The gigantic mollusc slugged its way over the hills of the Long Faces with indifference, leaving sticky residue in its slimy wake. Rough hair ran part of the way on its body, giving it the appearance of some strange moustache. Its light green skin glimmered as if it were some deep sea creature. Two sightless eyestalks ran from its head like kelp with two milky white eggs plastered on the end, and instead of a normal shell it had a tight spiral of wood as its home, with wooden spines branching off randomly, complete with leaves of the deep green sort attaching themselves sparsely.
What set this gigantic beast apart from the rest of its kind was the appearance of two small green flames that were held in place by two of its spines- except instead of touching, the flames were held there by some invisible force. They flicked like fox fire as the colossal, elderly snail made its way down the valley. He watched it go from his window, saw it keep a slow steady pace as if it did not have a destination in mind. It was hard to miss.
His home was situated in the forest valley wall; a small walkway leading from his house down to stable ground with trees nestling like baby chicks around his walls. He could just see a herd of horses chasing the strange gigantic beastie, or possibly being chased themselves. Feral Molms roamed the hills- Molms being a type of large cat-ish creature that was stocky as well as fast. No doubt it could take down a horse quite easily.
The sun cast cool shadows over the valley, the Long Faces looking terrifying, as if they could swallow the world, as usual. Their elongated faces reminded him of those myths about people who would cast other people, still alive, in tar; their screaming faces cast forever in unmovable hardened stone, erected later as a warning to others. The large Oak on the peak of the most impressive face (who she called Kreishan) was the largest tree he had ever seen in his life- it was monumental in its scale and he knew that was no ordinary tree. Just like the gigantic snail was not an ordinary snail. This valley was far from normal, and he knew why. Inside the mouth of Kreishan there was a cave that spiralled upwards, around and around with a small gradient so that you thought you were walking along stable ground when really, you were just edging your way upwards. By the time you reached the top, you were covered in a cold sweat (the cave was draughty, apparently) and at the top there was a large, spacey room, with a raised dais, candles always lit, never dimming. On top of the dais: a casket made of stone, and inside, a man dead for a long, long time. His name was Olkiner, the Mage of Expressions, whose fabled powers included maiming a person’s face into terrible expressions that could last for all eternity. His body well kept, he glowed crimson on the Blood Moon at the end of every year, and his power moved even the trees. The boy in his house never went outside on that day. As a matter of fact, he had dug a hole deep underneath the earth where he could live for weeks.
This time there was a problem though. It was a few weeks until the New Year, and the trees were already growing restless. He had spotted a strange girl in a long cape walking the hills, Molms acting as if they couldn’t see her. He had his suspicions. Tonight he would act.
Major Work, part 2/4
Part One (Sky Sailing to An Owl City): [link]
Part Three: (Mushroom Ravine of Fae): [link]
Part Four: (Fish Bus, To The City!): [link]