In the Distance
Alex stared from his place on the battlements. He could see endless miles of prairie land, broken only by a wide river to the north. The plains began to roll into hills in the south, and in the far west was a thick forest. It all looked so close, but that was just a trick of the wide open land. Plains and mountains made distances seem much smaller than they really were.
And he was back to the east, where there had been mountains.
They were gone. Just gone. What the hell did you do with a chain of craggy mountains, anyway? How could something so big just up and leave? He had spent months studying those mountains; the passes were the only way for invaders to find the Empire from the east.
Alex rubbed his eyes, thinking they were playing tricks on him. He looked again. No trick. They were being quite serious. And the whiskey had dwindled to nothing last week.