Who can truly say what the river valley looked like? Its appearance changed depending on one’s perspective, for every soul sees the world differently. A patch of tree moss so apparent to one person might go completely unnoticed by another. The agreed-upons lay few and far between. The essential topography of the valley could be seen from a few specific locations: high on the barren rock of Beggar’s Hill, or from the heights of the Lone Tower, at the foot of which rested an ancient orchard. These and a few other strategic plateaus looked out over the vast waterway to the first rising hills of the Otherside—that land across the great river where very few ventured—where the land fell ever-steeped in a thick, heavy fog.
Alongside the river, sometimes too close to its edge, homes of the valley folk clustered beneath the calm twin siblings of blue water and sky. Past these houses, when the hills did not rise immediately from the beach as they were prone to do, the hinterland spread in long acres of field and fancy—fancy having more than a little power in the valley—stretching out like yawning earth. A couple of lapzine fields had been left to struggle, having survived a swelling of the river; few people remained to tend their blue-tinged flowers or harvest their gel-like resin for lamplight.
Beyond the initial hills and inclines rose greater cliffs, at points almost completely hiding the river valley from the view or acknowledgement of the outside world, such was their height. And finally, before anything “modern” could be reckoned, there spread the Farlands. Still considered of the valley proper by most aside from the college, those of the outside world ignored them as wilderness. Things were changing, though. A new organism called ‘Industry’ was starting to take notice of certain regions of the Farlands. And Industry began to wander about this seemingly unused land, wondering how it might be used for its own industrious progress. This new attention made a few of the valley’s unseen inhabitants very uneasy.