John W. Patterson
Word count: 8,585

Priestess of Nycrama


Prologue

	In the distance is your sanctuary. A woman singing, a man shouting, he 
beckons wildly. His intensity an infectious fear, an alien plant scape clutches at 
your faltering form, this inmost dream world erupts, spilling over, searing your 
senses. Again the urgent impulse, the tyrannical moment, the horror of missing 
the precise instant of salvation propels you. Damned, falling among roots arisen 
to receive the doomed ones, you are consumed, and dragged beneath . . . 

  	A small boy screams, compressing the past, present, and future into one 
more New England night cut short. His mother at his side, gently rocks his small, 
quaking, sweat-soaked torso. They will whisper together speaking of the dawn. 
Little Howard will dream again.
				*   *   *   *

(The following account is distilled from Dr. Claude Augustus Farnsworth's notes. 
It is submitted as court's evidence in his defense against the charge of homicide 
in the disappearance of Dr. Howard Beam Phillips)

     In October of 1996, Drs. Howard Phillips, archaeo-astronomer, and Claude 
Farnsworth, ethno-pharmacologist, began a cooperative study of select 
Venezuelan territory known to the indigenous populace as Neblina-tepui, the 
cloud cliffs.

Neblina, Venezuela
October 31, 1996
(miserably humid evening)
 
