||[Dec. 31st, 2005|07:26 pm]
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 As with several other unpublished sections, the contents are so preposterous as to invite the question of whether Eland was serious, but as usual, if it was a farce, he kept a straight literary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.
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