The next night, in Sarkomand, Carter gives a speech to the assembly of ghouls.  His main points are as follows:

1) We’ve done great, attacking the moonbeasts.

2) I have this other quest, though.

3) I want to go to Kadath, past the Shantaks and the big statues and so on.

4) I know Shantaks are scared of night-gaunts…

5) Because night-gaunts are awesome!  I saw a fresco up on Leng suggesting they are ruled by hoary and immemorial Nodens.  Way better than any of the Other Gods, let me tell you.

6) So maybe I could borrow the loan of a night-gaunt or ten?  Just to get me up onto Kadath?

7) Blah blah sunset city blah blah long term quest blah blah now nearly complete.

8) You could just drop me off by the onyx castle of the gods, that’d be very cool.

 

The ghouls listen to this speech, and consider among themselves, and then Pickman makes a little speech back at him:

1) You’re not going to Kadath.

2) We’re going to Kadath.

3) Yeah!  Big ghoul army, invading Kadath on the wings of night-gaunts!  It’ll be awesome!

 

Moved by a gratitude and satisfaction beyond words, Carter made plans with the ghoulish leaders for his audacious voyage. The ghouls and night-gaunts plot out a course, the best way to get to Kadath.  They send messages down into the underdark, I mean, the Great Abyss to get more night-gaunts.  Finally, after a day and a half of preparation, they embark.

Up over Sarkomand, to Leng, and then south over Leng towards Inquanok, and then up into those big barrier mountains with the enormous statues and the night-gaunt caves.  They meet with the flutterers of the peaks, ie the night-gaunts of those mountains, and then up north and higher.  They cross the topmost granite pinnacles to the skies of Inquanok, and see that on the other side those mountains are basically gigantic statues, not just the peaks, the whole things.  [The mountain-sized statues] [squat] in a hellish half-circle, their legs on the desert sand and their mitres piercing the luminous clouds; sinister, wolflike, and double-headed, with faces of fury and right hands raised, dully and malignly watching the rim of man’s world and guarding with horror the reaches of a cold northern world that is not man’s.

Shantaks rise up from the mountains to confront them, but then the Shantaks realize they’re on night-gaunts, and flee.  Carter and the ghouls fly north, north, north, past winds of dubious scent and sounds of dubious import; ever in thickest darkness, and covering such prodigious spaces that Carter wondered whether or not they could still be within earth’s dreamland.

And yet they’re still flying, they can see the mountains off to the right which are the great ridge of barrier peaks, or at least against the stars a jagged silhouette which told of its continued presence.  But everything is stars and motion, now; the ground falls away and below them they see only darkness.

Also a giant monster, over on the other side of those mountains, moving in parallel with them.  At first Carter thinks it’s a giant Shantak, but it’s much too large for that, and also it’s not so much flying as it is just ineffably vast.  It may be walking along.  Hard to say.  Then they pass a gap in the barrier mountains, such that Carter can see it plainly, and yeah, giant monster.  Enormous hyena-man, and the part that Carter thought at first to be the mother of all Shantaks is actually its head.

Carter [does] not lose consciousness or even scream aloud, for he [is] an old dreamer, Lovecraft tells us, even when he looks around and realizes there are two more gigantic super-monsters loping along behind the first one.

The night-gaunts keep flying, faster and further and higher, leaving everything behind, till soon their dizzying speed seem[s] to pass that of a rifle ball and approach that of a planet in its orbit.

That’s about the point when they fly into space.  The night-gaunts fold up their wings, because they don’t need them any more, and the black void before them resolves abruptly into a massive onyx cliff, with a lone pallid light atop it, something rugged and conicalHigher and higher they fly, up and towards the light, all about them stony blackness from infinite depths to infinite heights.  Carter sees towers on that titan mountaintop, a castle beyond all mortal thought, that burns with daemon-light.

 

Then Randolph Carter knew that his quest was done, and that he saw above him the goal of all forbidden steps and audacious visions; the fabulous, the incredible home of the Great Ones atop unknown Kadath.


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