	Howard and I are intrigued by folklore concerning a massive natural tower 
of anomalous black stone near Neblina. There exist associated references to the 
same locale from Túcume diggings at the Temple of the Sacred Stone. Howard 
adamantly believes vague hints garnished from early 20th century monographs 
on Uxmal ruins, suggest a temple remains evident atop the eleven hundred 
meter high sky-isle. 
	We arranged to have a helicopter lower us onto Neblina-tepui's most 
accessible summit for a quick survey. Upon arrival, quiet Asmodeus, our 
helicopter pilot, shaking his head, crossed himself, and agreed to return in 12 
hours. I suppose his "Ricardo" Petty racing cap canceled out the look of worry in 
his eyes.  He offered us a modified gun he called the "Meat Grinder" but we 
laughed, waving him away before we were discovered.  Asmodeus circled us 
once, hesitant to depart. Reverberating echoes of his metallic dragonfly faded 
into the white noise roar of the Orinoco's headwaters swallowed by a verdant sea 
of rain forest nearly a mile below us. 
	Local authorities' interferences and jurisdictional foot-dragging called for a 
stealthy night drop. We figured a brief look-see would be sufficient to plan an 
extended investigation once the red tape scenario was completed. Our arrival at 
moonrise, backfired. An unexpected greeting party descended upon us from the 
silent shadows cast by mute sentinels of stone. 
     We were swiftly encircled by about thirty men covered in glistening back mud, 
iridescent with flakes of an unknown mineral. They stripped us of our gear, 
slinging most of it off the precipice, all but anachronistic refuse to them. A tall, 
slender woman appeared in the foreground. She drifted closer, staring at us. Her 
lithe body was also covered in mud paste, a coruscant red ocher and metal-flake 
bone white distraction. Alternating whorls of color accentuated her obvious 
femininity. A dangling loincloth of small bones strung together was the only trace 
of her modesty. Dull, yellowish hair hung stiffly to her shoulders. Later we 
discovered it was a wig of dried grass. Women kept their heads shaved in this 
tribe. 
	She reached up carefully and pulled ever so gently at my moustache. 
Then walking over to Howard, she looked at his overlong legs first, and finally 
stared up into his face, slowly running her index finger down the whole 
exaggerated length of his nose. When Howard attempted to voice protest, she 
placed her hand to his lips, and then to her own. Howard acknowledged with 
polite  silence. Pushing her way between us, she pointed to an opening in a 
boulder strewn wasteland. She head-jerked a command and strode off into the 
shadows. We followed the surrealistic, candy cane, gazelle prancing off into the 
arched cathedral of chaos.
	Through an incredibly confusing moonlit maze of wind and water carved 
rock passages, we stumbled just ahead of spear points. I feared for Howard. A 
man of fifty-nine could not keep up this pace for long. He looked winded but 
refused rest. At forty-five, and in shape, it was a confused challenge for me to 
keep up with this rock-nymph. I tried slowing for Howard. Our escort did no 
violence, only showing a more urgent insistence for us to trudge onward. I was 
dragging Howard with me as we emerged into a vast grassy clearing and a 
surprisingly lush oasis of upper elevation rain forest. 
	A ceremony of dancing torchlight and a chorused clicking together of 
sparking stones came from the far edge of the clearing. A throng of worshipers 
surrounded their ceremonial edifice. Howard quickly regained his wits as we 
neared the cacophony of the scene. Nearly there, two more women came 
forward, gesturing for us to sit on a small granitic knob. Our seat was exquisitely 
carved with the same concentric patterns adorning the women leaning over us. I 
looked Howard's way to speak but held my tongue. I had never seen him so 
silently fascinated or so obviously paralyzed by fear. 
	As I turned back to watch the spectacle, a man stepped out of nowhere, 
standing a few yards away. A three-tiered necklace of what appeared to be 
human teeth and other teeth carved of red stone hung prominently about his 
blackened neck. Beneath the necklace was a tunic with human jawbones woven 
into a tapestry of coiled snakes or worms. He held an obsidian knife in his left, 
three-fingered hand, and a small hollow figurine in his right hand. Raising both to 
the moon, then to the altar, and then back to the northern horizon, he began 
slicing his thumb. He bled himself, letting it drain into the head of the figurine. 
The clatter of clicking stones rose to a near deafening din. As this devilish brujo 
mixed his blood with what liquids were in the figurine chalice, the priestesses 
ringed the altar standing at the edge of the huge stone platform. 
	"This is beginning to worry me beyond words," Howard broke his fast of 
words, mincing them from the corner of his mouth.
	I answered softly, "Listen, above us, I think-"
	A thumping roar filled the sky and a blinding light pushed the darkness 
back into the rocky jungle's edge. Howard and I looked up smiling, the shaman 
walking toward us with his homemade blood pudding.
	"It's Asmodeus!" Howard cried out, jumping to his feet.
	Instantly men rushed us, forcing Howard to sit. The figurine chalice was 
first pressed close to my lips, the shaman opening his mouth, displaying his 
intentions for Howard and me. Naturally I was hesitant to sample the free drink 
but a bloodied obsidian blade riding the heartbeat swells of my carotid was about 
