BIE=for Bellisprodus Intercity Express Station
The air-tube station, or BIE for Bellisprodus Intercity Express Station impressed me before I stepped inside. I had always wanted to visit here. Though the enormous building stood only three stories high, it seemed to go on forever, butting up against the northwest wall of Solace. That was almost as far as you could get from the peacekeeper’s guild diagonally without passing through the city gates.
“The air-tube takes about two hours to Corallius. The further away from Solace the longer the journey, but there are express tracks that travel at higher speeds when your destination is further away. Basically, the
longest ride from any city to another is about eight hours, as long as you’re on an express route.”
“The buildings around the station seemed dull and shabby in contrast, though they were the same I knew throughout all of Solace. People hurried throughout the streets in clusters both coming and going in an endless stream. Most seemed to be tourists from observing the oddities of their robe fringes and bracelets, as I’d noticed when visiting the Ladder, but some were Solace citizens as well. It struck me I had no idea how many people actually used the air-tubes each day, or where they were headed to, or for what purpose. My forehead furrowed as I recalled some of the things I had learned from basic education. Many visited the capital, Corallius, on a regular basis to confer with the Grand-Masters, and a select few had business at the castle itself with the Royal Administration. Trading arrangements took place in other cities for goods that required transport, there was knowledge sharing between different guildhalls, and certain festivals happened in specific cities. Still, it was surprising to see the volume of people who so depended on something I was seeing for the first time today. If the outside of the building left me breathless, the inside caused suffocation. I came to a complete halt after passing through one of many glass doorways, and those hurrying in behind me shoved me out of their way with mumbles of apology. Pretending I dropped my sack allowed me to crouch off to one side and out of the way of the fastmoving traffic while my eyes drank in the sights. The building was three stories high but there was only one level, for the ceiling stretched high up above creating a cavernous effect that accentuated the echoes of crisp footsteps and low mutterings. Skylights that were cut into the ceiling allowed the evening sunlight to stream down and highlight various parts of the station, creating an odd chessboard of light and shadow. Then, a loud, crackling voice burst out from all around me, and were I not crouching I would have jumped out of my boots.“