The Silkways

Even on the darkest of nights, there is always a light. All you have to do is find it. And hope that it's not a train coming towards you!
— demon attempting to be comforting
  The Silkways are an immense rail project begun by the archdevil Belial and archdemon Socothbenoth around the year 5626 as a result of the tragedy of Gaia's Lament. They are a well-kept secret, secured by layers of devil contracts and demon threats. The route runs through the entire continent of Takawaoku mostly unbeknownst to the nations holding ownership over the land, though it does avoid the Starsear after much debate between the train's two masters.  

The Route

Takawaoku
The continent of Takawaoku shelters its people under thick rainforests and around the life-giving waters of the Sea of Souls, ever resisting the Starsear's burning touch.
  The route carved out for the Silkways track can be seen in the above map by switching to the Silkways Route layer. None of the tunnels for this route existed prior to the cooperation of the train's two masters, with some additional help from other demigods trapped within the continent.  

Purpose of the Silkways

Never before have we been forced to cooperate this closely with demons and angels. How interesting.
— Belial
  The effects of the Earth-Mother's Gift, one of the Shards of the Void and almost certainly the cause of the effect termed Gaia's Lament, were severely felt across Takawaoku. Teleportation attempts, and even attempts to step into the Ethereal Plane, fail if they would take the teleporter out of the continent's boundaries. Attempts within the continent are a struggle, often failing or depositing the teleporter in random oft-dangerous locations. Unfortunately, this also applied to the numerous demigods wandering in secret among mortals at the time of the barrier's fall.   Yet teleportation was the least of the peoples' worries. Soon, it became apparent that magical food growth and creation no longer functioned - and the same for water. Crops could not be sped up, nor could struggling populations rely on their local druids for greater aid. For a continent plunged into blazing summers and swept through by ongoing natural disasters, this spelt the death of millions. Worse, the dead did not depart for the River of Souls - they could not, in fact.   Their souls remained as bound to the land as the living, and in time, horrified scholars realised that the souls did not remain as lingering spirits - something was consuming them.   Socothbenoth, Belial, and the other demigods across the continent were well aware of what, exactly, was claiming the souls: the Shard itself. A Shard bolstered with the power of millions, already having the power to limit multiple demigods - the situation was unfavourable at best. To prevent things from deteriorating further, the demigods took actions. First, they split up - either into pairs or alone - to prevent the Shard from targeting them directly, as a demigod being taken would have had horrific impact on the Shard's power level.   Secondly, they began to aid the living. Belial was the one to come up with the idea of the Silkways, and Socothbenoth put it into action, harnessing the power of the thousands of demons lurking around Xotlan to excavate tunnels and lay down track produced by Belial's forces in the Devil's Spears.   The track was completed in record time, and through a series of illicit, secretive deals and strict devil contracts, a hidden trade network was set up. In the midst of the crisis, few were able to deny food, goods, and desperate mortals offered freely to them by the most evil of gods.

Power Generation

Don't worry about it!
— Socothbenoth, when asked how the train runs
  The train's power - excessive as it sometimes feels - is allegedly offered to it directly from the demigods driving it, and it is this that makes it so infeasible for anyone else to take the controls. Though demonic magic differs greatly to infernal power, the two brands of divine magic are both incredibly strong when it comes to domination. Exerting will over the train and taking dominance of the power running through it allows the demigod in charge at any given time to force the train to remain on the track, and to power any number of other subsystems within - from their navigation devices to internal cameras, carriage reshufflers, and self-destruct systems.   Despite the fact that this means of power generation and control ensures the driver can step away from the steering systems and still remain in control, there are only some areas of their route that permit this. Intricate turns around natural features or concerns about the presence of monsters nearby ensures that at least one driver or spotter should remain in the driver's carriage at all times, keeping watch over the train's direction and preventing disaster.
Silkways by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Nickname
the Demon Train, the Devil's Speed
Creation Date
Built in 5626
Owner
Current location
Related Technologies
Speed
50 mph

The Silkways Loop

  • The Den of Luxury
  • Xotlan Chasms
  • Tzoltekan
  • Seren's Spire
  • Mochnant (Rhaead)
  • Merahilani
  • Kirinui
  • The Devil's Spears
  • Ahtiraq
  • Nahazan
  • The Droning Caves
  • Sealed Path to Areshket
  • Irezut
  • Tijadahn (Shiar North)
  • Muharib (Shiar West)
  • Alharis (Shiar South)
  • The Western Barrier Peaks (The Starsear)
  • Masdarat (Shiar Capital/East)
  • The Sea of Souls
  • Osori
  • Keselam
  • Tevairai
  • The Eastern Barrier Peaks (The Starsear)
  • Fyore
  • Dawnflower's Despair (The Scalded Plateau)
  • Thalachor Depths (Sareshan)
  • Mouth of Alhari (Mijhel East)
  • Khadra Oasis (Mijhel West)
  • Bharaduz
  • The Secondary Purpose

    Perhaps the darkest part of the Silkways is that they also serve as a way to help those who have given up.   Those who have lost all hope for their situation and would otherwise let themselves fall into death or despair can instead go onto the Silkways and be taken elsewhere, where in exchange for their immortal soul, they can live in blissful delusion.   This much, at least, is common knowledge in most cities: that if all seems lost, descending to the darkest depths will ensure you never come back.


    Cover image: The Silkways Cover by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

    Comments

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    Forgemaster Dimitris
    Dimitris Havlidis
    12 Jul, 2022 18:53

    NIce one Han. This is a seriously massive and really cool rail network

    Join me, become a Sky Pirate in the world of Lyra!

    12 Jul, 2022 23:49

    Thank you! It's been very fun to run in-game :D The group already found out what happens when they go through the Sealed Path to Areshket... they had to spend a few sessions in a pyramid. ;)

    27 Aug, 2022 16:04

    Hi There, I just wanted to stop by and say that I really enjoyed your submission to this promt! So much so that i've included it in my Summer Camp '22 Reading Challenge article:

    Summer Camp '22 Reading Challenge
    Generic article | Aug 28, 2022
      It's such a unique way of enabling transport in your setting and the fact that it was created by Demons just makes it even better!

    I'd truly appreciate your constructive criticism on any pages of VISCERIUM. A dark, mixed genre world of infernal incursions across multiple eras.