guess the world -
fifth series
entries 401 -

[ + links to:   Guess The World entries 1-100  -  Guess The World entries 101-200  - 
Guess The World entries 201-300  -  Guess The World entries 301-400  - 
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guess the world fifth seriesfrom Grandville's "Un Autre Monde" (1844)

It is open to anyone to set the quiz entries.  Email your mystery-snippets of OSS literature or OSS-related illustrations to me at heritageofdreams@aol.com, with the answer for each question, "Which world was this scene on?", plus the relevant details i.e. name of the author and the tale, and the issue of the magazine in which it appeared or, in the case of a novel, the date it was published, or, in the case of a picture, a reference to its source. 

Make it easy or hard - I don't mind!  Just don't send excerpts that are too obvious, such as in, "I was ambling along the canal bank under the light of the two moons..." or "We camped beside the Great Red Spot and toasted our supper on the fringe of the lava..." 

If a passage is almost right except for some tell-tale element, you can simply elide that part of it [.......], which has been done many times for previous entries.

One final consideration, as we embark on this fifth GTW series, concerns the choice of sources. 

Up to this point I have striven to ensure that the story/world match in any one extract has not already been used for another GTW entry.  That's to say, although many tales are multi-world (think of the Captain Future novel Magic Moon from which I've obtained GTW entries for Jupiter, Neptune and Styx), I've tried to make sure that no single world has had more than one GTW extract from the same tale.

So for example, as write this (on 14 May 2024), if you look through the 56 scenes on the What to see on Mars page you should find that each and every one is from a different story.  If there has been duplication of source, it will have been due to an oversight.  As a matter of fact I believe that there has been at least one such GTW oversight (though not for Mars) but in general the uniqueness rule has held true for the whole gamut of 400 entries ranging over the Solar System - so far. 

I expect, however, that eventually I'll have to relax this rule, as it becomes harder to mine the literary trove, which is vast but not infinite, without some source/world duplication. 

Besides, if you consider the way a story may provide us with greatly differing scenes on the same world (think of the contrast between the floating islands and the fixed lands on Perelandra), you may agree that in such a case it would be quite acceptable for the quiz to derive more than one GTW entry from the same tale.

Still, if you're thinking of sending an entry in to me and you wish to ensure its source-uniqueness, you can easily check: just have a look at the relevant "what to see on..." page to ascertain whether the tale has already been cited.

I hope you have as much fun as I have had in choosing material.  The field is open wide!

2024 June 15th:

…A dark ragged terrain was spreading out below them.  Then, Curt saw the place at last.  A deep gorge, with cliffs towering up on either side.  He’d only been here twice before in his life but he knew the place well.

He maneuvered into place, and the cruiser descended slowly on the under-hull repulse beam.  Even Kraaz was puzzled now, as they went deep into this tiny world.  Suddenly the scene widened.  The terrain spread out again and lights leaped into view.  They were in a vast hollow where a complete town nestled, concealed by the sheering black cliffs.  They settle down onto a spaceport where a hundred ships rested. 

“Welcome to [..........],” Curt spoke dryly.  “But I hope we won’t be staying long.”

…They stepped down into the thin atmosphere of [..........] depths.  Ships of all sizes and designs rested there in the vast hollow; for this was an outlaw base for pirates of all planets…

…They saw spacers of every description… but they failed to meet the description Curt was after.  But suddenly, as they neared the edge of the hollow – he saw one…

…Kraaz had seen.  Now he strode purposefully toward the side locks.  It took all of Curt’s strength on his arm to stop him.

“Careful, man.  Remember you’re on [..........] now.”  Curt jerked his head toward the lights of the town.  “The owner must be around somewhere – let’s go find him.”

Kraaz nodded.  They walked toward the single sprawling street of [..........].  Sounds of revelry reached them, guttural laughter and curses and the click of gambling wheels.  Once they saw a thin, blue flash of an electro-pistol.  That was the only law here, and life was cheap among these cutthroat pirates…

entry 417      [contributed by Zendexor]

2024 June 14th:

…To the East, as I stood there in the quietness of the Sleeping-Time on the One Thousandth Plateau, I heard a far, dreadful sound, down in the lightless East; and, presently, again – a strange, dreadful laughter, deep as a low thunder among the mountains.  And because this sound came odd whiles from the Unknown Lands beyond the Valley of the Hounds, we had named that far and never seen Place “The Country Whence Comes The Great Laughter.”  And though I had heard the sound, many and oft a time, yet did I never hear it without a most strange thrilling of my heart, and a sense of my littleness, and of the utmost terror which had beset the last millions of the world.

