The Real Growlerville 2: Silent Falls & The Noise Thief
(A first hand account by investigative journalist, Mr. E)
Onward in The Forbidden Zone
I can't say enough about the thoughtfulness of the team of researchers. They have provided snacks and bottles of dry water, along with wipes to clean our hands before eating within the security of our armored personnel carrier. Speaking of armored personnel carrier - I can't say it is really designed for much comfort. On the other hand The Forbidden Zone rocks!! See my previous post describing this vast and eerie place.
Now, we're headed toward the huge system of waterfalls called Silent Falls, so named because it really is completely silent. The sensors on our vehicle are all showing the presence of large numbers of encrusted forms. As we get closer, the effect is even spookier. The falls are huge! This place should be roaring with water sounds. My hosts point my attention toward the shoreline below the falls.
I see tiny wet forms slowly moving toward dry land. Very cute little creatures. I am told that these are Noise Thieves like those we experienced earlier as they grazed on our sounds, making it impossible for us to speak. Normally, they are invisible. But when they get wet, they not only become visible, but also unable to consume sound. Silent Falls is laden with paradox: because of the loud sounds created by the falls, the Noise Thief thrives here, creating silence. As the Noise Thief moves closer and closer to the source of the sound, it gets wet, becomes visible, and can't eat sound! Then it moves away, dries off, and comes back to repeat the process.
One of the researchers climbs out of our vehicle and picks up a vulnerable, wet Noise Thief. She brings it back in a damp towel and I get a close up look. So cute and tiny. They're bringing this one back to study. It gets put into an isolation canister with it's own tiny sound system - but this sound system provides sustenance for the Noise Thief! I'm told they like all kinds of music.
We head into more hilly terrain and the research team stops to point out the barren flat land ahead. They pull out maps and from their discussion I learn that yesterday there was a large encrusted forest in this place. Since the sensors show no encrusted forms nearby, the absence of the forest is not alarming the crew, but I feel a little creepy. They conjecture that the forest is just behaving naturally - disappearing or traveling somewhere in response to things we don't understand. Someone suggests that this may be the famous Time Forest, that moves around in time seeking more favorable conditions. They take a lot of pictures and we move on. I can see we're headed back because I recognize the formations along our trail.
The scientists teach me some of the historical background on the Forbidden Zone. For most of the historic past, the Forbidden Zone was actually that: forbidden. No one was permitted to enter it. The Parents of Antiquity, whose documents are one of the foundations of Huhu Law, declared harsh penalties for anyone who entered what they called the "Sacred Reservoir," which was reserved only for the highest elders who sought to make peace with the incredible forces known to reside there.