A Dream:

Somewhere deep within the belly of a hollow mountain, a ring of fire and light comes to whirring, spinning life. Blades sing, klaxons howl, and the booted feet of a thousand men charged with keeping the secret of the ring hammer out a desperate staccato. This is the moment we have all come to fear most. Something has gone terribly wrong.

As the waters part, she emerges, raven hair stirred by angry, unseen winds, tossed on currents of rage and insanity, her eyes lit by a harsh and living fire. I know her face, I know those eyes. I am terrified, but I cannot look away, cannot avert my gaze or deny that which I behold. She is here, she has come for me, and in the hate-fed, divine retribution of her love, there is only death. Shouts rend the air, rifles clack into readiness, bullets fly, and around her there is nothing. All is placid amid the hail of gunfire, all still and strong. Only the ring flickers and flares, vicious, hungry.

When the first of the booted men falls, I run. I do not linger, do not stay to watch as the divine wind flies from her outstretched hands and butchers them all, slashing each man into bloody parcels, eviscerating one at a time until their diminishing line finally breaks from fear and flees. I’ve seen it all before, seen the way the fear feeds her, drivers her on, makes her soul slaver in silent hunger. Within seconds, they are all dead, split apart into bloody brushstrokes that paint the floor in a macabre masterpiece, a testament to her power, to the ruthless clarity of her madness. Striding across to the unstained world beyond, she signs it softly with her wolf-pad footsteps.

And still I run. This is the price of my freedom.

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