Friday, 16 March 2007

Riding the Rails

As Fuschia busied herself with needle and thread making a lovely frock for Oolon’s Birthday party, I really thought I ought to get back to my explorations of the Northern Continent. It seemed like so long since I was there and checking back over my journal it had indeed been quite a while.

I tinkered with the Etheric Transfer Bracelet Oolon had been working on in his lab for some time (I think partly so he didn’t have to keep ferrying us backwards and forwards between Caledon and the Mainland) and after a brief dislocation I was back to the spot Oolon had picked us up from several weeks ago.

On our last visit Fuschia and myself had followed a railway line to the “Hobo Hub” in the hope of finding some form of rail transport; however there had been no sign of any functioning trains (other than the tiny one Fuschia had found and the ones under construction at a main terminal we had passed through earlier). Thinking back to the map on the wall of the Prim Mining Platform, this particular section of track was marked with a dotted line…Perhaps it wasn’t fully operational yet?

Operational or not it would prove a good route to follow and should, I hoped, lead to an in-use train line eventually (presuming that was what the solid line on the Prim Mining Platform map indicated).

For this express purpose, I had brought along one of Miss Tombola’s wonderful ornithopters. In no time I had the boiler up to full pressure and steaming and was soon on my way.

It’s amazing how much easier a balloon is to control than a flapping, flying machine. Miss Tombola always makes piloting this device look a breeze as she pirouettes through the skies of Caledon, threading under it’s bridges and around its towers. Sadly I do not quite have her skill, but after a little bit of looping, spinning, rolling and heading in the wrong direction, I soon had the measure of the craft (well almost).

The scenery along the line was astounding and I am letting most of the pictures speak for themselves. This will truly be a spectacular rail journey once the trains are running.

At first things started out quite normally with beautiful windmills and stations awaiting the arrival of the first train.

Things began to get more unusual after passing the sign pictured below (and despite its warnings there was no sign of a missing bridge – although the edges of the sign were quite sharp!).

Next to the sign was a shop selling all manner of wonderful slippers, that I’m sure would appeal to Fuschia and Emilly. Although I’m not sure how comfortable or practical they would be.

As I flapped my way above the rails, I was even more sure Fuschia would enjoy this place as giant mushrooms could be spied between the trees surrounding the cuttings and embankments.

Although she probably would not have been quite so happy to see this creature lurking on the side of the tracks. However, as with many of the Mainland creatures, this one didn’t move or react at all as I swished passed.

From this notice, it appears as if I had just flown through a region called “Imperial”; it may warrant further study by any Caledonian naturalists following in my wake.

As I rounded a blind bend on the track I came upon the sight of a marvellous floating island, water tumbling down from the plateau into a pool then beyond that into a cascade.

And not much further, on giant flowers and plants. No doubt grown to such huge size by the spray of the cascading water from the magical floating island.

A statue and temple-like structure loomed to my left and as I circled for a better look, I caught sight of a lag storm approaching from the East and felt the Ornithopter buck and twist below me as the grid winds increased.

I knew I had to get onto the ground quickly. This looked like it was going to be a bad one. The landing was a little bumpy in the ever worsening conditions and as the sky split with the storm's full fury I dragged myself and the ornithopter into the shelter of a huge obelisk to wait it out…

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