Zg Session 30

AveryCoast: the train leaves at 7:30 AM
AveryCoast: how early you showing up?
AveryCoast: (Aside from Mr. Batali, he's gonna be there fairly early)
[OOC] Jack: how long will it wait for us
AveryCoast: It won't
ChefBatali has to show up with the rest of the kitchen crew, so probably like 5 AM. Gotta get all the supplies checked and set his mise.
AveryCoast: They have a schedule to keep
AveryCoast: Their motto's in the module name: Always On Time!
Jack‘ will show up at 7 to settle in a bit and grab a coffee (and a paper if nobody else is around at the time).
The elaborate architecture of Beaumont’s Western Station looms over you: seemingly drooping, heavy with stone depictions of the celestial bodies. Behind you, imposing in its vastness, a giant marble clock face some twenty feet in diameter gives accurate Danoran Standard Time down to the second. Brass numbers dictate the passage of each moment, an exacting feat of engineering that Danor has exported to most of the world.
In front of you is another of Danor's marvels: the Avery Coast train, a great behemoth of black iron, still somehow appearing sinuous as it stretches into the distance in front of you. Windows stud its length, and, at the far end, gray smoke belches out of the smokestack of the locomotive. This is the marvel that is said to have tamed the Malice Lands, and it is working to unite the continent into one grand economy. Brochures announce that the railroad has proven that Danor can accomplish more with intelligence and manpower than most nations can accomplish with mystical secrets and genuflecting to gods.
The train hisses and steam spurts from its edge, casting a white haze over the platform and obscuring some of the other passengers waiting here. There is a whistle, and a man waves at the crowd, welcoming you aboard. He wears a brilliant red and yellow sash emblazoned with the symbol of the Avery Coast Line: a pair of train tracks, woven in an infinity symbol.
Hilda‘ waves one of her companions over. "Oh! Oh, stars alive. Jeremy, come look at this. Despite Danor not paying mind to religion or magic, they still depict the stars. I wonder why that is?"
Jeremy: "I mean… they’re still useful for like, navigation, I think?"
Jeremy‘ hefts up his suit case as he begrudgingly wanders closer.
Conductor: "Welcome, welcome to the Avery Coast Railroad! What car are you staying in today, sirs and madam?"
Jack` steps from the steam, fanning his jacket for a flap to let the clothes breathe before buttoning it back up. After checking his watch (wrist mounted!), he wordlessly signals for the station boy to bring his bag along, heading up to the conductor.
Jack: "Car seventeen, sir."
Xorin: "Ah, First Class. Excellent! I’ll show you to your accommodations towards the rear of the train." He gestures to a couple of attendants. "Four in your party, correct? They'll carry your things to your room while I show you around, if you like."
Xorin: "I'm Xorin Marchand, and I'll be your conductor for this trip."
Jeremy: "Three and then one more like, but yeah."
Jack: "That'd do well." He flips the station boy a silver and nods to the new attendants.
Hilda: "Three and one, as he said."
Ananth‘ ambles along behind Jeremy. He’s in 'bringing a lavish suitcase' mode, not 'all his belongings in a sack and an instrument case' mode, so it's good they got here early… "Well, stars don't go away when you stop believing in them."
Hilda: "Do gods, then?"
Jack‘ finally cracks a smile. "It’ll be four before the journey's done, or so I hope!"
Jack: "Train's too small to stay strangers everlong."
Ananth‘ gives Hilda a sad smile. "Gods -are- a bit more fragile than stars. Although, the astronomers say they’ve seen dying stars in the heavens."
AveryCoast: He leads you to towards the rear of the train, and into the last car. Waving across the room with his arm, he introduces it as the First Class Lounge. It's a richly-appointed bar, with plush seats, wide windows, and a piano for entertainment. Portraits of the magnates of the Avery Coast line adorn the walls.
Jeremy: "'Suppose."
Hilda: "Well, do they stop existing, past present and future, for all time in all directions, or do they just die, having once lived but no longer?"
Jack‘ wanders the lounge a bit, mostly to get out of the way for when the conductor pushes past them to show the rest.
AveryCoast: Walking over to the bar, he introduces you to their chef and server, Anthony Batali.
ChefBatali sees the newcomers and spins his cooking knives with a flourish. "Breakfast for the new faces? I have fresh bread, butter, cheese, a choice of jams, or ham for something with a little more weight."
Jeremy: "They’re gunna be like this the entire time, by the way." Jeremy asides to Jack as he tosses his suit case into a chair.
Jack‘ lightly chuckles at Jeremy’s aside. "Coffee, muffin 'n jam, if you will."
Xorin: "And this lovely lady here is Doris Gavagne, who will be providing some entertainment during your stay."
