It is autumn, and the forest around your castle is alive with color even now, in the early night. Licks of candle-flames sear through every leaf, bursting into colors as bright as the sun. The dark stone of the castle seems even more beautiful with the fiery frame of the trees surrounding it. Around your garden, the silvery ivy begins to slow its creepers, anchoring itself deep within the sleepy earth for the winter it knows is not far away. The few flowers you planted display their soft clothes in silence. Your fine horses prance around their pasture, stomping their glinting hooves and sending their mournful songs up to the heavens. They do not know where you have gone. They whinny anxiously, hoping you will answer their desperate call. I do not know what to do, how to tell them the truth, so I rub their velvety noses for a moment before returning to the garden. I can see my breath in little white wisps as I kneel down beside you, as I tell you all that has happened since you left. There is no comfort for me in this place, even in all the beauty that surrounds it. Like you, it will soon pass away into the dregs of winter’s memory.

But you know none of this, for you are locked away inside an iron box, forced there by others’ hatred. A white marble stone sits above your head, marking the spot where you lay, hidden from the world. How I wish I could have you in my arms, your head against my chest and your hand in mine, as I rest beneath this old oak tree! But, I do not have the key to unlock you from your prison of death.

I lay a single, red rose on your grave. The moonlight illuminates each droplet of dew on the rose’s petals, turning them into shimmering tears. They are not the first tears that have been shed over your grave, but I worry that, after I am gone, they will be the last.