The wind howls as it whips past his body, casting his robes and long white beard into a sharp angle. He is wholly absorbed in silent meditation as his consciousness stretches for miles from where he stands, his field of vision flying across the landscape. Trees, rivers, mountains, and villages whiz by too fast for him to see little more than blotches.
He spurs his consciousness to fly faster. The blotches become streaks, then bands of color. He travels so quickly that he sees the curvature of the planet’s surface beneath him, but it lasts only for a moment before he starts a fast deceleration.
An imposing stone bulwark looms ahead. At one end of this fortress is an obelisk rising high above the citadel. His eyes waft gently on the breeze to the obelisk and then begin to spiral upward, until at last he reaches the top. At the peak stands a scrawny old man in flowing robes. A piece of paper taped to the man’s back flaps in the wind. Something is written on the paper:
I’M A SENILE OLD COOT.
Ambert snaps out of his trance and reaches backward, between his shoulder blades.
“So that’s why everyone was laughing,” he says as he crumples the paper into a tight little ball.
His curiosity satisfied at last, he turns toward the winding staircase cut into the obelisk and begins the long descent to ground level.