All Things Seem Natural and Familiar
(Gods of the North by Robert E. Howard)
The clangor had died away, the shouting was hushed; silence lay on the
snow. Dead lay in heaps.
Across the drifts two figures approached one another. In that desolation
only they moved. Slowly they came, as ghosts might come through the
shambles of a world.
One spoke, a sudden sick weariness assailing him. The glare of the sun on
the snow cut his eyes and the sky seemed shrunken and far.
His sight cleared slowly. There was a strangeness that he could not place
or define.an unfamiliar tinge. But he did not think long of this.
"Who are you?" He looked again.
"Have I been backward? I have seen four score fall, and I alone survive.
Tell me, have you seen men moving upon the ice?"
With an oath the man heaved himself upon his feet, and weariness and
faintness were swept from him in madness. He spoke no word as he drove.
Out across the white blinding plain she led him. Black curses drooled
through parched lips.
She did not laugh. She drew away from him until she was a figure no bigger
than a child, then a dim blur in the distance.
"I followed a woman. I followed her. Did you not find her?"
Niord shook his head. "We found only your tracks in the snow."