as we had grown to dominate the world economy. They marveled at the bleeding edge of technology, while we fussed with pneumatic delivery systems, and air powered rifles.
Tonight would see that all change.
By this time, I am certain that you have pieced together the timeline roughly... The Salvage Carrier's completion in 1926 was in direct response to the events of that damned evening.
I was with your mother that night. In fact, she was a month into her second trimester, pregnant with you. Her gala dress had begun to reflect her pregnancy-- and she reveled in turning your growing form into an accessory to be marveled at. God rest her soul.
We were between the tables, poor girl had exhausted herself. She fussed and protested, but I made her sit and rest. I cannot tell you how grateful I was that her close friends were so close by to fetch her cheeses and fineries from the tables-- or how we laughed at fool she made of herself, eating the snacks as if they were a sort of salad.
We resolved to leave shortly after the madrigals were over. I took my leave to the garden to collect my thoughts. I was blissful-- truly and completely. It didn't matter that, as of that morning I had no grandiose plans for my life.
I was content to have your mother, and you on the way. But Fate and Ambition are a truly lethal pair.
Not long after my sojourn into the night air, I was followed by none-other than a longtime friend, Doctor Hector DuGall.
I know you don't know of him-- he died shortly after you were born. He was an ophthalmologist-- a doctor of the eye. He was pioneering treatments at the time to restore sight to blind folk, research promising enough to gain the backing of many prominent figures across the world.
I wasn't one of his supporters, and when he first grinned my way, I thought the otter was going to pander for money, or here to confirm some sort of rumor of his progress. In truth, I didn't think that I could be bothered, and hardly noticed his statements, lost in my own thoughts before I agreed to something that made him tug me aside.
I will admit, I had been fearful for a moment-- worried he had propositioned me (he nor his wife would never admit that he was sleeping with their butler, but I knew both men.) and I'd accepted. But, just beyond earshot, he pulled me close and whispered urgently of a singular project that would seal Charinthosse as a... no. Asthe dominant power in the world.
The Artificial Lightning Generator Experiment. ARLIGENT in short.
He wouldn't give me many details, only a ream of paper he had secreted from the folds of his jacket. It was engineers notes of incredible detail. To spare you the jargon, it was the theory that electricity could be generated by machinery-- in this case, things such as treadmills and other natural features could be tapped to transform niceties of electric lights, heating and cooling into every day use across all the classes of society.
While I remained unconvinced that such widespread use of electricity was possible, he revoked the designs in favor of showing me something more suited to my company's interest.
In short, it was schematics for the largest ship I had ever even heard of.
As I spread the blueprints over one of the railings near us on the staircase, it became obvious why Doctor DuGall had come to me for such an endeavor. The ship was not one, but in fact a carrier for half a dozen smaller ships.
At peak efficiency, this... carrier would be able to deploy a pair of salvage ships into scuttled remains, and return those salvages to slightly larger, intermediary ships that could separate the salvage into more manageable barges. The barges could then be offloaded onto the carrier itself, and smelted and shaped on board the shipfor delivery of ingots anywhere across the waters!
I offered my services immediately, nearly salivating over the designs. Such an ambitious project would cement Wolfhardt Industries in history. It would give me something real to leave you with upon my inevitable death.
I tried to convince myself that I was doing this for my family as I hurriedly shook the doctor's hand, and then returned to your mother with the designs secreted into my coat pocket... But looking back, I am not entirely sure that would be the truth.