Ride Across the Great Depression (The Witcher and Four Demons) – The Trinity Series

Fast ahead the black stallions spurted, their slit red eyes and frothing mouths cutting quick through the fog as they chomped at the bits and stampeded like ghostly reapers across the barren Depression; a nude woman of greyly color, hanging skin and bones at the reigns and the obsidian carriage containing the turncoat of Rovencroft in tow.

The land of the Great Depression stretched far beyond the hawkish eyes of the Mountaineers, and rarely did they care to look upon. It was a great dead indention, that was cast out from quenching rain and breeze of the world, and sentenced into an oily smog, rank with the toxins of the Underearth, the ground a dust bowl of powdered ash and desolate rock. It was a journey only that the Witcher made, and only for her due pay, and she with her Four Demons in hand – Bub and Bane, Bex and Bal, the Steeds of PigHead Peak – would ride without end for three days and nights, to deliver damned souls unto the Hole. The damned soul, of this certain night, was none other than the devil-touched Rov, and in dreamless rest he laid chained and bound within the rumbling coach, awaiting a fate he felt destined to escape from.

The horses did shriek like horrified lasses, high and humanlike in their curse, and the Witcher did snap the whip across their backs, her gaunt face long and hollow. A little further, the hill in sight, and the mountain range as spiking teeth in the view, in an animal howl she cracked the whip once more and in thunderous spout the stallions picked up speed and stormed headlong. In stream of spectral fire they arrowed out in utter stride and banked upon the hill, and there beyond the rise, rose a towering precipice of gaping flat rock, and like a booming tidal wave of earth it blackened out the far sky. The Witcher urged her Four Demons on, and to the rock face they sped.

There, dipping into a vast valley, etched into the center of the immeasurable cliff protruded a great wide beak of boulder to which the Witcher rode, with two monstrous pillars of craggy stone reaching up from out the ground and like trees their foundations crept with metal roots, as though the rock had decided to bear up and sprout from out the solid earth, from a time of ancients. The titanic columns towered as thick tangles of metal and stone, striking high and through the protrusion above and from atop they held the cutting likeness of a wolf, reared and arched in wrathful bite, it’s fur spiked as spines and it’s maw arcing downward with fangs drawn in menacing lunge, and round it’s throat a great chain clutched, and to the rock face the great wolf was bound. The myths had once told that when the moon had reached it’s zenith as a crown upon the wolf’s head, the beast would birth, and the Cardine King would ride once more. However, time and events had long weathered myth with stone, and the legend of the Cardine King was all but lost. Now the wolf stood as but a figurehead, claimed long ago by a new master. In her claim, she had chained him.

Beyond the elder pillars a mighty mechanism was now erected, a monument to a new age. A set of enormous gears that did touch together bore beneath the overhang, of such incalculable size there is little likeness. In their girth alone they sat as giants, and inside these giant circles resided a ghastly clockwork network of components to which great cranks encompassed, each bearing four godly chains that did reach against the wall of earth and like a mammoth double bodied spider the two great gears hung fixated upon the cliff, and, carved around the mechanical wheels in the rock curved a great leviathan, with two great heads, each with mouths open in dancing tongues, each bracing their heads against the wheels in bowed hunger, connected by a single snake form. The Hole, to which was a gateway to unspeakable depths clung close, as though an art piece against the stone. What lay beyond, and how deep into the mountain had the Physician reached? The whip cracked, and the Witcher strived on.

As the Witcher rode up towards the behemoth gears, the pillars flanking as looming guardians, the shadow of the edifice enveloped them, the mist of the Great Depression falling back as the stallions burst out of the murky cloud and in high speed descended the hill with the coach rattling and clacking in strain behind them, the Witcher snapping her whip in fervent haste as they became but a speck in the wake of the goliath mechanism.

Rov jolted from wakeful slumber, his shoulder banging against the carriage door as he felt the wheels level out. A sudden chill had crept into his chest, and to the back window he looked, and saw the sun for the first time, peeking over the foggy waste of the Great Depression as the barren plain was left behind him, then cut out again by darkness. The carriage slowed. He pained for water. Then, by his left ear he heard a voice, a sultry hiss in the nook of his neck mixed with sudden high pitched shrillish moans.

“Ooh, can I take him yet? Your eyess…your eyess… Your lids I’ll remove, to see the blueness of your eyess…”

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