Ananth‘ glances sidelong at Hilda, after taking the exact appropriate amount of time to Admire the Surroundings. "You know, there are people for whom such a question isn’t academic. They even wrote a dirge for a Goddess, you may have heard me sing excerpts from it?" He's smiling, though, and turns the smile towards the chef: "Bread and jam. Whichever's your favourite."
Doris nods her head. "I'll be tickling the ivories, so if you have any requests during the trip, just let me know."
ChefBatali twirls his knives back into his leather apron. "As you say, sir." Coffee, a fresh muffin, and jams of every variety appear in front of Jack.
Jeremy: "Biscuit with ham and cheese on it."
Jack‘ smiles at Doris. "I look forward to it."
Hilda` jerks a thumb to Jeremy. "What he’s having."
ChefBatali: "Hmm, flavors from all over the place. A fine breakfast." Bread and a tart blackberry jam for Ananth, a biscuit with thick-cut ham and a slice of cheese for Jeremy.
Jack‘ turns back to the prepared food and with a practiced smoothness, makes one cut to bisect the biscuit, another to swipe up strawberry jam, and another to spread it in one open-faced smooth.
Ananth: "Ooh, a professional~."
Jack: "Ha, I just know my way around breakfast."
Jack: "Soup’s far more awkward."
Hilda: "You'll have to sing me the entire thing sometime, Ananth."
ChefBatali: "While I am in motion, anything for you, miss Gavagne?"
Doris: "Just a cup of tea, dearie. Had a bite to eat earlier."
ChefBatali: "Of course, ma'am."
Ananth: "It would be my pleasure."
ChefBatali whips up a cup of warm herbal tea with honey and lemon. "In case you feel like singing while you play."
Doris: "You're sweet. You'll do just fine here."
AveryCoast: Once you're ready, the conductor shows any of you who don't wish to stay in the lounge to your room in the car a couple down. The common room has a few different kinds of furniture to sit at, five beds lie in the next room, and the attached bathroom even has a standing shower.
ChefBatali smiles and gives a small bow.
Jeremy‘ definitely wants to go drop off his luggage ASAP. "Huh, five beds? Thought the cars were designed for groups of fours?"
Jack` eats half the muffin, leaving the other there with a ’I'll be back for it' aside, and carries his coffee with him through the rest of the tour.
AveryCoast: Ignore the maps, the description says five, so it has five.
Jeremy‘ gives a look to Ananth then Hilda, before shrugging. Well, not important.
Xorin: "It’s a recent change. Some larger parties have been complaining when there was clearly room to fit another bed."
Jeremy: "Aha."
Jack: "Will there be a 5th with us…?"
Xorin: "No, these suites are reserved."
AveryCoast: Xorin breifly introduces you to Grason Wasson, the guard in guard between the First and Second Class cars. He then bids you a good trip and departs after telling you that, if you wish, you can tour the rest of the train up to the cars with your tickets in hand, or go up and speak with the engineer, Steeg Leon, but the freight cars are off limits except to the attendants and the guards.
Jeremy‘ wonders as to the kinds of weaponry their guards keep, but doesn’t otherwise seem to interested. After all it's not like they can look at the engine. That might've been interesting. But talking to the engineer? Eh.
AveryCoast: It's not long, however, before the conductor leads another group into the Lounge, a family this time. They're clearly gawking at their surroundings. The most unusual part is that it's a family of half-orcs.
AveryCoast: Xorin shows them to their rooms after a brief description of the lounge, then comes back a couple minutes later to introduce them to the chef and the pianist.
Jack‘ gives cordial introductions to Mr. Wasson, and then will take Xorin up on that offer to speak with the engineer. "I could tinker, but I’m curious on how the train will be powered throughout the entire trip- coal and steam all the way, or is there another mechanism…?"
ChefBatali: "Ah, a familia! Welcome, welcome. Breakfast?" Half-orc solidarity, you bet your ass!
Hilda: "Curious. Conflicting narratives. There were always four beds, but some writer thought it'd be more narratively expedient to…"
Hilda‘ trails off to herself.
Damata: "Mr. Batali, right? I’m Damata, Damata Griento. Could we get a light breakfast for each of us? I'm not sure how much the trip will agree with our stomachs."
Ananth: "Or were there always five beds, past present and future, stretching through time~" -and his voice just got progressively more sing-song towards the end of that.
ChefBatali: "Ah yes, of course. And if the trains motion does bother you, I have just the perfect tea to soothe an upset stomach."
AveryCoast: Over at the front of the train, the engineer greets Mr. Noir. "'Morning to you. We're using coal for the first half, mostly because firegems are hard to refine in Danor, I hear: can't use any magic to help the process, y'know? And the crystallized fire doesn't react well in the Malice Lands either. We load up in Trekhom with 'em, though."
