a band of men in line at a police station. they are strangely dressed, anachronistic, in leathers and fur and scraps of mail. I stand with them, fingering a talisman on a thong around my neck, whispering a prayer to the Horned Lord to lead us home, to save us from this strange land and its noise and smoke and impossible towers.
and then, He is there, walking among us. we turn as one to follow him, as the walls of the police station fade behind us. we know better than to pay too close attention to what surrounds the Straight Tracks by which our god leads us- those few who have braved a glimpse of the dimensions between have gone mad or worse, although after what we have been through we may all be a little mad.
then, suddenly, the Horned Lord pauses. and just as suddenly, we all feel a great, crushing lethargy sweep through us. even the wild god sinks to one knee as behind him our motley band collapses where they stand, unable to move so much as a finger or utter a single moan of despair. around us lies a barren plain pocked by craters and fissures, uninhabited save for two great woolly mammoths. one is white as driven snow, the other black as basalt. from across the plain they charge at one another, their trumpeting roars echoing across the desolation. they crash together and the white behemoth throws the black one to the ground, which shudders beneath us.
a storm-tossed sea rises about us, crashing waves and whirling clouds, spears of light forking between them. vast terror grips my heart, but I can barely draw breath to cry out, so powerful is the sapping effect that crushes us. through this elemental violence, two monsters swim- plesiosaurs, though I knew not to name them at the time. their fins churned the water, leaving whirlpools in their wake as their ponderous jaws swung to and fro at the end of impossibly long, muscled necks. they tore great ragged chunks from one another, blood pouring from their wounds to stain the frothing wave-caps red.
with no small effort of will, I looked to the Horned Lord, who watched the battle of the titanic creatures with an intensity I could not fathom. by some intuition, I realized that the white beast, as before, represented his will, locked in combat with some dark force that threatened to overwhelm us all. even as this thought came to me, I saw the white sea-dragon lock its jaws just behind the head of the black, and the sound of that bone-crushing bite was audible even above the twin thunders of the waves and sky.
we sank beneath the waves now, into the trackless depths, and although I thought myself at the limits of fear, the ice that now enveloped my heart was greater still. deeper and deeper we sank until no light penetrated and no surface nor bottom was visible. through this silent blackness swam two whales of such magnitude that they could have swallowed whole the sky-scraping towers of that strange land we had thought to be rescued from. one white, one black, these leviathans moved with terrifying grace for all their size, ramming into one another with no weapon but their huge blunt noses. somehow this was more awful to behold than the creatures armed with nature’s weapons, as over and over again the whale-monsters circled us and came together in the nightmarish silence beneath the waves. I poured all my will toward our ghost-pale champion, manifestation of the will of the wild god whom we called our protector. I had no illusion that my small and faltering courage would tip the scales of this battle one way or another, but what else could I do?