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To those who dwell amongst soot and leaves
The power of flight it willingly gives
Lines that know neither start nor end
Knowledge beyond what eyes comprehend
Distorted illusion of that which is true
Into the unknown it will see you through

What is it?


Hint 1:

The uncomprehending eyes are at sea level and the leaves are papyrus.

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OK, first time posting - I thought I knew what the answer was until I saw the hint, and now I've changed my mind.

Firstly, my previous guess:

A Rainbow

To those who dwell amongst soot and leaves

People on the earth

The power of flight it willingly gives

Metaphorically, directs people's imagination to "greater things"

Lines that know neither start nor end

Multiple lines of colour which go round in a circle - most of these circle (by angle) can't usually be seen because the ground is in the way

Knowledge beyond what eyes comprehend

Eyes see something that looks like it might be an object in space, but if you know about what they are, you know they are not really there

Distorted illusion of that which is true

Sunlight distorted into separate colours

Into the unknown it will see you through

Sometimes seen as 'bridges' to mythological places, or that something lies 'over the rainbow'

False Shadow of an Orb:

On the opposite side from the Sun (Orb), and a trick of the light

Secondly, having seen the hint:

A Map (if you want specifics, maybe a Mercator projection)

To those who dwell amongst soot and leaves

soot and leaves = pencil lines on paper

The power of flight it willingly gives

Metaphorically, directs people's imagination to distant lands

Lines that know neither start nor end

Lines on a map can continue indefinitely

Knowledge beyond what eyes comprehend

Shows details of places that you can't currently see

Distorted illusion of that which is true?

converting a surface of a 3D earth onto a 2D map will involve some sort of distortion

Into the unknown it will see you through

can be used to navigate to a place you have never been to before

False Shadow of an Orb:

A Mercator projection is made by projecting a light source at the centre of the earth onto an infinite cylinder wrapped around it and touching at the equator

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  • $\begingroup$ Great job! The lines have neither start nor end because they are circles (latitudes and longitudes). And welcome to Puzzling SE! $\endgroup$ – greysaff Oct 3 at 1:01
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I think the answer is

Web

To those who dwell amongst soot and leaves

Spiders

The power of flight it willingly gives

Ballooning is a process by which spiders move through the air by releasing one or more gossamer threads to catch the wind.

Lines that know neither start nor end

I think this refers to the continuous development of the web from an old line which seemingly has no start or end.

Knowledge beyond what eyes comprehend

Possible referencing the World Wide Web (a incomprehensible source of knowledge).

Distorted illusion of that which is true

A "web of lies".

Into the unknown it will see you through

A web has many holes in it through which you can see.

Title

Refers to an Orb-weaver spider, the webbing being the false shadow of the orb.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Whoa! That's a great answer and fits most of the lines. However, the last line says "it will see you through" and not "you can see through it". If no one else gets it I'll probably give this answer the check for creativity. $\endgroup$ – greysaff Sep 30 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ "knowledge beyond what eyes comprehend" could also be the way that spiders know that things are in their web by the tremors on same. $\endgroup$ – Ben Barden Sep 30 at 20:22
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is it

a cocoon

To those who dwell amongst soot and leaves

Caterpillars are ground/leaf dwellers

The power of flight it willingly gives

When a caterpillar goes into a cocoon, it emerges with wings and can fly

Lines that know neither start nor end

The web that is spun into the cocoon is like a long strand, but you would be hard pressed to find the start or end

Knowledge beyond what eyes comprehend

What happens in a cocoon is hidden from prying eyes

Distorted illusion of that which is true

Not sure, but perhaps the cocoon provides a false illusion of what entered... and what will emerge

Into the unknown it will see you through

The caterpillar is guided into the next phase of it's life within the cocoon. What will it bring is unknown (to the caterpillar)

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  • $\begingroup$ Creative but sadly nope. I just find it amazing how so many answers seem to fit these riddles. You also will have to tie it to the title somehow. $\endgroup$ – greysaff Oct 1 at 1:35
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It is:

A black hole

To those who dwell amongst soot and leaves

Inhabitants of planets

The power of flight it willingly gives

The planets and their solar systems orbit a black hole forming a galaxy

Lines that know neither start nor end

Visual representations of the event horizon, especially recently released by NASA, show lines that bend, arc, and swirl upon themselves.

Knowledge beyond what eyes comprehend

The singularity of the black hole holds material and information - probably indefinitely

Distorted illusion of that which is true

We really cannot see 'into' a black hole

Into the unknown it will see you through

It will gladly add you to its maelstrom if you get too close

False Shadow of an Orb

A black hole is a 3-dimensional object, but we usually see it represented as a black circle which is dark, like a shadow

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  • $\begingroup$ Creative answer but not the one I'm looking for. I'll add a hint soon. Give it another shot if you can :) $\endgroup$ – greysaff Oct 2 at 1:43
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Could it be:

Ultraviolet light

To those who dwell amongst soot and leaves / The power of flight it willingly gives

Some insects (tiny critters living amongst plants and small matter) can use ultraviolet light as navigation (Source: Wikipedia)

Lines that know neither start nor end

May refer to a visual depiction of light from the Sun, which travels great distances through space

Knowledge beyond what eyes comprehend

Ultraviolet light is beyond the visible light spectrum

Distorted illusion of that which is true / Into the unknown it will see you through

Can be employed by optical sensors (Wikipedia again)

False Shadow of an Orb

The orb is the Sun, and the false shadow could be a visible shadow. It is possible to receive sunburn on a cloudy day, so the "false" part may refer to a lack of apparent protection from UV radiation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, especially how you tie the answer to the title! Sadly this is not the intended answer. $\endgroup$ – greysaff Oct 2 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ @greysaff Thanks. In retrospect, if I have to cite a source to prove my point (esp. in light of the lack of a [knowledge] tag), I may be a little off. :-) $\endgroup$ – CGreen Oct 2 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ True. It should be answerable without a visit to Wiki (I hope!). I'll add the first hint now. $\endgroup$ – greysaff Oct 2 at 1:50

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