Steam Mountain by Sue Perkins
The planet Rak Shoma, has several continents. Maevens Ash and Orm have graduated from the magic school on Laktu. With her silvery purple hair Ash stands out from her peers. The two young maeven travel to other continents to search for Ash's parents by riding on a mechanical carriage.
They arrive at Stavmo, a country based on steam. Stavmo is run by a dictator who ordains everyone must have red hair. Those without this color hair, and anyone else who goes against him, vanish into the mines or are thrown into the volcano.
Steam cars, whirlybirds, and small appliances, even guns, are all powered by steam. A huge factory has toxic smoke billowing into the air, and only the rich are able to escape the smell by living on the opposite side of town.
The magical pair make friends with the rebels and try to help them fight for their rights, but in doing so they get separated and place themselves in danger.
Once again, dust covered the floor of the circular room where they landed after teleporting from below. A huge wooden door closed off the entrance.
"How do we open this?" Ash gave it a shove, but the door refused to budge an inch. She tried to examine the other side with her mind, but found the door blocking her. "Orm, I can't sense the other side. We're trapped in here!”
Ash felt the panic rising though her body until she thought she might choke. Instant calm flooded over her when Orm patted her arm.
"I think the walls and door must be lined with metal and we know metal makes it difficult to use magic, although I believe the floor is made of wood or we wouldn't have been able to teleport in from the platform. There's a lever over here. Let's see what it does."
This time fear collected into a heavy mass inside her as Orm examined the lever. She hated having unknown things around her. He pulled the lever and she jumped back as the door opened with a hiss and a roar. She glanced at Orm who appeared to be frozen with terror. After a few moments he grabbed her hand and dragged her through the door. They raced up the curved corridor following the outer wall of the circular room, another roaring and hissing came from behind and Ash guessed the door had closed. They'd traveled half way round the outer wall when they came to the base of a stone staircase and stopped.
"I don't like this place, Orm. The noise of the door opening sounded like a wounded animal. Why do you think it made such a sound?" Ash cast a worried glance over her shoulder.
"It happened when I pulled the lever, so I think it must have been the mechanism of the door. I've never heard anything like it before and I agree, I'm not sure I trust this place. Despite you being able to check if anyone's on the next level, I don't think we should teleport and suddenly appear up there. I believe we should climb the stairs and take a good look around before we reveal ourselves."
The long climb reminded her of their descent into the basements of the North Spire, although this time they went up instead of down. Ash wanted it to be over. This tower had seemed familiar at first, but a forbidding chill had seeped into the atmosphere. They reached the top of the stairs and Orm peered round the stone buttress then beckoned Ash forward.
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