The star-encrusted sky was the wide, radiant canvass lain above them, a canvass painted with the great pale face of the fair moon. Around them, the roses seemed surreal, like statuesque things cast twilight grey or charcoal black in the ethereal light. Their sweet aroma was the loveliest perfume, the night-song of the crickets the most harmonious melody.
He held her hands gently in his, as if she was made of the frailest of porcelain. In such a light, the features of his face seemed enhanced, the expression in his eyes deepened.
“You appear very beautiful tonight,” he murmured, a smile flickering upon his lips. So tender was his voice, affectionate his manner. Towards her it was all directed, and too she could feel the warmth in her own heart towards him. It seemed all emotion was conveyed through a glance, that words were not needed.
“You say that all the time. Surely you do not mean it anymore,” she could only whisper in reply.
“No, it is the opposite,” he engaged her in what seemed to be their pretend argument. “I say it more and more, because more and more it is true. You seem to become…,” He leaned forward, taking the liberty to brush aside a hair which had strayed across the Princess’ face and tuck it neatly behind her ear. “…more beautiful with the passing days.”
“Do you mean that upon our first meeting that I was not beautiful?” she muttered, almost so quietly that he could not hear. By now his face was very close to hers, and her eyes were fluttering anxiously all across his expression.
“You were beyond beauty, beyond words,” he replied, hanging just above her. “But the more I have watched you, the more I have learned about you, have noticed the small things which I did not catch upon our first meeting. I loved you upon first sight, and have loved you more and more.
"You are the holder of my heart, Elitha.”
She nearly leapt from her slumber, feeling as if she had raced homewards and back. Her chest rose and fell in a great fury, her eyes itching with the temptation of tears, her hands shaking with the lure of sobs. But many times had she awoken to the same dream-memories. The past which haunted her so, the moments which she had lost forever, the man she had been forced to abandon eternally, and her heart with him. The man who she would never see again.
And now her own daughter was to suffer the same fate. What was she to do?
Nothing. She was as helpless as she was when she was sold away to King Howard.