H39 - Crystal Falls
This is a perfectly normal mortal path. No no, really, see how ordinary those grey granite stones are? Rounded a bit about the edges by weather, with perfectly ordinary lichen and mosses clinging anywhere gravity lets them cling (and a few places it shouldn't). Maybe some of the mosses look a little odd, and that may have been an eyestalk, but moss is strange. Don't think anything of it. It was just a bead of mist, clearly, the ever-present mist of the nearby waterfall. It just LOOKED like an eye.
The naturally dirt and gravel path does seem particularly twisty, though, and does always seem to have a certain sense of walls about it, with sharper-edged stones, trees and shrubberies, blackberry canes, even, though on second thought, the leaves aren't quite right, and are those berries -blue-?
Still, it must be ordinary, even if it does seem to be taking an awfully long time to reach the base of the 'falls, whose drumming, numbing thunder vibrates through, well, just about anything. The closer one gets to the high white source of all that oddly crystalline mist (which seems, as an aside, a bit -too- all-encapsulating; one really ought to be able to see -past- it, to the sky) the more impossible it is to hear a thing unless it's shouted right beside one's ears, but really, don't go too close.
Sure, the view is absolutely breathtaking, the sun cresting the cliffs -- what, it was night a second ago? surely not -- to limn the thousand-foot falls (aren't they ordinarily shorter than that?) in pale and gleaming gold, each droplet sparking refracted rainbow fire (are they ordinarily so hot while they fall?), but every now and then, something draws blood. Sharp slices, fin-slices, almost.
If one is very careful, and very foolish, one can catch sight of the tiny, eel-like creatures, glass-clear, as crystalline as the water they fall through, finny gliding wings outstretched. Their climb back up the cliffs is slow and long, arduous and all but defenseless, but on their way down, they're lethal. Good thing there are plenty of caves back there for them to hide in.
The path? That ends. Or does it? Stones continue out a ways, sinking deeper and deeper into the lake...