Damata: "Ah, splendid. It's our first big trip like this, and I was a bit worried since the few trains in Ber don't go as fast as this one."
Jack: "Ahh, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. I was wondering about the Malice Lands, yes. Trekhom is…" He spends a few second thinking. "Drakr, right? Third or fourth stop?"
ChefBatali nods. "A hint of peppermint and my secret blend, you'll be right as rain." And whoosh breakfast is served to the half-orcs. Bread and cheese and jams, plain eggs, potatoes.
Steeg: "We'll get there on the third night. Third major stop-we stop every hour or two at various towns or small cities throughout the larger countries."
Jack: "Aha. Anything else I should know about the Malice Lands? Try to stay seated? Don't look in a cat's eyes?"
Steeg: "Just be careful. They ask people not ta cast any magic while we're travelling through it in case of mishaps. Malia'll probably ask you if you want to join in the safari later, though."
AveryCoast: The family is enjoying their meal-one young girl looks to be in her early teens, and the boy looks to be several years old-when a middle-aged woman in a short-sleeved shirt walks into the lounge and sits at the bar. "Coffee, a touch of cream, and a breakfast sandwich of some sort, please." The short sleeves show off a wicked scar that goes around her upper right arm.
Jack: "The magic won't be a problem, though I'll note that. Thank you much, Mr. Leon."
AveryCoast: He tips his hat to you. "Hope you enjoy the trip."
Jack‘ nods to the man and turns back, heading for his abandoned muffin-half and getting a second cup of coffee.
Hilda` traces a finger around the rim of her teacup. "I heard there were conflicting proposals for travel in Risur. A railway and a series of portals. The latter obviously wouldn’t work here in Danor, but elsewhere … would a hybrid solution be tenable? Giant cars, packing as many people and things as they can into a small space, and only building short rails, each connected by portal.
Hilda‘ Opening a portal is a flat cost, so… hm. "
Hilda: "I wonder if that was already proposed, too?"
ChefBatali starts the coffee and whips up a sandwich while it brews. Bacon, cheese, folded egg, a faint brush of butter for moisture. A dollop of cream into the fresh coffee and the lady is served. "That’s quite the trophy you have there." He nods at her arm.
AveryCoast: The boy with the Griento perks up as you ask. Looks like he was curious too.
Ananth: "Hm. I hadn't heard anything about those proposals the last time I passed through. Hmmm."
"Oh, this? Got it during the last War. Got my leg and arm torn off by this Risuri druid. I'm surprised a doctor managed to re-attach them, to be honest. Works pretty well still," she says, flexing her right hand. "You can call me Bree, Mr. chef..?"
Jeremy: "Ehh. Portals are like, high level magic right…? You can get any idiot to lay down train tracks and only a little bit of specialized training to operate en engine, rather than, like, decades of arcane study."
ChefBatali: "Batali. Anthony, when we're not being formal. I'd pry for forther details, but people are eating." He chuckles. "It does sound like quite a story, though."
Hilda: "Ah, pen pals. Philosophers around the area, helping me keep in the know, you know?"
Bree: "Another time, maybe. You seem to carry yourself well for a chef."
ChefBatali smiles. "The world is a dangerous place."
Damata: "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation, but there's honestly a lot of work that goes into laying a rail track."
Ananth: "Well, hm. I'm not sure how much maintenance would go into keeping a portal open. And on the other hand-" -he smiles at Damata. "-it -is- rather more than that, to lay track, especially for the modern stock."
Jeremy: "Well yeah. Wanna keep it straight as long as possible, on as level of ground as possible, making sure inclines are shallow enough to make it up and all that…" Jeremy shrugs.
Jeremy: "But the actual laying itself is mostly just a lot of hammers, and then it done forever."
Hilda: "Forever? Hah! Even iron fades to dust, given aeons to rust and erode."
Ananth: "Tell that to the one single piece of track lain out of place, out of negligence."
Damata: "Unless there's a landslide, or an earthquake, or even a large animal… One slight misalignment, and the whole train might derail."
Jeremy‘ rolls his eyes. "Right, right, never say forever around an eladrin. My bad." He then puts his hands in the air, making that ’i get it, you win' gesture.
Hilda: "In this oversimplification on the logistics of track-laying, shall we assume that the large animal is a perfectly round frictionless sphere? You avoid the need to calculate any sort of rigid body dynamics that way."
Ananth‘ giggles into a teacup.
AveryCoast: One of the guards, a dark-skinned woman, comes up. "It’s almost time to depart, ladies and gentlemen. Please be ready to leave in…" She pulls out a pocket watch. "In five minutes." Yes, Jack, your fancy watch says it's 7:25.
Jack‘ nods in approval at the watch.
AveryCoast: She introduces herself as Malia Baccarin, the guard liason. If you have any questions, feel free to ask her while she makes her rounds.
