The Moon Pool
Chapter 25. The Three Silent Ones
THE ARCH was closer--and in my awe I forgot for the moment Larry and aught else. For
this was no rainbow, no thing born of light and mist, no Bifrost Bridge of myth --no! It
was a flying arch of stone, stained with flares of Tyrian purples, of royal scarlets, of blues
dark as the Gulf Stream's ribbon, sapphires soft as midday May skies, splashes of
chromes and greens--a palette of giantry, a bridge of wizardry; a hundred, nay, a
thousand, times greater than that of Utah which the Navaho call Nonnegozche and
worship, as well they may, as a god, and which is itself a rainbow in eternal rock.
It sprang from the ledge and winged its prodigious length in one low arc over the sea's
crimson breast, as though in some ancient paroxysm of earth it had been hurled molten,
crystallizing into that stupendous span and still flaming with the fires that had moulded it.
Closer we came and closer, while I watched spellbound; now we were at its head, and the
litter-bearers swept upon it. All of five hundred feet wide it was, surface smooth as a city
road, sides low walled, curving inward as though in the jetting-out of its making the
edges of the plastic rock had curled.
On and on we sped; the high thrusting precipices upon which the bridge's far end rested,
frowned close; the enigmatic, dully shining dome loomed ever greater. Now we had
reached that end; were passing over a smooth plaza whose level floor was enclosed, save
for a rift in front of us, by the fanged tops of the black cliff's.
From this rift stretched another span, half a mile long, perhaps, widening at its centre into
a broad platform, continuing straight to two massive gates set within the face of the
second cliff wall like panels, and of the same dull gold as the dome rising high beyond.
And this smaller arch leaped a pit, an abyss, of which the outer precipices were the rim
holding back from the pit the red flood.
We were rapidly approaching; now upon the platform; my bearers were striding closely
along the side; I leaned far out --a giddiness seized me! I gazed down into depth upon
vertiginous depth; an abyss indeed--an abyss dropping to world's base like that in which
the Babylonians believed writhed Talaat, the serpent mother of Chaos; a pit that struck
down into earth's heart itself,
Now, what was that--distance upon unfathomable distance below? A stupendous glowing
like the green fire of life itself. What was it like? I had it! It was like the corona of the sun
in eclipse--that burgeoning that makes of our luminary when moon veils it an incredible
blossoming of splendours in the black heavens.
And strangely, strangely, it was like the Dweller's beauty when with its dazzling
spirallings and writhings it raced amid its storm of crystal bell sounds!