The old knight looked out the window of his chamber and saw a city floating there on the soft side of the hills. “My word,” he murmured, and leaned his lance against the wall to better observe this wonder. The movement, slight though it was, broke the moment and the city dissolved like a face reflected in an unquiet pool. Thus the knight knew that the city was a vision, or a portent, or a summonses, and not a city at all.

So he left his lance there upon the wall and descended from the tower room, and sought for some moments among the books in the library. One book he took down, then two, then three, more and more, until he could hold no more.

For years he studied, seeking among the cities of antiquity the shapes of his city, those crooked towers, those erratic walls, and found here a building, there a bridge, but never the whole. When his books were exhausted, the knight closed up his house carefully and set out across the plains toward the soft hills and the world beyond. Somewhere there was the shape of his city. Somewhere the towers would crook just so, somewhere the bells would ring just so, though scattered among fifty, a hundred lesser cities, and in his questing he would find them all and gather them together upon the hillsides.