Hilda: "Here, let me draw you a grid - let’s say the train's here, and each square is about … let's say two yards each."
AveryCoast: She also asks you, Mr. Griento, and Bree if any of you wish to participate in a safari-it's a bit of a tradition on the train to enjoy a bit of sport while travelling through the Malice Lands.
AveryCoast: If you need a firearm, she can acquire a rifle for you while they're in Cherage for the low price of 300 gold pieces each while they're stopped in Cherage, including ammunition.
Jeremy‘ is about to say something smartalacky to Hilda before his attention is pulled elsewhere. "Safari? We got time for that kinda thing during stops?"
AveryCoast: Damata looks at his kids, then holds up a couple of fingers to Malia, while Bree just nods. He’s drawn in by your theorizing, though he's not quite sure where it's going.
Hilda: Well, neither is her player. Let's assume it's appropriately engrossing but, narratively, move on from further navel-gazing.
Malia: "There's not very many stops in the Malice Lands, as I'm sure you can understand. They slow down the train for a bit to merely 20 miles an hour during the safari."
ChefBatali: "You… shoot at the game, from a moving train?"
Jeremy: "Oh man. I don't think I've ever done *that* before. I'm in."
Jeremy: "Got my own firearm, even."
Jack: "I'm 'game' for it, though I'll need to get one in Cherage."
Malia glances at Batali. "Ah, right, you're here while Mr. Marik's on leave. We certainly do. Some of the guests love it." She then nods at Jeremy. "Perfect. The roofs of the cars have a nice lip on them you can rest your feet against and support yourself."
Ananth‘ frowns in distaste at this barbaric custom.
Jeremy` gives Jack a look. He got it. :|
Malia: "If you’d like me to buy you one, just let me know. I have to head over to 2nd now." She nods again and departs.
AveryCoast: A few minutes later, the clock tower outside the station booms out a tune on the half hour. There is a great snapping hiss heard throughout the train, and the behemoth vehicle lurches into action, metal squealing and clicking.
Hilda‘ doesn’t seem perturbed by it at all. Honestly, she's partially wondering if the custom started due to the aforementioned large animals blocking the road.
AveryCoast: You can feel the train accelerating, slowly but steadily hauling its tons of cargo and passengers up to speeds unmatched except by magic. Beaumont glides past, and soon the scenery of pastoral Danor is flying by at a staggering sixty miles per hour.
ChefBatali headshakes. "Seems to take all the sport out of it, really. Well, I say that not knowing what the game is. I wouldn't fight a tyrannosaur on foot, for truth."
Jeremy: "A what now?"
Jack‘ finishes his muffin, and casually sips his coffee as he watches the landscape go by.
Jack: "What game -do- they have in the Malice Lands, anyhow?"
Damata barks out a laugh. "Too right. I’m glad the train runs faster than one of those."
ChefBatali smiles at Jeremy. "Tyrannosaur. One of the pets made by Ber's old dragon kings."
The pianist speaks up. "I don't participate, but I've seen a number of them. All kinds of beasties, twisted from normal. Honestly, they're almost like snowflakes. No two Malice beasts are the same."
Jeremy‘ scratches at the back of his head. "Don’t think I've ever heard of 'em before."
Doris: "The guards or Mr. Marchand could tell your more, I'm sure."
Jeremy‘ nods.
Hilda: "Could one merely observe? I’d rather not spend gold to participate, as I'm a terrible shot, but… well, I am here for the sights."
Ananth‘ is, despite himself (and despite all these damnable SPINNING WHEELS), enjoying the aesthetic of the railway so far. The train IS quite impressive…
Doris: "Shouldn’t be a problem, long as you stay seated on the roof like the rest. Just double-check with Malia."
Ananth: "I can't help but be intrigued by the prospect of such beasts, myself, so I suppose you've won my attention after all." He chuckles.
AveryCoast: Bree finishes the last of her sandwich, then takes a final sip of her coffee. "Thanks," she says, a bit disgruntled. She leaves a bit of cash on the counter to pay for it before heading off-seems she's a second-class passenger upgrading her meal this morning.
ChefBatali: "Anytime, Bree."
Jeremy: "(I think she wanted to shoot stuff too.)"
AveryCoast: The train speeds across the countryside-it's similar to your trip between Flint and Bole, though the scenery's a bit different in this climate.
Jack: "(You can tell?)"
AveryCoast: Roughly every hour it stops in another small city. There's some shuffling in the passengers each stop in coach and second-class, but no new first-class passengers board at the first few cities.
ChefBatali slingin' breakfast and then lunch like it ain't a thang.
AveryCoast: The train stops in the agricultural hub city of Keskay at 11:17 am. Out the windows you can see people gathered on the landing, and amid a crowd of unassuming human workers and businessmen, four people stand out.
