Smoke from the clay chimneys of the village guide them home from the hunt. For a long time there was only the smell of the forest, the loam and the smell of decaying pine needles beneath their feet, the elk carcass carried trussed btween two long poles, and they can almost guide themselves with their eyes closed.
The afternoon light is warm and dull, and their spears will need sharpening, but the hunt wnet very well. This being his first, he was the one expected to make the first thrust, and the final; to commend the spirit of the animal to the Old Mother, as well as making an offering to Bori, thanking him for good fortune on the hunt. He had done well, and Wolfgar had clapped him on the shoulder with enthusiasm when all the work was done and congratulated him on attaining maturity. The other men offered their congratulations, but Wolfgar had been his mentor, and he had been Wolfgar's first pupil. This was the proudest moment of his life. His heart swelled with longing for the faces of the men he had not seen for so long, many of whom he would not see until he was laid in the ground himself.
He looked up at the sky and saw the winking eyes of the moon, three-quarters full, sailing across the blue sky, following the sun too soon across the sky. The sky was clear, and he could have stayed in that moment for a long time.
His reverie was cut short by building stormclouds that approached at a sprint across the sky. He could see the tumbling and crashing on themselves and his heart sank – this was not how he remembered it. The men went on, even Wolfgar, but he stopped to look, could see the spark of lightning from within, the dull pulse of thunder, distant but still threatening. He called to the others, but they didn't respond. He called louder thinking they had not heard him, but they went on, just as he remembered them doing so long ago. The storm always closing, he ran to them and tried to shake them, but they moved jovially, inexorably on, and he could do nothing to bring them out of his memory into life so he could warn them. He was nearly beside himself.
The storm did not bring rain. His memory slowed to a crawl of images, but he and the boiling clouds moved normally. As they approached, the clouds seemed to be taking a shape. The slice of the moon expanded, tried to fill the coming night, but the clouds moved in front and obscurred it with a rumble of thunder. The features of a face took shape in the electric display, cruel features lit internally by lightning. When the mouth opened wind rushed out, and thunder followed, and he felt himself pinned to the earth with a force he could not overpower. He looked up, his eyes watering in the gusts, his head ringing from the thunder rolling voer him, but he saw another mouth open on the shelf that held the face, and this mouth shone the immense power of the lightning, and added itself to the wind and thunder. Another mouth opened, and this brought a torrent of rain and sleet, and another mouth opened, and crows sallied forth in a great black funnel.
The last mouth opened, and above the rushing wind, the torrent of rain, the impossible quaking of the thunder, and the immense noise of the crows' wings beating the sky- above all that, a voice so resonant and full, a sound out of nightmare, human words formed on an inhuman tongue.
It spoke only to him: "Your sanctuary will not hold."