Yet, because I had heard the Laughter oft, I paid not overlong attention to my thoughts upon it; and when, in a little time it died away into that Eastern Darkness, I turned my spy-glass upon the Giants’ Kilns.  And these same Kilns were tended by the giants, and the light of the Kilns was red and fitful, and threw wavering shadows and lights across the mouth of the pit; so that I saw giants crawling up out of the pit; but not properly seen, by reason of the dance of the shadows…

entry 416      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 June 12th:

…The entities were aglow with a deep inner light.  They raised heavy appendages.  Tiny crystals slid forward to become tentacles, grasping the three visitors by the arms.  Those tentacles were heavy and strong and cold, cold as outer space.  Kraaz struggled, lashing out with his Jovian strength.  But mere protoplasmic strength was nothing.  His great muscles bulged, veins stood out – then he collapsed.

They were dragged roughly forward, through street after street in which other crystalline forms moved.  But not all were in human semblance.  They seemed able to take on any shape at will.  A tingling din was set up, as these crystal-shapes moved in their peculiar cohesive locomotion.

An entire city seemed to exist here far beneath the [..........] rock.  They came at last into another grotto, vaster than any they’d seen.  Their captors led them to a great blank wall of rock, extending far above their heads.  But it wasn’t entirely blank, hundreds of crystal forms clustered there, scattered in profusion across the perpendicular expanse.

As they stood there uncertainly, these crystal-forms began to move…

entry 415      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 June 11th:

…They crossed the end of that blackened strip, Curt and Otho hastening over the hot rocks, Grag plodding stolidly, Simon gliding ahead.

Before them the fern jungle rose into barren olive-colored hills, growing dark as the dusk deepened.  Almost at once Newton noticed something on the slope of the nearest hill.  It was a raw lumpy scar where a landslide had recently occurred.

“Simon, look at that landslide!  Notice anything?”

The Brain hovered, his lens-eyes surveying the dusky hillside.  “Yes, the outline.  Definitely unnatural.”

Otho and Grag were staring now, too.  “I don’t see anything unnatural about it,” boomed the metal giant.

“It covers a building that stood on that hillside,” Newton informed him.  “Look at the symmetry of it, even masked by soil – the contral cupola, the two wings.”

Otho’s bright eyes flashed.  “The citadel Carlin mentioned?”

“Perhaps.  Let’s have a look.”

They moved on.  In a brief time they were climbing the slope to that great lumpy scar of new soil.

Newton looked back down at the jungle.  No one had followed them out of it onto the bare slope.  The giant ferns stretched far away and he could catch the tawny gleam of Yellow Lake in the distant dusk…

entry 414      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 June 9th:

Ten days later, Earth time, he was circling [..........], while he searched the grim, forbidden terrain beneath. After days of studying and speculation he had decided that the Caves must be situated in the Inferno Range, a place so particularly vicious that no man, so far as was known, had ever explored it. During the day the heat would boil eggs, and at night the sub-zero cold cracked great scales off the granite boulders. And here, too, lay the Trap-Door City of the monster spiders!

The grim, fantastic range soon appeared over the horizon, stabbing its saw-tooth peaks far into the sky. Dawn was still lighting the world, and a great snow-storm, a howling, furious blizzard, concealed the lower slopes of the mountains. Penrun knew that presently the driving snow-flakes would change to rain-drops, and the shrieking, moaning voice of the gale would give way to the crashing, rolling thunder of the tempest. As the day advanced the storm would die abruptly and the clouds vanish under the deadly heat.

Then the Trap-Door City, which covered the slopes above the plateau at the three-thousand-foot level like a checker-board of shimmering, silken circles, would spring to febrile life as the spider monsters went streaking and leaping across the barren, distorted granite on the day's business, the hunt for food in the lowlands, and the opening of the trap-doors to gather in the heat of the day in the silken tunnel homes set in the gorges and among the boulders. At sunset the doors would all be closed, for then the rain and the electrical storm would return, and at night the blizzard. The storm-and-heat cycle was the deadly weather routine of the Infernos.

entry 413      [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2024 June 7th:   

This wasn’t the information he wanted. “Addison, is there any life on [……….]?”