to persuade me.
	Asmodeus' copter's prop wash whipping our squinting eyes and the brujo's 
confusion in his haste, was a synergistic godsend. Our hellish bartender turned 
away slightly and I deftly aided his dropping the figurine, jerking my jaw away 
from his green blade. Enraged, he prepared to bleed me. An infuriated priestess 
shouted him aside, raising her hand to strike as he scurried away. It was quickly 
silent and dark again. For some reason Asmodeus pulled away and left. A spear, 
a stone perhaps, had struck his bird. Howard and I were on our own again.
	Several women fell to their bellies and writhed worm-like across ancient 
tiles to the base of a marbled stone monstrosity beside our front row seat. 
Lambent flames of green leaped from skull bone braziers set on the periphery of 
the courtyard. The amorphous sculpture seemed alive in the play of flickering 
shadow and moonlight. Around the lower edges of this standing stone totem, 
small holes were systematically arranged in confusing patterns. The women 
slowly placed their fingers in each of these holes. An odor of spent gunpowder 
and sulfur wafted from the center of the spectacle. Then a haziness reminiscent 
of a shimmering heat mirage arose obscuring our view of the now kneeling 
women. Suddenly from the priestesses arose an unearthly, high-pitched, ecstatic 
singing. 
     "I'm not so sure that we are meant to be awake, and seeing all this," Howard 
whispered.
     "I don't think they really care about that at the moment," I added in concern.
     Swirling images began to rotate around the courtyard. The enigmatic bulk of 
altar stone loomed taller. The ground beneath our feet became transparent! The 
priestesses and the whirlpool of torch lights faded away. They vanished as 
ripples of light on the pools of memory. There remained nothing but the courtyard 
and a misted jungle surrounding us. 
     Howard exclaimed, "Claude, what just happened? Where are the women? 
Look at the courtyard!"
     "I see it, Howard, the carvings appear freshly hewn, unmarred by time. We 
have been given a new day as well." Flecks of dawn were cast across the 
inverted terrain of clouds overhead, the moon dipping beneath the tree line.
     Howard continued, "Look at the lowered ground level about the edge of the 
courtyard and our sitting stone extending down beneath us! How-where did the 
night go?"
     "I prefer this quiet morning to last night. Don't you, Howard?" I reasoned, 
swinging out my dangling legs.
     "Forget the dry wit, Claude!" Howard snapped back, unnerved by something 
horribly familiar about this place.
     I broke the tension, thinking out loud, "Our little seat has become a substantial 
pillar and the courtyard a great pedestal. You will also notice this rock the 
priestesses provided us to sit upon is connected down there to the base of the 
larger edifice. Howard, it is my guess this is some ancient device that those 
women ritually began and here we are, sent to this, ump . . . alternate time or 
perhaps"
	Howard countered, "Don't start with all that alternate time line drivel! 
Dunne's theory is just that and nothing more. I prefer simple answers first."
	"And what is the simple answer? I suppose this is not really happening? 
Are we both asleep and dreaming?" I asked.
	Howard then stared wild-eyed beyond me, his jaw dropping. I spun about 
to behold his vision of horror. 
     Towering over us was a mangled mass of vine, leaves, thorn, moss, bark, and 
dried mud. Yet it moved! Stopping some distance away, quivering and shaking 
itself in small spasmodic twitching, it appeared to be looking us over. It leaned 
forward and fell toward us. A dust cloud of mold rose to smother us as we 
toppled backwards off into the lush vegetation breaking our fall. Dazed and 
bruised we wriggled ourselves free of vine and each other. Stumbling headlong 
into the high grass, we regained our footing and senses. A continuous crashing 
and thrashing noise behind us assured us the botanical abomination was 
nearing. 
     "Wait, please wait! Don't leave me alone in this cursed place! Stop!" came 
someone's shrieking echoes from the face of the jungle before us.
     "That's a woman's voice, Claude! Hold on a minute!"
     Howard and I slid still watching a woman run past us jackal-fast into the thick 
of the undergrowth.
     "We're here!" I cried out.
     Spinning about and staring, she stopped as if shot.
     "You speak English! Thank God! We have little time! Follow me back to the 
portal!" this strange woman called to us running straight back to the clearing.
     "Portal? Hey! Wait! There's some life form after us!" Howard blurted out. He 
stood, arms akimbo, watching me chase after our hostess of the inhospitable.
     "Come on Howard! She acts like she knows what's going on! That's more than 
we can say!" I yelled over my shoulder, sputtering in exhaustion.
     We each arrived back at the twisted pile of the plant psuedomonster, 
breathless, leaning on our knees attempting to speak to this vision of Diana 
towering over us, sitting atop the stone pillar. She found words first.
     "Sorry to have frightened you two so badly with my alter ego just then," she 
pointed to the plant and mud effigy.
     "An effective ruse, Miss-" I started.
     "Smythe, Mrs. Endura Anne Smythe," she elegantly rolled her name down to 
me.
     "Why that's impossible! You're not the same-" Howard started.
     "Howard, kindly let her finish. Who are we to say what's not possible after 
what has already happened?"

