The weather has turned brisk again, but the humans have sneaked out of work early to go and see Something Really Big. Sigyn and I have tagged along, she out of her boundless enthusiasm and curiosity, me out of the burning desire to see that she comes to no harm through the sheer fecklessness of the humans.
Whatever it is we’re here to see, the parking is terrible. All the local mortals are driving even more like imbecilic sheep than they usually do.
And now we are picking our way across a broad expanse of muddy turf toward whatever this cynosure is.
Well, it IS big, I’ll give it that.
It turns out that this crowd has come out to see a famous locomotive. Apparently it carried a former ruler to his final resting place nearby. When *I* die (thousands of years from now), I will go out in even more style, with spaceships and dragon races and fireworks. The people standing out in the cold to pay respects, though? There will be so many mourners, my adoring subjects, gathered in one spot that this miserable planet wilt tilt on its axis a small but measurable amount.
Ah. I was misinformed. Most of the crowd is here to see this:
Norns’ nighties! Really, people? You are impressed by this? It’s not even a modern engine! It is going on one hundred years old and runs on steam! Asgard “did” steam engines hundreds and hundreds of years ago. But here I am, surrounded by Midgardians who are gawping at this sight as if it were a thylacine reading a newly-discovered Shakespearean play.
The human male says that this is a Big Boy, and that there are only eight in existence, with only this one still running.
I must admit, it gives the impression of great might, and the black paint job lends it a certain gravitas that more gaudily-attired engines do not have.
The sun has set now, and we have crossed the tracks to observe the engine’s other side, which is rather nicely illuminated for ease of viewing.
At this distance, it is easy to see that each of those driving wheels is approximately as tall as the human female. The gold pistons and bars gleam against the black of the rest of the vehicle. The whole thing crouches on the tracks, hissing and muttering like some great, ebony-coated cat. The aura of sheer power is unmistakable.
I am, however grudgingly, impressed.
I shall have a word with one of yon yellow-vested varlets, and inquire whether they will demonstrate this beast in motion for me. Surely they will not refuse the future Ruler of Midgard?
(somewhat later) They did not! Behold!