During her voyage across the Bering Strait a doe-eyed seal approached the boat. But she turned away from the beautiful animal, ducking under the smack’s jib, when a laughing fisherman shouldered his harpoon.
In Alaska she trudged into the wilderness, impelled onwards by the thought: “You must end the ritual which ‘seeks to pierce the veil that keeps the darkness at bay.’”
Half hidden beneath a snowdrift Marie discovered a battered trumpet engraved with the initials J.C., a curious find; no doubt it was dropped by an unlucky adventurer.
Marie crept closer to the bonfire, like in Kamchatka there were several figures cavorting round the flames. A chant began; she saw their heads thrown back and mouths working, singing, calling out to the dread court.
She stood four-square in the moonlight. Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie echoed through the wilderness, competing with, and then drowning out their voices, but they responded with a shouted confusion, pleading to their god. The Smoky Velvet, her voice no longer so smooth, belted out her song even louder; she was relieved when the cavorting and chanting ceased. She had won the sing-off. But her relief was short-lived. One of the cultists broke from the group and charged towards her, cursing her foully. This time Marie would not be taken by surprise: she gripped her Ritual Dagger in readiness.