Oct 22, 2021 9:29 PM
Kyra takes a train and meets a Calypso
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The first thing you notice is the noise. The murmur of hundreds of voices; the tap-tap-tap of shoes on smooth concrete; the crackling of an announcement over the intercom that says that train number zero two four zero is on is getting ready to depart, will you please present your ticket to the conductor at the appropriate car.

The second thing you notice are the engines. Streamlined and in colorful livery, no two matching, they puff and shudder, giving the impression of barely restrained wild things that your kind has harnessed (but not for long). Roiling clouds of steam and smoke and embers are shooting up towards the glass-and-metal ceiling high above, disappearing as if by magic as they blend together into a blanket of grey fog being sucked up into the whirlpools of large fans that pump the air clean.

There's a hissing of steam and the whining protest of pistons as you walk inside, and you can see a black engine with gold trim pulling out of the station. You hope it's not your train, could you have messed up the timing that badly, but on closer inspection you see that your ticket reads GRMN0204, Dranhelm-bound. Seems you're right on time. Probably best to hurry on to your platform, though. You think that the announcer said platform H.

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Well. Lovely looking train, though it could stand to have a few more frills. Kyra picks his way through the crowd, pink skirts layered over petticoats bunched in one hand, luggage in the other. He follows the signs to Platform H.

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The engine at this platform is decked out in gunmetal and chrome plating, with a white textured stripe running along the side down past the first few cars that brings to mind the wing of an enormous gull. If you stood on tiptoe, you could look inside some of the cabins, which tower above you. The windows are decorated with white ceramic filigree that picks out delicate feathers around the circular portals, giving the whole thing the appearance of being clad in tiny seraphim. You can try and have a look around from outside, or head to one of the conductors standing on the step of a carriage.

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He stands on his tiptoes to get a peek inside the cabin.

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This one appears to be business class. The decor inside is plush,  with deep plum carpets and soft red velvet seats gathered around chessboard-patterned walnut tables. It's lit by frosted glass lamps along the walls that are filled with water and what look like tiny fish that glow in all sorts of colors, casting chromatic shadows of the furniture inside all around. In the ends of the car, pairs of statues flank the doorways. They depict figures in uniforms, but you can't make out the insignia it their faces.

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He lets out a little gasp as he sees how pretty the inside is. He looks again at his ticket. Please please please let it say business class.

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Actually, it says Grand Class Sleeper Cabin.

Probably further forward towards the engine.

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He heads towards one of the conductors. This train needs to be looked at from the inside. He approaches the nicest-looking one, ticket in hand.

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"Welcome. May I see your ticket, please?"

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Oh. Up close this one looks even nicer than from afar, all intricate detailing and well-polished metal. And it’s pink. 

He stares for a moment before he remembers that a question has been asked. He holds out the ticket proudly, bouncing a little on the balls of his feet.

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"Looks like you're in the next cabin forwards. Step on board, then to the right. Mind the gap between cars." It punches a hole in the card corresponding to a little icon of this station, and returns it to your hand.

"My name is Calypso. I'll be your conductor. Welcome aboard, Kyra, we're so very glad to have you with us today. We do hope you enjoy your journey."

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“Thank you! I think I will!”

He is very glad that Calypso will be his conductor. He steps into the traincar, then to the right, like Calypso said. He minds the gap and steps into the next one over.

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The inside of this car has a fountain. How they make that work, you have no idea but water flows down from bowl to bowl in a pattern that reminds you of the planar spheres from your schooling. There are a pair of curving sofas with a table in the middle taking up the space between the large bay windows, and intricately carved mahogany paneling lining the walls. Alongside the sofas are bookcases with glass fronting, holding heavy-looking tomes by which you can pass the time. Looking up, you can see that the ceiling has paintings of dancing figures in gold, reflecting the light of the lamps warmly down into the cabin. At the far end of the cabin is a very large bed, since the journey will take a while, and to its left you can see an enormous ebony bathtub peeking out from behind a folding screen.

The only problem you can see is that there's no obvious place to stow your luggage. You should probably find a seat, the train departs shortly.

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He puts the luggage down by the door and flops down sideways on one of the couches, hanging his head off the edge for a moment and looking at the world upside-down before assuming a more comfortable position.

After roughly 5 seconds he gets up and sticks a hand in the fountain water, goes to lie on the bed, gets distracted by going to look at the bathtub, then gets distracted from that by trying to open the bookcases.

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"May I take your luggage, sir? It's best it doesn't roll around during travel."

It must have come in while you were paying attention to all shiny things in this room.

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"Yes please! Thank you so much!"

He stares at it again a little, trying to be discreet this time. It just catches the light so well.

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It notices, but this is part of the job. Besides, Kyra doesn't seem so bad, if a little odd, and it is very pretty. It always polishes its chassis and cleans its joints before long journeys, it deserves the wandering eye.

It inclines its head respectfully before reaching down and pushing a hidden catch in the wall, opening a compartment that can hold the steamer trunk inside, and stowing the luggage within. The door closes as soundlessly as it opened, and you can see a faint seam now that you know what you're looking for.

"Anything else I can do to be of assistance?"

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"Are there any other secret compartments in this train?"

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"Classified. I'll be outside if you need me."

It turns and walks out the door, pausing briefly to light a candle in a glass holder that smells of vanilla and lavender.

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He follows it and makes puppy eyes towards it.

"Pleeeasssee? I really want to know."

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It's already gone, though you can go out if you really want to pursue it. If you look out the windows, though, you can see the columns that rise high above begin to gradually move past you. You didn't notice the movement begin except for a slight shudder.

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He forgets about the secret entrances in favor of looking excitedly out the window. An adventure is beginning!

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As the train pulls out of the station, you can see lines of steel stretching off into the distance. Along the sides of the track, you can see tall buildings stretching to the sky and neon signs flashing out advertisements for a new kind of snack cake. You spot a cat crouching under a platform, and you make eye contact with it, slowly blinking until it slides out of sight. The train's picking up speed now, and there's a hum of vibration, not unpleasant but everpresent as you stand in your cabin.

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He lies down on the plush carpet. This dress is nice but he has a million others, and besides, on this fancy of a train they must clean the carpets often. Train vibrations are nice.

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The carpet is soft and smells slightly of incense. The wheel motion is intense down here against his form and it feels like he's on the cusp of something vital about the train. Either that, or he's about to fall asleep. There's something hypnotic about the distant clickety-clack of the rails, and it's not until the low double wail of the train's steam whistle that he notices that it's gotten a lot brighter at the windows.

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Hmm. That's strange. He gets up to go look out one of them.

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