AveryCoast: The people attracting the most attention on the Keskay stop are a pair of travellers joined at the wrists by ornate bracelets of gold. One of them is broad woman, well-dressed in a flowing silken gown, with a constant expression of disdain on her jowls. She escorts a figure wrapped from head to toe in black fabrics, such that it's impossible to tell if it’s a man or a woman. Even the eyes are hidden by dark gauze.
AveryCoast: The two of them board the second-to-last car, then a few moments later head to the Lounge.
Hilda‘ glances at Ananth, then to Jeremy.. "Hm. Jeremy, heads or tails?"
AveryCoast: A tall, refined-looking tiefling, dressed in a long leather coat, wearing an ostentatious red-velvet vest. His horns sprout through a rough hat that he wears to shield his eyes from the sun. He smiles charmingly at the two lovely, high-class looking women who have draped themselves around his shoulders, before boarding in second-class.
Jeremy: "Tails."
AveryCoast: A bleary-eyed and richly dressed dwarf boards in the coach section.
Hilda: "Tails? Are you sure? What if I told you the coin had already flipped heads 99 times in a row?"
AveryCoast: The larger woman orders a nice lunch for herself, Batali, but has food ready for her companion. They sit across from each other at a table.
Ananth` raises an eyebrow.
ChefBatali definitely unobtrusively eavesdropping while making food.
Jeremy: "Then I either don’t care because I understand how probabilities works and ALSO don't even know what I'm calling it for, or I'm playing a rigged game and it doesn't matter?"
Jeremy: "Tails, stop making everything more complicated than it needs to be."
Jack‘ subtly takes note of what food the companion gets from the other side of this coin conversation.
AveryCoast: There isn’t really much in the way of conversation between them. Occasionally the covered figure starts humming, but the larger woman slaps her hand to silence her.
Ananth‘ grins proudly.
AveryCoast: It’s rather simple food in comparison.
Hilda: Or him. Or however they self-identify.
[OOC] Jack: NOPE ALEITH ALREADY TIPPED HIS HAND
Hilda: "There's no actual coin here, it's a thought experiment. Actually - " She turns to the newcomers. "An evenly-weighted, not-trick coin has, by some miracle of probability, flipped heads 99 times in a row. What would you wager the next coinflip to result in?"
Hilda: "Also, hi, name's Hilda."
Jeremy‘ groans.
AveryCoast: The door to the longue opens and the aforementioned tiefling walks in, though without his lovely ladies from earlier. "Heads. I’m Boone, by the way." He stops at the bar, asking, "a nice glass of red (but not that pricey) and few snacks, if you could?"
Hilda: "You didn't let me get into alternate theoretical realities and bifurcating possibilities. There could be some alternate universe where the three of us are … well, three entirely different people, but undertaking a similar adventure path of our own! Could you imagine?"
ChefBatali: "I have just the thing."
Jeremy‘ talks over Hilda in the direction of whomever she’s looking at. "Don't engage if you value your time, she has no off switch!"
ChefBatali pours a cheap red, hits it with a dash of spice and sugar to deepen the flavor, and puts some simple chips up for the tiefling.
Elanor: "You may call me Elanor Yanette. I'd just buy the coin and throw if off a bridge at that rate."
Ananth‘ stares intently at Hilda. "And you, meanwhile, need -more- wine, or none at all. I haven’t decided which." He leans back in his seat, plucks a chord - when did he pull out his oud? "Goodness, I wouldn't want to throw away a coin like that."
Hilda: "Pay coin for a coin? Equivalent exchange, I suppose."
Ananth: "Coin collectors do it."
Elanor: "It's hardly a simple coin at a rate like that. It's either enchanted or it's cursed, and either way, I'd want it gone."
ChefBatali: "Or its being tossed by a cheat. She said the coin was normal, nothin' about the hand behind it."
Jack: "Please tell me you have an actual coin to flip because at some point, theoretical becomes practical."
Ananth: "Think how many interesting stories the coin would have! Give a few more coins to an object reader, and that coin, and you'd be set for years."
Boone: "Well, if you want…" He pulls out a few coins, slides some over towards Mr. Batali, and takes a copper and hands it to Jack. "How 'bout this one?"
Jack: "Perfect." He takes the copper, flips it, snatches it from the air, slaps it onto the back of his hand, keeping it covered. [Thievery, it's heads.]
AveryCoast: Sure.
Jack: "Any other takers or philosophical musings?"
Boone: "What's the score? Heads for theoretical #100?"
Hilda: "Yes! Congratulations."
Hilda: "Give him some better wine, the more pricey kind, on me."
Doris consults a bit with Ananth about a piece to play together, now that she's seen the instrument.
ChefBatali: "Yes, ma'am." And Boones first refill is much better quality.