“The night life never ends.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“Sorry, just a joke to lighten the mood. [……….] It is theorized that some life may dwell in the deep oceans, protected by a layer of ice, but to date none has ever been found.” 

Amir considered this. No fish could have knocked him from the docking arm. “Anything else?”

“Some residents and guests claim to have seen a creature locally called the ‘gaunt.’ Descriptions vary, but most agree its a fast, elusive being that avoids light. Disappearances are sometimes blamed on the gaunt. No solid evidence has ever surfaced to support the possibility of its existence.”

“...Disappearances?”

"Yes. Many who vanish are sadly never found, even if they went missing within just a few miles of the colony. One of the difficulties of living on such a rugged world without sunlight."

entry 412      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 June 6th:

"That crazy android!  I might have known he’d pull something like this!  When I get my hands on him – "

Curt was already donning a space-suit.  He screwed its helmet tight, grasped his proton-pistol, and strode into the water.

The head soles of his suit held him on the sea floor as he marched down an oozy slope.  Flame-fish and hydras swam past him in the green deeps.  The space-suit was a perfect diving suit for his purpose.  He strode deeper and deeper until he glimpsed a bright gleam of light ahead.

It came from the Futuremen’s diving bell.  The improvised bell was an upright cylinder of transparent metal, that stood now amid crumbling black ruins which were half covered by ooze.  Curt glimpsed Otho, Grag and Joan clearly inside the bell, which had a makeshift rocket tube for ascending.

The diving bell had been fastened tightly to the ocean’s slippery floor.  Chains attached the the bell’s underside had been securely pegged down.  And around it were circling a dozen fiercely excited sub-sea men, of the race long known to inhabit the depths of [..........]’s waters.

The scaled, anthropoidal green monsters glimpsed Curt and rushed toward him, leveling their rude spears…

entry 411      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 June 4th:

The gorge was so deep that the blazing sunlight did not reach its bottom, which was a place of great boulders and shadows.  There were cracks of yawning fissures in the precipitous walls.  And bright streaks of metallic ores gleamed at many places in the rock.

It was these metal ores, Curt knew, that drew the [..........] here.  The strange, non-breathing creatures could ingest metallic elements as their food.  They could sense the presence of such elements from afar.  That was what made them dangerous to men wearing metal space-suits.

“The fissure I noticed when we formerly explored this place is near the west end of the gorge,” Captain Future declared.  “Come on!”

They clambered down into the shadowy bottom of the gorge, and started between the masses of jagged boulders toward its distant west end.

As they came round one looming mass of rock, they suddenly confronted two [..........].  The creatures were big, wolflike beasts with gray silicate flesh, whose curiously filmed eyes glared at the Futuremen…

entry 410      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 June 2nd:

… They rose quickly to a moderate altitude and headed for the city of Kir, the walls and towers of which could be discerned in the distance. The visitors experienced a slight sense of discomfort; for it was considerably warmer here than in their own land and the humidity was far higher. But otherwise they observed little difference from conditions on Arin, though the sun was shining less brightly here by reason of their greater distance from the luminary.

“Do you desire to encircle the city before landing at the hotel?” inquired the pilot, who seemed to be friendly enough.

“Yes, that is a good suggestion,” agreed Ronal. “It will give us an opportunity to orient ourselves.”

“You have never visited Voris?”

“Never. And we are looking forward to it with much pleasure.”

“Well, you have arrived at a good time. In the city of Kir the celebration of Matara is now being observed – one of our holidays, you know – and there is much merry-making. We shall pass over the amphitheatre where Olar is now reviewing his mounted guard.”

Ronal translated rapidly to Barlo, who displayed keen interest in the news. This entire trip was more or less of a holiday to the middle-aged man who had left the city of La-dar but three times during his lifetime. But the young prince was not so enthusiastic; for the Andites has told him of some of the orgies of the Keronians when on holiday.

The air was filled with pleasure craft and beneath them spread a city of a size fully as great as La-dar. Its upper moving ways were crowded with people in holiday attire. The high walls surrounding Kir were bedecked with emblems and banners of many colors, as were the myriad aircraft that darted and circled about them on every side. Now they shot past a tall spire, that rose from the upper surface of the city to so great a height that its pointed tip seemed to be but a few feet beneath them. The pilot advised Ronal that this was the spire which surmounted the palace of Olar, ruler of all Keron, and thus, by overlordship of the mightiest nation, the actual dictator of his entire world.

