Shapes of Adamant (Fragment)

Clark Ashton Smith

I, who record these future memories, have passed through the portals of a myriad incarnations and death. My lives are part of all earthly history: I have left my bones in Pleistocene valleys lying mile-deep beneath glaciers of Greenland; I have looked on a larger sun from the capsizing peaks of doomed Poseidonis; I have known rebirth birth in all regions that were, that are, or shall ever be. Four times, in remotely separate ages, I have lived in the land of Dooza Thom, which is destined to form the northernmost of the peopled realms of Zothique. It is of these latter lives that I write now, telling of things that have already occurred in eternity but are still to happen in time. For I was, and shall be, the prophet Ulon, and Voridees the captain of hosts, and King Agranodh, and the wizard Nolu; and through the eyes of these I beheld, and shall witness again, that monstrous doom which crawls perpetually upon Dooza Thom through the centuries and millenniums.

The Tale of the Prophet Ulon

To me, who had grown old in far-fabled Avandas, seat of the kings of Dooza Thom — to me, whom the kings had honored because of the glory and prosperity which I foretold for them, there came at last an obscure vision signifying evil. On a night when the moon was dead and the stars were swathed with blind vapors, the vision came, and it seemed that the walls of my room were swept away, and the firm-built mansions of Avandas, and the broad fertile miles of Dooza Thom were drawn aside like the dropping of a thin veil; and I beheld, as if standing closely above it in air, a waste region to the north where no man went, since only vast and unvoyaged seas were beyond. By a fight that was lurid as if born of some dying sun I looked forth on the bare plains and treeless hummocks of the region, which was called Nooth-Kemmor. And I thought that mighty masses of stone, having the form of long winding ridges and crags, had heaved up mysteriously on the further waste by the shore of the bleak sea. Innumerable were the masses, ranged in an endless line, but I could not discern them dearly because the light changed and flickered in my eyes as if shed from a shaken mirror, and was spaced with blindness and shadow. But I saw that the masses moved continually, crawling southward like wingless dragons, in a way that was not natural for the hills and crags of earth; and at this a kind of horror possessed me.

Swiftly and more swiftly, with a flowing as of great dark streams, the masses crawled across Nooth-Kemmor; and it seemed that I hovered above them as they went. The ridgy sands of the waste, the harsh hummocks, were leveled by their passing, and Nooth-Kemmor was twice desolate behind them. They passed the borders of Dooza Thom, where the outlying fertile lands were joined to the desert. And still the vague forms of the winding mountains crept southward, and I could not descry them wholly because of the ever-shaken light: but upon them was an alien mystery and a weird menace not of earth.

^xxx^ xxx was added by Smith.
[xxx] xxx was deleted by Smith.

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/short-stories/193
Printed on: November 24, 2017