Boone: "Thanks kindly, ma'am."
Jack‘ reveals the heads. "And so it goes." He rolls the coin down the bar back to Boone.
Hilda: "Anyhow. Keeping things purely in the theoretical, does the possibility of tails mean there’s a world where the consequences branch from that decision? One where I instead congratulate Jeremy here with some free wine instead? (And consequently, 99 other such branches from the previous flips?)"
AveryCoast: He smiles (you could almost swear there was a twinkle there), and puts the coin back in his wallet.
Ananth‘ knows a lot more than just the Dirge, as it happens, and could probably accompany extemporaneously besides, which might be even more fun!
Ananth` to Hilda: "My dear, are you saying there’s a panoply of paths before us in possibility-space?" Eyebrow.
Hilda: "Quite the plurality, even!"
AveryCoast: She'll start off with a little piece from Elfaivar she picked up in Vendricce one time that you also know before they start going off-the-rails, as it were.
Boone: "Oh, you're one of those types, eh? Well, the more the merrier."
Jeremy: "I tried to warn you."
Boone: "I'd like to think this current 'branch' makes me fabulously wealthy, but we'll have to see how this all plays out."
Hilda: "Truly, this is the best of all possible worlds."
Hilda: "Providence."
Ananth‘ accompanies - with a few little flourishes, since he’s comfortable with this one - and follows in accompaniment, after that, going on little flights of fancy between songs to give her a chance to rest her voice.
AveryCoast: Once you get to the chorus in that song, Elanor's cloaked companion hums the melody for a few bars before getting their hand slapped again. They're probably a soprano from the range.
AveryCoast: Eventually, Elanor, her companion, and Boone all head back to their seats.
Hilda: "Hmm. I suppose I'll actually need to take a bath tonight instead of just keeping myself tidy through Fastidiousness. Magic can cause mishaps here, and even if it's okay 99 times, the 100th… well."
Jack‘ has to chuckle at that.
Jack: "A perfect tale, coming full circle."
Fifteen minutes outside of Cherage, the train guard Malia asks everyone to please return to their seats to keep an eye on their personal effects. The enclaves are always busy, she says, and it’s easy for thieves to hop on board in the commotion and nick unattended valuables.
The majestic city looms on the hills around the station, casting deep purple shadows in the light of the setting sun. Already lights are beginning to turn the city into a shining wonder of wealth and prosperity. The hills shield the city proper from the smoke of its inland industries, but you can still smell soot on the wind.
The conductor and various security staff have repeatedly reminded you of Cherage's curfew for visitors, often pointing out tall buildings that show the scars of old fires. Because the Workers' Riots a generation ago nearly burned the city to the ground, now only those few citizens with proper passes are allowed to travel between city districts after sunset. But you are welcome to enjoy the fine dining and entertainments of the rail enclave.
Jack‘ will definitely take them up on the enclave offer.
AveryCoast: The train pulls up at 5:38 PM. A few minutes later another train, arriving from the west, pulls up. Both park for the night.
AveryCoast: What are your plans for the night?
ChefBatali will wander around the enclave after he gets everything cleaned up and restocked for the morning.
Jeremy` doesn’t seem too concern with his belonging being stolen, he keeps the rifle rounds and his money on himself at all times! But goes back to the car none the last. "So… we're clearly hittin' up the fanciest, more hoity-toity place possible, right?"
Jack: "Absolutely."
Hilda: "I've picked on you enough today, Jeremy. Whatever you want, tonight."
Jeremy: "Man if I was picking we'd just go hit up a food cart but we're probably not gunna get much on rich asshole reality breaking wizards out there."
Jack‘ will disembark onto the enclave, and takes this opportunity to mingle down a bit, to 2nd and coach passengers. Scouting them out.
Hilda: "Get much on what now?"
Jeremy` makes a circle around one of his middle fingers with his opposite finger. "Y’know."
AveryCoast: After you've checked in at your lodgings (#4 on the enclave picture, the premier lodgings), asking around, the fanciest place in the enclave is called L'Wabe du Fonne.
Hilda: "Dear goodness, please stop making such an obscene gesture - " Though amid her feigned shock, she does give 'Jeremy' a surreptitious, knowing nod.
AveryCoast: The majority of coach and 2nd-class heads towards the common lodgings, Jack, though a few with the funds head towards the premier lodgings.
Jack‘ inquires about the ’mixed entertainment,' though will be heading to the unpronounceable place later.
AveryCoast: Mostly just several different types of establishments in one larger building.
AveryCoast: Gambling, smaller shows, that kind of thing.
Ananth‘ doesn’t let Jeremy spend /all/ night gambling. Aside from that, well, there's quite a bit of city to see! …well. Okay. There's a walled-in enclave to see. This is why we need to take factory workers in Risur seriously, folks.
