Below the surface, a gruesome pantomime was in session.
The Sunless Villagers shuffle and lurch through the catacombs beneath things. Sometimes in the darkness they merge like the clouds above. Sometimes they cut themselves open, releasing a liquid arachnoid curtain that ebbs and flows over their surfaces in sensuous, geometrically precise sheets. When this happens, the initial shape of the creature either disintegrates completely, or reformulates into a new, different, distorted form.
Now, they clustered near a disturbance. Each one in the crowd quivered and heaved in time with the violence of its inner contortions. They self-mutilated with crude tools to release the living unguent within, desperately searching for a form that would serve the conflict at hand. The forms they sought were not bound by natural symmetry nor logic; they had fed since time beyond reckoning upon the grisly food of nightmare. One twisted into a waist-high cluster of razor-fanged phalli, lurching along the ground in an ecstasy of blood and fluid. Another became a cadaverously starved mother figure, each limb ending in wickedly-spiked bone, and made her way across the earth on all fours with a hideous clacking noise. A third became a tortured horse-shape with a gun barrel for a head, firing its own viscera with explosive screams.
And beyond them more, a village full of gestating fears that had begun as tiny specks from the clear blue sky.
Under a series of blows so ferocious that they tore the air, each terror was broken, skewered, and flung mercilessly back into the crowd by a strange pair of warriors fighting back-to-back.
Pale and shaven-headed, the first wore a tattered set of buddhist monk’s robes and fought with a length of copper pipe he wielded as swiftly and tirelessly as though it were made of wood. Although his style of dress was ancient, the tattoos visible on his arms seemed to refer to a much more modern era.
The second was nearly twice his height, and looked something like a gigantic ant. He carried a polearm that was carved from some chitinous substance, tipped with a lethal-looking mandible that parted his targets as though they were made of paper.
They moved like one creature, each following the other’s turns and shifts of balance synchronously, keeping their formation as they forced their way through a tunnel that had begun to slope gradually upward.