Now they were over the main thoroughfare of the city, a broad central lane of traffic on either side of which rose the larger buildings of Kir. These, unlike the pleasingly-decorated edifices of La-dar, were monotonously uniform in construction, and of neutral hued, non-corrosive metal. Were it not for the holiday decorations, thought Ronal, this city of Kir would indeed present a drab and uninteresting appearance to the eye of the cultured visitor from Arin. Ahead of them, the central roadway terminated in a large circular area which they soon made out as the amphitheatre of which the pilot has spoken. Then they were directly overhead; and the cab dropped still lower and hovered about to permit them to witness the scenes beneath.

In the exact center of the arena was a large dais, upon which sat Olar and his royal party in the midst of his courtiers and ministers. the stands were packed with his subjects, and the gesticulations and flag-waving of the multitude viewed from above produced the effect of a restless body of water. In a circular track, which occupied the entire space between the dais and the stands, paraded the royal guard, several hundred brightly plumed soldiers, mounted on yaraks, those swift-footed striped quadrupeds whose breed had been perpetuated through the ages. The maneuvres of the perfectly-trained troops proved of interest for some little time and then, suddenly very tired, Ronal directed their pilot to convey them to the hotel.

entry 409      [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2024 June 1st:

…With no clouds to hamper them, they could see the horizon, less than a mile away in each direction.  Numerous small gray bushes were the only break in the monotony of the reddish landscape.

A hundred yards or so away from them, a tiny object sprang into the air, and settled rapidly down again.

“Animal life,” remarked the gloomy, white-faced pseudo-android.

Several others of the tiny objects leaped up closer at hand.

“They’re butterflies!” exclaimed Loring.

“I’ve seen their kind on Jupiter,” observed the Jovian.

Blackbeard was staring at the insect-like creatures uneasily.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” he said.  “We’d better return to the ship.”

The pretended robot looked at him with puzzled eyes.  “Why?  They’re no more than a couple of inches long.  They can’t be dangerous!”

“They have wings, but despite the presence of an atmosphere, they can’t fly.  That means that they’re too heavy to be supported by matter of any ordinary kind.  And if their bodies are of heavy matter, we don’t want to tangle with them…”

entry 408      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 May 29th:

It was a well.

Henry Bedrosian and Christopher Luden bent over the lip, peering down into the jet darkness.  Their balloon-tired motorcycle lay forgotten on the talcum sand, fine pink sand that stretched endlessly away to the flat horizon, borrowing its color from the sky.  The sky was the color of blood.  It might have been a flaming Kansas sunset, but the tiny sun was still at the zenith.  The translucent hewn stone of the well-mouth stood like a blasphemy in the poisonous wilderness that was [..........].

It stood four feet above the sand, roughly circular, perhaps three yards across.  The weathered stones were upright blocks, a foot tall by five inches wide by perhaps a foot thick.  Whatever the material of those stones, they seemed to glow with a faintly blue inner light.

“It’s so human!” said Henry Bedrosian.  His voice held a touch of bewildered frustration…

“…Did you notice the shape of the bricks?”

“Yes.  Odd. But they could still be man made.”

“In this air?  Breathing nitric oxide, drinking red fuming nitric acid?  But – “ Chris drew a deep breath.  “Why complain?  It’s life, Harry!  We’ve discovered intelligent life!”

entry 407      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 May 26th:

Seconds flowed into moments, and the moments merged into one another, and still the clouds pressed with a visible strength against the ports. The rockets drummed steadily, holding the ship aloft, dropping it slowly toward the planet below. Then the clouds thinned, and, incredibly, were permeated with a dim and glowing light. A second later, and the clouds were gone, and a thousand feet below tumbled and tossed in a majestic display of ruthless strength an ocean that seemed to be composed of liquid fluorescence.

Kerry Blane heard Splinter's instant sigh of unbelief.

"Good Lord!" Splinter said, "What—"

His voice stilled, and he was silent, his eyes drinking in the weird incredible scene below.

The ocean was a shifting, white-capped wash of silvery light that gleamed with a bright phosphorescence of a hundred, intermingled, kaleidoscopic colors. And the unreal, unearthly light continued unbroken everywhere, reflected from the low-hanging clouds, reaching to the far horizon, bathing every detail of the planet in a brilliance more bright than moonlight.