AveryCoast: Dining or entertainment first?
ChefBatali is all about dining first. Someone else gets to cook his dinner, by god.
Jeremy: Dining! Never go gambling before actually using your food funds.
Jack‘ goes for the dining first, entertainment later.
Jeremy: If you do you might not get supper. :(
AveryCoast: Alright. The names of the food are just as unpronounceable, but they have written descriptions in Common underneath, thankfully.
Ananth` can pronounce it! Gosh. (He certainly can’t tell you what most of it -is-, though, so it's not like it does him any good other than eye-rolls from the waiters at the goofy Eladrin trying to pronounce shit correctly.)
Jeremy: "So… which one of these things is covered in oil and salt? That's what I want." Closes the menu, which doesn't make any sense to him, and stares in Ananth's direction.
AveryCoast: Please. The waiters are better trained than that. They get all sorts of people saying it wrong.
Jack‘ definitely tries some foreign eats, there’ll be time for bar food on other stops!
AveryCoast: Eating fancy, or hitting up one of the more common places, Anthony?
ChefBatali will hit up the common places, keep an eye and ear open as he wanders around.
AveryCoast: There's a good variety of people around, many of them businessmen and labourers, plus a few militia you heard about from one of the attendants that works in the common food car.
Ananth‘ -will- actually make a few recommendations to the others, he’s eaten most of this before at some point, and is just Mysteriously Very Good at knowing what his traveling companions like to eat.
Hilda‘ defers to Ananth, in that case, taking the time for herself to glance around at the other patrons.
AveryCoast: While you’re waiting for dessert at the L'Wabe du Fonne, shortly after 8, Bree enters the restaurant and has a seat at the bar, ordering some food for herself.
Jack‘ gladly takes those recommendations, taking the opportunity to lightly engage in conversation about the dishes.
Jeremy: "Huh. Enough money to hang out at the bar here but didn’t bother upgrading to first class."
Jack: "Some aren't comfortable with the constant luxury."
Jeremy: "Sounds right up your alley."
AveryCoast: Oh, looks like there is some gambling in the corner here after all. That tired-looking dwarf from earlier this morning walks into the bar a bit after that, beelining for the tables and ordering some beer and some food.
Jack: "Just having a bit of fun-" he says, gesturing to the surroundings "-first."
Jack‘ will enter that gambling circle after dessert.
AveryCoast: There’s a few different tables, a couple of card games going as well as a dice game which the dwarf is at.
Jack‘ sidles up to the dice game.
Hilda` will, as well, given her talk of bifurcating realities and coin flips. The dice tables it is. "Someone else feel like chatting up the war vet in the meantime?"
AveryCoast: Boone arrives around 8:30 with another young lady on his arm. They grab a table and start talking. Well, he mostly talks, she mostly giggles at what she says.
AveryCoast: The dwarf doesn’t seem to be doing that well, but he seems to be taking it in stride-ordering drinks for some spectacular rolls, laughing along with the others at peoples' jokes.
Jack‘ engages with his jokes, with the banter, gets swept up in cheering for rolls and howling at losses.
Hilda` works in edgewise, between banter: "So what’s your story, friend?"
Dwarf: "Just enjoyin' my night out. You?"
Hilda: "Travels across the world. Taking some time to enjoy sights, experience new things."
Hilda: "See what's different, see what's constant wherever you go."
Hilda: "You know."
Jack: "And for most ambiguous conversation, I nominate- that." He signals for three drinks to be brought about.
Jack: "Hello sir, I'm Jack Noir, security consulting."
Verzubak: "Observing people and things is a hobby of mine, too. Gambling's interesting to watch. See how people react over what luck has in store for them. Verzubak Tantalovich."
Hilda: "Hilda Straub, student of the Panoply. I blew through my conversational reserves earlier this morning opining about myriad alternate realities, forgive me."
Hilda‘ pauses to consider. "…I fear I might have frightened the other car passengers with my ramblings earlier."
Verzubak laughs. "Don’t worry. I can ramble on and on about mathematics myself. Some people are just wary of a learned mind."
Hilda: "I'll let him have your ear first before I inevitably talk for the remainder of the night." She nods at Jack.
Jack‘ chuckles. "Oh I know when to duck out of the reality-questioning crossfire, don’t worry."
Jack: "So in any case-" He readies up for his roll.
Jack: "On vacation, I assume? You seem dressed to the nines for it." He rolls!
Verzubak: "Hoping to test my luck in Nalaam. They've got some first-rate casinos there. You off to a security deal, or vacationing?"
Jack: "The latter, borne of the former."
Verzubak: "Ah. Big deal, I take it?"
Jack‘ nods. "Indeed. Came as part of payment."
He whistles softly. "Must have been a good sale."
Jack: "One part expertise, one part timing. I’ve earned it."
