Chapter Twenty: Unknown Sentiment
Time: Minutes from the former entry
Location: The Rosencroix Garden
I followed the Lord with haste outside to the dimly lit courtyard of the castle, and from there to the neatly kept gardens and the gazebo in the center. From that vantage point it became all clear, and I could well see the reasoning for his hurried gait and wild manner. Surrounding us were roses, vast quantities of them blossoming forth from every afforded surface. Bushes, vines, even petals littering the lush grass where once was not but decayed trees and dry dirt. The land was alive with flora once more, and not simply reserved to only the garden.
From my view upon the raised gazebo, I could see far into the distance, where the carpet of green continued to roll across hills and valleys, trees bursting into life and red petals raining down from every gathering of these flowers. I stood there in awe, not believing what was being shown in that moment. How could I? I, whom have been a resident of this dead realm for nigh over a century in my suspended state of time. The Lord's voice broke into my thoughts and drew my eye upwards.
"Look, Tuomas. The moon."
I directed my gaze up to that celestial sphere, my breath drawing in a sharp gasp. The once bloodied orb was slowly changing it's sheen. The crimson making way for a blushing pearl, and even this becoming brighter all the more.
"My Lord! The curse! Finally, it is at an end! But why- how? How is this possible?"
With difficulty I tore my eyes from the scene to better appraise my Lord. His face was turned downward, thoughtful if not remorsefully so.
"The blood. Hers. It made it's way into the ancient pool. The magics...I can offer no other explanation."
I took this in silently, a faint glimmer of hope dawning.
"Then she can be free. She can return once again to her own land."
I attempted to search the ancient Lord's eyes, yet their gaze had turned far off, seeing something that I could not. And yet, pain. Nothing definite, but a hint of inner struggle deep in his downward gaze.
The sentiment did not need words. We both knew, and he answered my unspoken inquiry.
"I am a man used up. A dead form kept by unnatural preservation. My chances at such have long passed, and it would be folly to bind her. A union with the damned? No. The land is removed of it's curse, yet mine must forever remain."
I felt my heart weep for him, for the aching which his, although it had beat it's last long ago, still could feel all the more. I opened my mouth to speak words similar to this consoling notion, yet paused as he unceremoniously dropped to the grass, lounging there as casually as a commoner might do.
"You've felt like this once before, have you not, Tuomas? While youth and vigor were yours and the energy of such was still fresh in your blood. Advise me on this matter. How can such pains be ended? Must my curse shackle not only my form and condemn my soul? Will it also consume my dead heart as well?"
I admit I did not know what to say to this. While it is true that such fancies have occurred to me ages ago, I had not entertained them. My studies then, and now were much closer to my heart than any maiden could have been. Still, seeing the Lord's pain, to glimpse him seated amongst the petals of roses, I had to offer some semblance of wisdom.
"Affections," I began, for a dared not speak the other term, "are prone to wax and wane, as the tides on the Sanguine Sea. Is this only fancy? If so it will certainly fade with time."
He shook his head grimly, laying a hand on a nearby blossom of the proliferating flora.
"No. I know of fancy. As for this, it is no such whim. I cannot rightly describe it, Tuomas. To peer into her eyes, to taste her fear and not even know her. It was involuntary notion that prompted my first act of benevolence toward her, and from that moment, I have regretted nothing save for the last mark I have made upon her. It nearly kills me even now to think of the act committed."
"Then why not speak these words to her? Is there no better means of relaying feeling and emotion than the very truth?"
Again, he shook his head, turning to gaze out past the boundaries of the castle grounds, and to the now flourishing and resplendent land.
"She belongs to another world. She must remain ignorant of this, and blissfully so. Otherwise, only more danger can come to her. We shall celebrate the land and it's rebirth. One last night, then she must leave this realm never to return."
He rose from his seat, picking up the blossom as well. I turned to follow him back to the castle's interior, pausing only as he did so to look back to me.
"One more thing, Tuomas, and hear my words well. What has passed here tonight, these words spoken, must never be uttered to another soul living or dead. To do so would find you without a tongue. Do I make myself clear?"
I nodded quickly, for I know well that the Lord does not make idle threats; and we returned. I have resumed my watch at the door of the music hall. Miss Rose has not stirred, and none have attempted to disturb her rest. The Lord has retired to his chambers, likely to begin preparations for an impromptu celebration. However, knowing my Lord, it will not be a small affair. No, this may likely rival the gala of a Queen's Coronation. Preparations will begin soon enough, and my aid will be expected. Until that time, I will stand watch, and await further instruction.