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Nov 25, 2020 5:33 AM
Thorn in the Silent World
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A weak potential, this world. Low technology, low habitability, at best some mediocre magic. Nonetheless, a Thorn must be sent. 

This one is blond and tall. She carries her spellbook in the tattoos on both her arms. Her eyes shine in the dark with night-vision mods. Her skeleton is strengthened, her muscles densely packed. She carries a pack full of survival gear and gold. 

She snaps a Chron for time when she needs it, and steps through the door.

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She steps into a long-abandoned supermarket, Swedish going by the surviving signs, mold and wet and decay having made considerable progress recolonizing it. The food on the shelves are vague clumps of rot and stain. Nonperishable goods look a bit less damaged on the far wall. Many of the shelves are collapsing in rust, and a support beam has fallen along with a big chunk of roof. It smells like rain, and is a bit chilly.

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Oh dear. 

She carefully steps over to the far wall, and looks for anything intact in the nonperishable goods section. From the looks of it, she's going to be stuck here on a minimum of food for quite a while.

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Among various ruined objects there are reasonably intact examples of duct tape, some metal tools and cookware, a crank flashlight, some plastic fuel jugs, some umbrellas, bicycle helmets, thick rubber gloves, a plastic tent (the sleeping bags all have holes), some power cords and Ethernet cables that could be used as rope, a radio that looks intact-ish but without power. And... Several crates of gas mask filters, still in the box, with scrawled instructions in faded Sharpie to distribute them for free.

...The 'Employees Only' door has some ominous bloodstains near it. They seem old.

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Something in the air, then. This body should be proof against it, but...

She takes the radio and the crank flashlight, and puts them in her pack. Then she draws her pistol and looks around for a way out. Is there any other way than the bloodstained employees only door?

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The front of the store is wide glass, with the sliding doors long having fallen off. The parking lot has some rusting hulks of cars and trucks, as well as some lump-shaped objects of various sizes that seem to have been quite thoroughly burned.

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That's. Concerning. 

She'll continue out into the street and look both ways. Anything alive out here?

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Well. Nothing's... Moving in the old city, full of faded concrete, crumbling asphalt, and dark glass. But the balconies on that three-story apartment tower down the way have bulging, pustulent red lumps crowding over them. And there's the messily eviscerated corpse of a deer over in the other direction.

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Oh lovely

She needs to get out of this ruin. Anything could be here; the wilderness would be safer. 

She goes down the street in the direction that's away from the deer.

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This takes her closer to the pustules on the apartment building. They're not moving, but there's a very faint sort of wet scratching sound coming from them. They don't seem to react to her.

After a few blocks, a series of drops and stairs down reveal a railroad track in a long trench. The road ends in a collapsed bridge, but the track and trench are clear of debris even right below the downed bridge, the concrete ties seem less worn, and the rails are not rusty at all.

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Finally, a sign of living civilization. 

She'll fly down and start walking parallel to the tracks. Her hackles are definitely still up. 

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The sun is low in the sky. It's close to dusk, and the railway trench is in shadow.

After half an hour, the tracks thrum a low vibration, a sure sign of a train running on them. A few minutes later, a low rumble enters the air - the train is coming from behind her. It's not quite visible yet.

Something is moving. On the high balcony of that apartment tower, inside one of the apartments. It stretches an inhuman form, and peers out to the north, avoiding the sunlight but clearly paying attention.

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She peers up at the inhuman form. 

It is definitely too much to hope that that could be friendly. 

She keeps walking quickly, giving the tracks more room. She wants to fly, but the train will pass soon and she doesn't want to be caught flying in front of it. So she keeps her gun drawn and she moves. 

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The train is a monstrosity of heavy, armored steel, with multiple vicious looking saws across the front and top. Blood stains the saws and the metal near them. It thunders as it rumbles past her at highway speeds, with all the noise of hundreds of tons of metal surging forward.

The inhuman form skitters down the side of the building with a roar, a grotesque, six-limbed thing with a snake-like neck and far too many teeth. Similar roars echo all around from the city, all disturbed by the thundering train.

She probably wants to be somewhere else.

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She goes up. Safest direction to be unless those things can really leap. She can't stay up forever, eventually she needs to sleep, but in the meantime she can follow that train.

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The monsters all converge on the train tracks, a couple dozen of them. Most of them arrive too late to catch it. A couple of them glide from high perches and try to land on the train, getting shredded by suddenly-activating saws for their trouble when they actually manage it. One glider aims for her, but it's far too heavy to stay in the air for long. Another ground-bound one spits at her, but misses. The various screaming monstrosities fight each other - sometimes fleeing to save themselves - if they directly encounter each other, but their target is definitely Thorn and the train. The train is just one highly elongated car/engine combo, perhaps a hundred feet long. 

The concentration of monsters thins rapidly once the train leaves city limits and goes back into the countryside. The train slows down a bit, too.

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She was going to try and land on the train earlier but now she is quickly reconsidering that idea. She follows, flying, and hopes this train will lead her somewhere safer before she has to sleep.

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It continues through the night, passing through several tunnels and several more towns and ruined cities.

It seems to be going quite a long distance. When the sun rises, it's still going with no sign of a stop or destination.

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She's beginning to feel tired. 

Should she sustain flight or prepare to camp? Out here in the wilderness is likely safer than any city, and if she sleeps in the daylight she'll be awake when those things aren't... But there's still a lot of daylight ahead, and if she loses this train she might not get it back. 

She keeps flying.

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It's another four hours before the train slows down as it approaches a large offshore platform with a narrow rail bridge connecting it to the mainland, and a raised drawbridge leading further south. That seems to be the end of the line. Two ships a couple hundred of feet long are sailing in the water around the platform. They point searchlights and a pair of small deck guns each at her.

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Well, she's been spotted. Best to not antagonize. She's also starting to get into serious tiredness territory. So...

She lands at the end of the rail bridge and looks around for any people.

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A team a dozen strong in all-covering hazmat suits with rifles and flamethrowers approaches her across the bridge. They stop a good hundred feet away, spread out and fairly professional, men and women both.

A leader shouts, "Foreign mage, explain yourself! Where are you from? Why come to Øresund?"

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Well this is sure to be a fun first contact. Does she go with the full truth or a half-truth? 

"I'm not your kind of mage, I'm a dimension-hopper!" she calls. "Originally from a Canada, but I don't know if Canada even exists here. I was just looking for any signs of life. Found some train tracks in good repair, followed them, found you!" 

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"There's no Canada in the known world! Maybe it's part of the Silent World! You showed up in an uncleansed area! You could be a troll mage for all we know! What's a dimension anyway!"

 

("Jonge," someone says more quietly. "Don't look her in the eyes. Pass the word. I heard the Kade gets you through the eyes."

"Isn't that just for mages? None of us are mages, and we're all immune anyway..."

"How should I know? It's a Finnish thing. Precautions save lives!")

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"I'm as human as you are! The rest is complicated! I can't promise I'm not infected, but I'll submit to quarantine! And you can search my things if you want!" 

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"You definitely need to submit to quarantine at minimum! It's two weeks for most cases! Maybe more for you! Four weeks for people who've been in the Silent World!"

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