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Terra Absurdium, vol unknown [Dec. 31st, 2005|07:26 pm]
gearworld
The following was probably cut from Terra Absurdium vol. 31, as it bears a thematic resemblance to the tuber section previously located, but may also have been from an earlier work. The location where this section supposedly occurs is unknown, although several badly water damaged pages preceding it mention “the unspeakable east.” (Predictably, Eland has spoken about it anyway.) As with several other unpublished sections, the contents are so preposterous as to invite the question of whether Eland was serious, but as usual, if it was a farce, he kept a straight literary face throughout.

These pages and the accompanying drawing were brought to me by a temple rat, who found them in a crawlspace under the eaves. – Vo


…most disturbing of the settlements we encountered on the other side of the pass was undoubtedly that of Kolothon, the Rag Doll City.

Kolothon is located in a canyon surrounded by pine forests, in a temperate area above the high deserts to the south. Within this canyon are three giant…well, what to call them? Buildings? Statues? They are, in fact, megalithic rag dolls, the tallest of which is seated in the bottom of the canyon and reaches past the brim. Over the centuries, the locals have hollowed out rooms within the stuffing and live within them. Two of the dolls sit on the bottom of the canyon and house the bulk of the inhabitants, one is belly-down and draped over the side of the canyon. This one contains the great forges and stables within the body. Enormous cables hold the dolls in place, anchored with great iron hooks, although the dolls are so massive that nothing short of a glacier seems apt to move them.

The material these dolls are made of is most peculiar, being a sort of coarse weave burlap with individual threads thicker than a man’s waist, which has worn like iron. The stuffing is an unknown organic material, and has a consistency ranging between that of peat and sod. The “hair” on the heads of the dolls is made of steel hawsers as thick as tree trunks, as is the “stitching.”

The inhabitants are not the creators of the dolls by any stretch, and do not know who made them. The accepted myth is that these were dolls belonging to the daughters of Inganhoait, the Heron that Holds Up the Sky, which they dropped when they were kidnapped by the great Eel of Stars. The truth, whatever it may be, is unknown, or at least was not known to our guide or any of the scholars we asked. The natives do not appear concerned that the Heron’s daughters will ever come back for their dolls, and our guide looked at me like I was an idiot when I asked, so I suspect that this is well known to be a myth and not an actual explanation.

Currently living around and inside the giant dolls are about four thousand people, a respectably sized settlement for this area. The stuffing of the dolls is readily excavated, and packs into a material much like the interior of a sod house. As ventilation is problematic in the interiors, most of the rooms are just under the surface of the cloth. The cloth, despite its evident antiquity—the dolls have been inhabited for more than six hundred years—has not suffered significant damage from weather.

Cooking fires inside, and the great forges, are ventilated through chimneys on the heads of the dolls, and the interiors carefully constructed, sheathed in fired clay and ceramic tile and metal and stone, for uncontrolled fire is the great fear of the doll-dwellers. The stoves are rounds of sealed clay with hinged doors and wide tile hearths, and interior lighting is done entirely with lamps holding oil pressed from phosphorescent beetles. This light is of necessity a pale green, and they use it in vast quantity, so that at night, the dolls glow sickly emerald through the cloth, and more brilliantly along the seams, as if outlined in foxfire. This has the effect of making an already rather disturbing sight positively chilling. And yet the doll-dwellers are cheerful and productive and were friendly to travelers and not in the way that means they are planning on eating you later.

It is worth noting that they, themselves, do not make any dolls. Children are given stuffed animals representing bears and dogs and chimera and cameleopards, but no one makes dolls. It is a kind of superstition, based on old ideas of sympathetic magic, I suspect—children are hard on their toys and when one lives inside a doll, seeing a doll’s head twisted off could be a bit unnerving.

ragdolls

It goes without saying that this report has never been confirmed by any other traveler, and is quite possibly pure invention on Eland’s part. -- Vo
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: padparadscha
2006-01-01 12:26 am (UTC)
Cool. I like Eland's signature.

Did you know that phobia of dolls and human figures is very common? I think it's as pervasive as that of mimes and clowns, but for some reason it's less well-known. I have a sort of vague idea that it has to do with putting too much personality into them. I myself have a fear of a very specific type of rag doll that can be found in those creepy Gramma's Country Kitchen type stores ~ the ones that have just eyes painted on. And my brother says the six vinyl dolls I have in my room give him the creeps.