Splinter turned a wondering face. "But the official reports say that there is no light on [..........]," he exclaimed. "That was one of the reasons given when exploration was forbidden!"

Kerry Blane nodded. "That was merely a pretext to keep foolhardy spacemen from losing their lives on the planet. In reality, the ocean is alive with an incredibly tiny marine worm that glows phosphorescently. The light generated from those billions of worms is reflected back from the clouds, makes [..........] eternally lighted."

He turned the ship to the North, relaxed a bit on the air bunk. He felt tired and worn, his body aching from the space bends of a few hours before.

"Take over," he said wearily. "Take the ship North, and watch for any island."

Splinter nodded, rested his long hands on the controls. The space cruiser lifted a bit in a sudden spurt of speed, and the rocket-sound was a solid thrum of unleashed power.

Kerry Blane lit a cigarette, leaned toward a vision port. He felt again that thrill he had experienced when he had first flashed his single-man cruiser through the clouds years before. Then the breath caught in his throat, and he tapped his companion's arm.

"Take a look!" he called excitedly.

They fought in the ocean below, fought in a never-ending splashing of what seemed to be liquid fire. It was like watching a tri-dim screen of a news event, except for the utter lack of sound.

One was scaly, while the other was skinned, and both were fully three hundred feet long. Great scimitars of teeth flashed in the light, and blood gouted and stained the water crimson whenever a slashing blow was struck. They threshed in a mad paroxysm of rage, whirling and spinning in the phosphorescent water like beings from a nightmare, exploding out of their element time and again, only to fall back in a gargantuan spray of fluorescence.

And then the scaly monster flashed in a half-turn, drove forward with jaws agape, wrenched and ripped at the smooth black throat of the other creature. The second creature rippled and undulated in agony, whipping the ocean to foam, then went limp. The victorious monster circled the body of its dead foe, then, majestically, plunged from sight into the ocean's depths. An instant later, the water frothed, as hundreds of lesser marine monsters attacked and fed on the floating corpse.

entry 406      [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2024 May 25th:

“…It was a jewelled world.  Cities – the great, perfect cities – still glowed.  They glowed in soft, golden light above, and below, the harsher brighter blue of mercury vapour lighted them…

“ ‘We enter’ – he named a city; I cannot reproduce that name – ‘now…’

“…So I entered that city, the living city of machines, that had been when time and the universe were young.

“I did not know then, that, when all this universe had dissolved away, when the last sun was black and cold, scattered dust in a fragment of a scattered universe, this planet with its machine cities would go on – a last speck of warm light in a long-dead universe.  I did not know then.

“ ‘You still wonder that we let man die out?’ asked the machine.  ‘It was best.  In another brief million years he would have lost his high estate.  It was best.

“ ‘Now we go on.  We cannot end, as he did.  It is automatic with us.’

“I felt it then, somehow.  The blind, purposeless continuance of the machine cities I could understand.  They had no intelligence, only functions.  These machines – these living, thinking, reasoning investigators – had only one function, too.  Their function was slightly different: they were designed to be eternally curious, eternally investigating…”

entry 405      [contributed by Zendexor]

2024 May 24th:

Thrice the Jalathadar circled the stone-walled city of the Ku Thad, gaining altitude with each swing around the city.  The streets shrank below us – the palaces and mansions and citadels of Shondakor dwindled.  The mighty throng became a many-colored carpet filling the squares and rooftops.  We could see the glittering curve of the great river that flows by Shondakor, and from our ever-growing height the dark mass of foliage that was the immense jungled tract of the Grand Kumala became dimly visible on the horizon.

When we had ascended to the height of about half a mile, I gave the appropriate commands.  The galleon leveled off and pointed her ornate prow north and west, in the general direction of the mountain country wherein Zanadar rears her castled crest.  The wheel gangs settled down to a steady rhythm, the huge vans beating slowly, the enormous rudder holding the ship of the skies steady on her course.

I leaned against the carven rail, staring down at the broad meadows that slowly passed by far underneath our keel.  Soon we would be beyond the measureless plains and flying above the great jungles…

entry 404      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 May 22nd:

…Almost the first moments of that day of recreation afforded me one of those pictures which haunt the memory ever after.  The sun had risen over a burning ocean.  He was not, as you might expect in our remote world, a small and feeble sun; for between your age and ours a collision had increased his bulk and splendour to a magnitude somewhat greater than that with which you are familiar.

