The Valley, bounded by hills on three sides and a flood plain to the north, limestone layers rising in the east beyond Dulcinea to the Tower at the top of the mountain, rock and soil, mist in the mornings, animals rooting, rutting, eating each other, sinking into the ground, water rushing down nameless gullies, roots swelling, emerging trees splintering rocks and rolling them slowly, decade after decade, into the valley from whence they came so long ago.
The commerce of the place, the weddings, the Wizard, the whiskey, the laughing, the fighting, the petty squabbles, the people fawning over trifles and gewgaws, sipping wine while the drama of creation unfolds, unseen, in every direction.
One road in.
One road out.
One thing missing.
A madman dives from the bow of Dulcinea into the valley below, arms outstretched, eyes closed, plummeting silently through the canopy of treetops like a skydiver passing through clouds.
A seed planted, meaning imparted, animals named and categorized, beauty and ugliness emerging, myth and story and science projecting, creation buckling and writhing and bursting, every bush aflame, Luna rising in the evening, casting cold blue shadows and quenching that flame like a forged sword plunged into a basin of oil.
I have a secret to tell you. It will take a year to tell, and not everyone can hear it.
But if you have ears to hear,
And if Luna quenches the flame I light each morning,
Listen, and I will tell you a secret.