Smiling rag dolls is okay, though. I can handle those. But I wouldn't want to live in a glowing green one.
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[User Picture]From: timtylor
2006-01-01 02:18 am (UTC)
It's a matter of what you're used to, I suppose. Colossal rag-dolls and green beetle-juice lamps don't seem spooky when you've lived with them every day of your life.
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[User Picture]From: zeldaar
2006-01-02 04:29 am (UTC)

I don't know what's worse...

the fact that you seem to have first-hand knowledge of this exact sort of thing...
or that I know exactly what you mean.
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[User Picture]From: aubri
2006-01-06 04:59 am (UTC)
Well, sure. I suppose if you grew up there, you find green light and burlap very comforting and homey.
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[User Picture]From: timtylor
2006-01-01 01:34 am (UTC)
Fascinating. :) I wonder what the eyes are made of.
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From: chriswheeler
2006-01-01 12:24 pm (UTC)
The leftmost one look like it has those big four hole trench coat buttons for eyes.

I think some wizard pulled too much power and bled off the excess through the neighbours daughters room. He didn't succeed and exploded himself, and the village he was in, leaving the canyon and the dolls which fell from the sky an hour later
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[User Picture]From: timtylor
2006-01-01 01:51 pm (UTC)
Sounds plausible. No wonder Digger and her people are sniffy about magic.
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From: jachra
2006-01-03 06:02 am (UTC)
Plausible in this case means just about any explanation ;D

That one about the Star Eel is probably close to the truth.
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[User Picture]From: jehannamama
2006-01-01 02:47 am (UTC)
Happy New Years!
Celebrations in Gearworld with more archived studies from Eland - how perfect! :-)
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[User Picture]From: unholygiraffe
2006-01-01 03:43 am (UTC)

hmph

I find it depressing that Eland, although he has hooves, still has a much nicer signature than mine.
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[User Picture]From: ravelwoods
2006-01-01 03:56 am (UTC)

Re: hmph

Presumably, he only has hoofs on his hindlimbs, and has something approximating a hand at the end of each arm.
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[User Picture]From: ravelwoods
2006-01-01 04:00 am (UTC)
Of course, now that Gearworld is updating, I really should get something up in Ravelwoods.
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[User Picture]From: timtylor
2006-01-01 02:01 pm (UTC)
I just read through Aframos' journal for the first time, and loved it. :D
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[User Picture]From: ravelwoods
2006-01-03 01:46 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
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From: jachra
2006-01-03 06:02 am (UTC)
Oooh, I must see for myself.
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[User Picture]From: tumorhead
2006-01-01 07:38 am (UTC)
I wonder if there were competitions or rivalries between those living in different dolls or different parts of dolls, i.e. "They're so highbrow up in the upper arm". Hrrr!
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[User Picture]From: timtylor
2006-01-01 12:18 pm (UTC)
I suspect dwellers in the, uh, "bathing suit areas" would be the butt of local humour.
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[User Picture]From: tumorhead
2006-01-01 06:32 pm (UTC)
Indeed. And the puns would never end! XD
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[User Picture]From: cuprohastes
2006-01-01 08:23 am (UTC)
What sort of pen dos Eland use though?
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-01-01 09:10 am (UTC)
Frankly, I'm curious about his ink.
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[User Picture]From: ravelwoods
2006-01-01 09:11 am (UTC)
Blast this infernal internet device that refuses to sign me in properly! Blast it to the fevered waters of the seventeenth hell!
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From: chriswheeler
2006-01-01 12:27 pm (UTC)

Simple

Heinrich makes it from the left over wildlife he beats to death with cookware.
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[User Picture]From: stableglynn
2006-01-01 02:29 pm (UTC)

The pedant stirs

I know I shouldn't say this but... I think "megalithic" refers exclusively to big, fuck-off lumps of rock. I think "lith" means stone. Hence monoliths and such like. So megalithic dolls would be made out of rock.

It's not that I WANT to be irritating and point these things out, it's just that I've spent so much time reviewing people's poetry and stories I've reached a point where I just can't help myself, and if I didn't say something it'd sit there and niggle at me. Now it's said I can happily go back to enjoying the writings of Eland.
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[User Picture]From: ursulav
2006-01-01 03:11 pm (UTC)

Re: The pedant stirs

I suspect Librarian Vo is a kindred spirit, so I wouldn't worry about it. *grin*
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[User Picture]From: dollraves
2006-01-02 04:22 am (UTC)

Re: The pedant stirs

Actually, the dictionary defines it as:

Monolith (n)
1) A large block of stone, especially one used in architecture or sculpture.
2) Something, such as a column or monument, made from one large block of stone.
3) Something suggestive of a large block of stone, as in immovability, massiveness, or uniformity.