Overhead the sky was blue.  But for [..........] eyes its deep azure was infused with another unique primary colour, which your vision could not have detected.  Toward the sunrise, this tincture of the zenith gave place to green, gold, fire-red, purple, and yet another of the hues which elude the primitive eye.  Opposite there lay darkness.  But low in the darkness gleamed something which you would have taken for a very distant snowy horn, whose base was lost in night, though its crest gleamed orange in the morning.  A second glance would have revealed it as too precipitous and too geometrical for any mountain.  It was in fact one of our great public buildings, many scores of miles distant, and nearly one score in height.  In a world where mountains are crushed by their own weight these towering edifices could not stand, were it not for their incredibly rigid materials, wherein artificial atoms play the chief part.  The huge crag of masonry now visible was relatively new, but it could compare in age with the younger of your terrestrial mountains…

entry 403      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2024 May 20th:

The light wavered, cutting through the intense darkness to settle upon one of the strangest scenes ever destined for Earth-born men to witness — the surface terrain one encounters in the long ten-month darkness periods of [..........].

Each movement sank them knee-deep into the fragile mold growths that covered the ground level; their savage actions crushed the fragile formations and left twisted pits and furrows in their wake; beyond them, on low ridges, the white-limbed X-ray trees of [..........] thrust quivering branches upward, their leafless projections hanging with pale toady flowers; here in the sunless periods a bizarre plant life, independent of sunlight, waxed fertile…

…Perhaps the parlous pass in which we found ourselves will be better understood if I stop to explain a few of the characteristics of [..........]

The daylight period of ten months duration is accompanied by excessive vegetative growth, resulting in a luxuriant jungle bush that mats every available bit of soil. With the coming of the ten-month night, the vegetation perishes almost instantaneously and decomposes rapidly under the action of highly developed parasites that wax fertile in the dark hours.

The poles of [..........] are almost exactly perpendicular to the rays of the sun. Thus there are two seasons, following each other endlessly around [..........]. The vegetation growing in the darker period differs in several particulars from ordinary plant life:

First, it is either parasitic or feeds on tiny particles carried by the wind. Silvery sprays of parasites gather on the blackened stumps of trees that had lived in the daylight, and the result is a weird mimicry of the former plants, which are referred to most often as X-ray trees.

Secondly, normal plant growths function through a system known as photosynthesis, and cannot exist in the absence of the solar rays. The X-ray parasites utilize cosmosynthesis, as do the fungus plants and the blue mold. The cosmic ray, manifested with universal strength in visible light’s spectrum or in total darkness, is a vital essential in the lightless world of the Umbra. Among the vicissitudes afforded by these extremities of plant life, animal life must survive as best it may.

A further obstacle is encountered in the magnetic variations of the planetal body. The polar fluctuations are so continuous as to render a compass a useless bit of added weight. The air is so impregnated with flying umbrella spores and particles of decomposing vegetation as to obscure all starlight, hiding the familiar sign posts of the heavens: the constellations.

entry 402      [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2024 May 18th:

“You peel an old life off and you step forth in a new and shining life,” said Seven, “but you must know the way. There is a certain technique and a certain preparation. If there is no preparation and no technique, the job is often bungled.”

“Preparation,” said Webb. “I have no preparation. I do not know about this.”

“You are prepared,” said Seven. “You were not before, but now you are...  You found humility.”

“I do not know the technique,” said Webb, “I do not…”

“We know the technique,” Seven said. “We take care.”

The hilltop where the dead city lay shimmered and there was a mirage on it. Out of the dead mound of its dust rose the pinnacles and spires, the buttresses and the flying bridges of a city that shone with color and with light; out of the sand came the blaze of garden beds of flowers and the tall avenues of trees and a music that came from the slender bell towers.

There was grass beneath his feet instead of sand blazing with the heat of the [..........] noon. There was a path that led up the terraces of the hill toward the wonder city that reared upon its heights. There was the distant sound of laughter and there were flecks of color moving on the distant streets and along the walls and through the garden paths.

Webb swung around and the seven were not there. Nor was the wilderness. The land stretched away on every hand and it was not wilderness, but a breath-taking place with groves of trees and roads and flowing water courses…

entry 401      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is