The Oracles on the Delphi Express

 
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Introduction

Hunter manages to find the next step in his journey on the Delphi Express. Left alone in solitude, he has chosen to make his way to the world beyond. He finally makes his way to the train station only to find that he has no idea where he is. This song follows The Lake and the River’s interlude that signaled the oncoming train, and we get to meet some new characters.

The Oracles act together as a prophetic, and almost abstract entity. They appear throughout the story, giving warnings to Hunter or simply narrating his life. Although he usually ignores them, we can use a lot of what they’re saying as hints towards events that happen and also to pinpoint some flaws in Hunter’s character.


Into The Lyrics

Lyrics

Stick with us, throw your morals out the door
You aren’t in the land of the River and the Lake no more
Makeshift schemes, we’ve got plenty here for you
Lock away your dreams and throw away the key

You’ve been stuck in the middle of
Patience and animosity
With a lust for solidity, and a cryptic history
Your luck’s running thin

Crimson hands, brandish words which masquerade
If you flee from grace your souls cannot be saved
Big steam ships, exits illustrate the flaw
Don’t be ashamed of your amour faux pas
When the bombs go off you’ll know right where you are

You’ve been stuck in the middle of
Patience and animosity
With a lust for solidity, and a cryptic history
Your luck’s running thin

You’ve been stuck in the middle of
Patience and animosity
With a lust for solidity, and a cryptic history
Your luck’s running thin

Analysis

To pickup where we left off, Hunter was at a train station, confused by signs pointing different ways. The train in the distance approached, a faint noise in the background. Then, a mammoth of silver and iron screamed towards the Boy, as the cacophony of metal, steam and pimping pistons had grown to an overwhelming squeal. He hid his ears beneath his palms, and in a flash of a moment, felt himself lifted, then suddenly dropped on a cool, hard floor. He lost the feeling in his feet, and the numb sensation worked its way up his spine, and finally to his eyes as he felt the cold comfort of the steel floor fade. The Boy fainted. This is pretty much a description of the train coming to a halt before Hunter, and him getting pulled in. In the graphic novel this plays out a bit differently, as the train comes up a man actually grabs Hunter’s bag, causing Hunter to chase after the train. As the man taunts him with the bag, Hunter climbs onto the train, until the roof caves in underneath him and he falls in.

Bring in the Oracles, a bunch of interesting looking folks. Though not exactly people in the same sense as the rest of the characters, they’re not apparitions either. Casey has stated that the Oracles are not ghosts, but constants, in that they have always been and never was. Whatever that means. As far as the story is concerned, they might as well be his inner conscience.

As he wakes, Hunter is faced with the Oracles. The CD booklet and graphic novel have slightly different interpretations of this meeting. The graphic novel is over a decade more current though so I’ll be going with that one. The man who stole Hunter’s bag tells Hunter that he wasn’t going to get far with what provisions he has, and asks where Hunter is trying to go. He responds with the City, and the man points out the rosary from Hunter’s bag. After some back and forth about it being his mothers, one of the Oracles says that it belongs to someone who’s a ‘better liar than anything else’. Hunter thinks she is talking about his mother, until the man clarifies that she was referring to Hunter, and his future. They talk more, and he warns Hunter not to leave to the City, instead staying with them so that he can be happy. The oracles then surround Hunter, and something weird happens as they all recite phrases that repeat throughout the Acts. The man then offers Hunter the choice to leave or stay. I’m not really sure what’s happening here, other than it’s probably a reflection of Hunter’s imagination in this situation, similar to the man he met in His Hands Matched His Tongue.

Crimson hands’ goes back to His Hands Matched His Tongue, where the man that hunter talks to has bloody hands. This is going to come up a few more times throughout the story. ‘Brandish words which masquerade’ hints that words are being used as a weapon, language as an offense. ‘Big steam ships’, the train that he’s currently on, ‘exits illustrate the flaw’. Whenever Hunter finds himself in a bad situation, he just leaves instead of handling the situation. One of his main flaws is that he chooses to exit the situation each time. ‘Don’t be ashamed of your amour faux pas’; amour faux pas is french for ‘love mistake’. The Oracles are telling Hunter not to take heartbreak like it’s the end of the world. The final line in the verse refers to bombs *SPOILER* which is probably referring to Act III, as is most of this song.


Into The Music

The Oracles have their own theme, which appears in the chorus at 0:30. This comes up in a few other places in the acts, usually to indicate that the Oracles are interjecting their opinion while Hunter ignores it. The song trails off into some vocal harmonies, which play a melody from The Lake and the River, when the chorus of The Procession’s lyrics are reprised. I think this is just to symbolize that Hunter has finally left his home and ventured into the City his mother never wanted him to call home.

This is when Hunter quickly forgot the happenings of the Delphi Express as he leaped out of the open car prematurely. The station was a minute more, but the Boy was overzealous. He ran through a soft grass lot and after a few moments, found himself in the middle of a busy city street. He turned around, and up, to see the goliath building directly behind him. Church bells can be heard as the interlude starts up, leading into The Church and the Dime.


Personal Thoughts

I never realized just how much there was to this first encounter with the Oracles. There’s a lot more between the lines that they hint at, about future events in the whole story. I’m eager to connect the dots as the story plays out further. Act II has plenty of events one after another, so each song is going to have a fair amount of story to tell.

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