After several delirious months spent wandering the Eastern Steppe, you’ve at last arrived at the Riphean Mountains. They hang from the cerulean sands of a diminishing sky above, jammed through cloudbanks by the strange tectonics of outer space. Two ancient cedars present their inverted trunks before you; their roots are planted somewhere in the mountains above. A curtain of black leaves hangs between them, untouched by any of the four winds. You drop your heavy satchel, collapse into the golden grasses, and laugh. 

You’ve spent your entire life searching for Hyperborea. Countless scholars across time, from Plato to Blavatsky, were certain that its sun-soaked cities could be found just to the north of the Riphean Mountains- but few among them could agree upon where these mountains were. Aristotle placed them in Scythia, Sophocles in Thrace, Guenon at the North Pole. The Alps, the Urals, and even the Himalayas have all been implicated over time. You searched them all, range by range, until the gray of their stone also traversed your hair.

You set out on one last journey, compelled by the words of an oracle who spoke in blues from behind a veil of nicotine. “This planet holds but one surface, yet its sky contains many more,” she spoke. “The heavens exist as something of a nautilus shell that spirals outward in all directions. Your mountains may not exist on this Earth, but you have only seen a glimpse of what the celestial spheres may hold in your mortal life. As far as you have wandered beneath it, I know not what awaits in your sky.”

And so you continued to roam on aching bones with eyes ever upward. The constellations bent into new and unfamiliar forms, distorted by the atmospheric terrain, then melted away into endless sunlight. Now you are here, standing before the twin pillars of arbor that mark Hyperborea’s border. Between them is a new and unfamiliar landscape, one whose sky has been burnt black by saturnine rings of eternal daylight. Towers of ivory and brass can be seen in the distance.

To pass through the curtain of leaves that lies between these columns is to transmute one’s own flesh into myth, a process which can never be reversed. Even so, you proceed.