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The Night Land
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And all this while, those wounded Youths came slowly, and rested, and came on
again, the better helping the worse; and a great excitement and trouble there
was in all the Mighty Pyramid, to learn which were they that came, and they
that went, and who lay out there quietly among the slain. But none might say
anything with surety; for, even with that great spyglass in the Tower of
Observation, they were not overplain; save when some light from the fires of
the Land flared high, and lit them. For they stood not up into the glare of
the fires, as had the Giants. And though I saw them with clearness, yet I knew
them not; for there was so mighty a multitude in that Vast Redoubt, that none
might ever know the half even of their rulers.
And about this time, there came a fresh matter of trouble to our minds; for
one of the Monstruwacans made report that the instruments were recording an
influence abroad in the night; so that we had knowledge that one of the Evil
Forces was Out. And to me there came an awaredness that a strange unquiet
stole over the Land;
yet I knew it not with mine ears; but my spirit heard, and it was as though
trouble and an expectation of horror did swarm about me.
And once, listening, I heard the MasterWord beating strangely low, and I knew
the aether to thrill about me, and a faint stirring was there in my soul, as
of a faint voice, speaking; and I knew that Naani called to me some message
across the night of the world; yet weak and coming without clear meaning; so
that I was tormented and could but send comfort to her, with my brainelements.
And presently I knew that she ceased to speak.
And, later, I heard that there was a new matter forward in the Redoubt; for
ten thousand men had assembled to attend the Room of Preparation for the Short
Preparation; and by this we knew that those poor Youths who stumbled towards
us through the dark, were presently to have help.
And through all that SleepTime, there went forward the Spiritual and the
Physical Preparation of the ten thousand; and upon the morrow they slept,
whilst an hundred thousand made ready their arms.
And in this space of time the two hundred and fifty Youths that went towards
the Road Where The Silent
Ones Walk, had come very nigh thereto; having gone very warily and with some
slowness, because, as may be, of the lesson of the Giants.
And to us in the Pyramid, the instruments made known constantly that Influence
which was abroad, and which all those of the Tower of Observation thought to
proceed from the House of Silence. Yet, nothing could we see with the Great
SpyGlass, and so could come to no sure knowing; but only to fear and wonder.
And, presently, the Youths were upon the Great Road, and turned to the
Northward. And beyond them, a great way, stood the House of Silence, upon a
low hill at a certain distance to the right of the Road.
By now, they that were wounded had come to within, maybe, fifteen miles of the
Great Redoubt; and the news went through all the Cities, that the ten thousand
men that were Prepared, made to arm themselves. And I
went down by the Tower Lift, and saw them come down by thousands from the Room
of Preparation; and none might go nigh to them, or cause them to speak; for
they were made Ready, and were, as it might be, holy.
And all the millions of the Mighty Pyramid stood in their cities about certain
of the Main Lifts, and watched those thousands go downwards, all in their
armour of grey metal, and each one armed with the Diskos, which was that same
very terrible weapon, which all had training to.
And I doubt not but that the Young Men of the Pyramid looked, with longing in
their hearts, that they might have been among those that went forth to
succour. Yet, the older men had graver thoughts in their hearts; for the blood
ran more soberly in them, and they had knowledge and memory of the Peril. And
by this, I would
The Night Land
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make clear that I speak less of the peril of the body, which is common to
every state of life; but of the peril of the spirit.
And it may be thought by those of this age, that it was most strange that they
of that, having all the knowledge of eternity to aid them, had no weapon by
which to shoot, and kill at a distance.
But, indeed, this had not been so in the past; as our Histories did show; for
some wondrous weapons there had been, that might slay without sound or flash
at a full score miles and more; and some we had whole within the
Great Museum; and of others but the parts in decay; for they had been foolish
things, and reckless to use; for we of that Great Pyramid, wanted not to kill
a few of the Monsters that lay at a great distance; but only those which came
nigh, to harm us.
And concerning those same weapons that killed silently at a great distance, we
had now little knowledge, save that they did waste the EarthCurrent; and no
practice had we concerning their workings; for it was, maybe, an hundred
thousand years gone that they had been used, and found to be of no great worth
in a close attack, and harmful otherwise to the peace, in that they angered,
unneedful, the Forces of that land, slaying wantonly those monsters which did
no more than beset the Mighty Redoubt at a great distance. For, as may be seen
by a little thought, we did very gladly keep a reasonable quietness, and
refrained from aught that should wake that
Land; for we were born to the custom of that strange life, and lived and died
in peace, for the most part; and were very content to have security, and to be
neutral in all things that did not overbear us; but, as it were, always armed,
and ready.
But concerning the great and Evil Forces that were abroad in the Night Land,
these we had no power to harm; [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]