They came in long slow strides from the ocean, their heavy flat feet throwing up sand, their manes tossing like foam in the unsettled light of the storm’s aftermath. They came on the coattails of the earthquake, chasing it toward the land until they struck the beaches. They ran inland until they came to the cliffs and broke, half going north, half south, as chance took them. When night came (and with it the harsh sea winds), miles lay between the two herds.

Geese rode with the dawn from the salt marshes on the other side of the cliffs on the winds blowing west. The herds had dried in the moonlight and the hand of the god had been upon them: those in the steaming north were all the color of the sun, in the south the unsettled hue of the sea. Where the cliffs dipped toward the beach the herds turned east again and ran into the wide highlands.

The northern herds disappeared into the closeness of the jungle, their teeth already long and pointed, their eyes feral and mocking. Their shoulders were high and their chests narrow and they sang as they ran.

The southern herds ran through the cities, overturning carts and uprooting trees. The townsmen chased after them with nets, but the herds beat them down, ripped the halters out of their hands with broad flat teeth, drove them back, quaking, into their houses.

For they were wild and untameable, a reminder of beauty from the earthshaker, horselord…