Verzubak: "Well, good for you. I'm just hoping the dice have some good timing in store for me tonight."
Jack: "I take it you play often."
Verzubak: "Here and there." He laughs. "More like constantly."
Jack: "Professionally?"
Verzubak: "You could say that. It's a good way of applying my studies of mathematics."
Jack: "I believe it, luck only tips things so far for so long."
Jack: "Though, I mean… I'm now dangerously close to coin flip territory."
Hilda: "It is taking all of my restraint not to interject, yes."
Verzubak: "Well," he lifts his eyebrows a couple of times. "Only if you don't give it a nudge."
He sighs dramatically. "Sadly Danor is the wrong place for that."
Hilda: "Hm. Even then, you'd figure gambling places have anti-magical security measures in place?" She turns to Jack.
Jack: "They would, and should, but if they all did, I wouldn't have a career."
Verzubak: "And that's why you have to try something new. All it takes is one big score, and then you don't have to come back after they've fixed that particular hole."
Jack: "Yep, no system is 100% unbreakable, and there's always something new."
Jack: "'s where the mathematics also come in handy, I'd bet."
Jack: "Especially when not playing against the house."
AveryCoast: This current round seems to have come up in Verzubak's favour, and he lots out a small shout. "Alright! If everyone let's me toast for a short bit, I'll buy a round for the bar!"
Jack: "Speech! Speech!"
AveryCoast: There's a bit of cheering from some of the patrons, and they quiet down.
AveryCoast: A new beer is set down in front of the dwarf, and he hoists it high. "To those we trust in, and to those who earn our trust. May alcohol forever help bring us together!"
Jack‘ raises his glass!
AveryCoast: There’s some scattered applause and cheers, and the clock-tower outside tolls nine o'clock as the glasses are passed around.
AveryCoast: Boone stands up shortly afterwards, his arm around his lady's shoulders. He calls out, "I'll see some of you lovelies on the train tomorrow!" With a jaunty wave, he and his lady friend leave the bar.
Jack‘ waves back.
AveryCoast: Several minutes later, Bree pays for her food and departs.
AveryCoast: Verzubak continues playing dice, though his luck could be better tonight.
Hilda` likewise raises her glass and drinks! And … makes a mental note. Boone seemed the late party sort, not the grandpa that goes to bed at such an early hour. Would the Ob be using time as some kind of signal? Shortly after, she launches into the spiel she gave earlier: "So, say you have a fair coin that’s been flipped 99 times and come up heads each time…"
Jack‘ settles in. Here we go.
Hilda: Either way, she’s biding her time. Best not to spook anyone on day one of the trip.
Verzubak: "Well, I know that some people would say that there's still a 50/50 chance it'd be tails next, but, if it's been that many in a row already, who'm I to question Lady Luck? I'd go heads for the next one, too."
Hilda: "What if both are true? One branch of reality has heads, the other has tails." No sign of Elanor here tonight? Maybe she'll ask the chef if he saw her and her companion later.
AveryCoast: Doesn't seem to be. Maybe they went somewhere else? The Griento family hasn't shown up either.
Verzubak: "Doesn't matter 'long as I'm in the winning reality. I prefer my arguments to have defined variables."
Hilda‘ wobbles a little. " - okay, nope. I can’t make this argument while drunk. I was sober earlier."
Hilda: "Mind if we continue this at the next enclave?"
Verzubak: "That's usually what happens in a bar, ma'am. I'd be delighted. I'm going to stay for a couple more hours, and then hit up a burlesque show. Do you want to stay, or see you tomorrow night?"
Hilda‘ smiles wanly. "Tomorrow. I’m going to retire a little early tonight."
AveryCoast: He nods to you. "Have a good evening, Hilda."
Jack: "I'm up for the show. Be seeing you, Hilda."
Hilda‘ travels back to lodging, reminding herself that she’s still in Danor. Don't cast Wizard's Sight, don't cast Wizard's Sight, don't cast Wizard's Sight…
AveryCoast: About an hour later, Verzubak hits it big-well, makes his money back with a little extra. Not much higher than he started with earlier this evening. As the clock tolls 11, he nods to Jack, then gets up and settles his bill, before heading for one of the theatres to see the show.
AveryCoast: It's rather late when you head back to the hotel, but as you're walking back, a man darts past you, grinning like he's enjoying himself. The shabby-looking gentleman wears nothing but a long coat with patches and holes, and he smells rather pungently of bath oils. Four enclave guards chase after him, but the man runs much faster.
Jack‘ applauds the man’s comeback, and heads out with him. He regards the running man, and after the guards chase him, he halfheartedly says "Good luck."
AveryCoast: Verzubak snorts in amusement but keeps on strolling.
AveryCoast: And your first night on the railroad comes to an end.

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