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Science Fiction Fantasy

She was in a passenger car on the capital world of Cressida, it had been almost five years since she’d last taken a passenger train, and she could say now that it was overrated.

Paola was happy to have bought tickets for the first time with her own notes, but having been in the overcrowded train car for the hour it took between Luke and Hryhoriy, she could only feel the waste of five Nicks.

The only thing that could’ve made it worse was bad company on the other end, she knew a good bit about the good folks in Hryhoriy, the kinds that worked around the Jungle there.

She was under no delusions about her position, she was a Bo under the Super-nation of Polyxena.

Paola was just a Pickney when she took to the road, she’d been long sick of her parent’s way of things.

A cruel sort of irony had her on the righted path of a Bo.

Being young she didn’t have much of a circuit to fall back on, and Paola was still often reliant on the charity of older Bo’s, most of whom helped her as a matter of code.

Some of her happiest memories were of Snipe hunting for morning Java, it was a small job for a smaller than average girl, but it was a proud thing, a little something for everyone.

She was just happy to be somewhere relatively safe back then.

Now she was looking out on the station platform, thinking about what it would mean to live a normal life at this point.

She was a lost child, being on the road so far from her motherworld, but it was more than worth it.

From what she understood of her home country, Helusch was no place to be as of late, unrest in the region and the subsequent occupation made sure of that.

She couldn’t imagine life now considering how it’d been, let alone knowing this.

There was something there with her, that couldn’t see the future in even its vaguest shapes.

Paola shook herself from such things before padding the hoof, and rescaling her familiarity with the place.

She hadn’t been seen in the Hryhoriy Jungle in two years, and she’d been hoping to find some old friends while she was at it.

Most took their own circuit’s every year or so, but Jere was a Barnacle no matter what he said, and he was less a mover than just homeless.

There were others she could trust of course, the people at the Alesyn sanctum were always fair to the wayward. They actually ran a Flophouse in winter and summer, which was nice, she’d even got sent in one winter.

There’d been some talk of placement, and a real ticket outta town, before they realized how far she’d gone already.

Helush was very far away, and while she was young, age didn’t make a priority at the cusp.

Paola hadn’t grown all that much in her years on the road, but Hryhoriy still felt small to her.

Already old roads had worn since last she’d seen, and she walked every path as sure as her memory.

She was careful of course, a lot could change in a few weeks, let alone years.

Hryhoriy was near known for it’s Jungle, and that was always a precarious distinction.

Paola was hoping to Call in with a friend while she was there, she’d even brought things to share.

She kept to the path until she found that friend’s place.

A simple Stoat was scrawled out on the wall, obscured by a lovingly overgrown Kiri tree.

The Stoat referred to the woman's old Gib as much as to the lady herself.

She was a terribly kind woman, and was a willing helper to the Bo’s who came through.

As such she was never burned without relief.

Imani is what was known as a good woman because of this, but Paola knew her as a friend for almost all of her free years.

The old Gib met her first, with an over serious chirp, before marching off to Imani’s house.

Imani was tending to her garden, taking trimmings off her Java.

Imani had been collecting and growing Java Corms for much longer than Paola had known her, as relying on distributors wasn’t her style.

She’d take cuttings from every variety she could, the Java Flowers rarely showed their heritage when grown, but the plant itself was fairly easy to identify by the Corms at the root and the shape of the leaves.

They always tasted lovely, ground, roasted, or smoked.

Though the variety of tastes would shift over time.

It was the perfect avocation for a madwoman.

So being in good spirits with a lucky Boodle of Java Corms, Paola was more than ready to see her.

They were of a rarer variety, and she knew the leaves to be sweet, so it might be a nice addition.

Imani was actually happy to see her, not waiting to share her chores, or the rest of her day.

Her friend was amiable to Paola’s request, as she had no other squatters.

They took some Tokay with their Snipes, five years on the road had given her count as an adult, as far as Imani was concerned, and Paola was content to take something warm in the evening.

She could always trust Imani, ever since her first year away from home. The woman managed a kind demeanor, and a charitable outlook that Paola had always known to be rare.

Even more so than the other folks at the Alesyn sanctum, Paola would always be thankful for that. 

She would still get up early, if only not to impose. A Bo should never overstay their welcome, especially from a good sort. Imani, just as she did last time, would tell her to take her time, Paola declined, happy to have her merriment and be off.

Paola could settle in Hryhoriy one day, she could probably espouse herself if she felt like it, but her life felt empty save her movements in it.

At the moment her movements as a Bo sufficed. Paola thought about so many things, but she didn’t dream of them like she did her life.

The long way round seemed much shorter on the way back to the station, though she was a might bit late.

She took a HotShot on the fly, as safe as could be in a reckless action, Paola knew it would take less than nothing to grease the track if she fell, and it was exhilarating.

She knew a little of what was on the other end of this.

Even in her short time on the road, things had changed. You'd need to be a fool not to notice the adversarial nature of life under the God Queen.

She took her Accommodation by the luck of her jump, on her way out of Hryhoriy.

She watched everything from her chance perch, a beautiful world passed by her as she rode through once more.

May 25, 2021 11:46

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1 comment

Kathleen `Woods
02:01 Jan 02, 2022

Discovery key, for the world-building in common. "Around and round Elysia" https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/ioke5z/ "Ginevran Hospitality" https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/ps91yo/ "Why do anything, Ceri? You'll only dance in Elysia one day." https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/x1jb7y/

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