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The lake path ran a surprisingly long way, close to half a mile, the… - The Book of the Gear [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Jan. 16th, 2006|11:27 am]
The lake path ran a surprisingly long way, close to half a mile, the wall to our left unbroken by anything more than the occasional small outlet pipe. (The third such pipe was marked with a set of the by-now-familiar white triangles.) We heard more bird calls, and the occasional splash of fish or frogs or other small marsh dwellers. Once, there was a startle of giant wings, and a great grim heron launched itself out of a stand of cattails and sailed low and slow across the water before vanishing into the fog. It appeared to be the familiar Ardea herodias but of course, without a specimen, it was hard to tell, and for once, Heinrich was too slow off the mark with the frying pan.

At last, the path ended, at a broad expanse of reedy islets, basically mud and grass and metal cut by meandering streams, stretching as far as the eye could see in the fog, which wasn’t very. It would probably be possible to walk a little distance across the marsh, but with the sharp wire root systems in the mud, I did not want to risk Mirabelle’s hooves—or my own!—on such a venture just yet.

A giant gear, twice as tall as I was, thrust out of the water at a slant, like an ancient shipwreck, webbed with dark weed near the waterline. The metal reeds grew particularly thickly in the shadow of the gear, which makes no sense at all, since the entire system is in a large room underground, and cannot possibly have harsh weather or winds or blazing sun or anything else like it, and anyway the reeds are made of metal to begin with. Perhaps it was simply an aesthetic decision by whoever placed these artificial reeds, like a meditation garden for someone who was not terribly enamored of raked stone.

There was a single doorway at the end of the path, in the lefthand wall; a plain, unadorned rectangle punched in the wall, with a single spar of rebar running across the top. We went in.

[User Picture]From: ash1977law
2006-01-16 04:00 pm (UTC)
I love the phrase "A great grim Heron"
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[User Picture]From: cuprohastes
2006-01-16 05:14 pm (UTC)
So how is it lit? More of the mysterious light?
And more importantly, does Heinrich try fishing in the Lake?
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[User Picture]From: gre7g
2006-01-16 05:32 pm (UTC)
I hear steelheads are good eatin'.
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[User Picture]From: wechsler
2006-01-16 09:04 pm (UTC)
The words "Hammerhead Shark" insinuated themselves into my conciousness at that point.
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[User Picture]From: sofish_sasha
2006-01-16 05:38 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure those fish would be very healthy to eat, but for a specimen, why not? :P

Now I want to know what's on the other side of that doorway...!
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[User Picture]From: ash1977law
2006-01-16 06:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, that last sentance was rather... ominous
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[User Picture]From: reyfox
2006-01-16 08:21 pm (UTC)
Aw, here I was thinking that the great grim heron was a new Vernonian species, but I guess it's just another one o' them trash birds from our world.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-01-17 04:01 am (UTC)
Well, Ardea herodias is the Great Blue Heron, which we have around here as well (I've seen them flying overhead, which is quite impressive, as well as one or two close up); I can well imagine that one inhabiting an underground lake might be grim as well.

Incidentally, the image of the giant gear with its shadow of metal reeds is just crying out for a picture; I hope that inspiration to make one strikes Ursula one day.

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[User Picture]From: tibialmusician
2007-09-02 03:38 am (UTC)
*smiles ruefully* I'm personally hoping someday my photography skills will be up to enough snuff that I can try making my own photos of gearwold, and this is definately going to be on the list.
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[User Picture]From: allegram
2006-01-16 08:53 pm (UTC)

normality is frightening?

What does it say that the fact that the door is plain, unadorned and rectangular fills me with dread. Plus how unfortuitous that Eland's page should end with only enough room for "We went in" which is just so ominous (and cliffhangy) when nothing follows it.
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[User Picture]From: thatcatgirl
2006-01-17 11:10 am (UTC)
Now I expect...an interlude! about Eland's other adventures, or something.
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