"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 for a moment, even for just a glimpse. Only a heartless man 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 young ones remain in good care." The woman doesn't move. A metallic ring is heard as the chain slips to the paving stones below.
"Is there not some way you can allow me to see them?" she asks.
"I am sorry," the guard states with finality.
"This black tower, these rigid walls, the men here cold as stone," the lady incants as tears of sorrow flow 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 of the 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 dim starlight above. "We've 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, from behind the tapestry, I nearly lost my will to carry through," the shorter one confesses. "As we strangled them, how their lips like flowers did quiver." "Purple veins arced cross 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 sounds.
The clock bell breaks my reverie. The sentry, who was standing like a stone statue, is now pacing over the stones, his gun at his shoulder. As he paces, he dreams of strolling, arm in arm, with some certain someone.