I gained the fortress through tunnels which represented the earth's memory of paths that had been obliterated long ago, for the lady I wished to find had misjudged her power, leaving a far more evident trace than she had intended upon the landscape. Even though it had been reduced to a system of caves, this neglected stronghold would not deny the form it had possessed in the time of her rule, but held itself in readiness to shift once again from stone to glass, so that there would have been nothing of it more solid than a dazzle upon the air, a variation in the climate where it stood.
I sought not a person but a nuance, visible by effect, being unprepared for the horror of the petrified witch, the ends of her fingers eroded too sadly for me to identify the mudra they formed, the wreckage of her hair massed in heavy clumps that led me to associate her with a creature I had met upon the lane at home: bulbous head turned aside, a silhouette of coils. Any faith I still retained that an image so devoid of life might awaken to embrace me and work my metamorphosis into a girl, flat nosed and translucent green eyed, armed with the shadow of her power, was negated by my realisation that this was not Morgana herself but a shell which she had cast. It counted for nothing that, to evade pursuit during an era of political activism, she had joined the dance implied by her daughters, all stone, in their ring.
Before the exit there stood a guardian, undoubtedly once substantial but now flickering and indecisive: he took on ever more hackneyed and comical shapes, only to retract into a film around the portal as I continued to approach. I crossed from phosphorescence into sunlight without danger, to splash through shallow water over scree, a gateway cut in the fell at my back, my feet upon a woodland path.