Monolithic (adj)
1: imposing in size or bulk or solidity

I think noun#3 and adjective#1 can be applied to the "ragdolls" in this case, as dolls of their size would indeed be suggestive of a large block of stone, immovable, and quite massive.
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[User Picture]From: stableglynn
2006-01-02 01:04 pm (UTC)

Re: The pedant stirs

Fair enough, I'm happy with that. Although I did check dictionaries through Google and none of them had the non-literal definitions. Which dictionary are you using?

I checked and mono-lith does mean one-stone, even though monolithic burials involve a few big stones stacked together.
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[User Picture]From: dollraves
2006-01-02 02:57 pm (UTC)

Re: The pedant stirs

www.dictionary.com, which checks multiple dictionaries (including Oxford and Miriam Webster) at once.
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[User Picture]From: shadow_exe
2006-01-02 04:51 pm (UTC)

Re: The pedant stirs

Actually, I believe that "megalithic" can be used with a wider meaning: the hillforts (hills carven into crude fortifications, probably by the Celts or their precursors) in South-West England are generally referred to as megalithic, although they're made of compressed soil - the individual stones or "liths" are only a couple of centimetres, on average.

A lot of the hill-forts are about 2 miles across. Which isn't impressive until you realize that they were carved with hand-tools.

The usage of "monolithic" mentioned by dollraves seems to be commonly applied to "megalithic" as well. And by this definition of megalithic, the dolls certainly qualify.

God, I'm such a dork.
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[User Picture]From: dollraves
2006-01-02 08:18 pm (UTC)

Re: The pedant stirs

*grin* Part of this is just the evolution of language. Just like the "-aholic" suffix from "alcoholic" has been applied to many non-ethanol-based addictions (i.e., workaholic, chocoholic...), we still comprehend the appendage of "-aholic" to be one of an addictive nature.

Connotation, denotation, detonation:
What we mean, what we say, what we flame. :)
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[User Picture]From: siege
2006-01-09 08:47 am (UTC)

Re: The pedant stirs

Conflagration. Or did you mean "burst", rather than "flame"?
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[User Picture]From: dollraves
2006-01-09 01:47 pm (UTC)

Re: The pedant stirs

I suppose I really meant "explode" that gets flamed, but I think conflagration works better!

Denotation, connotation, conflagration.

Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: siege
2006-01-09 09:33 pm (UTC)

Re: The pedant stirs

Combining them all makes for a wonderful action sequence:

Denotation (guy reading a book)
Connotation (guy talking to friends)
Conflagration (guy pointing a finger)
Detonation (guy getting punched in the face)
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[User Picture]From: tiamet64
2006-01-01 11:41 pm (UTC)
Alright, that's both neat, and actually somewhat disturbing at the same time...
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-01-02 03:56 pm (UTC)

yay!

gotta love the scribbles... also, love the smoke effect. and, you know, the writing :P

-The Savage Hamster
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-01-02 06:50 pm (UTC)
And yet the doll-dwellers are cheerful and productive and were friendly to travelers and not in the way that means they are planning on eating you later.

Heh.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-01-04 05:59 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of the Terry Pratchett book the Carpet People - the tiny people living in the weave, and what we'd see as a grubby carpet is a whole world to them, the dropped match a great legend of fire from the sky and so on. I'm now thinking of Eland and co. being as wide as a thread, (and therefore a good deal bigger than the carpet people!) but I'm probably way off the mark. It just reminded me of the world within world thing...
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-01-07 11:19 pm (UTC)
There's just something faintly disturbing about the way the dolls are tied down the way they are. At which point in the story did _that_ happen? Hmm.

/Sarah
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From: mousewolfapple
2006-01-08 02:44 pm (UTC)
You know, it's occured to me that if one thinks too much one these things, one may go completely insane.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-07 07:13 pm (UTC)
Agreed, agreed. I had a nightmare involving those dolls last night. Weird, the things that set you off, hm?
-Zevazo
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[User Picture]From: aubri
2006-01-20 07:40 pm (UTC)
Question... I was just doing some backtracking in Digger and noted that the librarian at Ganesh's shrine is *Second* Librarian Vo. I suppose he's related to Senior Librarian Vo XVIII?
(I mean, I'm assuming the bald librarian is a guy. I could, theoretically, be mistaken.)
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[User Picture]From: karma_k2
2007-01-07 10:11 am (UTC)

Art

It's good to see illustrations again!! =)
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