The Wizard and the Sylph (Part 9, page 1 of 29)


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Part 9

THE WIZARD AND THE SYLPH

Chapter Eight

Lund

Belloc found himself standing in a strange, faraway place that existed in perpetual preternatural twilight, though a pale, grey, sepulchral light cast the barren landscape and its standing stones into sharp relief, causing it to resemble a silent moonlit graveyard. The air smelt of fire and brimstone: this, the dissipated detritus coming from round pyramid-shaped vents formed of molten rock and porous mineral slag. Most of these lay quiescent, as though that which had once given them the appearance of life had withdrawn itself to some blasted subterranean place deep within the earth. A few remained active, however, some emitting a near-invisible vapour that evoked an instinctively pejorative reaction from the senses; others allowed the passing of poisonous, sulphrous smokes that seemed more to have reluctantly left their natural environ than to have been ejected from it.

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