The next person was one of the smaller folk, hefting a steamer trunk that was easily her size. “Ticket?” said Vyrim.

“Yes, yes, of course,” said the woman. Vyrim was unable to decide if she was a dwarf or a halfling, but was a rather scrawny specimen of either, with a forest of reddish curls barely contained in a bonnet. “May I see my trunk to the baggage car? It’s so very full of feminine things, and I’d like to see that it’s secured personally.”
“I’m afraid passengers are strictly prohibited from entering the baggage compartment, ma’am,” said Vyrim. “I’m sure you understand. We can’t have anyone unsupervised in a baggage compartment full of who knows what.”

“Oh, but I simply must see it to its berth in the baggage car,” the woman said, laying a melodramatic hand across her forehead. “I’m heading to a new life in Smokewood, and if any of my personal effects were to be damaged, why, it would simply be the most beastly omen.”

“Do you know be an even more beastly omen?” Vyrim said. “Missing the train because you were arguing with the conductor was already had a very long day.”

The woman’s earnest face fell a notch, and she assumed a much more practical affect. “Look, mister,” she said. “Can I at least take my trunk with me into the compartment? I really don’t want anyone poking around in there but me.” She held out a couple of silver coins, clicking them together as if she weren’t the 50th person to try that today. “I’ll make it worth your while.”

“I’m not sure what is about one armed elf clutching a derringer that makes him seem unusually susceptible to bribery, but the train is about to leave and I am at my wits’ end.” Vyrim placed his derringer in his coat pocket and jerked a now free thumb in the direction of the passenger cabin. “If you can drag that thing into the passenger cabin, I don’t care what you do with it.”

Suddenly, the woman’s excited, naïve act was back on, like a thick coat of pancake makeup. “Oh thank you, thank you ever so much my good elf,” she bubbled, “for a man of your persuasion you’re not nearly as disagreeable as one might have thought!”

“Gee, thanks,” Vyrim muttered as the young woman laboriously dragged her case up the stairs and around the corner into the compartment proper.

A moment later, the locomotive blasted its steam whistle and the train’s wheels began to squeal into motion. A few desperate, ticketless, treasure hunters jogged alongside for a while, giving up only when they ran out of platform. Vyrim waved jauntily at them as they shouted after the train. “This train runs every other day,” he shouted with a laugh. “I’m sorry you had to defer you ridiculous dreams for a day, but the treasure will be just as much a fool’s errand when we get back as it is today!”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!
Advertisements