     After introducing ourselves briefly, Endura continued to explain to us how she 
and her husband Professor Wheatley Ashton Smythe had come to South 
America in 1918 to investigate outlandish reports of certain explorers. The 
Neblina-tepui region was claimed to be home to giant flora and fauna found 
nowhere else on the planet. 
     "After weeks of expedition we found no signs of saurian beasts nor 
man-eating mushrooms but were then led to these cliffs in the clouds you as well 
came to explore, I presume."
     "Yes, yes, please go on," I urged.
     "Wheatley insisted if anything of interest were to be salvaged of our 
wanderings, we would find such in these marvelous towers in the mist. We found 
much more than we wished for. Secretly we observed a tribe living near a 
blackened set of these monoliths. After Wheatley's endless note taking over five 
days, he was finally prepared to attempt contact. We then witnessed the start of 
some religious rite. A young male was drugged or made drunken as best as we 
could ascertain. He began singing a curious string of phrases we first took to be 
nonsense from his stupor. Then he shouted and pointed to a distant peak we had 
not noticed as it was always obscured in thick clouds. During the twilight 
moments the humid winds unveiled this spire of foreboding. Approaching 
carefully we followed, at a distance, a procession of priestesses and villagers as 
they made pilgrimage. As you both know, the ascent was arduous-"
     "We flew in using a helicop-" Howard began.
     "Howard, not now, please! Let her continue," I said.
     "We watched a bizarre ceremony and saw that young boy simply vanish from 
the stone of travel, as I now call it. I foolishly gasped in shock and we were found 
out. Our bearers and guides were horridly poisoned with a liquid that issued from 
crushed frogs. My husband went into a frenzied fit of yelling at the women about 
how he was to be a servant to Nycrama. His terror heightened when he 
discovered a necklace of his was dropped and lost in the scuffle. He called out to 
some Avalzant to have mercy. That necklace, by the way, held an amulet of a 
trophy stone Wheatley unearthed at Uxmal years earlier. I was more shocked at 
Wheatley's behavior than all the happenings up to that moment. I believe his 
mind had snapped. My poor Wheatley was bound, beaten, and readied to be 
sent to this very same place we find ourselves. He was drugged as the ritual 
began anew. Soon after this, the priestesses began showing a perverse interest 
in me and especially so in their repeated stroking of my long hair. I guessed then, 
they had never seen blond hair before. I was taken to that ugly stone slab there 
and pushed to the top. The women began their chant and to my horror Wheatley 
chimed right in with them. I saw my poor husband sobbing, rocking, and 
mumbling like a demented child. Then he began to fade and flicker out like the 
last light of a spent candle. I could stand it no longer and I leapt over the heads of 
the kneeling throng. I raced across the courtyard to stop Wheatley from 
serenading himself into oblivion. I pushed him off this pillar, I'm standing upon, 
and regained consciousness just over there," she pointed to a spot just crossed 
by Howard's monotonous pacing.
     "So you came here to this parallel time instead of the intended Professor 
Smythe then?" I interjected.
	"This place!" Howard insisted, resisting my ad hoc hypothesis.
     "Unfortunately so and I never saw my Wheatley again after that penultimate 
moment of madness," Endura sighed touching the void in her soul.
	"Blast it all! None of this makes any sense!" Howard broke in, walking 
back and forth around the carved column, hoping for answers in its interwoven 
glyphs coiled beneath his scrutiny.
     "Mrs. Smythe, Endura if I may, what of our urgent need to return to this portal 
as you call it?" I asked.
     "The moment has come and gone," Endura whispered softly.
     "What moment?" Howard implored standing perplexed, a blind beggar, his 
arms uplifted to the oracles of our private Delphi.
     "This place, the stones speak to me somehow," Endura gestured about her, 
leaning closer to us.
     "Oh good grief!" Howard sighed, his eyes shut tight, searching inside for the 
patience he'd left back in Boston. He began a mock woodpeckering of his 
forehead against the pillar.
     I reached over and grabbed Howard, shaking him, admonishing, "Get a grip 
on yourself and let this poor woman finish without your rude and inappropriate 
skepticisms. I bet all your Prozac went over the cliff with our supplies."
     He let out a long deep breath, "OK, already, OK, I am so very sorry Mrs. 
Smythe."
     "Continue Endura, please," I eased the conversation along.
	"Yes, by all means continue," Howard nervously added.
     "You see, I have always been something of a seeress, a sensitive. In this 
place I have experienced a surge, a renewal of this sense. Things happen and I 
realize I felt it happening long before. I just know about certain things outside 
your usual time sense. I felt your coming and ran to the stone and waited. My 
alter ego frightened you off just as it has spooked so many who came before and 
never returned from the jungles and rocky maze around us. I have searched this 
cliff's vast plateau and found no one but myself here and no way down. I have 
but only once seen a break in the clouds surrounding this black pinnacle and 
what I glimpsed -" she trailed off in exasperation, her face in her hands, then 
