Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Steampink: coach car - Taya

Meet: Taya
Occupation: Icarus
Location: Ondinium
Main mode of transportation: metal wings
Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Scifi

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by author, Dru Pagliassotti
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Taya shifted uncomfortably on the hard wooden train seat. Third class didn’t have much in the way of amenities. She’d glanced through the windows of the first-class cars as she’d walked down the platform and envied their leather-upholstered seats, velvet curtains, and fine carpets.

It must be nice to be rich, she thought wistfully, squirming one last time before propping her heavy boots up on the steel bar under the seat in front of her.

Under normal circumstances, she’d be flying back to Ondinium on her own metal wings rather than sitting in a crowded train car. A fierce winter storm had led the Opoprhyr Council to issue a no-fly warning, however, which had left her grounded five hours away from the capital after delivering an urgent package to a North Reach Consolidated Mining & Smelting Co. outpost. Taya knew she’d been lucky to catch the last train back to Safira, where she could wait out the storm in relative comfort.

Still, the enforced inactivity and cramped quarters were making her restless. And the hard seat didn’t help matters any.

Her ondium armature floated gently above her seat, strapped to the luggage rack to keep it from drifting through the car whenever the train turned a curve. She was the only icarus on the train, of course; almost everyone else bore the castemarks of mercates and operates.

Ambassadors travel first class, Taya thought, pressing a finger against the window and making a clear spot in the condensation that had turned the glass opaque. Maybe if I pass my exams, I’ll get a chance to ride in a first-class car. Ambassadors wouldn’t leave their aides in third class, would they?

She’d finished her diplomatic corps exams three days ago, but it would be at least a month before the board released the results. Most of her friends thought she was crazy, wanting to travel to who-knows-where with Ondinium’s dedicate ambassadors instead of enjoying her comfortable job as a courier in the nation’s capital. But why not? Her father was secure in his job, her little sister was engaged to be married, and she didn’t have any romantic interests of her own to tie her down.

Besides, comfortable is boring, she thought, her finger drawing the mountainous capital on the window. The same messenger routes, day in and day out. The same faces, the same foods.

It’d be nice to take one of these trains out of Ondinium for a change. To travel farther away than a single day’s flight can take me....

Taya dreamed of soaring over the icy wastes of Demicus, of tasting the famous wines of Mareaux, of admiring the sculpted difference engines of Cabiel — even of visiting the gilded courts of Alzana, although relations between Ondinium and Alzana seemed perpetually strained. She dreamed of adventure, espionage, and — who knows — maybe even romance.

None of which she’d ever experience as a mere courier.

Someday, she promised herself, leaning her head against the window. Someday I’ll lead an interesting life....


Taya's thoughts by Dru Pagliassotti
Based on character from Clockwork Heart. © 2010. All rights reserved.

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by author, Dru Pagliassotti
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Clockwork Heart
by Dru Pagliassotti
Published: 2008

Romance steam gauge: light

Description from the amazon:
A steampunkish romantic fantasy set in Ondinium, a city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart. Taya, a metal-winged courier, can travel freely across the city's sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes.

A daring mid-air rescue leads to involvement with two scions of an upperclass family and entanglement in a web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and secrets.

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