"Am I allowed to see them?" the lady asks.
"you're not," the man replies with a look of pity. "Much as I'd like to honor your wish, the rules strictly forbid it. Please understand. You know, though, that I'm not wont to begrudge you my sympathy." With that he suddenly falls silent and surveys the surroundings. A grebe floats up and breaks the surface of the moat.
The lady unfastens the gold chain about her neck and hands it to the man. "I only ask to see them for a moment, even just a glimpse. Only a heartless fellow would deny a lady as much."
The man plays the chain over his fingertips, seeming to think it over. The grebe dives back below the surface. After a moment he pushes the chain back into her hand. "A prison guard is loath to breach prison rules. Return to your home, and be assured that your children remain in good care." The woman doesn't move. A metallic ring is heard as the chain falls to the paving stones below.
"Is there not some way you can let me see them?" she asks.
"I am sorry," the guard states with finality.
"This black tower, these rigid walls, these people cold as stone," the lady says as tears of sorrow run down her cheeks.
The scene shifts again.
A tall figure, cloaked in black, appears in a recess of the courtyard. He seems to have materialized from the cold, moss-covered stone wall. Standing on the border of darkness and fog, he surveys the dim surroundings. Shortly, a second figure, cloaked likewise in black, emerges from the depths of the shadows. "The day has ended," the tall figure states as he looks past the high watchtower to the starlight above. "We have no place in the light," the other replies. "Many times have I killed, but today's deed stings at my conscience like none before," the tall one says in turning to the shorter one. "As we listened in on them from behind the tapestry, I nearly lost my will to carry on," the shorter one confesses. "When we strangled them, how their lips like flowers did quiver." "Purple veins shot across their fair brows." "I'm haunted still by their groans." The black figures are sucked back into the dark night, and the clock atop the watchtower rings.
The clock bell breaks my reverie. The sentry, who was standing like a stone statue, is now pacing over the paving stones with gun at his shoulder. As he paces, he dreams of strolling, arm in arm, with a certain someone.