stroking down her neck as she turned away.  
    "What did you see?" I asked.
     "You'll think me madder than a-" Endura started.
     "No, no, go on, and consider us all mad and dreaming as well. Nothing you 
could tell us could in any way distance you from us in this already compl-" 
Howard cranked up again.
     "Endura, please excuse Howard's untimely verbosity," I insisted, glaring at 
Howard.
     Howard stood shaking in steeped silence, fists and teeth clenched. He was 
losing control.
     Endura spoke again, "The cliff's base extended further than I could see and 
beyond that was a vortex of stars, a storm of light spewing forth from the center. I 
could not discern whether the stars were whirling in or out. Then the clouds took 
their place again below me. I felt as if it was something forbidden to see. It was 
my glimpse of birth and death, the beginnings of, and the finish of chaos, 
twistedness, and rebellion."
     None of us spoke for a space of time and we sensed a deep vibration beneath 
us, the very stones crying out of some forgotten truth. Howard's eyes were 
darting to and fro.
     "That happens all the time. I have found trees toppled in the jungle and 
boulders slipping into the ground," Endura informed us trying to ease our sinking 
spirits.
     "This is not comforting news at all! Drug crazed savages that drop in ad 
infinitum, visions of hell's gates, and now the earth slouches up to swallow us! 
What's next?" Howard screamed, fast approaching an all consuming neurosis in 
his banter.
     "Here you need this," Endura pulled at her side, offering Howard a taste of 
some bluish, pear shaped fruit, "This will relax and refresh you. I don't know 
exactly what it is but it has kept me going these years." Howard at first refused 
the offer then ate slowly, approvingly.
     I quickly scanned the clothing Endura had fashioned from leather, tattered 
pieces of cloth, and woven grasses. Not much was left of her boots that she had 
modified into a sort of Roman sandal. She had braided vines to make laces that 
wrapped around her legs up to her knees. She looked less the tourist to this 
world than Howard and myself.
	At her side hung a blackened rapier of volcanic glass lashed to a stock of 
bamboo. Brittle as obsidian may be, I'd just seen it adequately split flesh. Deftly 
handled it could pierce, slash, and disembowel the skeptical offender. 
     "I presume you have survived on fruit and plants alone?" I asked.
     "Yes, and I drank of this constant mist collected in bromeliads hanging here 
and there. I am sick of tasteless grubs and salads with no decent dressing," she 
chuckled vacuously, continuing, "Six miserable years of existing and every month 
or so another boy comes through the portal and runs off singing into the 
shadows. For a time, I quit scaring them and in a daze they'd race past me. They 
are bewitched lemmings running to that pit of oblivion past the bottom of the cliff. 
When I do feel like searching for them, I find no bodies, no clothing, not even a 
stinking bead! It baffles me. Seventy or more of them have come and vanished in 
these jungles."
     "Fortunately, we escaped being drugged, Endura. I cannot begin to explain 
anything to you but you need to understand something that may shock you as 
well as it worries me now," I began and continued. "You came here to Venezuela 
in 1918 and we arrived in the year 1996. The ill-fated Smythe expedition was 
chronicled as lost some 78 years ago and you claim to have been here six years. 
I can attest with Howard that your beauty is not that of a woman over 100! Time 
appears lagging behind in this place. Every month here is thirteen months 
passed back from where or when we first came. Each day we stay here we lose 
almost two weeks time in our own world-line as Minkowski would call such.
     Endura muttered, her voice trembling, her hand pulling back sweat into 
furrowed brow, "My New England, my family, my time, all gone? I've nothing left 
to go back to, only to leave this nightmare for another."
     "Endura," Howard spoke softly, standing now to reach up and console her. 
She reacted instantly, her sword whipping free, and poised, a cat startled awake 
in the midst of dream hunting. "WO, hey I'm sorry!" Howard stiffened, adding, "I 
don't see how any of us can go back now. Maybe we can find a way down from 
this accursed place and work our way to civilization be it millennia behind or not."
	"Ah, Howard, you are softening on the alternate time line explanation," I 
laughed. Howard's normal pallor was well flushed. He spat out a piece of fruit 
and his contempt.
     "There is a way back or at least out of here," Endura spoke jumping over to 
the larger pedestal. "When the sacrificial lads come and disappear like zombies, I 
have felt compelled not to follow them but to sit upon the stone there. Always 
there's a tingling, a resonance, like a warmed engine you could say. At those 
times the song of the vile priestesses seems to echo in my mind and somehow I 
see them as they walk back to the village. It's all a faint hint of a dream now. 
When the portal is again alive, the images become fresh in my mind. Once soon 
after a transport, I placed a piece of leather on the sacrificial stone and tried to 
sing the phrases as they surfaced in my mind. The scrap of hide flickered out for 
an instant and then came back! I believe I can send us all home during the time 
of the next sacrificial rite. I would never try this on my own for fear of sending 
