Or rather, God damn Edmond Halley. No, I really mean it this time. It turns out that one of my research books — one I’ve only been dipping into for pieces of information, rather than reading cover-to-cover — contains, squirreled away in one of its corners, the tidbit I searched handwritten Royal Society minutes in vain for.
Because I was looking in 1705. I didn’t think to ask for the minutes from freaking 1696.
Which turns out to be when Halley first said, “Oh hey, I think cometary orbits are ellipses, and the one we saw in 1682 is the one from 1607, with a period of about 75 years.”
Now, the minutes (as quoted in this book) don’t say whether he then did the basic arithmetic necessary to guess that the 1682 comet would be coming back in the mid-eighteenth century. But you have to figure he did. Which means this bastard came up with that theory nine years earlier than I thought.
Which leaves me with a choice: either I can take out all the references to the fae learning about this problem in 1705, rewrite Irrith’s personal history and the political history of the Onyx Court in a fashion that compensates for the breakup of a certain constellation of events that occurred in the opening years of the eighteenth century, and give up on the cameo appearance by Isaac Newton that I just wrote tonight . . .
. . . or I can remember that, hey, I’ve already said they learned about this from a seer, and then handwave a reason why she didn’t get that vision until Halley got around to publishing his ideas.
Guess which one I’m going to choose.