Reaching high ground, Jachym bent over to catch his breath. The rectangular, powdery-green leaves of a salt-the-earth vine curled around his feet. He looked up, and sucked in his breath.
A great wall stood in the distance, thick with turrets. Behind its protection was a city, full of soaring towers and enormous buildings with walls of faded whites, reds and yellows. On all sides of the city spread out vast, flat fields crisscrossed by canals--all of which were as dry as the river. No people moved. No dogs barked. No sheep bleated. In the sky, far above, a vulture circled, riding a thermal.
On what was once productive cropland, now only salt-the-earth vines grew. As far as the eye could see, thicker than Jachym imagined possible. It was a desert of green. The leaves rustled dryly as the hot wind sighed over them.
"What is this place?" whispered Jachym.
He should enter during tonight's writing, and I'm excited about that. This whole sequence is one that existed in my head, fairly well-developed, since the very first draft of this story I attempted mumbley mumbley years ago. But the scenes have evolved. Realization struck me last night that certain things have changed in the way events will unfold, and there's a heightened degree of complexity in the coming events. For example, I had no idea why Dobromil suddenly showed up in the narrative several chapters back. Now I do. It's fascinating how the mind will put the proper pieces of the puzzle in place even when you've no idea how they ultimately fit into the Big Picture.
21,800 / 90,000
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