myself back to suffer death or far worse at the hands of the priestesses."
     "How can we be sure of returning to the right time or place? We could be 
trapped in some timeless limbo or-" Howard once more started his diatribe.
     Endura jumped to her feet. She began howling at us, sweeping the mist aside 
with her blade, "Gentlemen, this is a timeless limbo, there is no way down, and 
that which lies at the base of this pinnacle is very likely the maw of hell itself! You 
can stay here if you like but now I would rather risk the trip back alone than to be 
driven insane by this endless whining! Years of solitude have not taught me 
patience!"
     Endura walked to the edge of the pedestal and towered over us, tears 
streaming, mingling with perspiration running down her strong cheekbones. 
Howard and I were without words, offering no excuses, and awaiting the fiery 
jade gaze of her angry eyes to diminish. She sniffed in a renewed calm, 
sheathed her weapon, addressing us one by one, "Howard, Claude?"
     "Yes," we both answered humbly.
     "You must do as I say. The moon waxes full and another boy will be sent 
through at moonrise. I must repair my alter ego to scare him off as I have done 
for my six and your 78 years as you say and be ready to send us back through 
the portal. Our combined voices singing the chant on the pedestal and my 
sensing of the precise moment of transfer should enable us to leap to the stone 
of travel. With the grace of God we will return from this jungled fever dream 
tonight."
	 We began in earnest in mending the huge green scareman. Spectrally 
ambient light diffused by the moonlit clouds drifted up from the treetops. In the 
distance Howard struggled, collecting fresh vine. He froze in place clutching at 
his chest each time another tremor shook the plateau. In the tall grasses of the 
clearing he appeared more mirage than man. I imagined swells of Bartok to fit 
this scene's soundtrack. Instead, Howard began mumbling a P.K. Dick quote, 
"The dead shall live, the living die and music shall untune the sky."
	     Turning to Endura beside me working I stopped short of speaking, looking at 
her in admiration and pity mixed. She was a bronzed Amazon, her blond hair tied 
back with leather straps, her strong, veined hands methodically working the vine. 
Her green eyes intent, determined, the expression of a survivor. My heart went 
out to her plight. Fate had robbed her of time she could never regain and left her 
with years of anguished isolation.
	I never cease to be amazed at human nature. In the midst of this 
craziness I found myself straightening my shirt and hand-brushing my thinning 
gray hair. I wondered how my well-trimmed moustache appeared. For a man of 
forty-five, I was proud of my muscular, six foot build, and level of stamina. Yeah, 
the stomach wasn't exactly abs. of steel but I hoped to look somewhat swarthy 
and heroic to this mysteriously attractive Endura. Looking back at the ungainly, 
tall, clumsy, and gaunt Howard, I surmised, if worse comes to worse, I would be 
Endura's choice over the nasal timbred whiner. Forgive me, Howard.
     "Endura, I'm sorry about Wheatley and all this happening to you. When and if 
we get back I-" I spoke, hoping to edge her my way.
     "Stop, please, not that now," she bit her lip and tightened the lashings.
     Startled, she gripped my arm as I winced. 
     "Something's wrong. They're sending someone now! It's too soon. The moon 
isn't up yet, but I hear the ceremony! Get this thing up on its feet and get behind 
it. Quick!" Endura screamed. I wasn't afraid of a drugged boy but cooperated just 
to be sure.  
     A form began wavering, oscillating into view on the stone of travel. We stood 
sufficiently breathless. It was Asmodeus, our helicopter pilot! Bleeding, beaten, 
and staggering to his feet, he babbled the infernal cadence. He was obviously 
drugged as professor Smythe had been but poor Asmodeus had not escaped 
transport. Perhaps he saw the viney alter ego. We weren't sure. Screaming, he 
ran away, a scared rabbit slipping into the night. Howard bolted after him.
     "Howard, don't go! You'll never find him! Come back! The portal is ready for 
us now!" I called into my own echoes. 
     Endura stared lightyears past me, sighing in a monotone, "Claude, I feel we 
have lost Howard. I don't see him on the stone as we hoped," her arm raising 
gradually, she motioned stiffly toward the jungle, "That which has been calling 
souls to this place comes now to claim ours as well. We must begin the song of 
Nycrama."
	"The song of what?" I asked with no reply.  
     I peered off into the darkness, hearing the screams of Howard rise to drift 
across fog shrouded forms encircling the courtyard.  
     "Howard! Give it up! Come on!" my appeals lost in his wailing.
     "Claude, leave him! Begin the chant with me here on the pedestal of power!" 
Endura begged, pulling at me. My trust in her waned. 
     She took my hands in hers and the night gusts whipped her hair free in the 
cloud-strobed moonlight. It was a corona of topaz fire about her head, her eyes 
opened wide, transfixing me. She coaxed me into the song of sorcery. She 
instinctively intoned what seemed to be Spanish mixed with gibberish, "Cerro la 
neblina, Neblina-tepui! Atrave  del tiempo, la cancio , la cancio  del templo! 
Nycramaaaaaahhhh! Yamil Zacraaaa! Yuzzzzh! Gran regreso de sue o largo!"

END PART ONE!!

Priestess of Nycrama THE FINALE!! .

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"I wanna go home now!!"